High Fidelity

When I was doing my semester in Prague, I was reading constantly. It could have been all the various modes of transportation I was riding all the time – trams, buses, subways, planes, etc – that one doesn’t encounter in rural Indiana. Or it could be that my favorite thing was to go to a park bench sit, read, listen to music, and people watch. That is still one of my favorite things to do in the world…

this is the park bench I would sit at sometimes and some Czech people

View from my park bench

Anyway, I got really into books about males going through an identity crisis. I read Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, They Will Know Our Velocity, Perks of Being a Wall Flower, and a lot Nick Hornby during this era. I read 31 Songs (fantastic book), How to be Good (terrible book), and High Fidelity (to which I will dedicate the rest of this entry).

I loved High Fidelity. That book is amazing. I’ve always liked the movie and was even more impressed by the book. This week, I picked up the book again. I forgot how good it is. I don’t read many books more than once (exceptions being Harry Potter, Little Women, Bridget Jones, What I Loved, and Blind Assassin) but this was just as sweet the second time around

When I’m reading, I feel like Hornby is letting me in on the secret of men. How they’re all silly insecure cowards, but at the same time, I totally relate and love them for it.

Each character is totally likable. They all do stupid things, but I don’t care. I love them in spite of their flaws. That to me is a sign of a great book. I hate nothing more than reading a book where a character is flawless or unlikable.

Since I saw the movie before I ever read the book, a lot of the quotes I hear coming out of John Cusak’s mouth verbatim.

Here are some of my fav excerpts:

“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.”

“I guess I should have forgotten about it ages ago, but forgetting isn’t something I’m very good at.”

“You need as much ballast as possible to stop you from floating away; you need people around you, things going on, otherwise life is like some film where the money ran out, and there are no sets, or locations, or supporting actors, and it’s just one bloke on his own staring into the camera with nothing to do and nobody to speak to, and who’d believe this character then?”

“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.”

“If you really wanted to mess me up, you should have got to me earlier.”

“It was the asking that was the important thing.”

Hornby also makes me want to augment my music collection. I feel like such a slacker for buying Greatest Hits albums instead of owning every single song by every single band ever. I want to absorb more and more music till I could hang out with the main character, Rob and his co-workers, Dick and Barry. But I guess the point of the book was that it didn’t matter what he thought, Laura (lady love of the book) should like, it mattered that he thought about what she did like…. or something like that.

Sidenote: I started Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. PHENOMENAL. Great short stories. I spent all Sunday afternoon sitting at my kitchen counter reading – often being moved to tears. good stuff

Book Club

I love to read. I love books – always have. I’m so lucky to work with people who feel the same way. Since we (Brooke, Jenn, Katie, Jana, and I) have this in common, we decided to start a book club. Our book club has thus far had two events. We struggled picking a name – you want something witty and clever and relating to reading. Finally we settled on calling ourselves… wait for it…. wait for it…THE LADY LITERATES. Yeah, so wasn’t worth the hype.

Month 1 – Bess’s choice. I’ve always enjoyed David Sedaris. I have some of his books on my ipod and find they are wonderful for road trips and the treadmill (the one time I tried it). Big Hat Books, an independently owned bookstore I go to in Broad Ripple was actually going to have Sedaris come for a reading and a signing for his new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flame. I invited all the girls to join me and Katie had the great idea to make that our first book.

Here’s an excerpt from the email I sent my aunt about the reading:

It’s been such a long time since I’ve talked with you. I realized that I never gave you my David Sedaris update. He’s as fabulous in person as you would imagine. We got there at 6. We were told that our names would be on seats, so it didn’t matter when you got there. There was a huge line, but finally they went ahead and had people who had already picked up their books go on to the tent (that was us). There was then ANOTHER line to meet David. We were told not to bother because the reading would start soon. Well, let’s just say that didn’t happen. We easily were some of the only people sitting in the tent forever. It did give me time to run next door and pick up a smoothie for it was a hot summer day and we were standing on blacktop. Finally (at least 1hr to 1.5 hrs later) the reading began. He’s so funny and adorable. The line to have him sign books was sooo long after the reading. We thought we’d be smart by going, getting food and coming back. So we went across the street to their burger joint and got burgers (black bean for me) and fries. We sat down back under the tent and ate while others wasted away in line. Once we finished the line wasn’t all that much shorter. I feel like people were just sitting down and telling him their life stories. Hours and hours and hours later we made it inside the book store. Originally, David was sitting outside signing, but it got too dark for him – which is saying something considering with daylight savings it’s light until 10 pm. Our group of 5 had shrunk down to 3 hard core David fans – Jenn, Katie and myself.

By the time we made it inside the store we were getting a little bit of cabin fever and it was hotter than blazes. Like legit I was dripping in sweat. I kept using the books in the young adult section as fans. We started playing, “Who’d you rather” in the biographies section. This amounts to picking two biographies – for example: I would grab 1 of Einstien and 1 of Eisenhower. hold them up to the crowd (aka the Jenn and Katie) and say, “Who’d you rather do, Einstein or Eisenhower?” This game went on for a while. I’m sure we were very entertaining to the 10 people behind us. Keep in mind the book store was so HOT!!!!!!

Then at 11:30 we finally made it to David. Oh Happy Day! First my friend Jenn gave him her book.

Jenn: “Hi, I’m a big fan.”
David: “I love your nails.” ”
Jenn: “Thanks I just had them done for a wedding”
Book inscription: Jenn, I love your talons – David Sedaris.

Next it was my turn.

Me: “I’m a big fan. Your books on my ipod are one of the only things that keep me going on the treadmill. obviously (patting my belly) I’m ready for a new one.”

David: “There’s some guy that always gives me these great presents and last week he gave me a new ipod loaded with all these movies.”
Me: “Oh that’s awesome.”
David: “So, Bess, what do you do for a living.”
Me: “Media Planning”
David: “What’s that”
Me: “Good question”
Jenn: “You see [specific fast food chain] ads? We make that happen”
Inscription: Bess, when I see fries I think of you – David Sedaris

I also had him sign a book for our friend, Brooke, who didn’t want to stand in line.
Me: This is for Brooke, and she’s lame because she didn’t stay”
Inscription: Brooke, you are lame (and then he drew a picture of a Tiny Tim crutch

Next we have a book for our other friend, Jana, who left – the name card said “Hooker”
David: “Hooker? You have a friend named Hooker?”
Katie: “Yes, she didnt’ want to stay in line either”
Inscription: Hooker, you could have met me in person, but instead you are sucking cocks for money – David sedaris
Yeah, I know… this is why he’s the love of my life. I couldn’t believe that by 11:30, after doing this all day he would still be so witty and hilarious.


The Lady Literates discussed the book at Bugg’s Temple. We had deep insights into the theme of death and such.

Next month is Brooke’s month. She picked the book, Beach House, by Jane Green. I finished it and it was a great summer read. One of those books that’s interesting but easy to get through and don’t make your brain hurt from thinking too much about it.