Hot Best Seller

High Fidelity 8-copy

Availability: Ready to download

From the bestselling author of Funny Girl, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down, a wise and hilarious novel about love, heartbreak, and rock and roll. Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who From the bestselling author of Funny Girl, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down, a wise and hilarious novel about love, heartbreak, and rock and roll. Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection? Rob seeks refuge in the company of the offbeat clerks at his store, who endlessly review their top five films; top five Elvis Costello songs; top five episodes of Cheers. Rob tries dating a singer, but maybe it’s just that he’s always wanted to sleep with someone who has a record contract. Then he sees Laura again. And Rob begins to think that life with kids, marriage, barbecues, and soft rock CDs might not be so bad.


Compare

From the bestselling author of Funny Girl, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down, a wise and hilarious novel about love, heartbreak, and rock and roll. Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who From the bestselling author of Funny Girl, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down, a wise and hilarious novel about love, heartbreak, and rock and roll. Rob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection? Rob seeks refuge in the company of the offbeat clerks at his store, who endlessly review their top five films; top five Elvis Costello songs; top five episodes of Cheers. Rob tries dating a singer, but maybe it’s just that he’s always wanted to sleep with someone who has a record contract. Then he sees Laura again. And Rob begins to think that life with kids, marriage, barbecues, and soft rock CDs might not be so bad.

30 review for High Fidelity 8-copy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenn(ifer)

    I have a problem. You see, when it comes to reviewing my favorite books, I’m all thumbs. Coherent thoughts elude me and float downstream like a toy boat escaping from a little boy’s grasp. Rob is my soul mate, you see. He and I are the same fucked up, insecure, too-much-in-our-own-head-for-our-own-good person. I think he would get me. Really Get me. Or maybe it's just Hornby who gets me. Mr. Hornby, you make me want to wear dresses. During my last year of high school and through all four years of c I have a problem. You see, when it comes to reviewing my favorite books, I’m all thumbs. Coherent thoughts elude me and float downstream like a toy boat escaping from a little boy’s grasp. Rob is my soul mate, you see. He and I are the same fucked up, insecure, too-much-in-our-own-head-for-our-own-good person. I think he would get me. Really Get me. Or maybe it's just Hornby who gets me. Mr. Hornby, you make me want to wear dresses. During my last year of high school and through all four years of college, I too worked in a record store with a bunch of misfit music snobs. It was the BEST JOB EVER. Hands down. Sitting around all day, listening to the new batch of promos, poking fun at the customers coming in looking for a little Ace of Base... making mix tapes for that boy who worked in the skate shop who I had a crush on. I never gave him any of them. Shyness is nice, but shyness can stop you... That’s Morrissey, not me. But I feel you fella. Anyway, you can see how I’m completely flubbing this review, right? Hornby has my number. My favorite ice breaker with people I don’t know well is to ask them to give me their top 5 (insert topic here (usually related to music)). Top 5 female singers of all time, GO! Oh, and since this review wouldn't be complete without a top 5 list of my own, here is my list of the "top 5 songs referenced in top 5 lists in this novel" (obscure enough for you?): 1. Tired of Being Alone - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICKToz... 2. Alison - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs6HbY... 3. Lets Get it On - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18TLHh... 4. Mr. Big Stuff - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooYEx... 5. The House That Jack Built - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmUXn...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rick Monkey

    I realize that I give far too many books a four or five star rating. So sue me. Book buying isn't, you know, a quick thing for me. I browse, I choose, I read the blurbs inside, I deliberate, I read a chapter from ever book I've chosen. In short, I only read things I'm really likely to like. So, I will tell you right now, if there were a way to give [High Fidelity] six stars, I would. Ostensibly it's a novel about pop music and love. But if that's what you're seeing, then you are reading it wrong. It' I realize that I give far too many books a four or five star rating. So sue me. Book buying isn't, you know, a quick thing for me. I browse, I choose, I read the blurbs inside, I deliberate, I read a chapter from ever book I've chosen. In short, I only read things I'm really likely to like. So, I will tell you right now, if there were a way to give [High Fidelity] six stars, I would. Ostensibly it's a novel about pop music and love. But if that's what you're seeing, then you are reading it wrong. It's a novel about obsession, rejection and minutia. As such, [Nick Hornby] speaks directly to my geeky soul. Even though I'm not a music expert, I see a lot of myself in the main character Rob - escaping into pop, defining his life through records, filling his head with facts rather than feelings and trying, oh so desperately trying, to be a real human being. His relationships never last. If he's not outright rejected, then he's the one who gets full of himself and does the rejecting. He's not good with people, doesn't want to be, ultimately can't be. But he aches for them. He's a loner who can't bear to be alone. He pushes people away, but wonders why there aren't any people around. Every word in [High Fidelity] felt familiar, even with a location (London) and a milieu (music fandom) that are unfamiliar to me. Somehow, Hornby strikes this strange, compelling balance between being incredibly witty on the surface, and being incredibly depressing beneath. Swap out records for comics or videogames, and I am Rob. If you're a geek, and a male, and a member of these recent lost generations of "slackers" and "man-children", then you are Rob, too.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David

    Nick Hornby writes about losers and makes them lovable. But not this time. I couldn't stand the self-pitying little git, his loser wanker record store buddies, nor their ridiculous fracking lists. Reading this book felt like being trapped in an elevator with the pathetic Scrubs douchebag (Zachy McWhinerson, or whatever his fracking name is) for an entire weekend. You know the type - the constant puppy need for the approval of every critter on the planet, all the time. It might seem like a charmi Nick Hornby writes about losers and makes them lovable. But not this time. I couldn't stand the self-pitying little git, his loser wanker record store buddies, nor their ridiculous fracking lists. Reading this book felt like being trapped in an elevator with the pathetic Scrubs douchebag (Zachy McWhinerson, or whatever his fracking name is) for an entire weekend. You know the type - the constant puppy need for the approval of every critter on the planet, all the time. It might seem like a charming vulnerability, but don't be fooled. It actually signals a pathological narcissist whose solipsism and incessant neediness will bleed you dry. I know, I know. Many fine books have been written about unlikable characters. Anyway, it's about the character's emotional growth. Etc. etc. All true. But when you find the central character so annoying that just reading about him makes you twitch, it's probably time to switch to another book. Your mileage may vary. For all I know, you're the kind of person who watches marathon "scrubs" reruns. If so, you'll probably love this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joe Valdez

