20 March 2006

NippleJesus and Rock Music: A Reading by Nick Hornby

Top 5 Reasons Why Attending A Nick Hornby reading is great: Nah--too easy!

Hornby was at Local Liberal Arts U as part of it's Visiting Writers' Series. I was unfamiliar with Hornby's writing, although I had seen High Fidelity (watched late one night on cable, mainly because I've been crushing on John Cusak since seeing The Sure Thing in the early 80's). I was pleasantly surprised by the reading.

Hornby read the short story NippleJesus. Just like the title, and the art exhibit it refers to, the story makes one titter at the offensive, and smile drolly at the beautiful. It is a story of opposites: the burly but pensive, sensitive bouncer; the religious fanatics who are sacrilegious; the artist who is both kind and cruel; what art is -- and what it isn't. It asks the question: if art is meant to provoke and to evoke everyman -- why the hell can it be so pretentious?

Other readings included two of Hornby's music essays. While I was never much into the punk scene, I certainly understood Hornby's account of privileged youth 'slumming' in the punk culture. And his brief essay about his rock idols in his teenage years -- as he warned the mostly college-aged crowd, a time when it was cool to dig Rod Stewart -- was right on target.

Hornby finished up with excerpts from A Long Way Down, his 2005 novel about four people who meet when each decides to commit suicide. While it sounds like a gruesome tale, you couldn't help but laugh as Hornby read. Along with Speaking with the Angel, the anthology that includes "NippleJesus", this book is now perched atop my TBR pile. As I paid my tab for the books, I noticed another work title The Polysyllabic Spree, a collection of 14 of Hornby's columns about what he was reading -- or buying to read. Now, that sounds like my hobby.....

- Hornby stayed for over 2 hrs signing autographs. He was gracious, congenial and accommodating.
- 2 points to the ingenious Missy: lacking funds for non-school books, she had Hornby sign a DVD with the Hi-Fidelity label.
- A portion of proceeds from the sale of Speaking with the Angel goes to support Autism education in the US & UK.

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