Hornby in Review
One of my favourite authors. Nick Hornby’s novels are always quirky and very well written. Their subjects tend to be about his main passions in life- football and music. Could say typical man! So quintessentially British, Hornby’s novels are written in such a way that makes them so easy to read. It seems that a-lot of himself comes through in his books and indeed characters. His books are mostly quite small and make for good light reading. Find them very easy to dip into and often go back and re-read them. Always know what you are getting with him. When reading one of his books in halls my flatmate asked me, why are you reading that- he is a mans writer! Can see what she meant and it seems that his books do appeal and are commonly read by men. However, I really enjoy them and feel they can be enjoyed by all. It is rather a strange thing to say but I am a little bit of a manly girl anyway. With regards to my sense of humour, interests, company I enjoy and that I have never been a girly girl.
His most recent book release, found Juliet Naked to be a really excellent book and his funniest yet. It,n a break from tradition, his main character and narrator is female. Was really attracted to the book by its cover, drew me in due to my love of the seaside and its pleasant blue and bright orange colours. A real love story, Juliet Naked also has music as one of its themes. It is about what women and men will and won't do for love. Duncan is a superfan obsessed with a singer named Tucker Crowe whom was successful in the 80's and then never released a song again. Duncan has a real life relationship with Annie, but his other love in his life, Tucker seems to take precedence. The couple, Duncan and Annie have been together for some 15 years and their relationship has gone a little stale. A twist comes when Crowe makes a comeback and is set to release a new CD. What happens when it is Annie who hears the songs (sent as a sample to Duncan, who runs a fan group) first and makes contact with Crowe?
Possibly the most famous of all his books, Fever Pitch is regarded as one of the best books about football. It is a football memoir about Hornby's life following football and his love for Arsenal football club. Hornby draws on his extensive knowledge and experience growing up as a match going Arsenal fan. This was made into a film (and an apparently crap Americanised version!). It was the first of his books I read and reading it encouraged me to seek more by him. Was also the first book that he had published. The book explores what his team means to him, how his support changed as he got older and re-lives the highs and lows of their seasons from years 1968 to 1991. Though the football is central, it is not the only subject. It is his life under the micrscope, his loves, work and the difficulties life throws up are all explored. There is a humourous edge throughout the book, find he has a great deal of humour in the way he writes. There are many laugh out loud moments in the book and moments that you empathise and can relate to. Found it to be a great insight into what life was like growing up in the late 60's and 70's and his young adult life into the 80's.
There are remarkably few fictional novels about football. Back then, when the book was set, largely Arsenal did not play the attractive football they do now. Far from it and from what you gather it was often a misery watching them play! In the book Hornby fully captures the addictive quality football has and the hold it has over you. The love for the team you support is often blinding and irrevocable and sometimes you just cannot explain it. It is particularly difficult to convince those who do not follow the game why you love it so much and you can pretty much take it that they just won't get it no matter how hard you try!
Would be great if he released a sequel to this and to hear his take on the way football has changed and the memories around Arsene Wenger's time at the club- particularly his thoughts on that incredible invincible Arsenal side. Him being older too, wonder if his passionn for the game has waned. It tends to take a back seat when such things as family take precedence. I really love football and was great to get the insight into what it is like to be a match going fan. I am very much an armchair one!
One of my favourite books and it was a delight to read. Impossible to put down, remember reading it in pretty much one sitting for the first time. Love the characters in this, they are so real and couldn't help but recognise similarities in the people I know and those featuring in the book. This is another of his books that centres around music. The novel is about Rob Fleming, a typical English bloke in his thirties who owns a record shop. Obsessed with music, he spends most of his time talking about music, making lists and discussing mix tapes. He employs two workers who you get to know well called Dick and Barry, very much social misfits.
As the book opens, Rob has just split from his girlfriend Laura. He takes the reader through a list of the most heartbreaking breakups he has experienced in his life. A constructed list of five, he sets out to reconnect with these women, to apologise and to get answers and maybe even attempt to win them back. Insecure Rob struggles with commitment but desperately seeks a love that can last. The loves of his early years are looked back to and it made for a very funny read- some of the things Rob does are pretty cringe worthy. You gather that he is struggling to grow up and is a bit like a teenager in some ways. He is a lovable character though and so well written. Some traits of his, I see in myself and Rob is certainly a person I would want as a friend. A real, honest book it gets you into the mind of a man and is about love, life and music.
This book is a collection of essays in which Hornby discusses his 31 favourite songs. He tells you significance of each and the memories attached to each song. Found it to be a really good read and being the nosy person that I am, interesting to hear his taste in music. Always keen to discover new bands and songs so this was a good one for that. The book reveals what an important part music has played in his life. It really reflects the power that music can have to conjure up certain memories. Personally, listening to some songs brings back memories and specific happenings/events are linked to it. On the blurb of the book it says that the novel gives the reader "what many of us have always wanted: a soundtrack to accompany his life." The format of it is a chapter per song. It is much more than just describing the music itself, you learn a-lot about the man and his life through reading it. Don't have to be a music lover to enjoy it, though it would be right up their street. From the Beatles to Rod Stewart to Nelly Futardo and Led Zepplin- it is a real mix of tracks. He also reveals a list of more recent songs he's enjoyed and shares fourteen of his favourite music albums. Funny and entertaining, he truly has an eclectic taste in music.