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

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