Stuff Nick Hornby’s Been Reading

Nick Hornby at The Believer:

I have said it before, probably irritatingly, and I will say it again several more times: one of the most remarkable literary projects of this century is being undertaken right now, as we speak, by the social historian David Kynaston. Since 2007 he has been publishing a series of books about Britain between the years 1945 and 1979, when Margaret Thatcher came to power. There have been three so far: Austerity Britain: 1945–51Family Britain: 1951–57, and Modernity Britain: 1957–1962—roughly 2,300 pages, or 135 pages per year. If you are going to treat a country as a person, full of personality, development, joy, tragedy, regression, and contradictions—and that is what Kynaston does—then an allocation of 135 per year is actually pretty disciplined. (If, in the year 2070, someone embarks on a similar project, then the year 2020 will demand several hundred thousand words of its own.) These wonderful books deal with politics and town planning, sport and literature, music and movies, cities and the countryside, and a rather gripping narrative somehow emerges, in the same way that improvising jazz soloists find melodies.

more here.