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Songbook by Nick Hornby
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Songbook (edition 2002)

by Nick Hornby

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2,033344,746 (3.37)42
Member:zoem
Title:Songbook
Authors:Nick Hornby
Info:San Francisco, CA: McSweeney's Books, c2002.
Collections:Your library
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31 Songs by Nick Hornby

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English (32)  German (2)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
I borrowed this book because of a review that said Nick Hornsby writes so well that even if you never listen to music you'll enjoy this book, which is about modern life, really, and only incidentally about the music which is the soundtrack to Hornby's life.
Well, it got me thru a 3 hour wait while my car was being repaired, and there are a few thought-provoking statements, but all in all I've decided to return it only half read. I've got more interesting things to do with my life. ( )
  juniperSun | Jan 31, 2018 |
This book will not appeal to everyone, however if you ever agonized over the track list of a mixtape, this is for you. I knew maybe half of the 31 songs discussed, but I felt as though I knew and had a relationship with them after reading about them. It is a little dated (early 2000s) but aside from that I read this book in essentially one sitting while listening to each song on YouTube as I read. A great series of essays (essentially) about songs that matter to an author. ( )
  SadieRuin | Aug 28, 2017 |
Nick Hornby is a good writer and it is obvious with this book. But this was a really boring book. As I was reading about songs I didn't know or could care about I wondered how this book even got made and who would really buy it. I fill like it was something he just did to fulfill an obligation. I'm glad I could read it in a day.

I won this book on Goodreads and thank the publisher for my copy. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 11, 2016 |
Terrific book - Hornby is a great writer on any topic, but when he's enthusing about music he is top notch. Highly recommended. ( )
  AmberMcWilliams | Jan 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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Dedication
For Lee, and all the other people who have introduced me to new songs.
First words
So we were dong this thing, this launch party, for Speaking with the Angel, a book of short stories I put together to raise money for my son's school and we -- the school, the publishers of the book, me and my partner -- were nervous about it.
Quotations
The thing that puzzles me about those who feel that contemporary pop (and I use the word to encompass soul, reggae, country, rock - anything and everything that might be regarded as trashy) is beneath them, or behind them, or beyond them - some preposition denoting distance, anyway: Does this mean that you never hear, or at least never enjoy, new songs, that everything you whistle or hum was written years, decades, centuries ago? Do you really deny yourselves the pleasure of mastering a tune (a pleasure, incidentally, that your generation is perhaps the first in the history of mankind to forgo) because you are afraid it might make you look as if you don’t know who Harold Bloom is? Wow. I’ll bet you’re fun at parties.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0971904774, Hardcover)

The personal essays in Nick Hornby's Songbook pop off the page with the immediacy and passion of an artfully arranged mix-tape. But then, who better to riff on 31 of his favorite songs than the author of that literary music-lover's delight, High Fidelity?

"And mostly all I have to say about these songs is that I love them, and want to sing along to them, and force other people to listen to them, and get cross when these other people don't like them as much as I do," writes Hornby. More than his humble disclaimer, he captures "the narcotic need" for repeat plays of Nelly Furtado's "I'm Like a Bird," and testifies that "you can hear God" in Rufus Wainwright's coy reinterpretation of his father Loudon's "One Man Guy" ("given a neat little twist by Wainwright Junior's sexual orientation..."). Especially poignant is his reaction to "A Minor Incident," a Badly Drawn Boy song written for the soundtrack of the film version of Hornby's book About a Boy. While Hornby was writing the book, his young son was diagnosed with autism--a fact that adds greater resonance to the seemingly unrelated song he hears much later: "I write a book that isn't about my kid, and then someone writes a beautiful song based on an episode in my book that turns out to mean something much more personal to me than my book ever did." Meandering asides and observations like this linger in your mind (just like a fantastic song) long after you've flipped past the final page.

The 11-song CD that accompanies the book is a great touch, but it's too bad it doesn't contain all of the featured songs--most likely the unfortunate result of licensing difficulties. Overall, Hornby's pitch-perfect prose, the quirky illustrations from Canadian artist Marcel Dzama, and a good cause--proceeds benefit TreeHouse, a U.K. charity for children with autism, and 826 Valencia, the nonprofit Bay Area learning center--add up to make Songbook a hit. Solid gold. --Brad Thomas Parsons

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:20 -0400)

Celebrates thirty-one of the author's favorite songs in a collection of essays about such musical renditions as Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road," Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker," and Van Morrison's "Caravan."

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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