Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity and About a Boy, released recently through McSweeney’s Books a book entitled simply Songbook. This is, like Fever Pitch, strictly non-fiction, a look at some of the songs that Hornby, a former music critic, enjoys, and includes a CD of several of the songs essayed in the book. Just as Fever Pitch wasn’t so much about the Arsenal soccer team as it was about Hornby’s reaction to life through the prism of Arsenal fandom, Songbook isn’t so much about the songs themselves as what the songs mean to him and what they say about his life. A chapter on Badly Drawn Boy is of interest to fans of the film version of About a Boy, as Hornby explains how Badly Drawn Boy was involved in the film project and why one of the songs in the film is superior (Hornby’s own interpretation) to anything he had written in the book.
This isn’t a book for everyone, and the price may be off-putting for many. This book is strictly for fans of Nick Hornby, a select group in which I number myself.