Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chuck Klosterman City

The Fake Hipster says that she's obsessed with Chuck Klosterman (although her use of "bandwagon" implies that there somehow is one). I have to admit, I have been enjoying Klosterman's work of late too. I've been reading all of his books the last couple of months and am currently finishing up Killing Yourself to Live, which I'm really enjoying. This may also be in part because I strongly identify with the idea of growing up in a desolate area of the Midwest listening to classic rock radio.

I do not, however, believe that Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is Klosterman's strongest work. Reading it recently, it just seems ... well, dated. There's a long essay about how not that many people he knows actually use the Internet, which is weird because the book was published in 2004. I'm pretty sure people were aware in 2004 that most people would be using the Internet to do all kinds of things that didn't include porn.

Interestingly enough, there's a forthcoming film adaptation of Fargo Rock City, the book that I would argue is still Klosterman's best work, although I might put Killing Yourself to Live as a close second. So, with that, here's my list of Klosterman's work in my totally arbitrary order of preference:
  1. Fargo Rock City (2002)
  2. Killing Yourself to Live (2006)
  3. Chuck Klosterman IV (a 2007 collection of his previously published Spin and Esquire essays)
  4. Downtown Owl (his 2009 novel)
  5. Eating the Dinosaur (2009)
  6. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs (2004)
Though Klosterman certainly has his flaws -- in one book he confessed he "used to be" anti-abortion but now "doesn't really care" about this issue and his female characters in his novel are somewhat flat -- but it's refreshing to see someone who's so honest about his perspective. He admits openly in Live that he's actually not much of a reader and this is why intellectuals won't ever take him seriously. He also is willing to acknowledge that he was wrong in the past about his opinions. He almost sounds like a blogger -- even though I'm pretty sure Klosterman despises blogs.

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