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tanjaha

Nick Hornby

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Hello everybody!

 

Maybe anyone of you can fill me in. I read How to be good. The theme was great, it could be gripping (has anybody not asked himself, what the sense in all this is), but it was not, I felt. He could not get the woman perspective right and besides some funny scenes, he could not go into it.

Then recently, I read Long Way Down, same thing. Interesting theme, of which you could make much, but somehow, he messed it again. It was boring.

So, is it just my opinion or is the hype somehow mislead?

Looking forward to your answers.

 

Tanja

PS: Please feel free to correct my English, I'm no native.

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I've not read either of those two, but Hornby seemed to struggle with women characters in About A Boy and High Fidelity. They were very "bloke fiction", and highlighted the male characters, which is why they were so succesful.

 

I loved Fever Pitch when I read it, and like High Fidelity a lot. But the books seemed to get more trite and less personal and more mundane as they went on, and seemed to deliberately target a very uninteresting demographic, of 30-40ish blokes who are English middle class, and who don't really have a lot to say about anything much.

 

I think the hype is overplayed, and it mainly comes from the opening two books being about football and music and therefore appealing to a bunch of people who are obsessive about those subjects, whilst also being easy to read, and meaning football and music journalists would rave about the books getting them lots of hype where other books would be ignored.

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Hey, then it's not me, it's him. Well, maybe it's just jealousy that I don't like the books that are so much more successful than mine, which are probably never to come.

 

Interesting thing is though, I like the movies, too. High Fidelity and Fever Pitch are two of these rare cases that I like the movie better than the book. I think that's what it is. The theme is good entertainment, for movies though.

 

But please, READ!! Reading is always worth it.

 

PS: Thanks for the warm welcome.

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He remains spectacularly popular, though, and I can understand why. It's very easy to read the books. The fact that the characters are pretty two-dimensional and the plots fairly mundane are probably neither that relevent, because the books address people who aren't normally addressed by fiction. Chick-lit in its various guises has existed for ages, but lad-lit really started with Hornby, so there are loads of blokes who read Hornby and finally have "serious" fiction address their lives.

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I've not read any of Hornby's books yet, though I've been thinking about A Long Way Down as I thougt it sounded rather interesting...

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but lad-lit really started with Hornby, so there are loads of blokes who read Hornby and finally have "serious" fiction address their lives.

 

Now that's something! I am curious. And I hate to find myself in that predicament. Therefore I have to go and find myself some lad lit! The ongoing quest of understanding the opposite sex.

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I do actually think High Fidelity is useful for allowing girls to understand rather normal but slightly geeky blokes (that would be almost all of us). And Fever Pitch for those girls unfortunate enough to find themselves with blokes with a footy fetish.

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I've read About a Boy and High Fidelity - the film was best in the first case and the book in the second. My opinion? Readable, ok, but nothing special.

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I haven't read High Fidelity (so i guess i'm not in a position to gob off....but i will) however i flicked through a friends copy and found it more to be an excuse to for Hornby to write about his catalogue of music he collects. It looked like it lacked any sort of empathy and emotional content that i look for. not that i'm a mill and boon type of gal but this seemed to be far to mechanical. Surely Hornby should have remained true to himself and written 'my record collection by A. Geek'

I know i'm opinionated but i have the excuse of an ex that fevourishly collected records, read this book and thought it was fab.

:grr: :(

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Have you seen the film, starring in John Cusack?It basically IS a record collection as far as I can tell (I've never read the book, but enjoyed the movie - LOL!).

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I haven't had the pleasure of seeing the film as i came across the book first. The brief scan of the pages plus ex blokes love for it has been enough to put me off seeing it lol.

Funnily enough i find myself reading books that end up as films, it's uncanny. It happened with the beach, the bone collector and a random Ian Rankin novel to name but a few. Usually i prefer the books but i have been inspired to read Hunter S Thompsons works after watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

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I have told my dad to get 'Fever Pitch' for my eldest (16) bdy. I gather it has something to do with his obsession for football (should suit by ds)

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...seemed to deliberately target a very uninteresting demographic, of 30-40ish blokes who are English middle class, and who don't really have a lot to say about anything much.

 

I think the hype is overplayed, and it mainly comes from the opening two books being about football and music and therefore appealing to a bunch of people who are obsessive about those subjects, whilst also being easy to read...

 

Seconded.

 

I read High Fidelity and The Long Way Down and found both of them definitely enjoayble but also very shallow, not in the lacking philosophy sense but as if he was scared to develop a character, a theme, a plot line over and above what would fit in a single newspaper column. Or something like that.

 

 

The observation he makes in HF, which goes something along the lines of 'we [meaning the male obsessives] decide who to like on the basis of what they like' doesn't apply only to blokes. It is a fundamental tenent of adolescent/studenty intelectual snobbery and I have known plenty of females who used it. And so did I (until I have grown out of it by the age of about 28).

 

The girlfriend in HF was sostereotypical it was appaling. I personally hate books (and anything else) that make this 'women are from venus men from mars' point about sexes being so incredibly different.

 

But that might be because secretly I have always wanted to be a geekish bloke with a music fetish...

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Someone has said I should give A Long Way Down a try.

I'm not too sure about it. What's it like? I've heard that Nick Hornby is more of a man's writer, so I don't know if this book is much different.

