Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I'm Reading: Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby and some August Wilson

After the dense reading of Pittsburgh in Stages by Lynn Conner, I picked up Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked.  A fun, witty story well-told by one of my favorite writers (author of About a Boy and High Fidelity) was well needed.  

This is the kind of book you want to bring with you on vacation so you can spend an hour or two basking in the sun of Mexico and be entertained.  The last book of his I read, A Long Way Down, was over four years ago, and while I enjoyed that book, I think this was was more my speed.  

The main storyline is about a reclusive American singer-songwriter named Tucker who created one of the greatest breakup albums of all time (or at least comparable to Tangled Up in Blue).  After a believed epiphany in a Minneapolis bathroom, he disappeared for 29 years.  There is much heated internet discussion on his whereabouts, especially by one of the other main characters who lives in a northern town in the U.K. with his girlfriend of 15 years.  He gives a review of a new album, a release of raw acoustic versions of Tucker's songs, which causes his girlfriend to openly disagree with him and she ends up in contact with the real Tucker.

What I love about Hornby's characters, other than the sense of humor that is woven throughout all his scenarios and the funny dialogue, is that his characters are so human.  They have flaws.  And not just pick-your-nose flaws.  They're just trying to get by and finding hope in even the smallest things of life.  Like us.  Even the singer-songwriter who is seen as a music "god" by his fans is really just an ordinary dad who is getting old and constantly fails at relationships.  

Next up on my reading list are some more August Wilson plays.  I just finished reading Seven Guitars again (love that play) and am now going to read Radio GolfKing Hedley II and Jitney.  I’m hoping to just work my way through the cycle.  These plays inform each other in such wonderful ways (and now I get their Pittsburgh references since all but one are set in the Hill District).

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

i listened to both Juliet Naked and A Long Way down as audio books and they are fabulous. So well acted! Multiple readers, all who really inhabited their roles. I'm still thinking about what happened to Annie.