Ron’s #22: Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

July 12, 2011 // 0 Comments

I love reading books by Nick Hornby. He has a perfectly blending of music, relationships, and witty dialogue. I’ve read many of his books, including High Fidelity and About a Boy. Both books were great, and the movies were excellent adaptations. After quitting Hornby’s young adult offering, Slam!, I decided to try again with Juliet, Naked. Juliet, Naked is the story of Duncan, an obsessive fan of the fictitious singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe whose 80s record “Juliet” is respected as one of the top break-up albums of its time. After this masterpiece, Tucker Crowe disappeared into obscurity, leaving rabid fans like Duncan to assess, analyze, and pontificate on the whereabouts of Tucker Crowe. When a striped-down version of “Juliet” arrives in the mail, Duncan reaches euphoria and posts how this version he dubs “Juliet, Naked” is the pinnacle of Crowe’s genius. Other Crowe aficionados are impressed and envious at Duncan’s review. One person who is not impressed is Annie, Duncan’s girlfriend. She posts a critical review of “Juliet, Naked” with Duncan’s condescending approval. Soon, Tucker Crowe himself contacts Annie to praise her review of this terrible record, and a relationship begins without Duncan’s knowledge. He is too busy organizing his bootleg […]

Ron’s #37: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

October 11, 2010 // 0 Comments

After watching the movie version of High Fidelity this weekend for the umpteenth time, I decided to reread the book. I “read” the book via audio book ten years ago or so, and I loved it as much then as I did today. High Fidelity is an excellent novel about music, relationships, disconnection, and hope. The New Yorker raves that “It is rare that a book so hilarious is also so sharp about sex and manliness, memory and music.” Rob Fleming is a 35-year-old music aficionado/snob. He owns Championship Vinyl, and works with Barry and Dick, paler versions of Rob with an equally prodigious knowledge of decades worth of pop music. The story begins with Rob’s girlfriend, Laura, moving out and leaving him to his records and snarky criticism. Rob drifts and floats his way through the next few weeks as he tries to find connections to something or someone, while facing his own emptiness that pop tunes cannot fill. Rob, Barry, and Dick are consummate list-makers, creating the Top Five Songs for a Monday Morning, Top Five Songs about Death, and Top Five Artists that Must Be Killed When the Music Revolution Happens (U2 is on that list). They […]

Ron’s #10: Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

March 14, 2010 // 1 Comment

My friend John recommended this book to me and I ordered it immediately. John is one of those guys who is smarter than most people, and he has an outstanding knowledge of literature, pop culture, and sports. I enjoy discussing opinions on 2 out of 3 of those topics, but I still don’t know what a running back does that differs him from a linebacker. After finishing this book, I understand why John enjoyed it—Klosterman is a doppelganger for John, an expert on all three of these areas. Eating the Dinosaur is a collection of 13 essays about modern life discussed in terms of popular culture. Klosterman is the uber-hipster with a writing style that is sharp, funny, and biting. Here are some of my favorites: “Oh, the Guilt” connects Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain’s and David Koresh’s messiah complexes. “Tomorrow Rarely Knows” is one of the best discussions on time travel that I’ve read. “ABBA 1, World 0” about the phenomenon of ABBA Music “ ‘Ha ha,’ he said. ‘Ha ha.’ ” discusses what the laugh track on sitcoms says about its viewers and our culture. “FAIL” gives insight into the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski that I never before considered. The power […]