Skip to main content

JULIET, NAKED and why I enjoy reading.

Nick Hornby, you’ve done it again.

Every time I pick up one of his books, I’m reminded of why I enjoy reading.

It’s simple: I enjoy storytelling.  And although it’s the reason why I like movies and gaming, there’s something about reading a good story that connects with me more than the other two mediums ever could.  I’ve done some thinking and, for myself, I’ve figured out why.  With (most) movies or games, you’re told a story and you see the action.  Even if it’s dialogue, it’s still action.  Everything you see is after the fact.  You’re not really given a glimpse into the thought process, the weighing of options and possibilities and everything in between.  Even the expositions in movies give you only so much.

That’s where a good book has its advantage.  The thought process is allowed to be dissected.  You get to see what goes through a character’s head even before he or she makes the simplest decision.  You’re given history as to why he or she might feel a certain way.  The thought becomes richer and deeper.  And it’s this very reason that makes a book more relatable, more connectable.  It parallels reality as you have that build-up, that drama in your head, that playing out of scenarios before you make some significant decision in your life.  You just need to match the right story with the right person.

But I digress.  The book!

Juliet, Naked tells the story of Annie and Duncan, a couple who came to be not because they were initially in love, but because circumstantially, it was fitting.  They had similar interests, so why not.  The most prominent and central interest between them was in the form of Tucker Crowe – a famed rock musician in the 80’s somewhat akin to Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan.

Tucker Crowe, who was a huge star in yesteryear, disappeared into obscurity at a club one night at the height of his fame.  Over the past two decades since his disappearance, a cult following was built up around him, fueled by the advent of the internet.

The drama begins when an unreleased live and unplugged album of Crowe's most famous album "Juliet" arrives at Duncan and Annie's doorsteps, aptly titled "Juliet, Naked".  Duncan, as soon as he listens to it, is enthralled; it's the best thing he's ever heard.  He quickly posts up a glowing review on the internet in response.  The internet geeks explode.  It's the newest material they've heard from Tucker Crowe in two decades and they bawl in delight.

Annie, however, has a different sentiment.

To her, it's not such a great album.  It's in fact, shitty.  Not usually one to give into the internet fanboyisms as Crowologists are wont to do, she drafts up a rather negative review.  As soon as it's up, she's hit with a wave of backlash from the geeks.

But despite all the noise and internet ruckus on forums, her review catches the eye of someone in particular.  Someone quite important to the fanboys.  Yes, Tucker Crowe himself.  They begin to build a secret relationship online, and it's here, that the drama escalates.

The story swings from Annie’s perspective to Tucker’s and a bit of Duncan’s to give you a full spectrum of views.

As I was suggesting early on, what made Juliet, Naked really work for me was the relatability of the characters.  Sometimes they think how I think and do things like I do.  As I was reading the book, there were multiple times when I was on the subway, banging the book against my head because my idiocy felt validated by the characters!

After reading Juliet, Naked, I realized that it helped me verify either one of three things.  That:

a)  I’m not a complete fucking mess,
b)  Everyone’s a complete fucking mess; or
c)  I'm not a complete fucking mess because everyone's a complete fucking mess.

Just reading the way Hornby writes his characters, I’m convinced there’s no way that the thought processes aren’t from personal experience.  I can’t be the only one like that!  This is a testament to Hornby’s writing and why he continues to be my favourite author.  There’s no other author that I’ve read where each book I pick up consistently makes me say, “I do that too!”.

The way he writes about relationships, and not even necessarily the relationships themselves, but everything surrounding them, continues to echo with me.  And it’s not just romantic relationships, but relationships in general encompassing all branches like friendships, familial, strangers, etc.

On the whole, I think I enjoyed Hornby’s Slam more, only because it focused on the adolescent way of thinking and often times, well... “I’m just a boy inside a voice”. 

That’s not to take anything away from Juliet, Naked which is quite an enjoyable read.  It hits all the right emotional cues and is laced with Hornby’s style of humour throughout.  If you’re not a Hornby fan, I think this is the way to go.  Either this or High Fidelity.  Start there.  Til next time, later geeks!

Comments

Kly said…
There's nothing quite like the smile and satisfaction you get after you flipped the last page of a good book. Nowadays, I can relate it to the feeling of seeing my bread cooling on the table top after 8 hours of careful tender. I envy you book readers, especially Rebeka and yourself, just because I'm a painfully slow reader and my imagination runs a little too wild that I sometimes forget if I read it or dreamt it. However, I do get to feel a bit of that joy when someone shares it with me! So for that, thank you! :)

Popular posts from this blog

Dreamers, Achievers, Believers

It was quite a week last week. It started off on a more heavy note last Sunday, but as the week wore on, things became better and more clear. So let's do a little recap. This is going to be kind of long, so if you find this kind of stuff boring I've inserted pictures of funny cats for your entertainment. So... 1.5 Weeks Ago About 1.5 weeks ago, my friend Jon from Living Room gave me the contact info for his uncle. His uncle is an engineer and apparently was looking for new grads and new hands to hire. That week, I gave him a few calls but he wasn't there when I called him and when he returned my calls, I wasn't here either. We were playing phone tag that week *insert schoolgirl giggle*. Sunday Morning So last Sunday morning, his uncle gave me a call at 9 am (The morning! My weakness! HISS!) and we talked about stuff. I was telling him a bit about school as well as elaborating my work/coop experience as he didn't have my resume yet. So he goes on to tell

George Clooney is UP IN THE AIR!!!

So this is the last in the three movies that I was looking forward to at the end of 2009 (the other two being Bad Lieutenant and Avatar). It's hard to say which movies I enjoyed more because they're all so different, but I can confidently say that I enjoyed all three. Also of the three, this movie is the most realistic when it's all said and done. Up In The Air tells a story about Ryan Bingham, who flies all over America firing people. Laying people off is such a tough thing to do that companies that need to do so hire people like Ryan. It becomes reflective as Ryan sees his own life of isolation at odds compared to the lives of those around him. It's apt that he has such a hollow and thankless job which parallels his own life. Because he's on the road for 250+ days of the year, his own life is quite hollow; with no stable relationships, weakened family ties and no friendships in sight. In fact the first time we see his apartment, I was kind of shocked. Up

Finally, the Xbox 360!!

So as I mentioned in a previous post, I received an Xbox 360 for Christmas from my dad. A great present it was! I've had 3 weeks to enjoy it so I guess I can give you my impressions of it now. First the controller. In truth, I haven't felt a controller this comfortable in my gaming life before. As a child who grew up on the 8-bit generation, with just a directional pad and 2 buttons, there was quite a learning curve getting used to using two analog sticks at the same time. You might say, "Hey Lam, how bout the PS2? You have that machine, and that has analog sticks". True, but of the twenty or so games I have for that, all of them used either only 1 analog stick, or allowed the option to switch on to the directional pad. Using 2 sticks at the same time was at first just uncomfortable. This made for all sorts of trouble as I was playing Gears of War . Luckily for me, I had computer controlled teammates that watched my back. I love the Media Center capabiliti