Not just any 31 songs -- and not, in fact, 31 songs that I know, though obviously I recognise quite a few of 'em -- but 31 songs that illustrate parts of Hornby's life. I'd expected 31 distinct essays on memory, feeling, appreciation, context etc: but, especially in later chapters, there's a sense of narrative. Particularly moving are the chapters which discuss Hornby's autistic son, and his experience of music: these might be sentimental if Hornby didn't write with such clarity. He's witty and critical, intelligent and wry, and sometimes even rude, about the songs and the musicians. Has a lovely turn of metaphor, too: Nick Cave plodding his way through As I Sat Sadly By Her Side 'as if he were eating an overfilled plate of decent but plain food at a grandparent's house'.
reposted here from LJ in order to keep all my reviews in one place