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New York Times-bestselling author and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman compiles and contextualizes the best of his articles and essays from the past decade. Chuck Klosterman has created an incomparable body of work in books, magazines, newspapers, and on the Web. His writing spans the realms of culture and sports, while also addressing interpersonal issues, social quandarie New York Times-bestselling author and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman compiles and contextualizes the best of his articles and essays from the past decade. Chuck Klosterman has created an incomparable body of work in books, magazines, newspapers, and on the Web. His writing spans the realms of culture and sports, while also addressing interpersonal issues, social quandaries, and ethical boundaries. Klosterman has written nine previous books, helped found and establish Grantland, served as the New York Times Magazine Ethicist, worked on film and television productions, and contributed profiles and essays to outlets such as GQ, Esquire, Billboard, The A.V. Club, and The Guardian. Chuck Klosterman's tenth book (aka Chuck Klosterman X) collects his most intriguing of those pieces, accompanied by fresh introductions and new footnotes throughout. Klosterman presents many of the articles in their original form, featuring previously unpublished passages and digressions. Subjects include Breaking Bad, Lou Reed, zombies, KISS, Jimmy Page, Stephen Malkmus, steroids, Mountain Dew, Chinese Democracy, The Beatles, Jonathan Franzen, Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt, Eddie Van Halen, Charlie Brown, the Cleveland Browns, and many more cultural figures and pop phenomena. This is a tour of the past decade from one of the sharpest and most prolific observers of our unusual times.


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New York Times-bestselling author and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman compiles and contextualizes the best of his articles and essays from the past decade. Chuck Klosterman has created an incomparable body of work in books, magazines, newspapers, and on the Web. His writing spans the realms of culture and sports, while also addressing interpersonal issues, social quandarie New York Times-bestselling author and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman compiles and contextualizes the best of his articles and essays from the past decade. Chuck Klosterman has created an incomparable body of work in books, magazines, newspapers, and on the Web. His writing spans the realms of culture and sports, while also addressing interpersonal issues, social quandaries, and ethical boundaries. Klosterman has written nine previous books, helped found and establish Grantland, served as the New York Times Magazine Ethicist, worked on film and television productions, and contributed profiles and essays to outlets such as GQ, Esquire, Billboard, The A.V. Club, and The Guardian. Chuck Klosterman's tenth book (aka Chuck Klosterman X) collects his most intriguing of those pieces, accompanied by fresh introductions and new footnotes throughout. Klosterman presents many of the articles in their original form, featuring previously unpublished passages and digressions. Subjects include Breaking Bad, Lou Reed, zombies, KISS, Jimmy Page, Stephen Malkmus, steroids, Mountain Dew, Chinese Democracy, The Beatles, Jonathan Franzen, Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt, Eddie Van Halen, Charlie Brown, the Cleveland Browns, and many more cultural figures and pop phenomena. This is a tour of the past decade from one of the sharpest and most prolific observers of our unusual times.

30 review for Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    As you can guess from the title this is Chuck Klosterman’s tenth book which is an anthology of previously published articles - and I really enjoyed reading it! The writing voice Klosterman’s cultivated over the years is very compelling. Obviously it helps that the subject matters - pop culture commentary on music, film and TV - interest me, but his articulate, funny, thoughtful and illuminating musings also drew me into subjects that don’t, eg. American sports. I couldn’t care less about America As you can guess from the title this is Chuck Klosterman’s tenth book which is an anthology of previously published articles - and I really enjoyed reading it! The writing voice Klosterman’s cultivated over the years is very compelling. Obviously it helps that the subject matters - pop culture commentary on music, film and TV - interest me, but his articulate, funny, thoughtful and illuminating musings also drew me into subjects that don’t, eg. American sports. I couldn’t care less about American football/basketball/baseball (and the worst essay here is the opener, about an obscure basketball game from 1988, which reeks of hipster bullshit), but Klosterman makes them not only accessible to an outsider like me but also appealing. His interviews with sports celebrities like Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady were informative and his profile on the Cleveland Browns (who I gather are a joke) was very amusing. I also liked his article on Royce White, a largely-unknown basketball player concerned with highlighting mental illness in the sport. The interviews with Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Noel Gallagher, Taylor Swift and Jonathan Franzen were entertaining and, like all great interviews, gave us a peek into the subjects’ lives, and I loved his thoughts on a variety of topics like The Walking Dead, Peanuts, Breaking Bad, Harry Potter, and Miley Cyrus. The Lou Reed obituary was excellent and his article on Danger Mouse (one half of Gnarls Barkley) introduced me to The Grey Album, an intriguing mash-up of The Beatles’ White Album and Jay-Z’s Black Album. A number of essays made me laugh like when he went to see Nickelback and Creed play live on the same night and shared his thoughts on widely-hated popular bands. The Chinese Democracy review and his satire on The Beatles’ catalogue were brilliant too. Not all the articles hit the spot. His piece on the VORM experiment, a tedious and pedantic scoring system he devised on musicians’ relevance (or something), was a chore to slog through as was most of his 10,000 word essay on KISS, which was overlong and overindulgent - all it further highlighted was how I’ll never be a KISS fan! And his interviews with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and Stephen Malkmus were dull (possibly because both men seem dull). Mostly though, Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century is a bumper book full of engaging and fun nonfiction by a unique, talented and delightful writer - recommended to all Klosterman fans and anyone interested in pop culture commentary. Here’s to ten more, Chuck!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Shawn

