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That Summertime Sound Hardcover – July 21, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Towards the end of Specktor's debut novel, the protagonist declares that "it is almost impossible to speak, act or be without quotation." That may be the philosophy by which Specktor himself wrote this 1980s coming-of-age novel, a liberally clichéd tale of college, complete with all the usual references to music, drugs, first love and self-discovery. Further complicating the story's problems is the difficult-to-like protagonist, a jaded child of L.A. transplanted to the Midwest. What makes the book bearable is Specktor's clear love for music, those passages enthusing over a band or a series of chords are the work's most exciting. Despite the oftentimes beautiful prose, Specktor's characters read flat, dramatic tension is almost nonexistent, and the whole overwrought enterprise leaves one feeling strung out and dissatisfied.
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About the Author

Matthew Specktor will receive his MFA from Warren Wilson College in July 2009. He has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and his work has appeared in various anthologies. His screen adaptation of Shirley Hazzard's The Transit of Venus was recently optioned by Warner Independent. He lives in Los Angeles. This is his first novel.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: MTV Press; Stated First Edition, 1st printing edition (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576875202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576875209
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,289,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mint910 VINE VOICE on September 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
That Summertime Sound was an interesting book. It read like a love letter to music lovers. I love how the author gets across how music can make you feel if you really listen and are really invested in the music. It was encompassed in the story of a guy spending the summer in Columbus after his first year of college. He heard Columbus was the place to be so he went back with a few college friends to see for himself.

For some reason this book (which is only 268 pages long) took me a significant amount of time to read, over a week. I think it had something to do with how detailed the language was. And because of that I think it would make for a great book to listen to in the audio version, to be able to really take your time with it.

To me the book had a few too many plotlines so it made it hard for me to focus on one thing because I wasn't sure where to place that focus. I think to me the one standout plot was about the un-named main character's interactions with his favorite band that he goes to Columbus to see, Lords of Oblivion and its frontman Nic. I did like how some of the characters were so detailed with rather large back stories in a few cases.

But even though it wasn't the easiest book for me to read I'm glad I read it. I'm not sure that I've read anything like it before. It definitely makes me want to explore some of the music and genres talked about in this book! And just explore more music in general!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anne McPhee on August 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Columbus as the capital of Oz. Who knew? In 1986 I thought it was Ann Arbor. I, too, was bamboozled. This is a delightful novel that deftly captures that first time when one realizes that despite summer's promise, it won't last forever. Others will summarize the plot and characters better than I; I'll leave that task to them. Specktor's prose is clear and lucid. The narrator has a distinctive (and not always likable) voice. The dialogue is crisp. Interspersed throughout are musical references that provide the soundtrack to the novel. Those of you who lovingly hoard your vinyl from the 80s and remember the play lists from your college radio station circa 1986 will get a nice nostalgic boost. I hesitate to write that last. This novel is more than a bit of easy nostalgia. It truly is an examination of what it means to move from obsession to affection to acceptance (but never resignation.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Diana on August 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"That Summertime Sound" is a hilarious road-tripping, music-obsessed, mid-western crack-pipe of a coming-of-age novel chronicling the misadventures of a boy in love with an Ohio rock band. Romance, fires, drinking, drugs, and hilarity ensue. The writing is beautiful but not heavy, and Specktor creates a perfect mix of humor and pathos that make this novel a quick, satisfying read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Wall on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
One author's Columbus was another reviewer's Ann Arbor was my Iowa City. Although the specifics were varied and the timing a few years off, this novel took me back to an earlier, more heavylicious time of my early adulthood, when soundtrack choice was crucial and every humid day was ripe with possibility in terms of potential adventure, mind-alteration and maybe, just maybe actual connection/understanding with a kindred soul of the opposite sex. So much more than mere nostalgia trip, this book took me on a trip to an internal time and place in a way that few others have. The writing is a joy to read, and the attention to detail, both cosmetic and emotional, is remarkable. Effective without resorting to sentimentality, the craftsmanship here is to be applauded, and I believe that this debut novel portends a bright future for its author. I'm looking very forward to seeing what comes next.
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