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High Fidelity

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  166,123 ratings  ·  5,419 reviews
Do you know your desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups?

Rob does. He keeps a list, in fact. But Laura isn't on it - even though she's just become his latest ex. He's got his life back, you see. He can just do what he wants when he wants: like listen to whatever music he likes, look up the girls that are on his list, and generally behaves as if Laura
Kindle Edition, 340 pages
Published May 5th 2005 by Riverhead Books (first published 1995)
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Rebecca I can think of three possibles if we go with the name Steve and the late 80s, early 90s. My first thought was Steve Forbert--singer-songwriter, some…moreI can think of three possibles if we go with the name Steve and the late 80s, early 90s. My first thought was Steve Forbert--singer-songwriter, some success but not wildly famous, and does write songs about relationships at times. My second guess is Steve Earle. Of the era, famous, but not totally famous, singer-songwriter, and Texas connection. Another Texan is Stevie Ray Vaughn, but not really a match for the song writing.(less)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  166,123 ratings  ·  5,419 reviews

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Jan 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: your inner music nerd
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: i saw the sign
I have a problem.

You see, when it comes to reviewing my favorite books, I’m all thumbs. Coherent thoughts elude me and float downstream like a toy boat escaping from a little boy’s grasp.

Rob is my soul mate, you see. He and I are the same fucked up, insecure, too-much-in-our-own-head-for-our-own-good person. I think he would get me. Really Get me.

Or maybe it's just Hornby who gets me. Mr. Hornby, you make me want to wear dresses.

During my last year of high school and through all four years of
Rick Monkey
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I realize that I give far too many books a four or five star rating. So sue me.

Book buying isn't, you know, a quick thing for me. I browse, I choose, I read the blurbs inside, I deliberate, I read a chapter from ever book I've chosen.

In short, I only read things I'm really likely to like.

So, I will tell you right now, if there were a way to give [High Fidelity] six stars, I would.

Ostensibly it's a novel about pop music and love. But if that's what you're seeing, then you are reading it wrong.

Jul 14, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: fans of Zach Braff, if there are any
Nick Hornby writes about losers and makes them lovable. But not this time. I couldn't stand the self-pitying little git, his loser wanker record store buddies, nor their ridiculous fracking lists. Reading this book felt like being trapped in an elevator with the pathetic Scrubs douchebag (Zachy McWhinerson, or whatever his fracking name is) for an entire weekend. You know the type - the constant puppy need for the approval of every critter on the planet, all the time. It might seem like a ...more
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while a writer will strike literary gold with a character whose popularity reaches iconic levels. I can think of a few offhand: Mary Poppins, Forrest Gump, Pippi Longstocking.

We've all encountered these iconic characters before; some are distinctly regional, others manage worldwide fame (even a remote tribe in the Amazon rainforest would probably recognize Audrey Hepburn in her famous guise of Holly Golightly).

But I don't know if I've ever encountered before what I discovered
Joe Valdez
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
We all have a handful of books that we feel were written specifically for us, as if the author took us out for dinner and drinks (lots of drinks, on the author's tab) and interviewed us on the important things (in no particular order, except the order in which I thought of these): love, faith, art, sex, career, family, friends. Then they put our thoughts and feelings in a book. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby is one of those books for me, the account of a young man reorganizing his disappointments ...more
Ah, nostalgia! This book takes place in the mid-90s. Even though the protagonist is in his 30s, the content really does take me back to my time in high school and college. Everything was music and concerts – and a lot of the music he talks about is the music everyone was into back then. Also, I was a huge fan of the movie when it first came out, but this was my first time reading it.

In some ways, Rob reminds me of myself back then: insecure, paranoid, over reactive, etc. I would think a girl was
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone with a love for music and a realistic story
High Fidelity is several things at once.
It is a specimen of guylit (I just invented the term yes) - romance and single life explained from the point of view of a man. And we have so few of those.
It is a humorous reflection on life and its many failings.
And lastly, it is the tale of a Brit singleton in his mid thirties who is unrelentingly firm in his reluctance to grow into a man.
A man who is so caught up in his fantasies of the ultimate love one is destined to end up with, that he ignores the
Lisa Findley
Oct 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Top Five Reasons to Read This Book:
1) Offers multiple opportunities to fall off your chair laughing.
2) Draws entirely convincing characters making stupid decisions and dealing with the repercussions.
3) Reminds you of all sorts of artists you must check out further.
4) Answers the "what if" questions of past relationships with horrifying clarity.
5) Satirizes but ultimately validates top-five lists.
Joey Woolfardis
Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.

