Long Players by Peter Coviello

Long Players

Peter Coviello

Peter Coviello considers what keeps us alive and our many interwoven ways of falling in love: with books and bands and records, with friends, with lovers, with the families we make.

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“A beautiful book. Deeply personal and yet entirely universal. . . A travelogue through the landscape of a broken heart.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat Pray Love
 
A passionate, heartfelt story about the many ways we fall in love: with books, bands and records, friends and lovers, and the families we make.

Have you ever fallen in love—exalting, wracking, hilarious love—with a song? Long Players is a book about that everyday kind of besottedness—and, also, about those other, more entangling sorts of love that songs can propel us into. We follow Peter Coviello through his happy marriage, his blindsiding divorce, and his fumbling post marital forays into sex and romance.
 
Above all we travel with him as he calibrates, mix by mix and song by song, his place in the lives of two little girls, his suddenly ex-stepdaughters. In his grief, he considers what keeps us alive (sex, talk, dancing) and the limitless grace of pop songs.


Advance Galley Reviews

Did not enjoy this. I tried to push myself to finish this but I just didn't like it. DNFed.

This book was actually quite disappointing. It shall be joining my small shelf of 'did not finish' books, unfortunately.

I expected something quite different from this. I tried to stick with book, but I couldn't get into, and ended up abandoning the whole that after only 60 or 70 pages in.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I could not get into this book. I really really tried. I tried twice to get into it. I got about 50 pages into it. He just goes and on and on, but goes nowhere. I’m sorry, but this is just not a book that I can recommend.

I can barely make it past the first few pages. I can already tell this is one of those books that goes on and on and on and gets nowhere. I hate to say that because I was excited when I chose to read this book. I was expecting more about his experiences with music and things with some profound self discoveries.

This book is not at all what I was expecting. I was disappointed. I kept waiting for it to evolve into something other than a man spectacularly falling to pieces, over and over and over. I was expecting his music to be central to the story, but it was more of an afterthought. Toward the end of the book, I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking, “pull yourself together and quit crying, already. Good lord.”

This book makes itself every kind of clear about heartbreak. I felt the loss. Perhaps because I an going on the same thing. I was blindsided by the cheating and chose not to stay. Not to say I didn't experience grief. It an accurate statement to summarize Long Players as everyday kind of besottedness. I went along for the ride. The pace winds up and then fades. I must say things picked up soon. And then triggered me. The part where Peter rents Evany a getaway and she waits for her lover there with no thoughts of her husband. I went through a similar scenario and he described it perfectly. Also, I understand he is an English professor but I think the story would have flowed better with a sprinkling of big words. I enjoyed how he shared his truth and gave it life.

Pretentious and immature at the same time. Didn't care for this one.

A struggle to get through, not at all what was presented when I agreed to review this book.

I had very high hopes for this book, seeing as readers kept comparing to Rob Sheffield's Love is a Mixtape and Nick Hornby's High Fidelity (the latter of which is one of my all-time favorites). This is definitely not in the ballpark of those books in terms or quality or substance. I feel like I got stuck next to "that guy" at the bar who wants to explain every song that comes on, but in a condescending way as though I've never heard music in my sweet sheltered life, and also wants to make every minute detail some philosophical awakening. You know the guy I'm talking about...he wears t-shirts for bands no one has heard of and has zero sense of humor. Life is too short for books that make you roll your eyes this hard. I'm downing my drink and moving along to the next book.

I personally struggled to get through this book. I received an advanced copy for my review. If you love music, a man bemoaning his divorce and missing his step children you may enjoy this book. I almost put the book down - it was a long and tedious read. It shows how one man copes with his wife leaving him for another man. He is blindsided and can’t believe it is happening to him. To me it was a depressing read but the author uses music to show how he copes and relates his life to the lyrics. So if you love music and different bands maybe you will relate to it better than I did.

It’s not really a book about music despite the cover art. One of the background themes though Is music ?? which captures the mood and the mixtapes that were so ubiquitous in the eighties and nineties. We all made mix tapes in the eighties although they kind of went out of style long before Jack Nicholson’s offbeat character in “As Good As It Gets” showed up on the road trip with a tape for every mood. This book, which has the feel of being more a journal than a novel, is a sort of an ode to every lovesick person whose had their heart torn out. It focuses on a main character who metaphorically drowns himself in a deep depression and contemplates life the universe and everything. It is a flavor of melancholy and inward-looking. But don’t open this up expecting mad action. It’s just not that kind of thing.