    I hate Chuck Klosterman. I’ve hated him ever since I picked up “Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs” the summer I graduated high school. Here was this guy, this dude, with the gall to write about the dumbest things possible and make them seem important. The very same topics that consumed my life up until that point: popular music, blockbuster movies, sports, and terribly vapid reality shows like MTV’s Real World. Klosterman took arguments from the lunch hall and writes about them as if they’re fundamental I hate Chuck Klosterman. I’ve hated him ever since I picked up “Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs” the summer I graduated high school. Here was this guy, this dude, with the gall to write about the dumbest things possible and make them seem important. The very same topics that consumed my life up until that point: popular music, blockbuster movies, sports, and terribly vapid reality shows like MTV’s Real World. Klosterman took arguments from the lunch hall and writes about them as if they’re fundamental building blocks of our society. Does youth soccer promote kids to be outcasts and weirdos? Are Guns N Roses cover bands just as valid as whatever touring group Axl Rose is shambling around the country with? Why does everybody suddenly hate the Eagles after watching The Big Lebowski? Is it true that literally everything that will or will not happen in the universe is subject to a 50/50 roll of the dice? I hate Chuck Klosterman because there is no way I could possibly have a career in writing now. This guy has wormed his way into my brain and written about my dumb flights of fancy in a way that I could never even hope to achieve. I hate Chuck Klosterman, but will read everything he writes. X is a collection of the best of his past ten year’s worth of work. It’s awesome.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peter Derk

    Great, as you might expect. Some highlights are pieces about Olympic sprinters, Eddie Van Halen, and a thorough evaluation of every KISS album. Oh, and the concept of the VORM. I'm fairly certain that Chuck Klosterman might be the most interesting person alive. I'm completely certain that he has the most interesting opinions. So the gap between "fairly certain" and "completely certain" is only about whether having the most interesting opinions makes a person the most interesting person. The sad Great, as you might expect. Some highlights are pieces about Olympic sprinters, Eddie Van Halen, and a thorough evaluation of every KISS album. Oh, and the concept of the VORM. I'm fairly certain that Chuck Klosterman might be the most interesting person alive. I'm completely certain that he has the most interesting opinions. So the gap between "fairly certain" and "completely certain" is only about whether having the most interesting opinions makes a person the most interesting person. The sad thing about finding a writer really interesting is that there just isn't as much to go around. It's not like a writer is going to be on SNL anytime soon. Or hostinga gameshow or something. ESPN, if you're listening, get Chuck Klosterman to host something. Let him pick what it is. 30 minutes a week, it'll be great.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter Derk