I used to think-and given the way we ended up, maybe I still do-that all relationships need the kind of violent shove that a crush brings, just to get you started and to push you over the humps. And then, when the energy from that shove has gone and you come to something approaching a halt, you have to look around and see what you've got. It could be something completely different, it could be
Andy Marr
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest and most relatable novels I've ever read. Utterly brilliant!
Nov 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the listers, the listed, the enlisted, the unlisted, the listless
Shelves: leetle-boys
This is the only Nick Hornby book I've read, and it seemed like a good introduction to the genre I imagine must be called "dick lit." I read it on a plane to the West Coast, and it was the perfect thing: started at take-off, finished just before landing, this had the perfect proportions of light and engaging for 30,000 feet. Ultimately, I found it sort of silly and empty and I had a hard time choosing between two and three stars, but I thought I'd give it a break here, because even though it ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Piotr
Shelves: 2014, reviewed, own-a-copy

Rob runs a record store in London, has two weird sidekicks, creates silly top-five lists of everything and his girlfriend Laura has just finished with him. What more could I say about him ? Well, Rob is thirty-five selfish asshole, pompous snob and a pathetic, emotionally immature loser. But I still like him . And who is immature now, huh ?

Do not worry, I will not treat you now with a tearful story about my ex, though I will tell you about a guy who, if I ever had compiled, in imitation of Rob,
Ahmad Sharabiani
High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
High Fidelity is a novel by British author Nick Hornby first published in 1995. Rob Fleming is a London record shop owner in his mid-thirties whose girlfriend, Laura, has just left him. At his record shop, called Championship Vinyl, Rob and his employees, Dick and Barry, spend their free moments discussing mix-tape aesthetics and constructing desert-island, "top-five" lists of anything that demonstrates their knowledge of music. Rob, recalling his five most memorable
This read got me itching to watch John Cusack in the movie form, but I haven’t looked it up yet. It is in the making as a series with the gender of the lead flipped - interesting!

This was an okay read for me, I feel my lack of music knowledge may have not made it a winner for me. Meandering young guy, not knowing what he wants out of life it seemed to me, but he wanted a girl that's for sure. Funny hearing the angsty teenage relationship uncertainty and sexual frustration from a guys point of
You mean the book where a pompous sack of sexist shit gets to not only take a dump on his independent ex-girlfriend, while acting pretentious based off of his 'extraordinary' music tastes, but gets her back and somehow everything between them just isn't just fixed - but somehow miraculously better?
The starred reviews for this are a fucking riot, celebrating Rob''s "manliness" and telling men not to share this with their girlfriends, because heaven forbid the SECRET WILL BE OUT.
Updated review after a re-read in November 2019.


November is one of my least favorite months of the year: in Canada, it’s cold, humid and gray all the time, there are no stat holidays to give us a breather and everyone is losing their minds in the manic ramp up to the Holidays. That’s why I usually spend the month re-reading books that make me happy – I think of it as literary self-care and as an antidote to the crippling seasonal affective disorder that turns me into a raccoon every winter. “
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those feel-good books for people who want to keep their options open and kinda stumble about their lives only to realize they had already made up their minds and are pretty dully okay with it. :)

Does this sound kinda horrible?

Nah... but yeah, kinda, and no, because that means we're all a bit horrible. :)

But that's okay because we all have that music snob in us and we are all horribly geeky about certain things. I happen to love music just as much as Rob in the book and I'm much
Jr Bacdayan
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember all those Romantic films or even the hapless Romantic Comedies you’ve seen, the infinitesimal, clichéd and hopelessly repetitive plots? The same guy and gal meet somewhere odd or mildly weird so that things are interesting. Probably a boss and employee type of thing (The Proposal? Go to hell, Ryan Reynolds, you big-mouthed wanker!) Or two people from very far places brought together by kismet or something as appallingly believable (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve got Mail, Philadelphia? ...more
Glenn Sumi
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh yeah. An easy five stars. Laugh out loud funny, painfully true, insightful look at a man-boy’s road to maturity. Review to come, after I sample some of his Top 5 song suggestions on Spotify.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have not read the book, but I have seen the movie. Let me explain how much I liked it.

