on 1 October 2011
This is the second of the three collections of Hornby's book reviews, and that's the only thing I would - maybe should - have known in advance, so I could have bought it and read it before the third, which actually I purchased last winter. But you really don't need to read them in any given order, of course, they are all such a pleasure. I can't really say why it is so great fun to me to read about books which, 99 out of 100, I haven't heard before, and will never ever see let alone read. I happen to live in Italy (just because I'm Italian, you know) and we don't get such an abundance of contemporary British or American novels or essays here, except the very famous authors, such as Philip Roth and Ian McEwan, usually. But it doesn't matter, it happened exactly the same thing with Hornby's book about the 41 songs, of whom I ignored just about 39. In that case I got the initial thrust by the fact that the very first song Nick wrote about was my heart of hearts' favourite, Bruce's Thunder road, but reading the rest of the book taught me that his gift for making me be interested in whatever he writes about is unfailing. And so it proves every time. If you love his novels and are any kind of reader, I think you'll share this pleasure.