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Nick Hornby.

I really like his work.

Some quotes from A Long Way Down, my most recent read (my favorite is About A Boy, movie version sucked -- although I might like High Fidelity better with John Cusack than in print.)

When Martin pulled me outside, I did that thing where you decide to become a different person. It's something I could do whenever I felt like it. Doesn't everybody, when they feel themselves getting out of control? You know: you say to yourself, OK, I'm a booky person, so then you go and get some books from the library and carry them around for a while. Or, OK, I'm a druggy person, and smoke a lot of weed. Whatever. And it makes you feel different. If you borrow someone else's clothes or their interests or their words, what they say, then it can give you a bit of a rest from yourself, I find.

It was time to feel different. I don't know why I said that stuff to Maureen; I don't know why I say half the things I say. I knew I'd overstepped the mark, but I couldn't stop myself. I get angry, and when it starts it's like being sick. I puke and puke over someone and I can't stop until I'm empty. I'm glad Martin pulled me outside. I needed stopping. I need stopping a lot. So I told myself that from that point on I was going to be more a person out of the olden days kind of thing. I swore not to swear, ha ha, or to spit; I swore not to ask harmless old ladies who are clearly more or less virgins whether they shagged doggy style.

I said this because I knew it was the right thing to say, not because
my experience told me anything different. It wasn't true that women
were ****** maniacs, of course it wasn't - just the ones that I had
slept with and Chas had slept with.

Here's the thing about Maureen: she had a lot more guts than I had.
She'd stuck around to find out what it would feel like, never to live
the life she had planned for herself. I didn't know what those plans
were, but she had them, same as everybody, and when Matty came along,
she'd waited around for twenty years to see what she'd be offered as a
replacement, and she was offered nothing at all. There was a lot of
feeling in that slap, and I could imagine hitting someone pretty hard
when I was her age, too. That was one of the reasons I didn't intend
ever to be her age.

I had never hit anyone before, not in the whole of my life, although
I'd often wanted to. But that night was different. I was in limbo,
somewhere between living and dying, and it felt as if it didn't matter
what I did until I went back to the top of Toppers' House again. And
that was the first time I realized that I was on a sort of holiday
from myself. It made me want to slap him again, just because I could,
but I didn't. The once was enough: Chas fell over - more from the
shock, I think, than from the force, because I'm not so strong - and
then knelt on all fours covering his head with his hands.

I'm not averse to having a go at DIY every now and again. I decorated
the girls' bedrooms myself, with stencils and everything. (And yes,
there were TV cameras there, and the production company paid for every
last drop of Day-Glo paint, but that doesn't make it any less of an
achievement.) Anyway, if you're a fellow enthusiast then you'll know
that sometimes you come across holes that are too big for filler,
especially in the bathroom. And when that happens, the sloppy way to
do it is to bung the holes up with anything you can find - broken
matches, bits of sponge, whatever is to hand. Well, that was Chas's
function that night: he was a bit of sponge that plugged a gap. The
whole Jess and Chas thing was ludicrous, of course, a waste of time
and energy, a banal little sideshow; but it absorbed us, got us down
off the roof and even as I was listening to his preposterous speech I
could see its value. I could also see that we were going to need a lot
more bits of sponge over the coming weeks and months. Maybe that's
what we all need, whether we're suicidal or not. Maybe life is just
too big a gap to be plugged by filler, so we need anything we can get
our hands on - sanders and planers, fifteen-year-olds, whatever -to
fill it up.

'Course I do. You're ******.' She waved an apologetic hand in
Maureen's direction, like a tennis player acknowledging a lucky net
cord. 'You thought you were going to be someone, but now it's obvious
you're nobody. You haven't got as much talent as you thought you had,
and there was no plan B, and you got no skills and no education, and
now you're looking at forty or fifty years of nothing. Less than
nothing, probably. That's pretty heavy. That's worse than having the
brain thing, because what you got now will take a lot longer to kill
you. You've got the choice of a slow painful death, or a quick
merciful one.'

She shrugged.

She was right. She got it.

That evening, I watched a programme on the television about a Scottish
detective who doesn't get on with his ex-wife very well, so I thought
about David some more, because I don't suppose he got on very well
with his ex-wife either. And I'm not sure this was the point of the
programme, but there wasn't much room in it for lots of arguments
between the Scottish detective and his ex-wife, because most of the
time he had to find out who'd killed this woman and left her body
outside her ex-husband's house to make it look as though he'd killed
her. (This was a different ex-husband.) So in an hour-long programme,
there were probably only ten minutes of him arguing with his ex-wife,
and his children, and fifty minutes of him trying to find who'd put
the woman's body in the dustbin. Forty minutes, I suppose, if you took
out the advertisements. I noticed because I was a bit more interested
in the arguments than I was in the body, and the arguments didn't seem
to come around very often.

And that seemed about right to me, ten minutes an hour. It was
probably about right for the programme, because he was a detective,
and it was more important for him and for the viewers that he spent
the biggest chunk of his time on solving the murders. But I think even
if you're not in a TV programme, then ten minutes an hour is about
right for your problems. This David Fawley was unemployed, so there
was a fair old chance that he spent sixty minutes an hour thinking
about his ex-wife, and his children, and when you do that, you're
bound to end up on the roof of Toppers' House.
Songbook is good for quick fix reading by Hornby.

Decent snapshots in 5 or so pages.

Read it?
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