    Ahha! Meagan showed me how to review more than one version of the same book. What you need to know about Chuck Klosterman Presents Chuck Klosterman X: The Audio Companion to a Highly Specific and Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century is that it truly is an audio companion to the book. It's not the book read aloud, but it's a summary of the book and some readaloud snippets. As Klosterman puts it, if you listened to the audio, you'd be able to talk about this book at a party or so Ahha! Meagan showed me how to review more than one version of the same book. What you need to know about Chuck Klosterman Presents Chuck Klosterman X: The Audio Companion to a Highly Specific and Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century is that it truly is an audio companion to the book. It's not the book read aloud, but it's a summary of the book and some readaloud snippets. As Klosterman puts it, if you listened to the audio, you'd be able to talk about this book at a party or something without having to actually read it. It's kind of great, but it was also kind of a letdown. When I first started listening, I realized that it worked a lot better if you'd read the book. Or, if you like Klosterman, like I do, you're going to want to read the entirety of the book rather than get the summary. So I switched to the print, then went back to the audio. The audio is also excellent. And it's something that I like here and there, an audiobook that offers something other than a straight readaloud of the book. It's almost like Walking Dead comics and the TV show. The show follows the same(ish) characters from the comics through similar scenarios, but things tend to go down in different ways. Which means that gigantic fans can experience both, but casual fans can do one or the other. Am I throwing down the gauntlet and saying that you're not a huge Klosterman fan if you don't do both? Yes. Yes I am. As the man himself says, it's better to have one person love you than to have 10 people who like you. According to some very bad math, I'm better than 10 of you (at least in this one specific way). And isn't that really why any of us do anything? To be better than all the other losers out there?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    New to Chuck Klosterman, I figured an anthology was a good place to start. These profiles and essays were published previously in various print and online sources, ranging from The Guardian to the The A.V. Club. At 400+ pages and solid black (including the page edges), it looks intimidating, but it is quite accessible with each piece only a few pages long and conversational in tone. Since his subject matters revolve around entertainment and culture, it is automatically something that the reader New to Chuck Klosterman, I figured an anthology was a good place to start. These profiles and essays were published previously in various print and online sources, ranging from The Guardian to the The A.V. Club. At 400+ pages and solid black (including the page edges), it looks intimidating, but it is quite accessible with each piece only a few pages long and conversational in tone. Since his subject matters revolve around entertainment and culture, it is automatically something that the reader can relate to or remember. Klosterman curates and annotate the pieces, stating in the introduction that these are his favorites. He opens each section up with some context, reminding the reader of a situation that may have quickly passed through the public eye, or some follow-up or controversy that may have developed right after publishing. I skimmed through some of the sports essays; however, I did enjoy his essay on speed in the context of track and field, "Speed Kills (Until it Doesn't)", as well as the existential look at being a television sports spectator watches live event on delay, "I Need to Be Alive (in Order to Watch TV)". The stand-out essay here was his piece on nostalgia and how we remember the past, "That's Not How It Happened". My other favorites were his entertainment pieces on television shows, comics, music and profiles with authors: - "There's Something Peculiar About Lying in a Dark Room. You Can't See Anything" about comics of the 1980s, most specifically Peanuts and Charlie Brown as everyman. - "I Will Choose Free Will" as analysis of the new golden age of television, and some meta-critique on The Wire and Breaking Bad. I could read this shit all day. - "A Road Seldom Traveled by the Multitudes", his profile with Jonathan Franzen - "Non-Suppressive Slacker", on Beck and Loser as a defining song of 1994 More Klosterman in the future...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Benoit Lelièvre

    My worst fear about reading a new book by Chuck Klosterman , more or less my favorite author and public intellectual if you consider adults can still have immuable favorite things, concretized and somehow I didn't care: I had already read the majority of what is published in this collection. Mostly on Grantland since I was a die-hard fan of that site. Curiously enough, not much of this book is about the 21st century. It's more about people and ideas who were popular in the 20th century adapting t My worst fear about reading a new book by Chuck Klosterman , more or less my favorite author and public intellectual if you consider adults can still have immuable favorite things, concretized and somehow I didn't care: I had already read the majority of what is published in this collection. Mostly on Grantland since I was a die-hard fan of that site. Curiously enough, not much of this book is about the 21st century. It's more about people and ideas who were popular in the 20th century adapting to the new millenium. The exercise was fascinating to me partly because I was born in the 20th century and turned 18 in 2000 precisely (that feels weird to say) and partly because I enjoy discovering new things through Chuck Klosterman perspective. For example, I had no idea who Stephen Malkmus was before reading his profile of him and now I find him interesting. So, what did my reading of X accomplished? 1) It proved I feel a creepy sense of kinship to that guy. 2) A pattern is starting to emerge from EATING THE DINOSAUR to this book of Klosterman keeping his best, most personal essays for the end. I don't know who else beside me cares about that, but given the number of copies Klosterman sells, probably a few. 3) For more, you'll have to read Dead End Follies this Friday...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Randee

