Sunday, May 13, 2007
Until very recently, I was never really a music person. My CD collection is a sad, pathetic mix of impulse buys of mostly one-hit or one-album wonders that I rarely listened to. I first read Nick Hornby's Songbook under those circumstances and liked it OK but wasn't really blown away by it. A funny thing happened in the past year or two, though. The policy at work changed so that we can now listen to music with headphones. I started checking out CDs from the library, listening to this site, and reading music magazines and websites. I bought an mp3 player and I now listen to music constantly and it's now almost as essential to me as books. I listened to the CD that comes with this book the other day and it inspired me to re-read the book. Now that I can better understand the passion he has for music, it may be my favorite Nick Hornby book. It is a collection of essays about some of his favorite songs and, by extension, the various ways that music permeates his life. I think this book contains Hornby's most beautiful writing--his description of finding the closest thing to God in his life in the perfect harmony of two voices; his joy when his autistic son finds the smallest connection to music; and how a song written for a movie based on one of his books perfectly captures his relationship to his son. The book has introduced me to some great songs, too--"Your Love is the Place that I Come From" by Teenage Fanclub, "One Man Guy" by Rufus and Martha Wainwright, and "You Had Time" by Ani DiFranco in particular.