    We all have a handful of books that we feel were written specifically for us, as if the author took us out for dinner and drinks (lots of drinks, on the author's tab) and interviewed us on the important things (in no particular order, except the order in which I thought of these): love, faith, art, sex, career, family, friends. Then they put our thoughts and feelings in a book. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is one of those books for me, the account of a young man reorganizing his disappointments We all have a handful of books that we feel were written specifically for us, as if the author took us out for dinner and drinks (lots of drinks, on the author's tab) and interviewed us on the important things (in no particular order, except the order in which I thought of these): love, faith, art, sex, career, family, friends. Then they put our thoughts and feelings in a book. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is one of those books for me, the account of a young man reorganizing his disappointments and his record collection following a rough break-up. I'm not the narrator and he's not me, but often wish life could be cataloged as clearly as my music. Published in 1995, Hornby's debut novel is the stoic, immature and unapologetic first-person account of Rob Fleming, a thirty-five-year-old who lives in a one-bedroom flat in the North London neighborhood of Crouch End. Rob owns a record shop called Championship Vinyl which specializes in "punk, blues, soul, and R&B, a bit of ska, some indie stuff, some ’60s pop--everything for the serious record collector". His two employees and perhaps best friends-- the shy, awkward Dick and the loud, obnoxious Barry--pass the work day thinking and talking in lists: top five Dustin Hoffman films, top five Gerry and Sylvia Anderson shows, top five sweets that come in jars, etc. For us readers only, Rob categorizes his all-time, top five most memorable split-ups. He was 12 or 13 when Alison Ashworth ended their six-hour courtship for another boy. The following year, he broke off a three-month relationship with Penny Hardwick, a nice girl who rebuffed Rob's hormonal advances and as soon as he dumped her, devastated him by having sex with one of Rob's classmates. He was 17 when he pried away Jackie Allen from her perfect relationship for three weeks. The one he never got over was Charlie Nicholson, a college lover of two years whose beauty and airs intimidated him until she ended things. Rob found a kindred spirit at age 25 named Sarah Kendrew and stayed with her for two years out of loneliness until she met someone. The decision of his girlfriend Laura Lydon to move out doesn't make the list, apparently. Laura was, is, a lawyer, although when I met her she was a different kind of lawyer from the one she is now: then, she worked for a legal aid firm (hence, I guess, the clubbing and the black leather motorcycle jacket). Now, she works for a City law firm (hence, I guess, the restaurants and expensive suits and the disappearance of the spiky haircut and a previously unrevealed taste for weary sarcasm) not because she underwent any kind of political conversion, but because she was made redundant and couldn't find any legal aid work. She had to take a job that paid about forty-five grand a year because she couldn't find one that paid under twenty; she said this was all you need to know about Thatcherism, and I suppose she had a point. She changed when she got the new job. She was always intense, but, before, the intensity had somewhere to go: she could worry about tenants' rights, and slum landlords, and kids living in places without running water. Now she's just intense about work--how much she has, the pressure she's under, how she's doing, what the partners think of her, that kind of stuff. And when she's not being intense about work, she's being intense about why she shouldn't be intense about work, or this kind of work, anyway. Newly single, Rob throws himself into a reorganization of his record collection (switching from alphabetical to autobiographical, filing his one-thousand album collection in the order he purchased them in). Dick and Barry drag him to a club to hear an American folk singer named Marie LaSalle, as lost and single in London as Rob is in his own neighborhood; Rob develops a crush on Marie that goes unrequited only so long. He touches base with Liz, a mutual friend of Laura's, and learns that his ex has moved in with Ian, their obnoxious former neighbor. In her talks with Laura, though, Liz has learned things about Rob that places him firmly in the "arsehole" category. I do not know what, precisely, Laura said, but she would have revealed at least two, maybe even all four, of the following pieces of information: 1. That I slept with somebody else while she was pregnant. 2. That my affair contributed directly to her terminating the pregnancy. 3. That, after the abortion, I borrowed a large sum of money from her and have not yet repaid any of it. 4. That, shortly before she left, I told her I was unhappy in the relationship, and I was kind of sort of maybe looking around for someone else. Did I do and say these things? Yes, I did. Are there any mitigating circumstances? Not really, unless any circumstantial (in other words, context) can be regarded as mitigating. And before you judge, although you have probably already done so, go away and write down the worst four things you have done to your partner, even if--especially if--your partner doesn't know about them. Don't dress these things up, or try to explain them; just write them down, in a list, in the plainest language possible. Finished? OK, so who's the arsehole now? Rob's lists help him through his breakup with Laura in one way, at least. He endeavors to contact each of his all-time top five most memorable split-ups to find closure. Maybe people can change: Dick stuns everyone by meeting an adorable young woman named Anna Moss, while Barry's musical delusions are answered when his seeking-work ad is finally answered and he becomes the front man of Sonic Death Monkey (née Barrytown). Distraught when he pesters Laura into admitting that she's had sex with Ian, Rob ends up on the invitation list for her father's funeral. Reconciliation seems likely, but the common denominator in all Rob's failures is still staring at him. 2. (Seventh day, bed, afterward.) "You really don't expect me to tell you." "Why not?" "Because what purpose would it serve? I could describe every second of every time, and there weren't that many of them, and you'd be hurt, but you still wouldn't understand the first thing about anything that mattered." "I don't care. I just want to know." "Want to know what?" "What it was like." She huffs. "It was like sex. What else could it be like?" Even this answer I find hurtful. I had hoped it wouldn't be like sex at all; I had hoped that it would be like something much more boring or unpleasant, instead. "Was it like good sex or was it like bad sex?" "What's the difference?" "You know the difference." "I never asked you how your extracurricular activities went." "Yes, you did. I remember. 'Have a nice time, dear?'" "It was a rhetorical question. Look, we're OK now. We've just had a nice time. Let's leave it at that." "OK, OK. But the nice time we've just had ... was it nicer, as nice, or less nice than the nice times you were having a couple of weeks ago?" She doesn't say anything. Rob Fleming is not the ideal man you'd want to take a phone call from, hang out with and best of luck if you fell in love with him. But he is a real person and someone I know well. I'd like to think Rob is the sort of non-alcoholic, non-druggie, smart, witty and immature male in his mid-twenties to mid-thirties, "keeping my options open," terrified of commitment and embittered of opportunities that always seem to present themselves to other people, but in reality, his self-obsession occurs across age and even across gender. The chief reason to read the novel is Nick Hornby's exceedingly good taste in records, books and films and his wonderful ear for dialogue (and monologue). But I want to see Clara, Charlie's friend, who's right up my street. I want to see her because I don't know where my street is; I don't even know what part of town it's in, which city, which country, so maybe she'll enable me to get my bearings. And it'll be interesting, too, to see what street Charlie thinks I live on, whether it's the Old Kent Road or Park Lane. (Five women who don't live on my street, as far as I know, but would be very welcome if they ever decided to move into my area: the Holly Hunter of Broadcast News; the Meg Ryan of Sleepless In Seattle; a woman doctor I saw on the telly once, who had lots of long frizzy hair and carved up a Tory MP in a debate about embryos, although I don't know her name and I've never been able to find a pinup of her; Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story; Valerie Harper in TV series Rhoda. These are women who talk back, women with a mind of their own, women with snap and crackle and pop ... but they are also women who seem to need the love of a good man. I could rescue them. I could redeem them. They could make me laugh, and I could make them laugh, maybe, on a good day, and we could stay in and watch one of their films or TV programs or embryo debates on video and adopt disadvantaged children together and the whole family could play soccer in Central Park.) This paragraph is nearly verbatim from my dinner interview with the author. It's my thesis that the majority of authors are married or have been with their current partners for over ten years. I'd add that a lot of authors regardless of status are simply not comfortable with being brutally honest about dating. Nick Hornby is and so is High Fidelity, which is honest, tough, funny, sensitive. Adapted to film in 2000, the screenplay by D.V. DeVincentis & Steve Pink & John Cusack relocated the story to Chicago but kept much of Hornby's dialogue intact. Though one of my favorite comedies, the "romance" is really between Rob (John Cusack) and Barry (Jack Black), not Rob and Laura (Iben Hjejle). The music and supporting cast (Todd Louiso as Dick, Joan Cusack as Liz, Lisa Bonet as Marie LaSalle, Tim Robbins as Ian, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Charlie, Lili Taylor as Sarah and Bruce Springsteen as himself) are peerless.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Ah, nostalgia! This book takes place in the mid-90s. Even though the protagonist is in his 30s, the content really does take me back to my time in high school and college. Everything was music and concerts – and a lot of the music he talks about is the music everyone was into back then. Also, I was a huge fan of the movie when it first came out, but this was my first time reading it. In some ways, Rob reminds me of myself back then: insecure, paranoid, over reactive, etc. I would think a girl was Ah, nostalgia! This book takes place in the mid-90s. Even though the protagonist is in his 30s, the content really does take me back to my time in high school and college. Everything was music and concerts – and a lot of the music he talks about is the music everyone was into back then. Also, I was a huge fan of the movie when it first came out, but this was my first time reading it. In some ways, Rob reminds me of myself back then: insecure, paranoid, over reactive, etc. I would think a girl was interested in me and call the over and over thinking that was the best way to win her heart. Then, when it didn’t work, I would drown my sorrows in music . . . until I tried calling again. Now, I will say that Rob definitely goes a bit overboard in his relationships and how he approaches them are toxic. But, it is entertaining watching the trainwreck that is his life. I think to enjoy this book you need to be into the writing style; cynical, self-deprecating humor that leaves you wondering if you love all the characters or hate them. I know that this will not be everyone’s cup of tea (ah, a British book, cup of tea, HA! I am here all night, folks!) I have been looking at some other reviews and it seems like a lot of people despise this one. I definitely get that – if this was not set during such an important time of my life and if it didn’t mirror a lot of aspects of my social life at the time, I probably would be too turned off by the frustrating characters and Rob’s basically inappropriate approach to every situation. But, nostalgia wins this time – now I have to go back and watch the movie again!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Samadrita

