Nick Hornby Ends Tenure as Believer Columnist

| 9/4/2008 10:04:26 AM

Believer CoverFor five years, writer Nick Hornby’s What I’ve Been Reading column (excerpt available online) has been one of the best known features in monthly lit-mag the Believer. With the September 2008 installment, the magazine announces, Hornby’s tenure is coming to a close.

In his stead, the magazine introduces Greil Marcus, the prolific music-and-cultural critic, who will be writing a monthly column called Real Life Rock Top Ten (excerpt available online). Marcus, known for 1989’s Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century and more recently The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy in the American Voice, is a fantastically engaging scholar, with an eye for dissecting culture through the lens of popular music. In short: Real Life Rock Top Ten, no doubt, will be a gem in the Believer line-up.

I’ll miss Nick Hornby, though: His quirky monthly dispatches of “books bought” and “books read,” and his free-flowing musings on the content therein. In 2003, Hornby described the genesis of the column—and lessons learned from writing it—to the British newspaper the Telegraph:

Before I wrote the first column, I'd just had a particularly happy few weeks of reading, where one book had indeed led to another, and it occurred to me that maybe my book choices always had that sort of interesting shape to them.

But of course once I'd committed to a monthly column, this turned out to be nonsense, and ever since then my reading has been haphazard and whimsical, and therefore my column has been, too.

The Believer has one, and only one, commandment: THOU SHALT NOT SLAG ANYONE OFF.

Julie Hanus
9/12/2008 9:10:10 AM

Jake, I know! Kudos to the Believer for pulling off the old greedy dog switch. You know, where your dog has some really great bone, but you have to take it away, so you're all "Oh, hey, pup, look up here, I've got a faux-bacon-flavored biscuit" and the dog's head snaps up, jaws drop open, and everyone is happy. :)

Jake Mohan
9/11/2008 3:29:40 PM

I'm sorry to see Hornby go, but Greil Marcus is a great coup for the Believer. His is some of the best music writing out there.

Bennett Gordon
9/9/2008 4:06:22 PM

I enjoyed the book About a Boy (I never saw the movie) but I'm a sucker for that Peter Pan, never-wanna-grow-up literature.

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