I got my excellent copy of High Fidelity, Hornby's first book, from Bookmooch. As with About a Boy, this book was also made into a film starring John Cusack.
I got sucked into the story and the main character's life and language like dust into a vacuum cleaner. I know, weird analogy, but it works, no? Just like the things High Fidelity's Rob Fleming comes up with--wacky, so way out and then so real, so true, the kind of true nobody usually talks about.
Rob is the world's whiz on music, mainly pop but also all the other kinds, the more unheard of and one-off the better, and what he does with his genius knowledge is, he runs a dusty little record shop in a corner of London with two other music weirdos, Barry and Dick. Barry has the three of them talking in top fives.
The book starts with Rob enumerating his top five worst romantic breakups, and then after we glimpse into each of these relationships (starting when Rob is thirteen), we come to the present breakup that he insists is no big deal and doesn't figure in the top five list, but is really getting to him. Yet, though the situation is tough, the book is hilarious (made me laugh out loud so many times, and at one point I got a backache laughing). Despite the dry humour, and as we laugh along, we can feel Rob's pain, as well as his ex-girlfriend Laura's, and we get some deep insights into the way people are.
Great book, do read it.