English novelist, essayist, and screenwriter Nick Horby has carved out a niche with his sharply comedic, angst-ridden literature exploring modern masculinity. Best known for the novels High Fidelity and About a Boy, along with his ground-breaking debut Fever Pitch (an autobiography of Hornby’s devotion to the Arsenal Football Club), his fiction is celebrated for its tender depictions of dissatisfied adulthood.
Sharing six of his favorite books with The Week, Hornby included a Dickens classic, a deep dive into Hollywood’s ’60s cultural revolution, and one of English literature’s most seminal memoirs. Find his reading list below, and check out the bookshelves of other rad writers right here.
“This is Dickens at his funniest and most soulful, and the genius of the minor characters (Micawber, Uriah Heep, Peggoty, Betsey Trotwood) is both a dazzling pleasure and completely intimidating, if you’ve ever had any desire to write fiction.” -NH
Pictures at a Revolution by Mark Harris
“Harris’ brilliantly researched study of the five films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 1968, following a pivotal year in Hollywood history, is my favorite book about cinema. It’s enormous fun to read but also extremely accomplished: Harris understands the collaborative and random nature of the business better than anyone else I’ve come across.” -NH
Father and Son by Edmund Gosse
“A misery memoir, perhaps the first, about the author’s coming-of-age in a strict evangelical Victorian household. Father and Son is perceptive, wise, occasionally comic, and heartbreaking — even if Gosse is now believed by biographers to have stretched the truth a bit.” -NH
“A brilliant and important little book — by an Oxford English professor, no less — about taste, high culture, objective artistic worth, and the absurd arguments made to prop the whole teetering edifice up. Carey has an extraordinary mind, and a wicked wit, and it’s hard to read this book and end up feeling the same about what you value and why.” -NH
Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
“Random Family follows two young Bronx, N.Y., women as they struggle over a decade with men, kids, drugs, poverty, and, very occasionally, money. It’s an astonishing, and astonishingly patient, piece of reportage; it’s also an important book about contemporary America, and it grips like a thriller.” -NH
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
“Fountain’s achingly sympathetic, funny, and imaginative novel is a book about Iraq and the soldiers fighting there, and it’s set almost entirely within a Texas football stadium. It’s the best novel I’ve read this year.” -NH
(via The Week)