    High Fidelity is several things at once. It is a specimen of guylit (I just invented the term yes) - romance and single life explained from the point of view of a man. And we have so few of those. It is a humorous reflection on life and its many failings. And lastly, it is the tale of a Brit singleton in his mid thirties who is unrelentingly firm in his reluctance to grow into a man. A man who is so caught up in his fantasies of the ultimate love one is destined to end up with, that he ignores the High Fidelity is several things at once. It is a specimen of guylit (I just invented the term yes) - romance and single life explained from the point of view of a man. And we have so few of those. It is a humorous reflection on life and its many failings. And lastly, it is the tale of a Brit singleton in his mid thirties who is unrelentingly firm in his reluctance to grow into a man. A man who is so caught up in his fantasies of the ultimate love one is destined to end up with, that he ignores the woman who truly cares for him and consequently ends up losing her. So the novel begins with our protagonist, Rob Fleming, listing the 5 major break-ups of his life which either hurt him too much or ended up changing him as a person for good. And he takes vicious pleasure in informing the reader that Laura, the woman who just left him, doesn't make the top 5, doesn't even come close. How could you not get sucked into a book which begins on such a promising note? An owner of a dingy vinyl record shop named Championship Vinyl, Rob and his two employee-cum-sidekicks Dick and Barry stumble through the maze of life, more often than not clueless about what they are doing. They debate merits and demerits of obscure bands and music artists and are generous in their display of disdain for the ones who love their Beatles, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Elton John and the usuals. And these hilarious conversations centering around mundane things like tv shows, movies, music and women lend the plot much of its frivolity and humour. Especially Barry, who is described by Rob as a 'snob obscurantist', makes you laugh uncontrollably with his habit of belittling everything, his sneaky tactics of selling records of artists no one has heard of and his interactions with Dick. And so the plot meanders through the zigzagging life of Rob, touches briefly upon the lives of all the women with whom he had been in love at some point of time and settles on his on-and-off relationship with Laura. High Fidelity comes as close to portraying single life and romance as it actually is and not in the larger-than-life Hollywood rom-comish way. It talks about the things we all do in relationships - how we decide how much to reveal to the other person. How our feelings for a person waver time and again and how we often falter, unable to decide what we want. How we hurt the other person in the process. How we realize how precious a relationship was only after it has ended. And more importantly how we are ever afraid of making that feared transformation - be it from girl to woman or boy to man. Nick Hornby's debut novel is a charming creation - it is like a music record by an artist you may not have heard of but you can relate to the music, nonetheless. And you can't help but want to play the record all over again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Findley

    Top Five Reasons to Read This Book: 1) Offers multiple opportunities to fall off your chair laughing. 2) Draws entirely convincing characters making stupid decisions and dealing with the repercussions. 3) Reminds you of all sorts of artists you must check out further. 4) Answers the "what if" questions of past relationships with horrifying clarity. 5) Satirizes but ultimately validates top-five lists.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003. I used to think-and given the way we ended up, maybe I still do-that all relationships need the kind of violent shove that a crush brings, just to get you started and to push you over the humps. And then, when the energy from that shove has gone and you come to something approaching a halt, you have to look around and see what you've got. It could be something completely different, it could be somet Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003. I used to think-and given the way we ended up, maybe I still do-that all relationships need the kind of violent shove that a crush brings, just to get you started and to push you over the humps. And then, when the energy from that shove has gone and you come to something approaching a halt, you have to look around and see what you've got. It could be something completely different, it could be something roughly the same, but gentler and calmer, or it could be nothing at all. I feel like this book was written as a direct response to Bridget Jones's Diary, though I don't know that for sure and I'm too lazy to check the dates. In any case, it is surely a response to all the Chick-Lit that-at the time, and even now-abounds. And at first I was thinking, "hey, this is just Bridget Jones's Diary but with a Penis", but it isn't. It is exactly the same. The same whingeing. The same horribleness toward people the protagonists want to have sex with. The same horribleness toward the people the protagonists have had sex with. The horribleness toward the protagonist's so-called friends. The same self-serving ridiculousness and not wanting anyone else to be happy because they're not happy. The same whingeing, the same arrogance, the same patheticness. Maybe you could say that Bridget Jones's Diary is this but with a Vagina (but then all the whingeing is fine because having stuff coming out of your vagina once a month that isn't just always blood is really, super annoying, though I can't recall Bridget ever whingeing about Vagina-blood at all...) Is that the point of these books? To take pathetic people and give them the spotlight because, deep-down, that's all of us? And we never have our voices heard, despite getting drunk every night and shouting our problems out to the night. Are you really like these characters? If you are you should be deeply ashamed and I'm glad you're stuck in a dead-end job and not actually in charge of anything. Stay there, keep your head down, procreate because you don't understand the menstrual cycle or contraception and then die. Please. I can't work out if the protagonist-whatever his name is, I've forgotten already-is supposed to be horrible, pathetic, whingeing, annoying, perverse-in short, a complete cunt-or not: is this the anti-hero kind of thing? Where we like him because, oh, he's a bit not "normal" (whatever that is)? Bridget was a cunt, too. I hated them both. Is this what people are actually like? What's wrong with people? This isn't Lad-Lit, or Dick-Lit, or whatever manly spin we have on Chick-Lit this week: it's just Chick-Lit. It hasn't even got a Penis, and Chick-Lit doesn't have a Vagina. It's just people being cunts. With no reference to whatever you think "cunt" actually means or the etymology of the word "cunt", anglo-saxon or Norse or whatever. Just the metaphorical sense of a person being a cunt. You know what I mean. By the way, I've realised that Love doesn't exist, it's just Fear of being Alone: or it is if you read books like this. I had so many interesting points to make about this book and it was all going to sound like I'd thought long and hard about it, and was making fantastic points and really making you think, and going in to how Love is a construct, and Fear is also a construct so is Love really as unreal as Fear etc but I can't be bothered. I really can't. Why do men have to read this and not read Bridget Jones's Diary? It's exactly the same thing. Blog | Reviews | Instagram | Twitter

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This is the only Nick Hornby book I've read, and it seemed like a good introduction to the genre I imagine must be called "dick lit." I read it on a plane to the West Coast, and it was the perfect thing: started at take-off, finished just before landing, this had the perfect proportions of light and engaging for 30,000 feet. Ultimately, I found it sort of silly and empty and I had a hard time choosing between two and three stars, but I thought I'd give it a break here, because even though it was This is the only Nick Hornby book I've read, and it seemed like a good introduction to the genre I imagine must be called "dick lit." I read it on a plane to the West Coast, and it was the perfect thing: started at take-off, finished just before landing, this had the perfect proportions of light and engaging for 30,000 feet. Ultimately, I found it sort of silly and empty and I had a hard time choosing between two and three stars, but I thought I'd give it a break here, because even though it wasn't funny like B Jones, it was a lot more culturally accessible (I don't remember what kind of music Ms. J liked, but I'll bet it was bad). After all, it's only dick lit, and it served its purpose, which was to preoccupy me while I suffered through the torturous experience of flying in an airplane. I sort of liked the formula, and the idea that the boy version of "fairytale romance" isn't meeting Miss Right and riding away together on a handsome stallion, but instead just finally scraping your shit together enough to act a little bit like a grownup in time to avoid permanently alienating the charming girl who's fed up with your tiresome immaturity. Is that the standard male fantasy? Weird.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Agnieszka

