Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What Nick Hornby Said

Last Thursday I got to go with my cousin Adrienne to see Nick Hornby speak at the 826 Valencia Literary Arts series, all proceeds of which benefit the 826 Valencia foundation, which helps kids with creative writing, tutoring, and provides scholarships to highs chool students. It's a great cause and let me just say now how GORGEOUS their program brochure was. Oh, it was a designer's dream: clean, simple, gorgeous font, stark red edging, bleed off the paper. It's a lot like their web site actually.

But first, we had a lovely dinner at Soluna on McAllister, and I had a scrumptious spinach salad with melt in your mouth warm goat cheese encrusted in panko. I love panko, and I love goat cheese, so you can see how this is going. We also split Coca-cola short ribs with goat cheese polenta. I don't know what part of the spare ribs had coke in them but they were tender and divine and Gordon Ramsey would have gone "bloody %$#&@ hell, this is good."

Then, after my pear-lime granita and Adrienne's pumpkin spice creme brulee (both deelish), we went on down the street to see Nick. On the way, a high/drunk/crazy man who was laughing hysterically laughed at me and slapped me hard on the shoulder. Adrienne said "I'm so sorry." I said "I'm not afraid to kick his ass!" which was a terrible lie, as I do not kick asses and in fact go to great lengths to avoid kicking or getting kicked in the ass. Anyway, Nick. Nick is the author of Fever Pitch (his memoir of his love of Arsenal; highly inspiring to me***), About a Boy, High Fidelity, and his new one: Juliet, Naked. Local author and forthcoming movie script co-writer and novelization author (that's quite a credential, isn't it?) Dave Eggers interviewed him in an Inside the Actors Studio style: two chairs on the stage. Nick talked about a lot of things, mostly casually. A few things stuck out in my mind, causing me to think "I'm totally blogging this" which quite possibly is the nerdiest thought ever thunk. Anyway:

He made the following point that I have never seen or heard before. He said that when records where on vinyl, people related differently to them. When music went to CD, that changed because CDs make noise if dropped, they scratch, they're ubiquitous and plentiful and we all have scads of unmarked ones sitting around the office. They mean nothing. Then when music went to MP3 and download, it changed yet again how we relate. Different. (better than CD, but different.) So, like books--we all love books, the way they feel and look. But furthermore, they say something about who you are when you put a book on your shelf. It's part of your home, your decoration. You lose that when you go to ebook format. And Nick didn't think we could afford to lose that distinction.

Well, I agree with him, but I also enjoy reading books on my eReader because I can download books instantly. And I don't have to store books I wouldn't otherwise keep. But I don't know what to do with the ebooks after I've read them, and they lack the tactile experience. All that being said, eBooks are here to stay, and Kristin Nelson recently reported that for the first time, her client royalty checks have featured an even keel of ebooks. It's a sign of the times.

I don't know the answer to it.

Nick also said that he suffers from the same self-loathing and confidence that the rest of us do, published or not, and that he is never sure that he has a full length novel in him when he starts out with a story. I liked knowing that and I thought the rest of you would, too.

That's about it. There--I've shared. You could almost say it's like Nick dropped by this very blog to share thoughts. Oh, can I get you a coffee, Nick? Great, two sugars or one? Lovely. Oh, sure, you can have a hug. Oh, you want to read my novel? Well, ha ha, I suppose so, sure. If you insist!

***As you know I am not an Arsenal fan. In fact the team (Hibs) I follow isn't in the same league. (I know you weren't sure, so I'm just saying.) However, every self-respecting football (soccer) fan has a team in the English Premiership, and that's because it is the most popular league on earth. My team would probably be Tottenham Hotspurs, although I quite like Newcastle as well despite their abysmal performance last season, which got them relegated. Oh the horror! I also harbor a sort of love for Crystal Palace based purely on their name, which is AWESOME.


CKHB said...

I am a huge fan of Nick Hornby's How to Be Good. LOVE!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

I too love my Kindle, but it is different from reading a physical book. I think that when I run across a book I love, I want to have a copy on my shelf. So I see myself double buying in that situation.

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