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Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas [Paperback]

Chuck Klosterman

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Book Description

1 Mar 2007

Chuck Klosterman has become the pop culture commentator of his time. Now, our favourite popular phenomenon offers new introductions, outros, segues, and footnotes around a collection sure to enlarge his following. Chuck Klosterman IV is divided into three parts:

Part I: Things That Are True showcases Chuck's best profiles and trend stories from the past decade. Billy Joel, Metallica, Val Kilmer, U2, Radiohead, Wilco, The White Stripes, Steve Nash, 50 cent - they're all here, complete with behind-the-scenes details and ingenious analysis.

Part II: Things That Might Be True assembles the best of opinion pieces that brim with a characteristic candor - always interesting, often infuriating, occasionally insane. Now fortified with twenty new hypothetical questions.

Part III: Things That Are Not True At All offers an unpublished short story. While semi-autobiographical, it features a woman who falls out of the sky and lands on a man's car.

Frequently Bought Together

Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas + Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto + Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story
Price For All Three: 26.61

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"He's perfect junk food for the soul." -- "The Los Angeles Times Book Review"

Book Description

From the hilarious and incisive author of Killing Yourself to Live comes a collection of truths, half truths and downright lies, that will entertain and beguile.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  65 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Klassik Klosterman 21 Jan 2007
By A. Ross - Published on Amazon.com
My take on Klosterman is this: if you absolutely must get a pop culture fix by reading about inane movie stars or overrated bands, you might as well read someone who is smart and funny about them, and that person is Klosterman. Although not a metal fan, I loved Fargo Rock City, and found his essays in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs exceedingly funny. Killing Yourself To Live didn't work as well for me, and I was glad to get another dose of his shorter works here ( all of which were previous published). The book (whose title is a reference/homage to albums by both Led Zepplin and Black Sabbath) is divided into three parts.

"Things That Are True" contains about twenty profiles and pieces of reportage. Included are the best Britney Spears profile ever ("Britney Spears is the most famous person I've ever interviewed. She is also the weirdest. I assume this is not a coincidence."), a very good U2 piece ("U2 is the most self-aware rock band in history. This generally works to their advantage."), and solid profiles of musicians The White Stripes, Radiohead, The Streets, Billy Joel, Jeff Tweedy, and metal tribute bands. There are also profiles of actor Val Kilmer, basketball superstar Steve Nash, a Q&A with Robert Plant, experiential pieces on Latino Morissey fanatics, the unofficial "Goth Day" at Disneyland, Akron-area clairvoyants, and a "Rock Cruise" (featuring Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Journey), and contrarian review essays on the documentaries "Super Size Me" and "Some Kind of Monster."

The somewhat briefer "Things That Might Be True" section contains about fifteen more personal opinion pieces written in recent years for Esquire (these are available at Esquire.com) and Spin magazines. Topics include how to recognize your personal nemesis and archenemy, the Olympics, guilty pleasures, monogamy, the ten most accurately rated artists in rock history, pirate vogue, robots, genetics, watching VH1 for 24 hours, etc. The final section, "Something That Isn't True At All," is a 35-page "not-so-loosely autobiographical" short story written back in 1999.

The style throughout is pure Klosterman, although there is a certain sympathy or quasi-compassion in some of the pieces that plays a nice counterbalance to his natural snarkiness. One rather refreshing element is the newly written introductions to each item in the first section. These provide an interesting context and are a peek into how a magazine writer might come to regret elements of their work. The pieces in the second section are introduced by the kind of pithy hypotheticals he unveiled in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. Ultimately, the best way to read the book is leave it lying around the house and anytime you're tempted to pick up Entertainment Weekly or US or flip on MTV, pick it up and read something far funnier, smarter, and more insightful. Sure, it's just pop culture, but that doesn't mean it has to be idiotic.
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chuck's Common-Sense Is In Short Supply In the Culture 5 Oct 2006
By R. W. Rasband - Published on Amazon.com
The title of "Chuck Klosterman IV" hearkens back to Led Zeppelin's classic untitled, "Stairway to Heaven" album. It's typical of Chuck's approach, which is to examine our significant pop culture landmarks with ironic, self-deprecating wit. This book collects some of the highlights of Klosterman's journalism over the past decade. He has been hailed as the successor to Hunter Thompson, but I think he has a quality that Thompson lacked (as much as I admired the work of the Good Doctor). That quality is American common-sense, in abundance. Klosterman's method is to examine pop culture with the close reading usually reserved for so-called "high culture." And then he takes the contrarian view, which can yield some surprising insights. A lot of these icons have been only worshipped their whole careers, so the combination of Klosterman's ruthless scrutiny and heartland human sympathy produces strange and wonderful new wisdom.

I mentioned Klosterman's compassion because it's an attribute not normally associated with critics. But it gives us a more rounded portrait of his subjects, which this time include Wilco, Robert Plant, Metallica, U2, the White Stripes, and Britney Spears, to name just a small sample. He can see clearly and unsparingly while taking into account unavoidable human frailties. This got him into trouble with his infamous profile of Billy Joel (included here), which was meant by Chuck to be a celebration of his career, but was interpreted by Joel and other as a too-candid, embarassing look at an artist's mid-life crisis.

My favorite essay in this book is "Cultural Betrayal", which should be recognized as a brilliant analysis of the current culture wars in America. His great central insight: in a democracy "don't get pissed off over the fact that the way you feel about culture isn't some kind of universal consensus. Because if you do, you will end up feeling betrayed. And it will be your own fault. You will feel bad, and you will deserve it." If everyone would take this advice, the bitterness of our national culture arguements would be considerably lessened and we could actually begin to talk to each other again. Klosterman's essays about snobbishly reviled pop culture actually have a distant echo of similar essays by the patron saint of common-sense, George Orwell. It's not an entirely ridiculous comparison, if you will actually take the time to read this witty, insightful collection.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of pop culture tidbits.... 8 Sep 2006
By secoulte - Published on Amazon.com
If you like S,D&CP, you will love this too. There are always parts where I find the things Klosterman is writing about is picked directly from my life growing up on the tailend of Generation X.

You either like this type of writing or you don't. Klosterman's work typically applies to a very specific segment of the population, but to that segment his writing really connects.

I especially enjoyed the essay on identifying your Nemesis and your Archenemy, and the differences between the two, for I too have a Nemesis - and yes we are friends, yes we sit down and have a drink together every so often, and yes we have both punched each other in the face at one point or another in anger.

If you want to read a book where you find yourself laughing out loud while reading it on the subway, pick it up.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Creative insights 27 April 2008
By Howard E. Borck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Klosterman's work reflects creativity and interesting insights into American culture. His major frame of reference is modern-pop music. Interesting read with fascinating "what if" scenarios. Good basis for discussion with friends. Worth the quick read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fanastic, competes with SD&CP 6 Sep 2006
By Amanda Berg - Published on Amazon.com
Great book, i preordered it and got it one week before it was released. And finished it the day it was.

I have read all of Klosterman's other books and i really didn't think he (or anyone else, for that matter) could write anything more entertaining than Sex, Drugs, & Cocoa Puffs. And my first impression of Chuck Klosterman IV is that it is just that. The first part is a great collection of essays/articles with new (self-critisizing) introductions. The second is a collection of mostly articles from Esquire with hypothetical introductions that remind me of the SD&CP segways. And the final section, a fictional story slighty resembling his life.

Overall, i think it's a great read. Especially if you have read his other books (as he does make refrence to them) and are already familiar with his style of writing (the footnotes are running rampant, as usual)
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