What came first — the music or the misery? If you're still reeling from Hulu's High Fidelity, I see you. Based on Nick Hornby's book of the same name, High Fidelity follows Rob (Zoë Kravitz), a record-store owner whose love life is... less than stellar. After being dumped by her fiancé, Rob — who loves making Top 5 lists — revisits the five worst breakups of her life, trying to figure out what went wrong. The new Hulu series comes 20 years after the John Cusack-led big-screen adaptation introduced moviegoers to this classic sadsack music lover.
But as much as High Fidelity centers on Rob's romantic life, music is her real one true love. Throughout the series she waxes poetic over Fleetwood Mac, finds comfort in Sinéad O'Connor, and blasts Swamp Dogg in her record shop. She's a music snob, but one with damn good taste.
If you want to learn more about the artists featured in High Fidelity, read on for all of the rock memoirs, biographies, and cultural critiques of Rob's favorite musicians from Debbie Harry (who makes an appearance) to David Bowie:
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
If you haven't already read it, begin your post-High Fidelity reading marathon with the 1995 novel that started it all. Hornby's book sets Rob's story in London, where he tracks down the five women who broke his heart and tries to figure out at which exact moment his love life went off the rails.
How Music Works by David Byrne
Talking Heads lead singer and co-founder David Byrne analyzes music from a personal perspective in How Music Works. Mixing memoir with pop-culture criticism, this work of non-fiction is a must-read for any music fan.
God Save the Queens: The Essential History of Women in Hip-Hop by Kathy Iandoli
One of NPR's favorite books of 2019, Kathy Iandoli's God Save the Queens is a love letter to women's contributions to the hip-hop music industry. No matter who your favorite female hip-hop artist is, this book will satisfy your music-nerd reading needs.
Face It by Debbie Harry
From Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry comes this 2019 memoir. Face It traces Harry's early life and career, from her early life in New Jersey, to her time in New York City's burgeoning punk scene, to hitting the big time and all that came with it. Plus, the singer makes a cameo in the new series.
Songbook by Nick Hornby
Naturally, if you loved High Fidelity enough to stream it all in one weekend, you should be reading Nick Hornby's collection of music-themed essays. Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003, Songbook is a delightful conglomeration of musings on music and life.
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
High Fidelity's soundtrack features plenty of punk rock, so go ahead and throw this book on your TBR. Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Please Kill Me chronicles nearly 30 years of underground — and "mainstream" — punk.
The Beautiful Ones by Prince
For anyone still mourning the loss of Prince, there's The Beautiful Ones: the Purple One's cobbled-together memoir. Featuring behind-the-scenes photos and notes from the beloved musician's life, The Beautiful Ones offers an insider's look at Prince's notoriously private self.
Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz
Penned by Michael "Mike D." Diamond and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Beastie Boys Book is part memoir, part coffee-table book. Featuring contributions from other celebrities and sections as varied as a mini cookbook and a graphic novel, this is unlike anything you've read before.
A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
Made into a film starring Pierce Brosnan in 2014, Hornby's A Long Way Down follows four disparate people who have all decided to take their own lives in the same place at the same time. After meeting one another by chance on the night they've chosen to die, the four re-evaluate their decision together.
Love Is a Mixtape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield
Music journalist Rob Sheffield examines his personal connection with music across the course of his life in this memoir, told in 15 mixtapes. If you love Rob's lists on High Fidelity, you're going to get a real kick out of Sheffield's Love Is a Mixtape.
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
Set in a suburban London record store in 1988, Rachel Joyce's The Music Shop centers on Frank, the store's owner, and Ilse, the stranger who just asked him to teach her about his passion. Frank has made privacy a habit, and for good reason, but his new friend seems determined to crack his hard outer shell.
Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib
This New York Times bestseller from poet Hanif Abdurraqib traces the lineage of jazzy rap group A Tribe Called Quest, broadening its scope to include the hip-hop scene the Tribe entered in the Nineties. An encompassing, engrossing look at one influential group's fomentation and legacy.
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
Another of Hornby's film-adapted novels, About a Boy follows Will, an aimless thirty-something living on his father's music royalties, as he befriends a young boy named Marcus after inventing an imaginary child in order to court single mothers.
Polly by Amy Bryant
Set in the 1980s, Amy Bryant's Polly centers on its eponymous, junior-high punk rocker as she tries to make sense of the world and her place in it. Featuring more music references than you can shake a stick at, Polly is the perfect novel for High Fidelity fans.
BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams by Michael Allred, Steve Horton, and Laura Allred
David Bowie's music features prominently on High Fidelity's soundtrack, so be sure you pick up BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams. This graphic novel autobiography of Ziggy Stardust — Bowie's rock-operatic alter ego from his 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars — is a terrifically good read.
The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, an Intimate Portrait by Linda Solomon
The world lost an amazing voice in 2018, when Aretha Franklin passed away from a pancreatic tumor. In The Queen Next Door, photojournalist Linda Solomon tells the story of Franklin's life as she knew it, following their first meeting in 1983.
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Like High Fidelity, Hornby's Fever Pitch has had two adaptations, one in 1997 and the other in 2005. Unlike High Fidelity, Fever Pitch isn't a novel. Instead, it's a memoir of Hornby's lifelong love of soccer and the Arsenal Football Club.
The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper
Spanning 20 years of a career that began in the days of zines, Jessica Hopper's The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic touches on everything from Seattle grunge to the post-punk power bubble. Young Gen-Xers and older Millennials will find a lot to love here.
The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed by Shea Serrano and Arturo Torres
What are the greatest rap songs of the last 40 years? That's the question that The Rap Year Book set out to answer. Each song gets the royal treatment here, with illustrations from Dallas artist Arturo Torres and analysis from Houston Press journalist Shea Serrano.
Making Rumours: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album by Ken Caillat and Steven Stiefel
Fleetwood Mac's most famous album has a dark and dishy legacy, but producer Ken Caillat isn't interested in telling you about that here. Instead, Caillat and co-author Steven Stiefel dig deep into the ins and outs of the music industry to explain how and why Rumours came to be in Making Rumours. (Even though it's not one of Rob's top five Fleetwood Mac albums.)