Authors I Love Part I – Nick Hornby

I want to start getting into the habit of writing more for my blog, since most of what’s here so far has been reviews and a few random things. I decided, after discussing with some friends, on doing a post on my favorite author. This idea is more a base of what I will be posting today and in future installments.

I find it impossible to choose who my favorite author is. While it is true that I have a hard time choosing a favorite anything, I feel that a favorite book, author, or anything else dealing with books would be harder for me than say, picking what my favorite food is.

Well, here goes nothing.

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For this first “Authors I Love” post will be on one of my favorite authors, Nick Hornby. Like most of the choices I’ll make for this series of posts, I won’t know exactly why I enjoy these authors. As the post starts to take shape, I’ll be sure to come to the realization…I hope.

I first discovered Nick Hornby several years ago. There was a movie I enjoyed that I have only seen sections of on Comedy Central, by the name of High Fidelity. From what I had seen of the movie I decided that I’d want to watch the entire thing. It wasn’t until about two years later that I came across a DVD copy of it. I quickly picked it up and devoured the movie. I watched it almost every time I felt like watching a movie.

Why did I start talking about a movie on a (mostly) book based blog? Stay with me, it’ll all come together in a few sentences.

As I was saying, I loved this movie. While I can’t pick a definite favorite book, few movies have even come close to bumping this one out of my top five (yes this is a reference to High Fidelity and I tend to use it in everyday life, as well.) This is why upon looking at the back of the DVD case, when I saw near the bottom of the credit section “based upon the book by Nick Hornby” (See? That’s how I pull all this together. Pretty obvious where I was going with it.) I NEEDED to find this book and READ it.

So in time, I found a copy. I read it. I loved it. The strangest thing about it all was that I loved both the book AND the movie almost equally. This is due to the fact that I have never (even now) run into a movie that has stayed as true to the “script” of the book. I say script because if felt almost as if the writers of the screenplay handed out copies of the book instead of a printed out script. There were that few alterations, and scenes removed. The only up front changes were Rob Fleming, the main character’s name was changed to Rob Gordon, the setting was also changed to Chicago from being in London. These are very minor, even though they are in your face, changes. It’s still a very urban setting and Gordon is a more American name (if there is such a thing).

I suggest those interested to watch the movie and read the book. I really don’t care what order you do it in, I’m not sure that it matters since neither ruined the other in my experience.


Do I love Nick Hornby as an author solely on ONE book? No, that would be just plan silly. Well, I mean it’s a great book and still my favorite novel of his, and it is possible to enjoy an author this much based on one book (especially if he or she has written just one,) but there’s more from him that I love.

So far I have read five of his books. I own ten of them, and there’s a total of about eleven if you don’t count some short stories and anthologies that are available. I think I’m doing fairly well with reading him. I didn’t care for only one book out of them so far as well, also a good sign. That was A Long Way Down. I just didn’t enjoy the style it was written in. It was a book about four people who were all going to jump off a roof on New Year’s Eve. They don’t jump and the rest of the book is about how they cope with their lives, and about the little group they formed together to figure things out and all that. That’s fine with me, it wasn’t the story that made me not care for it. The book was told from the point of view of all four characters, with each chapter being told by a different one. There was also some overlap among the events in the chapters. I found it hard to follow because Hornby did a great job creating different personalities and way of conveying the story for each character. That lead to some confusing during the switching and I lost the flow each time I started a new chapter. Because of this, it will have to be reread to fully appreciate the book.

I have also read About a Boy, another book-to-movie and SlamSlam is Hornby’s attempt at a YA novel. I loved this books as well. I feel that he did a great job to reach out to the world of YA readers. Also I enjoyed that it was about a young skateboarder who idolized Tony Hawk, and memorized Hawk’s autobiography (a book I read twice as a teenager). The book deals with teenage pregnancy and growing up and stuff. Read it, love it, at least I hope you do.

Aside from his novels, which I at first held my love of Hornby in, he has brilliant non-fiction collections. The one I read so far is Shakespeare Wrote For Money, I am also in the closing articles of The Polysyllabic Spree. These two books, along with Housekeeping vs. the Dirt (a book I plan on buying soon,) make up the collected articles Hornby wrote in The Believer, a literary magazine where he published a column called “Stuff I’ve Been Reading.” The column was his monthly telling of what he had bought and read that month, or not bought and not read, as was sometimes the case.

The blatant humor found within his non-fiction makes the works he discusses (even) Charles Dickens and some other dated authors enjoyable to read. I tend to savor the non-fiction much more by reading one or only a few articles at a time. It helps me remember that non-fiction doesn’t have to be dry reading like a text-book, but can have the same hook and raw wetness as any novel could.

Along with the humor is an honesty in which Hornby makes a point to show he’s not a puppet for anyone to order around. In the “Stuff I’ve been Reading” articles, if Nick hasn’t bought books or hasn’t actually read anything for that month, he’ll come out and say it and explain that he’s only human. He also jokes during these times about his bosses at The Believer being a group of robed men and women who’ll punish him for these faults in his reading life.

I think there’s also a common connection that can be found in the books I have read so far from Hornby, that is why I keep reading and enjoying his work. In High Fidelity, Rob is dealing with being in his thirties and still trying to figure out relationships and life. About a Boy a grown man who still has a lot to learn about being a responsible adult. A Long Way Down, four people fed up with where life has led them, even if a few are being a big dramatic about it than other, and finding that things can work out ok. In Slam a teenaged boy looks to a “fictional” Tony Hawk for advice in growing up and fathering a child.

There are a few different age groups among his stories, but I really connected with each, especially when reading these in my teenage years. I looked at the future knowing that not everyone will have their head on straight and confusion was a normal part of life. There’s nothing new about this. The issue can be found in a good number of books. But the way in which Hornby brought it to me through his books has given him a special place in my mind and myself as a person that won’t soon be forgotten.

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I hope some of this was insightful into why I enjoy the author, Nick Hornby. I knew it was going to be difficult to convey what I felt on the subject, I find it hard to express what I enjoy for many things, not just books. Most of the time I just KNOW that I like something and that can be enough to live by. But this was fun and I think I’ll continue to squeeze out words to express why I love certain authors.

Not only do I look forward to comments on this post, I encourage you to tell me your favorite authors and why. That is if you feel like sharing. No pressure people 😛

3 responses to “Authors I Love Part I – Nick Hornby

  1. Well, you definitely made me want to read his books, especially the YA one for some reason! Thanks for introducing us to this great author, who is new to me!

  2. Great post! I don’t think I’ve read anything by him but I have seen the movie based on the book. Thanks for sharing a new author (to me).

  3. Pingback: Favorite Author/Books | MichaelJStedman.com

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