After I missed last month’s Flips Flipping Pages (my book club) book discussion (The Shadow of the Wind, one of my favorite books!) because it coincided with the Ultimate Book Geek finals, I was glad I was able to attend this month’s book discussion: Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, as moderated by Mike, Ronald and Shani.
Holed up in an Irish pub, we had some music related games. We were divided into two teams (morbidly named Team RIP and Team Condolence), and for the first game, Mike produced a list of songs and read them aloud while we attempted to identify the songs’ album, artist, and year released. I was in Team Condolence and we got creamed by Team RIP! Then we had an Anti Music Snob Name that Tune contest, where we managed (with Ronald’s help!) to squeak by with a one point win over Team RIP.
We then proceeded to the discussion proper, where we gave our own observations about the book, dissected some quotes, discussed double standards for lad lit vs. chick lit, and other aspects of the book.
I’d never read any Hornby and I figured this discussion was a good opportunity to start. I’ve had a copy of the book (angel-mooched from Australia) since January, a special hardcover compilation — Triple Platinum, which has High Fidelity, About A Boy, and Fever Pitch.
Rob Fleming, the protagonist in High Fidelity, is a 36-year old guy who has just broken up with his girlfriend Laura. He is dirt-poor, he runs a flailing vinyl record shop, he judges people based on their taste in music, and he has a penchant for making lists.
Rob’s breakup with Laura opens a can of worms, as it reveals Rob’s insecurities, carried over (and with a lot of bitterness!) from his past relationships.
I’m not a very musical person — I can’t read and listen to music at the same time, and since I spend a lot of time reading, that doesn’t leave much time for music (just mostly when I’m drifting off to sleep, or when I’m emo). Nevertheless, the book still had its entertaining moments, and I can totally relate to Rob’s music obsession by substituting books for music (hehehe) .
I have no problems with Hornby’s writing; it’s Rob as a character that I’m not very fond of. I’ve read my share of chick lit, but Rob is actually more neurotic than any chick lit character I’ve read. I was actually reading the book in fits and starts because he was grating on my nerves with all his wallowing, and finished the last quarter of the book on the morning of the book discussion. Aside from this compilation, I have a couple more Hornby books on my shelves; I think I’ll wait awhile before picking one up again.
The group ratings ran the whole gamut of 0.5 to 5 out of 5, giving us plenty of interesting points to talk about that afternoon. We ended with a trivia game, and finally, the book swap.
It was another great discussion for FFP — I can’t wait for next month, when we discuss Hunger Games!
(Special shoutout to Iya — it was great seeing you! We totally forgot about taking the group photo earlier!)
High Fidelity, hardcover (in Triple Platinum compilation), 2.5/5 stars
Book #35 for 2010, H for A-Z challenge