As things turned out, I watched it on a cross-Channel ferry travelling from Caen to Portsmouth. The trip takes about seven hours, and I was bored. I recall that I had packed Camus's La peste to read, and to my surprise I wasn't enjoying it at all. I was pleased to find that I had the option of seeing High Fidelity with Catherine Zeta-Jones, one of my favorite actresses. I paid my 3 and sat down to enjoy the
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
High Fidelity is a novel about breaking up and growing up. It’s often described as chick-lit for men, but it’s also a sort of YA for people approaching middle age. It’s full of a kind of cynical, self-deprecating humour; a self-indulgent wallowing in one’s own inadequacies, which at times can become a little overbearing. But there is a lot of honesty too, and a fair amount in here that resonates with my own experiences. I did end up being charmed by this novel.

Music is one of those things that
Opening line: My desert -island, all time, top five most memorable split-ups, in chronological order:”

This is one of those modern classics on everyone’s “to read” list and while it wasn’t my first Nick Hornby book it is the one that everyone talks about so of course I went into this expecting to be awed. I guess I should mention that I haven’t seen the movie (what! I know) so I knew nothing about the storyline, not that that would have influenced me I just went into this blind.

And, well I wish
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

I’d like my life to be like a Bruce Springsteen song. Just once. I know I’m not born to run, I know that the Seven Sisters’ Road is nothing like Thunder Road, but feelings can’t be so different, can they?

When Rob’s live-in girlfriend walks out on him, he’s left questioning all of his relationships and what led up to this point.

When I first read High Fidelity umpteen years ago, I thought it was a home run. Grand slam,
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
There is a 90% chance I am getting made redundant in the next week. How am I feeling? On a scale of one to rubbish, I feel Reading High Fidelity For The First Time Since I Was Sixteen And Had Just Broken Up With A Boy.

Didn't even like the job much. Just don't like the uncertainty. Quite like Nick Hornby, though. For medicinal reasons.


Look out below - apparently Goodreads is my blog today. Caveat lector.

If it matters to anyone, particularly (aside from me, obviously) - I kept my job. The
Katie Lumsden
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one. It's a good fun story with interesting characterisation and a really brilliant narrative voice. I absolutely loved the writing. One thing I would day - some things do feel a little dated reading it today, and sometimes that makes the main character a bit dislikeable. I loved the Russell Tovey audiobook though, and would highly recommend it - his narration definitely made the character more sympathetic.
Aug 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: cait
Shelves: 2011-books
Nick Hornby is da bomb! Seriously. He's funny, astute and while one might think they are reading a straight-forward, comedic tale, there are some fairly deep assessments going on within. Some moments made me laugh out loud and some moments, all too relatable, made my heart hurt. Also - Hornby's book totally made me have an awesome dream about John Cusack and that can never be a bad thing. Ever.
Emer (A Little Haze)
Really good book, great film!

four stars
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rarely do I catch myself reading a book after I'd already seen the movie (mostly because I feel as if the movie TAKES something from the book while the book GIVES something to a movie, and thus the order should always be book first and movie second -- so that the book starts with the upper hand), but having enjoyed the movie so much I found myself craving more behind the story.

I wasn't disappointed. Biggest difference that I wasn't originally aware of was the location difference, which helped me
Apr 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: compulsive list makers, jaded depressed individuals, and real human beings
High Fidelity is one of my Top 5 All-time favourite movies.

(And not only because it's a Cusack movie).

Strange then, that I didn't realise for a few years that it was based on a book, and embarassing that I didn't realise, 'til I picked it up, this year, that it was a British book. Shame on me.

Rob Flemming is a 30something Record store owner, whose life has hit a bit of a rut. He spends his working day (in a store which has very few customers), hanging out with his social misfit employees,
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: list makers
Recommended to Mariel by: um... the movie?
I wish High Fidelity had been about the friends from the music shop. They were a lot funnier than... can't remember his name. Can I just say John Cusack? John Cusack used to wear band t-shirts in all his films (notably The Clash). This guy should have been wearing t-shirts to proclaim his taste to the world. It's been a while since I've read this but I think he was listening to stuff like Arab Strap (wow, haven't listened to them in like fifteen years) and The Pixies? Anyway, I don't think it ...more
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High Fidelity 3 39 Mar 05, 2018 05:29AM  

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Nick Hornby is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, Slam, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Shakespeare Wrote for Money, and The Polysyllabic Spree, as well as the editor of the short-story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is a recipient of the American ...more
“People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenagers watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands - literally thousands - of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.” 3406 likes
“What came first – the music or the misery? Did I listen to the music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to the music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person?” 623 likes
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