    Rob runs a record store in London, has two weird sidekicks, creates silly top-five lists of everything and his girlfriend Laura has just finished with him. What more could I say about him ? Well, Rob is thirty-five selfish asshole, pompous snob and a pathetic, emotionally immature loser. But I still like him . And who is immature now, huh ? Do not worry, I will not treat you now with a tearful story about my ex, though I will tell you about a guy who, if I ever had compiled, in imitation of Rob, Rob runs a record store in London, has two weird sidekicks, creates silly top-five lists of everything and his girlfriend Laura has just finished with him. What more could I say about him ? Well, Rob is thirty-five selfish asshole, pompous snob and a pathetic, emotionally immature loser. But I still like him . And who is immature now, huh ? Do not worry, I will not treat you now with a tearful story about my ex, though I will tell you about a guy who, if I ever had compiled, in imitation of Rob, list of the most memorable and painful partings in my life, would have taken not only the first place. Actually he would take the whole podium. Piotr, do not let him remain nameless, after all the winner takes it all, so, Piotr was nice and sensitive guy, somehow wonderfully shy and helpless. He was a guy because of whom when we split-up I lost the plot for a while then. And I lost the subplot, the script, the soundtrack, the intermission, my popcorn the credits, and the exit sign . Well, he was a selfish asshole and pathetic loser. Who said that? Oh, shut up ! My older and more cynical self, I'm not in the mood to listen to you today. We were wandering around the streets, by whole hours listening to the music, discussing books . Nothing special. And Heaven knows I'm miserably now in my life ... I do not remember if Piotr loved The Smiths, certainly we listened to The Clash, jazz, a bit of blues. Piotr run a record store but nowadays works on the radio, sometimes I come across on his programme and ... it's always nice to hear his voice. Oddly enough, I never thought then he had a radio voice. And really he had . But let's get back to Rob. Hornby created a bitter - sweet, ironic portrait of lonely and scared man. Rob is a guy with simple solution for everything, with justification for any situation. He is like a kid who believes that life is a movie in which all the others play supporting roles. But because life is neither pop charts nor listeners choice you seldom get what you think you deserve . Hornby's observations are accurate and witty, spiced with wry humour, and even when Rob feels miserable and has a hard time - this is not any existential drama. And when he finally states that even people with, in his opinion, trashy collection of records, are ok, there is a hope for him yet.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This read got me itching to watch John Cusack in the movie form, but I haven’t looked it up yet. It is in the making as a series with the gender of the lead flipped - interesting! This was an okay read for me, I feel my lack of music knowledge may have not made it a winner for me. Meandering young guy, not knowing what he wants out of life it seemed to me, but he wanted a girl that's for sure. Funny hearing the angsty teenage relationship uncertainty and sexual frustration from a guys point of vi This read got me itching to watch John Cusack in the movie form, but I haven’t looked it up yet. It is in the making as a series with the gender of the lead flipped - interesting! This was an okay read for me, I feel my lack of music knowledge may have not made it a winner for me. Meandering young guy, not knowing what he wants out of life it seemed to me, but he wanted a girl that's for sure. Funny hearing the angsty teenage relationship uncertainty and sexual frustration from a guys point of view as it's usually flipped in the contemporary reads I come across. In general, the meandering feeling dragged this out for me and I wasn't fussed. Also, choosing the audio version may not have been the wisest choice, I lost interest quite easily. A modern classic, but not for me. I'm probably just too boring, and not the target audience!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    This is one of those feel-good books for people who want to keep their options open and kinda stumble about their lives only to realize they had already made up their minds and are pretty dully okay with it. :) Does this sound kinda horrible? Nah... but yeah, kinda, and no, because that means we're all a bit horrible. :) But that's okay because we all have that music snob in us and we are all horribly geeky about certain things. I happen to love music just as much as Rob in the book and I'm much wo This is one of those feel-good books for people who want to keep their options open and kinda stumble about their lives only to realize they had already made up their minds and are pretty dully okay with it. :) Does this sound kinda horrible? Nah... but yeah, kinda, and no, because that means we're all a bit horrible. :) But that's okay because we all have that music snob in us and we are all horribly geeky about certain things. I happen to love music just as much as Rob in the book and I'm much worse when it comes to my books, but you know what? It's freaking charming. I love it. Just the way I loved the movie before I knew it was based on this book, I loved it. It was super charming and embarrassing and appropriate and pathetic and downright glorious. All at once. And I'm a fan. Still am, now that I've read the book. And my only complaint? I need that soundtrack running in the background... OH WAIT! I HAVE SPOTIFY! :) Tee hee!

