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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book Review: Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

Click the cover to browse inside (opens new window).

I came to know Chuck Klosterman through his fiction work, Downtown Owl,. Because I loved his novel so much I started seeking out his other works, which seemed to be nonfiction essays. Eating the Dinosaur is one of those collections and it’s brilliant. Not a day goes by that I don’t quote something from this book.

Eating the Dinosaur is the Chicken Soup for the Smarty-pants Soul.

I used to be annoyed when James constantly quoted or mentioned essays in this book. He read the book first, But I adopted these habits after finishing the book. Dammit, Klosterman is smart, or at least his ideas are compelling, which makes him seem smart, and by default makes me feel smart. Hence the smarty-pants comment above.

Chuck Klosterman has good journalist written all over him. He’s covered music, film, and sports, and remembers the details. He dissects pop culture the way miners pan for gold. After clearing away the dirt and shifting away the common things, Klosterman holds up the nuggets. And those nuggets are the totality of perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that make up our understanding of the world, and by world I mean world of culture consumption.

He talks about why music fan’s hate their favorite bands. Why superstars aren’t paid enough. Why singers are compelled to try out different personalities. Why interviewees want to tell the truth. What the truth is. Why Germans don’t laugh at nervous North American laughter. Why North Americans laugh. Why Ralph Nader is a literalist and how that makes him unlikeable. How the Unabomber could be wrong in his actions but right in his thoughts. Why TV is bad and the Branch Dividian not so bad. And why politicians are terribly sorry, and alcoholic.

This is my favourite nonfiction book of 2010. (The Waterproof Bible is my favourite novel, in case you’re asking.)

Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
Published in Canada by Simon and Schuster in hardcover, paperback and ebook.

Just a thought, but given you clearly enjoy reading books (as apposed to say, eating them) - you might want to check out librarything.com.

I’ve found it a lot of fun and a great place to record what I read, wanna read and what’s in my library etc.

My page is at http://www.librarything.com/home/rightantler

Sorry this comments sounds like a commercial!

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