“All the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal. … But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not” – Nick Hornby
The focus of Nick Hornby’s famous novel “High fidelity” is Rob Fleming. He is in his mid-thirties and he owns a record shop. Yet, his store is a dismal failure and as such a perfect reflection of his own life. Although Rob is painfully aware of his situation, he is unable to forge a new direction for himself.
The only thing that provides a sense of fulfillment for him are his music collection and his top five lists. They act as a medium of communication with the outer world and give him a unique sense that his chaotic life is actually ordered. Also, his lists enable him to participate in bigger cultural things, giving him a sense of belonging. This is particularly important since he lives in an emotionally orphaned world, unable to attach to any human being. Finally, through his lists he is able to understand the world around him better and whatever he thinks about is defined in terms of music.
Different areas of Rob’s life are listable. However, he doesn’t understand that not all things in life are predictable. This is precisely what he is trying to do – to predict in order to gain control. Undoubtedly, Rob is not lonely in his desperate attempts to regain control over the ruins of his own life. All over the world there are people who just like him are occupied with all sorts of habits. At first, these habits give them intense pleasure. However, later they turn from sweet little passions to secretly destructive obsessions.
Some of his lists include:
– top-five memorable split-ups
– all time top five favorite recording artists
– five women who don’t live on his street but would be very welcome
– top five records to play on a wet Monday morning
– top five bands or musicians who will have to be shot come the musical revolution
– top five dream jobs
– all time top five records
And what about books? Of course, at one moment Rob mentions his favorite books. His top five titles are: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, Sweet Soul Music by Peter Gurlanick, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and something by William Gibson or Kurt Vonnegut.
And what about you, dear reader? You probably have your desert island, all-time top five books. Or, perhaps, you prefer your records?
Please, share your thoughts!
by Maja Žikić