  13. 5 out of 5

    doctor

    You mean the book where a pompous sack of sexist shit gets to not only take a dump on his independent ex-girlfriend, while acting pretentious based off of his 'extraordinary' music tastes, but gets her back and somehow everything between them just isn't just fixed - but somehow miraculously better? I CALL BULLSHIT. The starred reviews for this are a fucking riot, celebrating Rob''s "manliness" and telling men not to share this with their girlfriends, because heaven forbid the SECRET WILL BE OUT. w You mean the book where a pompous sack of sexist shit gets to not only take a dump on his independent ex-girlfriend, while acting pretentious based off of his 'extraordinary' music tastes, but gets her back and somehow everything between them just isn't just fixed - but somehow miraculously better? I CALL BULLSHIT. The starred reviews for this are a fucking riot, celebrating Rob''s "manliness" and telling men not to share this with their girlfriends, because heaven forbid the SECRET WILL BE OUT. what SECRET?! THE ONE OF HOW TO BE A FUCKING WHINY WANKER WHO SEEMS TO BE THE INSPIRATION FOR JOHN GREEN'S MALE PROTAGONISTS??? fuck. you.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    Remember all those Romantic films or even the hapless Romantic Comedies you’ve seen, the infinitesimal, clichéd and hopelessly repetitive plots? The same guy and gal meet somewhere odd or mildly weird so that things are interesting. Probably a boss and employee type of thing (The Proposal? Go to hell, Ryan Reynolds, you big-mouthed wanker!) Or two people from very far places brought together by kismet or something as appallingly believable (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve got Mail, Philadelphia? Wa Remember all those Romantic films or even the hapless Romantic Comedies you’ve seen, the infinitesimal, clichéd and hopelessly repetitive plots? The same guy and gal meet somewhere odd or mildly weird so that things are interesting. Probably a boss and employee type of thing (The Proposal? Go to hell, Ryan Reynolds, you big-mouthed wanker!) Or two people from very far places brought together by kismet or something as appallingly believable (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve got Mail, Philadelphia? Wait, Philadelphia’s about AIDS so it’s has to be mentioned. I’ve got nothing bad to say about Tom Hanks. I used to love you, Meg Ryan.) Or they’re sex friends, friends with benefits, all that modern freedom excuse (Friends With Benefits? No Strings Attached?) Or someone very rich and famous going for someone scrapping-by and morally compromised (Pretty Woman, Maid in Manhattan? No, Maid in Manhattan is pure rubbish. Pretty Woman is the lovable shit. I’d pick Richard Gere over Ralph Fiennes and Julia Roberts over Jennifer Lopez any day. Plus, there’s something more righteous and morally redemptive about loving a hooker than a maid. You know, I don’t really get why the men are always the rich guys going for the hookers and stuff. Is this a sexist thing? Is it? Probably it’s more of men’s domination. You know, wanting submissive women and stuff. Now we’re getting in murky waters. Don’t dare get excited, you feminist! This might be the insane reason why women love The Notebook. Cause, you know, the rich girl is settling for the poor lad, instead of the usual other way around.) Alright, enough examples, you get the drift. So there its exciting cause stuff’s pretty complicated. They meet up, become friends or something because of a certain unfathomable thing happening. Then before long, what-da-ya-know, they fall in love. They don’t care bout nothing but sex, and spending time with each other and stuff, the crazy, bat-shit, rick-rolling, fucked-up shit kinda love. Then as sure as the sun will set, something wrong happens, there’s a problem or trouble and you know the drill. They go separate ways, but somewhere along the line the guy realizes that he loves the gal. And so, it’s the its-amazing-how-writers-are-able-to-think-of-some-new-way-to-propose scene. Always lots of people, always making a big fuss, always saying something like: I’m an idiot because I let you go. (You are an idiotic writer, you slob.) The variances are probably minor details like: asking for marriage (insanely a sure bet), holding a stereo while saying it, change it to flowers, or probably make it rain to be more dramatic, or changing the stupid catch-phrase. So then the girl begins to cry and then they kiss and the end. Fuck you, movies! I mean, we all know they’re shit and they’re outrageously predictable. That they’re as cyclic as women’s cycles, but by Jove, we still watch the shit and feel all gooey and mushy inside. When we come out of that theater we all end up thinking: Someday I’m gonna meet someone and fall in luv. Well, too bad. You know, these movies are largely responsible for us blokes getting the wrong idea about relationships. Sure, music’s done its bit, but movies are more demonstrative. Take me for example, I’m a wanker. I own up to it because I am. I go out with women and find fault with them, always happens with me. I’m like: she’s not smart enough or her hands are freakishly small, or she looks anemic. I was even once turned off by a girl because “her fingernails look weird”. These are real reasons why I copped-out on someone. I get it I’m an asshole. I’m pretty sure that I can pin it on something the movies led me to believe: perfect love. I’m hell bent on keeping my options open, I never settle for anyone cause someone perfect or better might come and I don’t want to be unavailable when that happens. Sure, I flirt and do the motions. But I’m pretty… not scared, more like stressed by the commitment. Ms. Perfect might walk through that door, and I won’t let (name of the very nice girl I’m out with) get in the way. When I read this book, the portrayal by Nick Hornby was so disturbingly familiar that I actually felt déjà vu on various occasions. Okay, I’m not as daft as that Rob Fleming bloke, but I’m pretty much made of the same worries. I totally get the part where Rob says he cheated on Laura because she might die. Some men do things for preemptive measures. Guys can break up with girls just because they think the girl might break up with them. And being the dumper is so much better than being the dumpee, so they do it just in case. Stupid, huh? But it really happens. Another thing is attainable women losing glamour. Say, you see a gal you like; you’re really into her and stuff. When she’s impossible to attain she’s more attractive. When you find out that maybe she likes you back, maybe she’s interested. My reaction would be to feel less attracted to her. I dunno why, but that’s true, in my case. And well, in Fleming’s case, when he finds out that Laura wanted him back, he immediately evolves from being depressed to moving on and finding some else, Ms. Perfect. I’m not saying all guys are the same. We’re all different, but there are also lots of similarities. We all are bound by certain tendencies like most women have certain similarities as well. I’m telling you, you wanna figure out the closest thing going through your man’s head then read this book. Okay, maybe not all men are as suffocated by these tendencies. You know FRIENDS? There’s a character there named Ross, Ross loves to get married. There are Ross kinda guys. These are the types of guys born for relationships. They’re not scared at all by commitment and feel right at home in bondage. I’m not one of those. I have a friend like this, loves getting into long relationships and is always feeling very happy about it. Like Phil, who meets Jackie and then they break up cause of Rob then back together again to start a family. Like Ross, who gets married 3 times and gets divorced by each one yet still walks along the path of the holy matrimony. Maybe these are the kinds of guys women want; I think they’re pretty rare. I think they’re really weird. Then there are the Joey kinda guys, the players, scared stiff by commitment and marriage and love. Just guys looking for sex and fun, hopping from one bed to another, never finding that woman they wanna be with permanently. Why? Cause they don’t even want one. Permanence is like poison to these guys. Then we have the, badum-tss, the Chandlers. These guys start out like Joey, scared by commitment and all that crap. But along the way, they either trip and wake up or they meet a Monica, a game changer. I don’t think they’re changed from Joey to Ross overnight. No, Chandler was still very jumpy and scared when he was with Monica, but he worked for it and understood that there are things you sacrifice if you want an adult relationship to work. Shit! What am I saying? Take these things with a grain of salt, cause I don’t really know what I’m doing. But you know what? I always figured Chandler to be the loser among the guys. Now, I know different. Cause Ross was a natural, he was born to wed, Joey’s gonna end up an old man living on a shack by himself, and Chandler was the only guy who really worked for the relationship he had. Bloody Hell, I hope to be a Chandler some day, cause I know I ain’t a Ross, and Joey’s a pretty grim option. Alright, I confess, I’m only 19 years old. So what? So you say I shouldn’t waste my time on love and relationships and the likes. I agree, I should focus more on my studies. But you know, it’s like a fad, romance is the thing that makes people feel jumpy-joyous and top-of-the-world happy. I know, it’s also responsible for massive amounts of suicides and murders. But, bloody hell, it’s the thing that makes us feel human. Also, I can’t seem to shake girls out of my head. Humans are pretty pathetic creatures, huh? It’s like this love or romance thingy is our gasoline and without it we can’t go anywhere in our lives. So if this is gonna adversely affect my future, how can you expect me not to worry about it? I gotta practice you know. So that when the time comes, I’ll do it right. Plus, I have other reasons. Heh heh. Oh, what a bunch of bollocks! I must seem pretty well about, huh? Sure, I read and review lots of complicated books and stuff. Sure I go to one of top universities in my country. Sure, I’ve watched hundreds of romantic movies. Plus, I recycle. But that doesn’t mean shit about knowing anything about this love and relationship thing. I’m as stupid as a guy somewhere wearing a Guns n’ Roses t-shirt, sporting a Mohawk, coked out of his mind. Thankfully, I read this book. Here’s what my shackled guy’s brain managed to pick up: It’s never going to be as perfect as I imagined it to be, yet somehow it will work, if you make it work. You ever heard the saying: “You don’t love someone because they’re perfect; you love them despite their imperfections.”? Well, I guess that needs a little elaboration. I guess you love them less because of their imperfections, but at the end of the day, you love them still. Well, that was me giving my sophomoric thoughts about love and relationships and High Fidelity. What can I say? Nice try. Close, but no cigar. See you around.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Sumi

    Oh yeah. An easy five stars. Laugh out loud funny, painfully true, insightful look at a man-boy’s road to maturity. Review to come, after I sample some of his Top 5 song suggestions on Spotify.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    I have not read the book, but I have seen the movie. Let me explain how much I liked it. As things turned out, I watched it on a cross-Channel ferry travelling from Caen to Portsmouth. The trip takes about seven hours, and I was bored. I recall that I had packed Camus's La peste to read, and to my surprise I wasn't enjoying it at all. I was pleased to find that I had the option of seeing High Fidelity with Catherine Zeta-Jones, one of my favorite actresses. I paid my £3 and sat down to enjoy the I have not read the book, but I have seen the movie. Let me explain how much I liked it. As things turned out, I watched it on a cross-Channel ferry travelling from Caen to Portsmouth. The trip takes about seven hours, and I was bored. I recall that I had packed Camus's La peste to read, and to my surprise I wasn't enjoying it at all. I was pleased to find that I had the option of seeing High Fidelity with Catherine Zeta-Jones, one of my favorite actresses. I paid my £3 and sat down to enjoy the next couple of hours. Unfortunately, as often happens on this crossing, the seas were on the rough side. After a while, I found myself feeling rather queasy, but told my stomach that I wasn't paying any attention to its urgent messages. The movie was far too good to miss. Not only that, the beautiful Catherine hadn't yet turned up. But my stomach was unconvinced by these arguments and let me know that this was my final warning. If I didn't leave now, something extremely embarrassing was going to happen. I got up, staggered to the bathroom, which luckily was right next to the theater, threw up as quickly as I could, and then rushed back. I think I only missed about three or four minutes. I then happily watched the movie to the end. I suppose a skeptic will object that this story says nothing about Nick Hornby's novel and everything about my feelings for voluptuous brunettes called Catherine. I admit that the evidence is only anecdotal, but I submit it anyway for what it's worth. If you are able to expand my informal pre-study into a methodologically sound experiment that produces statistically significant results, I'll appreciate it if you mention me briefly in the acknowledgements section. Thank you.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    High Fidelity is a novel about breaking up and growing up. It’s often described as chick-lit for men, but it’s also a sort of YA for people approaching middle age. It’s full of a kind of cynical, self-deprecating humour; a self-indulgent wallowing in one’s own inadequacies, which at times can become a little overbearing. But there is a lot of honesty too, and a fair amount in here that resonates with my own experiences. I did end up being charmed by this novel. Music is one of those things that High Fidelity is a novel about breaking up and growing up. It’s often described as chick-lit for men, but it’s also a sort of YA for people approaching middle age. It’s full of a kind of cynical, self-deprecating humour; a self-indulgent wallowing in one’s own inadequacies, which at times can become a little overbearing. But there is a lot of honesty too, and a fair amount in here that resonates with my own experiences. I did end up being charmed by this novel. Music is one of those things that can make you want to fuck up your life, especially when you are young. It feels so much more real, more important than ordinary life. It makes you want to drop out of the mainstream, start a band, or open a record shop. As someone who has often fantasised about just these things (as well as writing novels, opening a second-hand book store, the list of alternative realities goes on), I’ve always been fascinated and envious of people who have the courage to go where their heart leads them, even if it leads to something as mundane as a second-hand record store. I have always been one to favour safety and security, and take the certain rather than the unknown road. Maybe that’s why I have a soft spot for these characters. Or maybe I’m romanticising something that isn’t all that romantic to begin with. I suppose the grass is always greener. This would probably make a pretty good movie (I know there is one, but I haven’t seen it).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Buggy

