Hall of Idols # 56: Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby

Fifty-sixth installment in a series exploring very important people in my life.

Let me start explaining how this will work: I listed 65 idols of mine. Every Friday (with the exception of those reserved for the Rock Chain posts) I’ll draw one of the names (following a system that it’s really not important to be explained here) and talk about it.

Therefore, the order in which the names will appear doesn’t necessarily shows where they rank in my preference.

As a final introductory note, this is also not a biography article. I’ll just write how I feel about people represented in it, their talent and their importance in my life.

If you ever read “Straight and Lethal” or hopefully will read any of my future two books that are already written, you’ll notice there’s a lot of pop culture references, especially Rock and Roll. This is not a coincidence, it comes from an influence.

Although my favorite writers are more Terror/Thriller/Mystery kind of guys: Anne Rice, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Poe, Frederick Forsyth, among others, their influence in my own work is kinda limited; probably because I don’t have their gift to thrill the reader with action scenes or horror and psychological descriptions.

My main influence, as I said in another Hall inductee text, is Chuck Klosterman; and together with him, Nick Hornby.

Nicholas Peter John Hornby was born 17 April, 1957 in Redhill, Surrey (ENG). His father was Sir Derek Peter Hornby, chairman of London and Continental Railways. He was married to Maragaret Audrey Hornby. They divorced when he was 11.

He went to Maidenhead Grammar School and later to Jesus College in Cambridge, where graduated in English.

He published his first book, a collection of essays on American writers in 92. In that same year, he published Fever Pitch where he details with typical and delicious British humor, his life revolving around his passion for British football (soccer, but let’s be British for the sake of this piece) club, Arsenal. It was an instant hit, because the book dealt with a kid (and later a grown man) and his passion and how this relates to his life. You can transport that to passions about any sport, any team or band or whatever. It’s a universal theme, assessed in this book in a brilliant manner. As much so as it became the basis for the movie Fever Pitch, adapted for baseball and the Red Sox; probably the only romantic comedy that I really like (I mean, the story plus Drew Barrymore in Red Sox gear and the season of 2004? What else do you need?).

And he followed that with his third book and first novel, High Fidelity. I watched the movie first, but although I had a ball watching it, the book is way better. This book ranks up there as one of my greater influences. Relationships and music? Yes, I could use that on books! The sardonic, totally British remarks about Peter Frampton and Sting are especially delicious (I like them both, by the way). And I always loved to do lists about my favorite things (yes, my Top five lists in this blog are a direct influence from this book) just like the main character.

Those two books would be more than enough to enshrine him in the Hall of Idols, but he also wrote About a Boy (which is great and although I hated the constant Nirvana references, the observations about sex with single mothers are hilarious) and that also tuned to an entertaining movie with Hugh Grant, 31 songs (personally I didn’t like a lot of the songs but his text is brilliant), Shakespeare wrote for money (a delightful collection of his book reviews) and many others which I’ll confess my utter ignorance and say I haven’t read it.

Thus, Mr. Hornby, when you finish watching the latest Arsenal game, step into the Hall of Idols.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight and Lethal”

You can contact me at: carloantico666@gmail.com

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