Nick Hornby, you are my hero.
I don’t think I can ever thank you enough for Fever Pitch and High Fidelity (YAY for all the re-reads!)
For sharing your thoughts on The Believer all these years.
For being such a great reader, in addition to being a fantastic writer. And it’s not just what you read. It’s also how you read and write about it!
For tirelessly compiling all these lists of your favourite books, movies and music.
For being such a fierce, frustrated and expressive Arsenal fan like I am.
For your talent in writing simply and breathtakingly beautifully and so so meaningfully.
For your impeccable taste and sense of humour.
For all the digressions and distractions. You make them not only fun, but also necessary.
For the little things. Not all people realize that they matter. You do.
“Have you got any soul?" a woman asks the next afternoon. That depends, I feel like saying; some days yes, some days no. A few days ago I was right out; now I've got loads, too much, more than I can handle. I wish I could spread it a bit more evenly, I want to tell her, get a better balance, but I can't seem to get it sorted. I can see she wouldn't be interested in my internal stock control problems though, so I simply point to where I keep the soul I have, right by the exit, just next to the blues.”
So where is all that here Nick? Where are the lovably flawed characters? The spark? The warmth?? Is seems it’s all gone walkies and as much as I hate to say it, I hope not Everyone's Reading Bastard Nick. Not because there’s something wrong with it. It’s actually alright; fiver out of a ten. But you said it yourself:
“Books are, let's face it, better than everything else. If we played cultural Fantasy Boxing League, and made books go 15 rounds in the ring against the best that any other art form had to offer, then books would win pretty much every time. Go on, try it. “The Magic Flute” v. Middlemarch? Middlemarch in six. “The Last Supper” v. Crime and Punishment? Fyodor on points. See? I mean, I don’t know how scientific this is, but it feels like the novels are walking it. You might get the occasional exception -– “Blonde on Blonde” might mash up The Old Curiosity Shop, say, and I wouldn’t give much for Pale Fire’s chance against Citizen Kane. And every now and again you'd get a shock, because that happens in sport, so Back to the Future III might land a lucky punch on Rabbit, Run; but I'm still backing literature 29 times out of 30.”
So am I Nick, but I’m not sending Everyone's Reading Bastard to the ring. We might get away with it against Oliver Stone. But what happens if we’re paired up with Jim Jarmusch or Wes Anderson? Might as well put the rest of your work on the battling list instead. Then, it's in the bag.