Music shapes us in so many ways. It is evident throughout this book that there were alot of songs that were deeply impact Peter over the course of his life. An interesting read, thanks for the opportunity.

This book wasn't even close to what I thought it was going to be about when I anxiously volunteered to receive an advanced copy for review. Here I thought I was going to get a book/study about music and relationships and how they intertwine and effect each other. Instead, I got the story of a man who cries at the drop of a hat and likes to make mixed tapes/CDs for people he knows. I'm not sure where I went wrong, but less than 100 pages into this book, I had to stop reading it because I just didn't care. And the fact that if you took away the author's adjectives, adverbs and prepositions, this story would have ended a lot quicker! Way too many words... But really, it's not you...it's me!

4/5 “But, like songs, books do have the virtue of not sitting still. Leave them alone for a while— a few errant meandering years, say— and they grow, in secret, into different creatures. They hold on to you, they steady you as you pour yourself into them, but sometimes, also, they talk back. Sometimes they start fires." - Peter Coviello, Long Players Peter Coviello tells the story of his marriage and divorce from a hardhearted woman named Evany. He writes of falling in love over and over, whether it be with Evany and her daughters, friends from college or strangers on the street. Each chapter is also a love letter to songs that encapsulated his euphoria, desperation, sorrows and tenderness. Through multitudes of metaphors and references to obscure pop songs, his adult life is unfurled over 260 pages of stilted beauty. Overall, I like this book and I hold a great amount of admiration for Coviello. His writing is absolutely superb and passionate. Frankly, when I picked up this book (or rather opened the PDF), a lot of this book seemed to drip pretentiousness. It seemed a tad reminiscent of the writing style in Diary of an Oxygen Thief but with a much broader range of vocabulary. Speaking of vocabulary, it took me quite a while to get completely into Coviello’s writing style. He has an extremely wide vocabulary that I could have appreciated if it were drizzled into every few paragraphs, but almost every sentence was drawn out with unnecessary words. I’d like to think I’m intelligent to some degree but while reading this, I was left thinking, “Huh?” after every sentence. I probably had to reread every paragraph twice. But hey, at least I learned some new words. I know he's an English professor, and sometimes it seemed like he was just showing off his literary finesse. Other times, it was a bit boring and drawn out and it took a while for the story to get going but once it hit its climax, it was totally captivating (after, it was a slow and steady decline). I found Long Players tedious at some points (but I hate not finishing books so I kept with it!), so if you don't have a lot of patience when reading, you may have some difficulty with this one. This book was, for lack of a better word, deep. For much of the book, I found myself having to reanalyze the way I thought about love and sadness. In the first thirty pages or so, I felt myself sinking into a hole of brooding, hoping there would be some lightheartedness somewhere. In small ways, I did get what I wanted; Long Players did have its few moments in which I found myself smiling and nodding and others in which I found myself to be haunted and aching for the author. I haven’t read another book that has made me want to hug the author more than this one. After I got used to his writing style and stopped getting lost in his never-ending sentences, I finally saw the beauty in his writing and his humanity. Coviello wrote about falling in love in a way I’d never seen before and I’ve read hundreds upon hundreds of books. It wasn’t just provactive and romantic but also completely ordinary and domestic. It seemed real and not over-sensationalized. We don’t usually read much about falling in love with friends or books or music and it was so refreshing to read his take on it. I’m extremely passionate about music (which is one reason why I picked up this book in the first place) so I’m usually overly critical on books that focus on it but Coviello wrote about music much better than I’ve seen other authors do. It wasn’t corny or worth a few eye rolls but rather very real and relatable. As a musician of about 8 years, it was totally heartwarming to see someone write about music with so much overwhelming love and fervor. He mostly wrote about songs I’d never heard of; it was actually really fun listening to the songs as he was describing them and deciding whether or not I agreed with him. Likewise, his description of heartbreak and loss was so genuine; it almost felt like I’d lost my wife and daughters. Surprisingly, I was able to really find myself in this book, which is weird to say because I, a sixteen year old girl, am somehow relating to a middle aged ex-step dad’s loving marriage, tumultuous divorce and rampant anxieties. On a side note, I actually really appreciated his description of panic attacks; they’re like “an audition for death” (It was the most accurate I’ve seen, most books overly exaggerate them; I’m looking at you Highly Illogical Behavior!) TL;DR If you like monologues on what it’s like to be human or are a lover of emotional stories that are a little light on happy moments, you might love this book! But if you’re looking for something sunshiney and happy or you’d rather not read about anxiety and sadness, you should probably hold off on reading this one. Overall, good read!