    Opening line: My desert -island, all time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:” This is one of those modern classics on everyone’s “to read” list and while it wasn’t my first Nick Hornby book it is the one that everyone talks about so of course I went into this expecting to be awed. I guess I should mention that I haven’t seen the movie (what! I know) so I knew nothing about the storyline, not that that would have influenced me I just went into this blind. And, well I wish Opening line: My desert -island, all time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:” This is one of those modern classics on everyone’s “to read” list and while it wasn’t my first Nick Hornby book it is the one that everyone talks about so of course I went into this expecting to be awed. I guess I should mention that I haven’t seen the movie (what! I know) so I knew nothing about the storyline, not that that would have influenced me I just went into this blind. And, well I wish I could say I loved this (since that would make me one of the cool kids) but honestly the best I can come up with is under whelmed. Of course the writing is wonderful and it really is laugh-out-loud funny in places but I also found myself alternating between skim reading (because the story wasn’t going anywhere) and all the 80’s pop music references and top 5 lists got to be a bit much. But then I'd catch myself rereading and marking numerous passages because they were just genius, describing exactly how I felt/feel. I should tell you that the music references are somewhat dated now and anyone under the age of 40 will be scratching their heads especially if you live in America as this involves British pop music and Indie bands. I think one of the main problems for me is that our protagonist Rob isn’t a very likable character. It was hard to have any sort of compassion for him or for that matter even want to read about him. I actually found myself preferring any of the sections that placed him with other people because when we were alone in his head being all introspective I got bored. Rob is immature, selfish, self-absorbed and depressed, stuck in a job, apartment and relationship that have all gone stale. He has zero self confidence yet at the same time is so full of himself that he expects everything to revolve around him, which of course it doesn’t and this in turn makes him lash out at his friends, parents and girlfriend to feel better about the state of his life. Rob is a bit of a loser; a thirty-something music junkie he spends his days running a near failing record shop and reminiscing about the 80’s when he was semi successful DJ. Rob’s life has stalled and he can’t see a way out so he compiles top 5 lists of his favourite bands, songs, episodes of Cheers etc, insults his equally lost friends and plots ways to kill the guy who lives in the flat upstairs and stole his girlfriend. Along the way Rob manages to grow up, (some) and realizes change might not be so horrible.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ 3.5 Stars I’d like my life to be like a Bruce Springsteen song. Just once. I know I’m not born to run, I know that the Seven Sisters’ Road is nothing like Thunder Road, but feelings can’t be so different, can they? When Rob’s live-in girlfriend walks out on him, he’s left questioning all of his relationships and what led up to this point. When I first read High Fidelity umpteen years ago, I thought it was a home run. Grand slam, ev Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ 3.5 Stars I’d like my life to be like a Bruce Springsteen song. Just once. I know I’m not born to run, I know that the Seven Sisters’ Road is nothing like Thunder Road, but feelings can’t be so different, can they? When Rob’s live-in girlfriend walks out on him, he’s left questioning all of his relationships and what led up to this point. When I first read High Fidelity umpteen years ago, I thought it was a home run. Grand slam, even. Nick Hornby was new to the writing scene and British and young and British and had fresh material and was British and wrote hip characters (that were British) and I was smitten. Now that I’m old and jaded (and not as easily impressed by all things from across the pond), this re-read wasn’t quite the home run it was the first time around. It was more like a double with an error that allowed the runner to advance to third.* However . . . My appreciation for Hornby’s talent will not allow me to rate any of his books below 3.5 Stars, I have nothing but admiration for his ability to write “anti-love stories,” and my adoration for Rob, the MC, remains strong. I believe High Fidelity may have provided me my first experience of being 100% annoyed by the narrator and so happy to not know him in real life, while still wanting to hear his story and being fascinated by his crybabiness (made up word??? yep, I'm going with it) rather than wanting to kick his ass. Yes, Rob, you are indeed, but somehow Hornby always makes characters like you work. Book version recommended to? The recently dumped or pessimists in general. Movie version recommended to? Anyone who likes John Cusack films. While you won’t get a moment like this: Rob Gordon’s whining is significantly tuned down and Jack Black shines as co-star. *After spending what seems like an eternity at various little league parks, my apologies for the baseball terminology.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    There is a 90% chance I am getting made redundant in the next week. How am I feeling? On a scale of one to rubbish, I feel Reading High Fidelity For The First Time Since I Was Sixteen And Had Just Broken Up With A Boy. Didn't even like the job much. Just don't like the uncertainty. Quite like Nick Hornby, though. For medicinal reasons. ***** Look out below - apparently Goodreads is my blog today. Caveat lector. If it matters to anyone, particularly (aside from me, obviously) - I kept my job. The off There is a 90% chance I am getting made redundant in the next week. How am I feeling? On a scale of one to rubbish, I feel Reading High Fidelity For The First Time Since I Was Sixteen And Had Just Broken Up With A Boy. Didn't even like the job much. Just don't like the uncertainty. Quite like Nick Hornby, though. For medicinal reasons. ***** Look out below - apparently Goodreads is my blog today. Caveat lector. If it matters to anyone, particularly (aside from me, obviously) - I kept my job. The office is like a wasteland and I've taken Monday off. The oddest thing. One of the solicitors said - and I agree with him - that it's better to experience this earlier in your careers. Then you won't be wrong-footed later. For me, High Fidelity is quite a personal book. Now that I've read it twice, I can see that both times I've been in periods of emotional flux, on the edge of something good (well, I hope so this time anyway) and leaving behind a thing that was beginning to push me in a direction I didn't want to go in. This is interesting to me, because Rob, the main character, is quite obviously meant to be identified with, and I find myself very much apart from him. I'm ambitious. I've always been ambitious. Rob isn't. Rob, mid-thirties, quietly renting videos and losing touch with friends he barely connected with in the first place, forever keeping his options open and wondering where everyone else is going, he's so very different from what I am and what I want to be. And yet, I think the cautionary tale is good for me. When I was sixteen and read this, it was cathartic. This time, almost eight years later (oh god where did they go), I can see how dark it is, how bleak and unhealthy Rob's outlook is - he feels more like the sixteen year old I was, and less like the twenty four year old I am. And this time, I found a problem that I didn't have last time around. (view spoiler)[I didn't like the ending. I wasn't rooting for Rob and Laura. I was rooting for him to get himself together and pull himself out of the hole he'd got himself in. I object, strongly, to his being saved from himself by his girlfriend - mainly because I have felt pressure before to be that girlfriend, and I was crap at it, and it was no fun, and at any rate it wasn't my job. It was good for neither of us and, let's face it, the moment one partner in a relationship has to elbow and shove and trick the other into doing things, nobody's happy and you both know you're in trouble. Fictional Laura: get out and stay out, it's better for both of you. Here endeth the biographical details. (hide spoiler)] What surprised me, because I didn't know it first time around, is that this is Nick Hornby's first book. Did you know that? It's remarkably self-assured, well put together, practised. I wonder how many stories he's got hanging around in drawers at home. At any rate, it is an interesting beginning point to build on, and it puts a bit of a different spin on other books of his that I have known and loved: About a Boy, How to be Good. First time around, I saw pop culture references. This time I see his characters hiding behind them, the gaps they can't quite fill, the dimensions that endless references and guzzlings of other people's stories can't quite provide. I'm tempted to read some of Hornby's other works again, because this is a new slant on them and I would like to see how I read them differently this time. And while I'm still writing this review, an honourable mention for how one night stands work, how being a grown-up and realising you have to pay council tax now, how they work. How rose-tinted remembrances of your friends when you were fifteen work. I have a difficult decision to make over the coming weeks. I've been saying for months that I need to go on and do new things, that I'm not particularly happy with my day-to-day, that even the stability isn't really worth it any more. I'm glad I read this book, because I know what I need to do, and really it's now just a case of deciding how much of a wuss I really want to be.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    Rarely do I catch myself reading a book after I'd already seen the movie (mostly because I feel as if the movie TAKES something from the book while the book GIVES something to a movie, and thus the order should always be book first and movie second -- so that the book starts with the upper hand), but having enjoyed the movie so much I found myself craving more behind the story. I wasn't disappointed. Biggest difference that I wasn't originally aware of was the location difference, which helped me Rarely do I catch myself reading a book after I'd already seen the movie (mostly because I feel as if the movie TAKES something from the book while the book GIVES something to a movie, and thus the order should always be book first and movie second -- so that the book starts with the upper hand), but having enjoyed the movie so much I found myself craving more behind the story. I wasn't disappointed. Biggest difference that I wasn't originally aware of was the location difference, which helped me ease into my decision to read the book because it was already so very different from the get-go. Many scenes between the two different forms of media are the same, if slightly shuffled, and I was very pleased to see that both have several unique scenarios that are have no parallel in its companion medium. But enough about the comparisons between the book and the movie. I'll just say that they should be enjoyed together (though not at the same time) for a very satisfying overall experience. Bottom line was that the book was highly enjoyable. It's always nice to read a quote or passage in a book that imparts some piece of wisdom you've never heard, but I personally think it's even more gratifying to read a quote or passage that perfectly puts into words some thought or feeling that you've had for years but have never been able to properly express for some reason. Hornby did this constantly throughout "High Fidelity." Many of the experiences and emotions I've had as a young man (both as an individual entity and as part of a greater whole in relationships) I'd often found to be inexpressible despite my best efforts, so when I found myself reading such succinct expression of those up-to-that-point-nameless feelings, I found myself overjoyed that someone else gets it. And not just that someone gets it, but gets it probably better than I do. True EUREKA! moments throughout the whole book. Guys should read it for the relief of knowing that they aren't alone in dealing with all this crap. And women should read it with an open mind and a sincere desire to get us and I guarantee they'll walk away much wiser than if they'd read all those "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" stinkers.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Nick Hornby is da bomb! Seriously. He's funny, astute and while one might think they are reading a straight-forward, comedic tale, there are some fairly deep assessments going on within. Some moments made me laugh out loud and some moments, all too relatable, made my heart hurt. Also - Hornby's book totally made me have an awesome dream about John Cusack and that can never be a bad thing. Ever.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    Really good book, great film! four stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Fey

