Friday, September 9, 2011

52/365 High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Okay.  I have no idea where to start. 

Um.  I like this cover?  

(Still trying to find somewhere to start... ga...)

OKAY!  So.  Here we go:

I liked this book.  But I liked it not for the story or the language (especially not the language, if you catch my drift) or anything that I usually like most books for.  I think what I liked it for was its pitiful honesty.  
It's one of those situations where I like something, and I know that it's changed me in a way and so it is to some degree important to me - but I couldn't recommend it to anybody.  I don't mean I couldn't recommend it to a single person on earth; I mean I couldn't recommend it to just anybody.  It's like trying not to lie to my little sister when she asked about State of Fear (which I read, like, once every two weeks when I was 15).  I liked it, and wanted to tell her I liked it - but I knew it wouldn't be right for her.   Sort of a bigger, more difficult version of that because it means more and they swear more.  A lot more. 
But even the swearing!  It isn't One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (which by some miracle I spelled right!) which could not work or be good without the swearing.  But I understand and it's in there and there's no use getting all twisted up about it.  That's the way the people are - and maybe I'm being silly, but there's something to be said for not trying to change things.  I mean, if that's the way they were to Nick Hornby, they wouldn't be real after I censored them, if I tried.  You see what I mean?
(Maybe I don't care enough about swearing in books.  I don't care too much about swearing in movies either.  Swearing is more awkward than violence when you're watching a movie with your mom, but I'd rather have swearing any day.  Violence grosses me out.  Though, weirdly, it mostly doesn't bother me in books.  The only time, ever, that it has was - get this - in one of those Eragon books when the queen girl does that trial of the long knives and slices her arms off.  A whole chapter of spraying blood.  I almost had to sit down.) 

This was one of those books where every other page had something so true that it made my stomach hurt.  There were so many that I can't chose an example.  Gosh, so many.  

Love is such a weird thing.  Even in the supposedly straightforward courtship world (which horrified me into giving panicked squeaks of 'I will never marry! I will never marry!" when I was in high school) where, in the ideal model, everything is parents-sanctioned and safe and squared-away and you spend more time in pre-marital counseling than on dates, there is still the whole falling in love with someone/attraction thing to negotiate.  And then how do you manage the whole "it won't always feel like this, you have to work at it" thing?  How is that not horrible?  My parents do it, but they're better people than I am, and I have no faith in my ability to be mature and wise about that sort of thing.  Heck, I have no idea how some of my friends are getting married.  I mean, the guts they have to have!  I need a much, much stronger personality before I even think of getting married.  

Good title. Clever. 

Completely shallow - I so wish I knew someone who would make me mix tapes.  Not even a boyfriend.  I want to be told what music to listen to.   Once I've listened I will reserve the right to decide whether I like it or not, but I would love to be given some guidance.  I know it's not life or death or really anything even remotely important - but how am I supposed to know that Pink Floyd is not cool and Black Sabbath is?  Is Pink Floyd not as cool, or is that just Nick Hornby?   I haven't even listened to Pink Floyd or Black Sabbath.  Not consciously, at least.  It's like me and Dr. Who right now.  I know I need to pick it up, but I'm too lazy to do the work and figure out how far back I need to start to get all the references and stuff. 

I'm almost done, I swear. 

Top 5 reasons I think this is an Important Book in My Life:

1. It's about love and life and dying and I, along with every other human being, have to deal with that at some point.  I don't mind my dying (in the spiritual sense - I'd still like it not to be horribly painful or pathetic), I know what I should do in a basic sense in life - though I don't do it.  But throw another person, other people in general into the picture and I'm dithery and helpless. 

2. I hate the main character and I am him.  Or, hopefully, was him.  B.C. I was just as self-centered and spent all my time thinking about how unhappy I was.  During the book, I kind of loathed my old self and Rob at the same time for doing it.  It's such a stupid, stupid waste!  I can't believe I wasted so much of my life.

3. I do not want to have Rob's story as my own.  I don't mean I don't want to own a record store or something dumb like that (I would love to own a record store).  But I don't want to always feel inferior.  I'd like to get over being needed.  Inferiority vs humility is a bit of a puzzle to me right now. One of the many, many bits of Mere Christianity that I have yet to understand even at all is where he talks about real humility.  How the heck are you supposed to be able to know you've made the best cathedral on earth and not let it puff you up?  

4. The painful truth bits I talked about earlier.  They shot home like nobody's business.  Like - yes, I'm breaking down and giving an example - where he can't bear to see photos of his young self because he's so disappointed by what he's become.  "... I made wrong decisions at bad times, and I turned you into me."  That's killer.

5. It made me think more about meaning.  Which is good, you know?  

CONCLUSION:  My head's too full.  First imaginary reader to get that quote wins an imaginary prize. And eternal glory.  And I haven't seen the movie, but I can already hear Jack Black in my head.  Casting gods, whoever they were. 

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