    I love Chuck Klosterman's mind. For one thing, he uses it. He uses it to think about a myriad of topics and often forms unique viewpoints that, in turn, make me, as one of his readers, ponder my own opinions about his opinions. I like to use my mind too. He is one of my favorite interviewers because he is unconventional and the questions that occur to him to ask are inordinately more interesting than other journalists and media types. I've read many of his previous books and have liked them all, I love Chuck Klosterman's mind. For one thing, he uses it. He uses it to think about a myriad of topics and often forms unique viewpoints that, in turn, make me, as one of his readers, ponder my own opinions about his opinions. I like to use my mind too. He is one of my favorite interviewers because he is unconventional and the questions that occur to him to ask are inordinately more interesting than other journalists and media types. I've read many of his previous books and have liked them all, but I really loved this one for a couple of reasons. It's a compilation of past columns/essays he has written, but he has updated them by some very interesting forwards of specific or collective pieces. In one piece entitled "Like Regular Music, Except Good" is highly amusing as a satirical overview of the Beatles' catalog as a joke for The Onion's A.V. Club. It is laugh out loud funny and preposterous but he mentions that he's amazed how many people did not realize it was a joke. Most of his pieces are about sports or music. I am totally invested in music so when he interviews and writes about one of my heroes, Jimmy Page, I am deliriously happy to not only hear what Jimmy has to say, but I am also interested in whatever Klosterman chooses to share about his opinion of the man, the group, the music, etc. I know he is not going to fail to have interesting, intelligent, and well thought out opinions about insights to the subject matter. When he writes/interviews about sports or sports figures, I often have heard the name (examples: Kobe Bryant/Tom Brady) but know next to nothing about them as a player or celebrity. I do not watch sports. But, Klosterman has such an unusual mindset and writing style, I read the pieces because I know that I will learn something interesting. As time has marched forward and I have gotten older, I have an even greater appreciation for the original thinkers and the willingness to express their thoughts. When I was younger, we used to refer to plastic people...the poseurs, the fakes, the manipulators, the politically correct. It sure seems to me that there are a lot more of them now than ever before. So ugly, so boring. I would rather hear an ugly truth than a pretty lie. I would rather hear someone's actual thoughts no matter how much I might disagree than a 'robot' mouthing lies aimed to please the majority. Thanks Mr. Klosterman for being one of the few journalists in which I still trust and have faith.

