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High Fidelity

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  180,418 ratings  ·  6,204 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 nev
Paperback, 340 pages
Published May 5th 1996 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 s…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)
Logan I find that David Nicholls is very similar. Set in London, same kind of goofy, embarrassing male pov. He has written, (maybe more ), but I've read the…moreI find that David Nicholls is very similar. Set in London, same kind of goofy, embarrassing male pov. He has written, (maybe more ), but I've read the following: One Day, Starter for Ten, and The Understudy. All by David Nicholls. I believe he even mentions Nick Hornby in one of them. Very, very similar. (less)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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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 c
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 charmi ...more
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.

I still don't know why I rated High Fidelity 5 stars. Most of these books don't stand a chance against an early Agatha Christie or a modern cozy, or a book by Dawkins... but I put all of them on the same level.

I'm going to watch the movie first time later this day. Most books that have first person view make it hell for me to get into. Not here. Reading this book was like meeting an old friend.

I don't know what Nick Hornby has gone through to piece together this ode. It feels real. It's real art
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
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 he
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
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. The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don’t know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they’ve been listening to
Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
”The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most, and I don’t know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they’ve been listening to the sad songs longer than they’ve been living the unhappy lives.”

Rob Fleming owns a record store. We can call him Rob Fleming, but really he is John Cusack playing Rob Fleming. I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve seen enough clips from the movie to know that I can’t read this book and see Flemin
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
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.
Charlotte May
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF at page 75

I just don’t like the protagonist. He’s whiny and kind of a dick. I don’t see where the plot is going and don’t really care either. I don’t really get any of the references and I don’t know enough about the music and bands he refers to for it to mean anything to me.
I could probably make myself finish as I don’t actively hate the book - I just don’t think I’m the right audience and life is too short.
Time to call it a day.
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 br
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 som
Steven Godin
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

While this wouldn't get near my top five reads this year, it's the best novel I'll ever read featuring top fives. Despite being written only in the mid 90s, it feels a bit dated now in the fact that independent record shops have practically been wiped out. And I don't know how the likes of HMV even manage to survive. The last time I went in a store (this before covid came along) it was almost empty and didn't have that vibe like it used to. Well, that's one thing this novel isn't lacking in, and
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 was ...more
Updated with comments on the Hulu TV show at the end!


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 wint
Andy Marr
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest and most relatable novels I've ever read. Utterly brilliant! ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Piotr
Shelves: reviewed, 2014, 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,
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 wo
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 vi
4.25 Stars — Oh yes, that feeling of grand nostalgia sure is a top-five emotive experience, for me that is.

I began this novel many moons ago and somehow did not finish it! Something I did regularly in my youth, a great book commencer indeed!!!

Turns out that taking the opportunity — at 230am the other night — as I scrounged through old many-multiple-home-relocations — was a smart one. For I located my copy of this classic the-one-that-got-away trope (wait, or is it more.. the classic I-hate-her-
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? Wa ...more
Chavelli Sulikowska
In times of stress people resort to different coping mechanisms – some do yoga, some do wine, some smoke cigarettes …Rob Fleming, 36, recently separated from his girlfriend and in the midst of some sort of mid-thirties crisis, reorganises his vinyl records collection. While this might usually restore his equilibrium, this time, his crisis is just too big; and he is instead, led to reorganise all his ex-girlfriends. Hence the reader is drawn into an obsessive evaluation of Rob’s previous relation ...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.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Record store owner Rob Fleming (aged 35) starts compiling a top 5 list of his most devastating breakups after recent girlfriend Laura leaves him.

Written during the mid-90's this tale is littered with numerous musical references of the time, whilst reading this I felt very nostalgic for the era.

Hornby's characterisation of Rob is one of the stories strongest points as it's easy to connect with him, whille it's also apparent why so many of his relationships fail.

Theres a nice balance of humour alo
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
I watched one of my favorite films, the 2000 Stephen Frears adaptation of Nick Hornby’s 1995 book of the same name starring John Cusack. I realized that I had never read the book, so I read it and then watched the movie again.

John Cusack BTW is one of my favorite actors and I loved the faithful adaptation of the book’s protagonist making top five lists.

Top Five John Cusack films:
1. High Fidelity
2. Say Anything
3. Grosse Pointe Blank
4. Runaway Jury
5. Hot Tub Time Machine

Hornby’s High Fidelity is s
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
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Overdue Podcast: Ep 403 - High Fidelity by Nick Hornby 1 50 Mar 03, 2020 12:18PM  

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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 Acade ...more

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“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.” 3419 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?” 639 likes
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