American lives seem, from this distance at least, very different from European lives. Look at this: Sean Wilsey’s mother was the daughter of an itinerant preacher. She ran away to Dallas to be a model, an escape funded initially by the nickels from her uncle’s jukeboxes and peanut machines. She was dragged off to California by her angry family, and while waitressing there she met a US Air Force major who married her on a live national radio programme called The Bride and Groom. She split from the major, dated Frank Sinatra for a while, married a couple of other guys – one marriage lasted six months; the other, to the trial lawyer who defended Jack Ruby, lasted three weeks. She got a TV job and she had a fan club. and then she married Sean’s dad. We don’t do any of that here. We don’t have itinerant preachers, or peanut machines, or Sinatra. We are born in, for example, Basingstoke, and then we either stay there, or we move to London. That’s probably why we don’t write many memoirs.
Nick Hornby, ‘The Complete Polysyllabic Spree’
[Great little collection of Hornby’s columns about his reading life in The Believer magazine. A lot of funny bits, interesting takes on books (whether they’re books you’d be interested in or not) writing, reading and the literary world.]