Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pop Culture Nerds Re-Unite

Book Reviewed: Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas, by Chuck Klosterman

Having been so intrigued by Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs last week, I decided to try another Chuck Klosterman book. I went with Chuck Klosterman IV, which is a collection of articles and essays he's written for various magazines from 1996-2006 plus a fairly autobiographical short story. In general, I didn't like this book quite as much as Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. Because these were magazine pieces that had been printed before, they weren't as long or as complex as his essays published in that book.

Of course, that didn't mean this book didn't have its own gems. I was a big fan of "Crazy Things Seem Normal, Normal Things Seem Crazy," a 2005 feature about Val Kilmer. I've always thought Kilmer, while a little weird, seemed like a cool enough guy, so it was fun to see Klosterman interact with him. I also liked "The Karl Marx of the Hardwood" (about one of my favorite basketball players, Steve Nash), "Ghost Story" (an article on Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, which made me promptly go and put some Wilco CDs on hold at the library), "Not Guilty" (in which Klosterman rails against the idea of "guilty pleasures"), and "Television" (a hilarious piece wherein Klosterman chronicles watching VH1 Classic for 24 straight hours).

In my review of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, I mentioned that I often found myself openly disagreeing with Klosterman. That happens a lot here, too. I think I'd like him if I met him, but I don't know if we could ever be great friends. And I have to admit that when I read his work, I pine for the opinions of some women (I really don't think Klosterman has a very nuanced view of women). In fact, I think I may have to tackle some Sarah Vowell as a counter-read. Overall, though, I still like Klosterman and I would say this book was decently entertaining. Even better, it made me get out my Led Zeppelin CDs, which I haven't listened to in quite some time. Man, does Robert Plant have the world's sexiest sexy voice ever or what?

Note: It's Leo Tolstoy's birthday! I love Tolstoy's books and characters; I think he's probably the most important novelist of all time. However, I've always disliked Tolstoy's opinions and lifestyle. Oh well. Happy Birthday, Leo!

1 comment:

  1. Beth! I saw this at the NYT and thought you might be interested. It's Chuck Klosterman at 99 cents and essay!