  8. 4 out of 5

    E. C. Koch

    Working the pop culture beat is a tough gig. It’s not exactly the inherent ephemerality of the enterprise – the thing of the moment arrives, you write about it, the thing’s moment passes, and your work is forgotten – but it’s definitely related to that. Investing in not just a single artifact, but an entire galaxy of stuff that is produced in order to be consumed quickly by the masses, lends itself naturally to questions of significance, as in, Will this be remembered even a week from now? Am I Working the pop culture beat is a tough gig. It’s not exactly the inherent ephemerality of the enterprise – the thing of the moment arrives, you write about it, the thing’s moment passes, and your work is forgotten – but it’s definitely related to that. Investing in not just a single artifact, but an entire galaxy of stuff that is produced in order to be consumed quickly by the masses, lends itself naturally to questions of significance, as in, Will this be remembered even a week from now? Am I not just providing talking points for hipsters to exchange at roof parties? Isn’t this roughly equivalent to writing biographies of factory farm cattle? I can’t imagine Chuck Klosterman hasn’t thought about this, and can imagine that he thinks about this quite a lot. Klosterman embodies, and helps define, the nerd-chic ethos, balancing encyclopedic intelligence with an arch-sardonic tone, which, for the four previous books of his I’ve read, felt to me like a sadly familiar millennial irony. And to me, given what I think about the nature of his subject matter, this kind of irony makes sense for a guy like Klosterman, who might be forgiven for attempting to distance himself from the opinions he espouses in his work. What I mean here, if it’s not immediately clear, is that when you know you have to review something that you know at the outset is ephemeral then you must also understand that your review, no matter how good it turns out, is ephemeral to an added degree. And this, I have thought, leads to the adoption of irony in order to protect oneself from the minor psychic pain that comes from that knowledge. Almost all of the time, Klosterman reads as ironic to me. He likes contradicting himself, he likes to remind the reader that she is reading a review of something stupid, he’s open about how his obsessive relationship to some of the things he writes about is foundless and dumb (and that by extension we’re dumb too if we like that thing). But now I think that my first impression was wrong. In reading this most recent anthology of Klosterman’s essays, I was struck by how open he was about how much he loved what he was writing about, or, instead, about how he didn’t care that he knew that what he was doing was inconsequential because it was informed and produced by a much deeper appreciation of what pop culture is and what pop culture means. He knows that The Walking Dead doesn’t matter, but the purpose driving him is to convey how The Walking Dead (or high school basketball, or forgotten draft picks, or KISS, or Lou Reed) reflects something that does matter. In this respect, Klosterman treats his material with the same deference as one would literature or other high art forms. What I used to see as sarcasm looks to me now like deep appreciation mixed with totally unaffected self-regard. And although this writing is low-cal. in the way Vonnegut’s is, also like Vonnegut, Klosterman’s work is too real to be ignored.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    So I listened to the audio companion for X, which Klosterman describes in the foreword as something like a back cover blurb for the book as a whole. That’s right, he didn’t read the book itself. Instead, he gives a synopsis of each essay peppered with his experiences while writing it, and his opinion on various aspects of the piece. ...it’s an interesting experiment. Klosterman (who reads the book himself, and if you’re a fan, is worth the price of admission if only because it’s like having a co So I listened to the audio companion for X, which Klosterman describes in the foreword as something like a back cover blurb for the book as a whole. That’s right, he didn’t read the book itself. Instead, he gives a synopsis of each essay peppered with his experiences while writing it, and his opinion on various aspects of the piece. ...it’s an interesting experiment. Klosterman (who reads the book himself, and if you’re a fan, is worth the price of admission if only because it’s like having a conversation with the guy) states that he didn’t want to do impersonations of those he interviewed because he felt like he wouldn’t do them justice and that it would be generally awkward. Ok. I buy it. However, Klosterman is definitely a dude who likes playing with form, and I got the impression that he also wanted to create this audio companion as a sort of extended footnote on his book as a whole. It works in a lot of ways. The guy is incredibly interesting to listen to, and based on some of the essays I was already familiar with, he seems to give a clear picture of what the themes of the essay are, albeit condensed into three to five minute blurbs. In all, I do wish I would have read the book, and at some point I’m sure I will. Nonetheless, this was a worthwhile listen and I feel confident recommending the book after. Even if I sort of kind of didn’t actually read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tim O'Hearn