    High Fidelity is one of my Top 5 All-time favourite movies. (And not only because it's a Cusack movie). Strange then, that I didn't realise for a few years that it was based on a book, and embarassing that I didn't realise, 'til I picked it up, this year, that it was a British book. Shame on me. Rob Flemming is a 30something Record store owner, whose life has hit a bit of a rut. He spends his working day (in a store which has very few customers), hanging out with his social misfit employees, makin High Fidelity is one of my Top 5 All-time favourite movies. (And not only because it's a Cusack movie). Strange then, that I didn't realise for a few years that it was based on a book, and embarassing that I didn't realise, 'til I picked it up, this year, that it was a British book. Shame on me. Rob Flemming is a 30something Record store owner, whose life has hit a bit of a rut. He spends his working day (in a store which has very few customers), hanging out with his social misfit employees, making up Top 5 lists about records. Then he gets ditched by his girlfriend Laura. At first he's feeling pretty freed by it, back to his batchelor ways, doing whatever he likes; playing his records up loud. But soon he's depressed again. He makes his 'Top 5 breakup' list, and goes back to revisit each ex-gf to find out what it all means, why is he doomed to fall in love and be dumped repeatedly. Through it all he's constantly trying to win back Laura from the hated hippy Ray. I know at first glance, a book like this can seem somewhat shallow in premise, but it's hidden gem like that. And it's hard to think that a book about a 30something depressed bloke born 15/20? years before me.. could be relevent to me, but I constantly find it totally relevent, maybe that says something about me, or maybe it's just an awesome book. I love the first person narritive in this book. Rob's point of view interspersed with 'Top 5' lists, flash backs, reminiscing, little anecdotes and ponderings. And his internal voice is just so perfect, he's clearly a flawed character, but that's what makes the realism. These little bits like; describing the way Laura got stuck in the door on the way out, and he had to faff around - no dramatic cliches, it's just real and honest. I also love the unsure, questioning way he likes to make semi-profound statements about the way things are, but then turn back on it at the end of the statement. See, Laura? You won't change everything around like Jackie could. It's happened too many times, to both of us; we'll just go back to the friends and the pubs and the life we had before, and leave it at that, and nobody will notice the diffecence, probably. I think the best thing for me, about this book. Is that it's a great break from reading (as I so often do) hundreds of fantasy romances, where the 36 year old single woman finally meets the handsome rich vampire of her dreams and everything is magical and perfect.. well this book is for everyone who is depressed, and hates their life, wishes they worked somewhere else, wishes they were with someone else, but knows there is nothing magic about to happen to save them from it. It's about reflecting on your life and realising that if you're always wishing for a fantasy, if you're always wishing for the all-time number 1 life of your dreams, you might miss that you're ACTUALLY perfectly happy where you are with plain old (but really just as nice) number 5 on your top 5 list. So.. how well did this book translate from book to screen? Well the movie removed some of the more uninteresting scenes, changed Rob's last name, and moved the setting from London to Chicago. In order to change it to an American setting, very little was messed with. Simply switch every intstance of the word 'Bollocks' for the word 'Bullshit', make Marie deSalle black (because being american in america doesn't make her unusual anymore), and change a few of the place names and a couple of the song references. But as far as I'm concerned the translation from book to movie was still near perfect. Am I biased because I watched the movie first? Possibly. But if you watched the movie and never read the book, I will still respect you in the morning. When I review one of my rare 5 star books, I know I can never do them justice. I can't write a perfect synopsis, I can't pick a perfect quote, I can't even spell perfectly. But maybe since this is a novel about not being being perfect, maybe that's okay. All I can say is, I loved this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mariel

    I wish High Fidelity had been about the friends from the music shop. They were a lot funnier than... can't remember his name. Can I just say John Cusack? John Cusack used to wear band t-shirts in all his films (notably The Clash). This guy should have been wearing t-shirts to proclaim his taste to the world. It's been a while since I've read this but I think he was listening to stuff like Arab Strap (wow, haven't listened to them in like fifteen years) and The Pixies? Anyway, I don't think it wa I wish High Fidelity had been about the friends from the music shop. They were a lot funnier than... can't remember his name. Can I just say John Cusack? John Cusack used to wear band t-shirts in all his films (notably The Clash). This guy should have been wearing t-shirts to proclaim his taste to the world. It's been a while since I've read this but I think he was listening to stuff like Arab Strap (wow, haven't listened to them in like fifteen years) and The Pixies? Anyway, I don't think it was anything particularly adventurous that every boy in high school didn't put on mixed tapes for you or that'd make you put down the book and rush onto itunes or youtube. I preferred the friends (he's too cool to admit they are his friends. Jerk!) because they liked what they liked and not just to make a t-shirt. Okay, he had enthuasism to spare, it was just the name dropping t-shirt kind, if that makes sense. The lists were for fun for them, free for all associations, and not all statement. I love passion about music 'cause then I wanna relisten and see if I can feel what they felt. Making lists is fun though. (I'll do one right now. Music most likely to make it on the soundtracks for the two Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn films: Marina and the Diamonds, Wolf Parade, Spoon, The Mountain Goats, Fleet Foxes, My Morning Jacket, Ellie Goulding, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Little Dragon, Tegan and Sara, Titus Andronicus, Mumford and Sons, Fever Ray, O. Children, IAMX, Laura Marling, The Drums and a freebie...Muse.) Sometimes the observations were funny like those movie sex scenes of the man and woman coming at the same time (like McNulty did all of the time on The Wire). I really couldn't stand his love stories, though. I hated Charlie, and the girl he dated just to settle who dumped him unexpectedly was depressing. Or the virgin he tried to pressure into sex. All depressing. Laura's new boyfriend was hilarious. My favorite part of High Fidelity is that spying on other people's collections stuff. I can't help but want to peek at books people are reading. Especially if they look like they are enjoying it (then I am jealous). I wish I had the nerve to ask people what they are reading or listening to. Instead, I obviously crane my neck and watch for that glimpse... (Goodreads is the best website ever for my spying.) If you get excited when the cool music or book clerk compliments your taste you'll probably like High Fidelity more. I recently got the snob mocking my fantasy book choices so I'm still stinging... (Another music list: Best monkey songs from former Genesis members: 1. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight by Phil Collins 2. Shock the Monkey - Peter Gabriel 3. ..... Mike and the Mechanics might've done one. I only know "In the living years" and that's all I wanna know (didn't even wanna know that but '80s contemporary radio didn't really give me a choice). (I was all set to post the photo of the Cadbury ad of the drumming Gorilla but I don't wanna offend monkeys and gorillas with the comparisons. It's bad enough for Uncle Phil that a gorilla drums better than him. Phil should have been learning to walk upright instead of slick production skills!) (In the air tonight secretly rocks my world but this book taught me how to be snobby and I gotta show it off.) Regina Spektor's song 'Fidelity' is about this book and building yourself up with pop songs and then confusing love with those love songs that built it up. Good idea. What about Cusack and that damned boom box? That makes a better case than his depressing romantic history, fo sho. (Best animal drummers: 1. 2. )