Peter's love for both his music and his semistepdaughters were both abundantly clear throughout this, and I could very much feel some of his pain, anguish, ecstasy, etc. as he embarked on his odyssey to deal with his divorce and the many complex feelings about it. I thought many of the song references and scenes with the girls, his friends, and his lovers were great, but kept thinking that if he hadn't had the sabbatical to have to get back to real life, he would not have obsessed about things to quite the same degree. It also made me wonder if he is as unstable and erratic in his exterior life, and to have somehow been able to hear more from his ex -- if she's just a serial cheater/wanderlust and her relationship to him was similar to her first husband, or if he was more a cause through his neediness and immaturity. I would have also loved more of his literary wisdom -- his parts about Dickens towards the end were great...applying more of that to books or song lyrics would have made the songs more a part of the book. There seemed to be way more than the 18 suggested by the title, but some were very passing, happenstance, while some were more core to that stage. His many setbacks let him to rehash some of the same territory in his emotions, stages, etc. -- which added feeling but also frustration to the read. I checked out Wedding Present and some of the other bands he mentioned -- would be great to have a Spotify playlist for the book!

Music is often a way that we're more easily able to express our feelings, and it frequently provides definition for a period of our lives, be it embarrassing or not. In Peter Coviello's Long Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs, Peter recalls the journey he takes in life in terms of love and relationships and the music he associates with them. As Peter navigates the milestones of life through his marriage, divorce, forays into casual sexual encounters, and his relationships with his two stepdaughters, music seems to be a way in which he's able to more easily communicate with others and express the emotions he's experiencing.  There were many portions of the text that were beautifully written and because music can be very personal there was an honesty to the events depicted; however, much of the narrative made me want to scream with how pretentious it was and the manner in which it was presented came off as more "woe is me" than the potential for growth the situations presented. While there was an attempt at connecting the experiences he's offered with musical equivalents or comparisons it felt loosely related to the musical aspect promised in the subtitle and rather waxed on more in a whining fashion about his self pity and his slowly coming to terms with big changes in his life.  Overall, I'd give it a 2 out of 5 stars.

Coviello can certainly turn a phrase and write some lovely sentences, unfortunately, he decided to do this on 200+ pages of misery and sadness that sometimes bring music into the mix. I came into this looking for a memoir centered around music and love... What I got was a drawn-out, depressive tale of heartache and loss that draws the reader deep into the author's depression and obsession with finding the most negative and sad aspects of pretty much everything. Music does make an appearance, but so do literature and travel in much the same scale. It's the random soliloquies about a certain band or song that make up the musical aspect promised in the title, but they constantly get lost in the exploration of the author's confusion. It is incredibly personal and I sometimes felt like an interloper looking in on things I had no reason to. It might help some people see that there are others sharing in their sentiments, just not this reader. Honestly, between the depressing way it's presented and the sometimes overwrought wording, I considered giving up on reading this. It was an effort to get thru it, but I got a review copy from Penguin's First To Read and felt I'd made a commitment. I don't feel like I wasted my time with it, yet I do feel like there are other books that deal with the topics of music and love (even heartache) in less depressing ways.

This book felt tedious to me at times and also I found myself wishing I had a paper copy so I could tab pages. It's a very personal story of love and loss and grief. It wasn't what I was expecting based on the description. I liked it but didn't love it.

Thanks to First to Read the publisher Penguin Random House for this ARC in return for my honest review. Hip hip hooray, finally a story that had me intrigued from start to finish, I hope Hollywood buys the rights to make this book into a movie, it was that good. The writing, the characters were authentic so realistic I felt I could reach out and have a conversation with Peter, maybe even give him a shake to wake him up and figure out something's can never be put back together. Fantastic read, it had me comparing it to This is Where I Leave you by Arthur Jonathan Tropper. Well done.

I am finding this book VERY hard to read. I don't know the songs Peter is talking about, and the details of his thought process leave me dumbfounded. I see this book as very personal--and my first thought was, he should have left it personal and not published it as a book. I loved the concept behind this book--how particular songs can be remixed with our relationships. Maybe this book does do that; I am sorry that Peter's marriage disintegrated and the little girls he loved as his own were lost to him; and he sort of lost himself as well. I got half-way, and I'm giving up, can't get passed all the bands that are so unfamiliar.

 


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