31 Songs To Read

I don’t read that much… Or at least not enough! Several years ago, I had my book craze period, but since then, nothing, nada, peanuts. From time to time, I read a novel that the miss, who is a furious reader, used to leave on the table or somewhere in the living room ’cause the shelf is over capacity. Vacation time is a nice period to go back to the books and have the pleasure to turn the pages. I often read a lot of stories during vacation. It’s just like I’ve been starved to death during the whole year and then someone put me in a grocery store for 10 days. The only rule is: Eat as much as you can. That’s what I’m doing right now… No, not exactly right now, as I’m posting this vacation post from a free wi-fi spot… Ain’t that what we call, commitment?

So, I don’t read enough, and every summer I hate myself for that and all the excuses I have not to read. Too static, too much efforts to provide, where is the remote, how the hell can you use something that has no mouse, no pictures, no music… Crap! That’s bullshit!! I am just too lazy!! And yet, I know the cure for this laziness and you can use it as much as you want!

The name of the cure: Nick Hornby. I think I’ve read most of his novels, twice! And the reason why I post about him is fairly simple. Everything in Nick Hornby’s writing is about music… Or almost everything! If music is not the main topic of the novel then his writing is very evocative. His novels have an inner tempo, an inner melody, and somehow he always manages to refer to music. Reading a Nick Hornby’s book means hearing a soundtrack in your mind without any effort at all.

I came to his novels via movies, or should I say via one particular movie actually. It was a boring sunday, a few years back, when I ran to the video-club to rent a movie, any movie, even a crappy one! High Fidelity seemed perfect for entertaining my brainless sunday.  Believe you me, I’ve rent this movie just because Jack Black and John Cusak were casted in it. I watched it twice!! Surprising!! The story of a record store owner, the sentimental looser kind of guy who spend most of his time gathering the soundtrack of his life, hanging around with his two non-employees, trying to understand why his girlfriend doesn’t share his overwhelming passion for music and his uncredible records collection, trying to get the girlfriend back… I think it was another boring sunday when I found out that we had the novel, that inspired the movie, in the bookshelf.

Any Hornby’s book I’ve read, since then, had the same evocative power. Even when music is not the main topic of the novel, Hornby’s lines exsudates music, and I don’t know how he does that. Maybe it has something to do with his solid good taste in music, far from the snobish pop extremist that he sometimes says he is. His pop music definition actually reminds more of the definition of the eclectic dude. He doesn’t care about the consistency of his choices, he picks up anything that is of interest to him regardless of the style or the pose. However, he still avoids the dark side of eclectism i.e. becoming a decibels garbage.

Actually, I lied a little at the beginning of this post. I didn’t read all Hornby’s novels twice!! To be fair, I’ve just finished (my first reading of?) Slam… And, I’ve decided to put 31 Songs in my backpack to read it for the fourth time.

31 Songs is not exactly a novel. It is more of a hybrid between the authors autobiography and the musicology essay about pop music. And it wouldn’t be perfect without a touch of the so-called British humour (maybe they just call it humour) and a strong dose of conviction. Nick Hornby is a pop music enthusiast and this book tells us why he is so obsessed with music, what he considers to be a good pop song (31 good pop songs), why music can be so important in someone’s life, why sometimes you need to share your love for a song until everyone around you loves it as much as you do. In this book you’ll find interesting thoughts and stories about Teenage Fanclub, Led Zep, Santana, Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, Badly Drawn Boy, Röyksopps, Jackson Browne, The Velvelettes, Rufus Wainwright, Aimee Mann, The J. Geils Band, Ben Folds Five… And many others!

If you didn’t read 31 Songs yet, you better do it fast… It is a crucial reading! Am I being over dramatic? And as long as you’re in the bookstore, have a look on his novels, they worth the shot!

Dammit, I must be crazy! I read the book 4 times!! I think this would make me a fan of Hornby! Well, it’s time for me to turn off the computer and go dive in the Atlantic Ocean waves…

About Sem

I am the founder of Muzicosphere (that also exists in a French version). In 2011, I also created Guitar Fail, the Guitar LOL place to be. And before that I created GAS a GoGo, a gear giveaways blog in French.

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