    I generally avoid reading Chuck's essays when I see them so as to increase my enjoyment of anthologies like this one. His primary talent is giving significance to the insignificant; Musing on innocuous aspects of culture and guiding readers to new realms of critical thinking. He has been framed as an intellectual, a pseudo-intellectual, and a pretentious hipster, but, to me, he's a genius. Even when I get tired of reading what he has to say about Rock bands that I've never listened to (and this I generally avoid reading Chuck's essays when I see them so as to increase my enjoyment of anthologies like this one. His primary talent is giving significance to the insignificant; Musing on innocuous aspects of culture and guiding readers to new realms of critical thinking. He has been framed as an intellectual, a pseudo-intellectual, and a pretentious hipster, but, to me, he's a genius. Even when I get tired of reading what he has to say about Rock bands that I've never listened to (and this happens often), I bask in the glory of his acuteness. Reading a Klosterman essay, especially on a topic you are at least vaguely aware of, simultaneously evokes the sensation of newness and the sensation of familiarity. Arguably, this happens whenever anyone takes something you have formed an opinion on (and have subsequently forgotten about) and presents a different viewpoint that you don't instantly disagree with. However, for me, his essays have always existed on a higher plane. Chuck writes essays so compelling that he could just be making up the facts as he went along and it would still be brilliant. Note that John Jeremiah Sullivan actually did this in Pulphead (and it was probably the best essay), but the point here is that you don't need to fully understand the cultural context to enjoy his work. Even when his essays suck (which they don't), his obsession with what was long ago self-described as "low-culture" is artful in itself. While Klosterman is far from the arbiter of pop culture reception, I find I have no interest in reading or even speaking about topics after he has covered them. While my admiration coincidentally stems from nostalgia surrounding the first time I read Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs (this is coincidental because this collection contains an essay about the oddity that is nostalgia), my view on Chuck has changed very little, whether I feel he is speaking directly to me or speaking for the sake of sounding smart.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    Two Buck Chuck Almost every review I've seen for this book was written by a Klosterman fan who had already read many, most, or all of the included pieces. Writers should have fans, and Klosterman's fans seem to be decent sorts. But what about us, the casual readers. I read this because I've read a few Klosterman pieces and thought he had just the sort of skewed, thoughtful, idiosyncratic, and don't-give-a-damn attitude that can make opinion pieces interesting. Well, this book confirms that he is a Two Buck Chuck Almost every review I've seen for this book was written by a Klosterman fan who had already read many, most, or all of the included pieces. Writers should have fans, and Klosterman's fans seem to be decent sorts. But what about us, the casual readers. I read this because I've read a few Klosterman pieces and thought he had just the sort of skewed, thoughtful, idiosyncratic, and don't-give-a-damn attitude that can make opinion pieces interesting. Well, this book confirms that he is all that. It also confirms that what interests Chuck Klosterman only interests me intermittently. I'm willing to read pieces about things I'm not really interested in if they are well enough written to grab me and make me read them, and there's some of that here. For example, I never thought I'd ever read quite so much about Jimmy Page or Van Halen. Interest is where you find it, and you never know what will grab you. That may explain why readers will read The New Yorker, Field & Stream, Esquire, ESPN Magazine and Rolling Stone on the same afternoon in the same dentist's office. Anyway, while this is supposed to be a collection focused on "the Early 21st Century" it is much more a collection of pieces that feel like they mine a much earlier period, even if they were technically written in the past decade. Maybe we're trying to establish how prescient Klosterman is or maybe we're just running out of articles, but either way this is an old and mixed bag of chocolates. Put aside the music pieces and most of the sports pieces. Connoisseurs of such articles say they're good and I guess they are. What about the more mixed pieces on popular culture? There are hits, (zombies, why tape delayed sports events are so wrong, the "Tebow thing", why Charlie Brown matters, "accidentally transformative" teen celebrities, a visit to "The McLaughlin Group" ), and misses, (a long piece on nostalgia, a grumpy thing about Harry Potter). For me, the balance tipped a bit to the plus side; you may favor more or less. So, it's an anthology and necessarily a mixed bag. I was happy to get to better know Klosterman's work, I appreciated his sense of craft, and I was entertained or amused or intrigued by a fair number of pieces. That was enough for me. (Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Ard

    "Creatively... its better to have one person love you than to have ten people like you." I am one that absolutely love Chuck Klosterman. He has the uncanny ability to write about things that I don't care about interesting. Sometime I feel like he taps into my brain and writes down what I am unable to articulate. I thoroughly enjoyed every essay written in"X". I particularly enjoyed how this book acted as a time capsule, some of his predictions were correct, some were totally wrong, all were inte "Creatively... its better to have one person love you than to have ten people like you." I am one that absolutely love Chuck Klosterman. He has the uncanny ability to write about things that I don't care about interesting. Sometime I feel like he taps into my brain and writes down what I am unable to articulate. I thoroughly enjoyed every essay written in"X". I particularly enjoyed how this book acted as a time capsule, some of his predictions were correct, some were totally wrong, all were interesting. I cannot wait to read more Klosterman in any and every form available.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I loved this fun and smart collection of Klosterman’s top essays this past decade. His cultural insight is quirky, witty, and deeply intelligent. He examines topics ranging from society’s obsession with zombies to 90’s (indie) rockstar Stephen Malkmus of Pavement, and he does it with great precision, depth, and wit. It is simultaneously a light and heavy read, and unlike any collection of essays I’ve read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    R.

