Nick Hornby //
In 31 Songs Nick Hornby writes 26 essays (yes, that threw us too) about 31 songs that have a particular personal meaning for him. It's a soundtrack to his life that allows him to show how music accompanies and embellishes the positive and negative events he's experienced.
These essays are far from being reviews or simple music criticism, or a diary of his musical journey (or even a High Fidelity style top 5 list). They're short stories in which Hornby simply writes about a few of his favourite songs and tries to discover why they're so special to him. He reveals the beauty of his favourite music, without letting too much personal detail or infatuation get in the way of being objective. Fortunately there are enough (very well told) anecdotes strewn through the text to give us a taste of his life: whether it's a story about his autistic son; or where he finds inspiration for his work; what he really thinks about pop music; how and why other genres relate to pop and why he chooses listening to music above reading. But unlike Rob, the hero of High Fidelity, the power of 31 Songs lies in getting to know songs, to cherish them, to carry them with him to the next stage of his life and share this experience with us.
And don't worry, you don't have to love the same songs that Hornby loves to enjoy the book. 'All I'm hoping here is that you have equivalents, that you spend a lot of time listening to music and seeing faces in its fire'.
On this page you'll find a list of the songs he writes about in 31 Songs. Read, listen and ask yourself if you like songs yourself and what they mean to you.
text by Erik de Loor / transl. by Will Georgi / Photo by Julia Berglund