Notes For Jan. 17 Music and Movies Book Club

My own novel, Love on the Big Screen, now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

On Monday night Jan. 17 at the Fresh Meadows Barnes and Noble at 7:30, we’ll be discussing Rob Sheffield’s Love is a Mix Tape. We’d love to have you join us either face-to-face in the store or else here online with a comment to this blog post.  I also want to share that my novel, Love on the Big Screen, is now available in the states online through Amazon or Barnes and Noble and soon to be available internationally.  Coming soon to Kindle and Nook.




Rob Sheffield / The Guy:

  • What do you think of the Rob Sheffield you meet in the book?  His relationship with Renee?
  • If you finished the book, what was it that kept you listening to Rob’s story?
  • “I listen to Hey Jude now, and I think two things:  I never want to hear this song again, and in 1979, my dad was around the age I am now, and given a Saturday afternoon he could have spent anyway he pleased, he chose to spend it with his twelve-year-old son, making this ridiculous little tape.  He probably forgot about it the next day.  But I didn’t.”  (17)
  • “How do you turn down the volume on your personal-drama earphones and learn how to listen to other people?”


  • Do you have a wish list for a potential romantic partner?  Is this sort of mental exercise helpful when it comes to navigating love? (67)
  • When you get married, you hope__________? (129)
  • “If she breaks my heart, no matter what the hell she puts me through, I can say it was worth it, just because of right now.”  (70)
  • What did/do you and your romantic partners fight about?  (102)
  • How do you know when it’s love? (4)


  • Did/do you make mix tapes?  Tell us about them?
  • Did your parents listen to music?  If you listen, how did you find your way into what you listen to?  Why _______ and not ________?
  • That night, I learned the hard way:  If the girls keep dancing, everybody’s happy.  If the girls don’t dance, nobody’s happy. (34)

Sheffield writes, before Murphy's death, "Remember Brittany Murphy..." / from TheJC.Com

Death / Life:

  • What would you leave behind? (10)
  • The moment when we find out what happened to Renee. (14)  What book did you think you were going to read?
  • Remember Brittany Murphy, the funny, frizzy-haired, Mentos-loving dork in Clueless? By 2002, she was the hood ornament in 8 Mile, just another skinny starlet, an index of everything we’ve lost in that time. (215)
  • Some hope in tragedy:  “We know the universe is out to burn us, and it gets us all the way it got Renee, but we don’t burn each other, not always.”  (167)

My Notes On Juliet, Naked: One Way to Do A Book Group

Music and Movies Book Club:  Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked

Barnes and Noble, Fresh Meadows

The following guidelines are meant to stimulate a guided conversation.  Following each prompt, we’ll all get a chance to respond.  Feel free to “pass” if you find yourself uncomfortable or with nothing to say at the moment, and please do not dominate conversation by talking too much.  After each person shares, let’s see if we want to pick up on somebody’s observation or question before we go on to the next prompt.

  1. Would you introduce yourself and say if you’ve come hoping to talk about one particular aspect of Juliet, Naked?
  2. Take a minute to try and come up with an observation or a question that we all might chat about.  This question could be connected to plot, a character, or anything else that comes to mind.
  3. Is there a particular section of the book that you want to point us to?  Find a spot that you found particularly interesting and maybe share a little bit about why.
  4. If we’re having trouble finding something to talk about, here’s some questions or themes we might consider:
    1. What was pleasurable about your reading?  And not so pleasurable?
    2. The issue of “fandom.”  Duncan is obsessed with Tucker Crowe.  Surely, Hornby experiences readers who look to him as Duncan looked to Crowe.  Conversely, Hornby is a well-known soccer obsessive and passionate fan of music.  Do you consider yourself fans of someone or something?  How are you like/unlike what we read here?
  • P. 165  crazy guy with no friends who’d been to see you three times this week
  1. There are lots of relationships:  Annie/Duncan, Annie/Tucker, Tucker/Jackson, Tucker and his ex wives and other children, Annie and her therapist, and many friendships such as Tucker and Fake Tucker, or Annie and Ros.  What did you find interesting about the relationships?  What, if anything, does the book seem to be saying about how relationships work?
  2. What do we notice in this story about art?  How is art created?  Tucker creates music that he thinks is phony.  Suddenly, he stops producing art and then he is able to create something new at the end?  As we read, we experience Hornby’s creation of the novel.
  • P. 39  The creation of art from rage.; P. 46  What great art does; P. 65  Art also as the writing of an internet essay; P. 257 an artist makes extravagant emotional gestures to help people feel
  1. How would you characterize Hornby’s style?  How do you know you’re reading Hornby and not some other writer?
  2. An activity to try from page 99.  What have you done with your life?
  3. What do you make of the ending?
  • What’s Annie doing?  How do you know?
  • What did Tucker do?  How will it be received?
  1. Care to share other books you’ve read and liked?  Of Hornby’s?  Connected to music and movies?  I was thinking of trying something from Rob Sheffield next.  He’s done Love is a Mix Tape and Talking to Girls about Duran Duran.

Handout prepared by William Torgerson

Assistant Professor, St. John’s University

Author of forthcoming novel, Love on the Big Screen