 

Any thoughts on whether I should give it a go?

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I've recently read 'How to be Good', a nbook where the lead protagonist is a woman. The book was enjoyable and quite amusing in parts, however, as has been mentioned on this thread already, Hornby does seem to struggle to write from a womans perspective, and that is where this falls down.

 

He does write a lot about men of a certain age, and is quite a 'blokey' author, however, that doesn't make him a bad writer. I think you should at least give him a try.

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Hello everybody!

 

Maybe anyone of you can fill me in. I read How to be good. The theme was great, it could be gripping (has anybody not asked himself, what the sense in all this is), but it was not, I felt. He could not get the woman perspective right and besides some funny scenes, he could not go into it.

Then recently, I read Long Way Down, same thing. Interesting theme, of which you could make much, but somehow, he messed it again. It was boring.

So, is it just my opinion or is the hype somehow mislead?

 

I totally agree. I enjoyed "High Fidelity". I loved "About a boy". "How to be good" was a real disappointment. It contained the odd great bit of writing but it just seemed to be trying too hard to make some kind of profound point about morality and really didnt work for me at all.

 

"A long way down" the characters was boring. Easy enough to read so that I finished it but the characters lacked any depth - a little too much like caricatures to be believable. Again quite disappointing.

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Nick Hornby is a new acquaintance for me bookwise. I've seen both High Fidelity and Fever Pitch and I hated both of the movies. I can't say I liked Fever Pitch as a novel any better, how can anyone be so into football?? So I always figured Hornby's just not for me, thank you very much.

 

I'm doing the Rory Gilmore book challenge and there are at least two titles by Hornby on the list, and I gave in and read High Fidelity. I was pleasantly surprised by it! It was easy and enjoyable to read and I liked all the name dropping (bands, albums etc.). I think I definitely need to watch High Fidelity again. I'm now very keen on reading some of his other novels, A Long Way Down in particular, purely because the blurb sounded really inviting. I'm currently reading The Complete Polysyllabic Spree (a book about buying and reading books, what fun!) and I'm loving it. Wishlist is growing every 20 pages or so, which is great on one hand but awful on the other hand: I have far too many books to read as it is! :roll:

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For a while I thought it was just me, but guess not :roll:

 

I read A long way down, About a boy, High fidelity and as previously mentioned, they were easy reads, and entertaining but nothing special.

I was particularly interested in A long way down, but it seemed like it was not finished. Like it was just a draft, missing character and/or plot development (I think that was mentioned a few post ago too). The same thing with High fidelity, and least IMO in About a boy. The latter I liked most. Liked the film too :D

 

Anyhow, I'm glad I came across this thread, now I'm at ease :D

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I've just finished Nick Hornby's The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, which was a really wonderful book to read. The only problem is now my wishlist is 18 books longer and it's Hornby's fault! :roll: I love reading about which books authors enjoy reading themselves and I wish the book would've been twice the size.

 

I think knowing the British mentalism and specific kind of sense of humour is a definite plus for the reader: there were some things that I didn't either get, or didn't know whether they were meant to be taken seriously or as a joke. I didn't mind that though: If I felt Hornby'd said something that might upset people, I just automatically assumed that it was a sarcastic joke and not to be taken seriously. However, I think I missed a lot of laughs because of that :D

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I think all of Nick Hornbys novels are first and formost really funny. Even How To Be Good which is my least favoourite of his has at least one belly laugh in it. There are lots of other plus points but the key thing with his books is the comedy.

 

The thing that is a wee bit annoying with him is that he congratulates himself too much on being a 'popular reader'. I get the impression from the Polysylabic spree and his recent intro to the new edition of Scenes From A Provincial Life that he thinks there is a top secret reading police headed by an angry critic who reads Proust when he fancies a break and laughs at anyone who enjoys a book shorter than a thousand pages.

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The thing that is a wee bit annoying with him is that he congratulates himself too much on being a 'popular reader'. I get the impression from the Polysylabic spree and his recent intro to the new edition of Scenes From A Provincial Life that he thinks there is a top secret reading police headed by an angry critic who reads Proust when he fancies a break and laughs at anyone who enjoys a book shorter than a thousand pages.

 

Hello there and welcome to the forum! :lol:

 

Could I ask you what you mean by him "congratulating himself too much on being a popular reader"? Do you mean that he thinks he only reads popular fiction and thinks that's the best kind or... ? I couldn't quite get what you meant, it's most likely the language barrier thing :lol:

 

I borrowed About a Boy and How to Be Good today from the library. I don't know when I'll get to them but I hope soon!

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Hello and thanks!

 

Im only really basing it on a vague impression from the Complete Polysyllabic Spree and bits and pieces from his online blog (and Im sure he means it in jest) but he talks a lot about 'those people who think a novel cant be any good unless it makes you weep with the effort of reading it'. He is probably subject to a lot more literary snobbery than I am but its a bit like he is trying too hard to stick it to the man and I dont know if anyone actually thinks reading has to be a struggle.

 

I meant to join the forum to sing his praises! High Fidelity and Fever Pitch are two books Ive reread too many times and without Fever pitch in particular I dont think I would enjoy reading as much as I now do and he has pointed me in the direction of lots of other authors I would otherwise have missed. Like Patrick Hamilton.

 

I hope you like about a boy and how to be good!

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