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Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

I just started re-reading High Fidelity, after having first read it on my honeymoon. (I know what you're thinking. But Julie and I are both avid readers and, contrary to popular belief, it's not physically possible--or even desireable--to shag during every waking moment on one's honeymoon.) One of the best things about the book, I've already rediscovered, is sharp, insightful discourses such as this one:

Read any women's magazine and you'll see the same complaint over and over again: men--those little boys ten or twenty or thirty years on--are hopeless in bed. They are not interested in "foreplay"; they have no desire to stimulate the erogenous zones of the opposite sex; they are selfish, greedy, clumsy, unsophisticated. These complaints, you can't help feeling, are kind of ironic. Back then, all we wanted was foreplay, and girls weren't interested. They didn't want to be touched, caressed, stimulated, aroused; in fact, they used to thump us if we tried. It's not really surprising, then, that we're not much good at all that. We spent two or three long and extremely formative years being told very forcibly not to even think about it. Between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four, foreplay changes from being something that boys want to do and girls don't, to something that women want and men can't be bothered with. (Or so they say. Me, I like foreplay--mostly because the times when all I wanted to do was touch are alarmingly fresh in my mind.) The perfect match, if you ask me, is between the Cosmo woman and the fourteen-year-old boy.

Goodness knows I would have been strongly in favor of such an arrangement when I was fourteen.

Just twenty-four pages in, and already I'm totally in love with this book again. Damn. Hornby better come out with a new novel, and soon. His monthly column in The Believer ("Stuff I've Been Reading") is quite enjoyable, but it's the sherbet between the delectable dinner courses that are his novels.

December 3, 2004 in Books | Permalink