  26. 5 out of 5

    Darga

    "sex is about the only grown-up thing i know how to do; it's weird, then, that it's the only thing that can make me feel like a ten-year-old" "so maybe what i said before, about how listening to too many records messes your life up... maybe there's something in it after all. david owen, he's married right? he's taken care of all that, and now he's a big-shot diplomat. the guy who came into the shop with the suit and the car keys, he's married too, and now he's, i don't know a businessman. me, i'm "sex is about the only grown-up thing i know how to do; it's weird, then, that it's the only thing that can make me feel like a ten-year-old" "so maybe what i said before, about how listening to too many records messes your life up... maybe there's something in it after all. david owen, he's married right? he's taken care of all that, and now he's a big-shot diplomat. the guy who came into the shop with the suit and the car keys, he's married too, and now he's, i don't know a businessman. me, i'm unmarried - at the moment as unmarried as it's possible to be - and i'm the owner of a failing record shop. it seems to me that if you place music (and books, probably, and films, and plays, and anything that makes you feel) at the center of your being, then you can't afford to sort out your love life, start to think of it as the finished product. you've got to pick at it, keep it alive and in turmoil, you've got to pick at it and unravel it until it all comes apart and you're compelled to start all over again. maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as a consequence we can never feel merely content; we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heals happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship. maybe al green is directly responsible for more than i ever ralized. see, records have helped me fall in love, no question. i hear something new, with a chord change that melts my guts, and before i know it i'm looking for someone, and before i know it i've found her. i fell in love with rosie the simultaneous orgasm woman after i'd fallen in love with a cowboy junkies song: i played it and played it and played it, and it made me dreamy, and i needed someone to dream about, and i found her, and...well, there was trouble." over christmas break i became mildly obsessed with the idea of music as the nexus of everything important. i read a bunch of books about music, watched cameron crowe movies, played guitar, sang in the shower; it was super self-indulgent and i loved every second of it. i read this between midnight and sunrise. i kept intending to stop so as not to waste all the goodness in one night, but i couldn't let it go. i liked it so much that i actually rented the movie again later that same day, which i realize is slightly ridiculous. sometimes a really good movie adaptation makes the book seem unnecessary, and i think this is one of those for a lot of people. i've always loved the movie, but the book has the added bonus of british charm, and more dialog and flashbacks. despite the fact that the book is light and fun, i think it does tackle some real issues, and honestly at that. it will ring true to the guys of the personality that it's written about, and to the women who have to put up with them.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paula W

    3.5 stars. I realized about halfway through the book that Rob Fleming is basically me in dude form, which is probably why I found him so insufferable. That says more about me than it does about this book, but there you have it. I quite enjoyed this story of a mid-30s dude who loses the relationship that has kept him grounded for years. Who are we if we are not the reflection we get back from others? He didn't like what he saw, so cue the big life questions with a lot of self-loathing hidden unde 3.5 stars. I realized about halfway through the book that Rob Fleming is basically me in dude form, which is probably why I found him so insufferable. That says more about me than it does about this book, but there you have it. I quite enjoyed this story of a mid-30s dude who loses the relationship that has kept him grounded for years. Who are we if we are not the reflection we get back from others? He didn't like what he saw, so cue the big life questions with a lot of self-loathing hidden under a thin veneer of arrogance and humor. Throw in a lot of "Top 5" lists, and this is me in a nutshell not too many years ago. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize profusely to everyone who had to deal with me, because Rob Fleming made me throw down the book in anger and frustration more than once. I get it now. I think most of us go through stages exactly like this, though. The story was well done, funny, sentimental, empowering in parts, and eye-opening to those of us who have been there.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    High Fidelity is about a guy trying to figure out his relationship, and his past relationships. Rob has been dumped by Laura and is trying to work out why none of his relationships worked. He contacts and speaks to past girlfriends to try and figure out why they left him. Starting from his first girlfriend, you get to see his romantic journey. I loved all the musical reference, and the comic writing that this book delivers. My favorite character's are actually Rob's two employees Barry and Dick, High Fidelity is about a guy trying to figure out his relationship, and his past relationships. Rob has been dumped by Laura and is trying to work out why none of his relationships worked. He contacts and speaks to past girlfriends to try and figure out why they left him. Starting from his first girlfriend, you get to see his romantic journey. I loved all the musical reference, and the comic writing that this book delivers. My favorite character's are actually Rob's two employees Barry and Dick, especially Barry, his ranting is very funny. I think the book ends on a positive note, that Rob and Laura are moving forward.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I wanted to hate this book when I read it, but I found instead that I really liked it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Constantine

    I'd only ever seen the movie, and thought John Cusack's character came across as a colossal ass of epic proportions. (Not just a colossal ass, and not just an ass of epic proportions. He was a combination of the two.) Enough time had passed and I was not really wanting to read any of the more "literary" novels I have kicking around, so I found this on my Kindle and gave it a go. Let's just say the main character doesn't benefit much from a literary treatment. How to describe Nick? He's a Nice Guy I'd only ever seen the movie, and thought John Cusack's character came across as a colossal ass of epic proportions. (Not just a colossal ass, and not just an ass of epic proportions. He was a combination of the two.) Enough time had passed and I was not really wanting to read any of the more "literary" novels I have kicking around, so I found this on my Kindle and gave it a go. Let's just say the main character doesn't benefit much from a literary treatment. How to describe Nick? He's a Nice Guy (tm) who is crippled by insecurities and self-doubt. He's a manchild who is pathologically self-centered. (I mean, really, going to your ex-girlfriend's father's funeral and trying to envision how you can best position yourself to get her back is pretty fucking low.) He's self-aware enough to know that he's being a total ass and that he is in part responsible for his own shitty life, but not self-aware enough to actually do anything about it. In Hornby's defense, I don't think he was trying to say, Hey, look at this misunderstood sad man and take pity on him and maybe even have sex with him! He was saying, This is an actual person in the world and this is how he thinks. I also thought Hornby nailed the dynamics of a troubled, flailing relationship pretty accurately. I'm hardly an expert on All Things Romantic, but my tender age belies the fact that I've got several years of marriage - to two very different men - under my belt, and I've seen a thing or two or five. I've seen enough that some of the exchanges between Nick and Laura left me wincing in discomfort. I only gave it three stars because, despite the quality writing and the realistic characters and depictions of relationships on life-support, I found Nick so odious as a character that I just wanted to be rid of him forever and ever. I feel for anyone who deeply identifies with that character, but maybe even more importantly, I feel for anyone who dates anyone who deeply identifies with that character. Maybe this book could be a romantic red flag? Like, if you are dating a guy and he's all, "My favorite book is High Fidelity," you can take that as a cue to go to the bathroom, where you can crawl out the window and run far, far away. Just a thought.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.