    Let's Put the X in SeX Of course I'd like this. I'm a white male who is overweight and over forty who enjoyed The Darkness' "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" without irony, championed it as a return to classic rock aesthetics in this era of vocoder overuse and Vicodin overdose. (Skipped the sports -related essays.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Natalia

    FINE, Klosterman. You win. I no longer hate you. Last two books/collections have been great, not disparaging of soccer and not too cocky.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Belladonnaoflavender

    A Highly Specific Defiantly Incomplete History of the 21st century by Chuck Klosterman: A high time read for the highly picky choosy reader-- I read this book last year and today while going through my shelf I attuned to write about this well researched, brain whoop of a book! Bye bye boredom, bring it on #coronarender #coronascare2020 O helloo #quarantine / #Lockdown / #whatever . . Short review: Difficult. Distinct. Groovy. Nothing which can hold you down but your brain is in for a prozac attac A Highly Specific Defiantly Incomplete History of the 21st century by Chuck Klosterman: A high time read for the highly picky choosy reader-- I read this book last year and today while going through my shelf I attuned to write about this well researched, brain whoop of a book! Bye bye boredom, bring it on #coronarender #coronascare2020 O helloo #quarantine / #Lockdown / #whatever . . Short review: Difficult. Distinct. Groovy. Nothing which can hold you down but your brain is in for a prozac attack. Entertaining if you like to read American Psyche. Another one of a longish read. . . A collective collapse of the history surrounding inflating figures through history who once graced the author in some way or the other. There are excerpts, interviews, proses which border on funny to hysterical (sic Historical). Every page is a blast of information. So clear your head, schedule and dive into this. For some, there might be too much going on. Like really. So, discretion is advised and if you still are reading Enid Blyton and Dan Browns, which you think cracks your skull up because it's the most difficult read for you, then please don't read this. This is only for the ones who have EVOLVED as a reader. . . VERDICT: Borrow (so that you can return if the first few pages make your head hobble) . . FOR: The information muncher, the fans of historics. Music lovers. Fans of journalism. Fans of Klosterman. The hungry vicious reader. The unafraid and unapologetic. 

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor Roth

    Chuck Klosterman may be one of the best writers I've had the pleasure of reading. He is, clearly, incredibly smart. One of the most striking things about this collection is I should have hated it - I actively dislike the music he writes about (rock, heavy metal) and I don't have a working knowledge of sports (any of them). There were, of course, some essays that I was predisposed to enjoy - musings Miley Cyrus or The Walking Dead, for example (my favorite essays of his, not in this collection, a Chuck Klosterman may be one of the best writers I've had the pleasure of reading. He is, clearly, incredibly smart. One of the most striking things about this collection is I should have hated it - I actively dislike the music he writes about (rock, heavy metal) and I don't have a working knowledge of sports (any of them). There were, of course, some essays that I was predisposed to enjoy - musings Miley Cyrus or The Walking Dead, for example (my favorite essays of his, not in this collection, are "Billy Sim" and "Death by Harry Potter"). Somehow, though, when Klosterman profiles Eddie Van Halen or processes a bizarre non-interview with Tom Brady, I'm totally engrossed. Even when the topics are not what I would have elected to purchase a book about (I bought the book because I've enjoyed previous work by Klosterman, it was signed, and it's a gorgeous hardback), the writing is engaging, entertaining, and accessible. By accessible, I don't mean watered-down. Certainly, there were numbers and dates and names that went over my head - the ideal audience, I think, is someone who knows more than I do about what Klosterman is talking about - and yet, there was enough for me to stay interested. This is because, as I said, Klosterman is an insanely smart, funny, and talented writer, approaching concepts from angles no one else seems to have thought of. I love pretty much everything I've read of his because I've never heard any of it before. Because everything he says makes me go, "Huh! Now that's interesting..." and I eagerly read on with a smile on my face.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This is a collection of essays and articles published over a span of about a decade. As with any collection, not every essay suited my tastes (I skimmed a few). This was especially true of the interviews, of which I only really paid close attention to those that had subjects in whom I was at all interested. That said, some of the essays are great. This was my first real exposure to Klosterman after hearing him on a few podcasts and having others recommend him to me. I tend to like his writing st This is a collection of essays and articles published over a span of about a decade. As with any collection, not every essay suited my tastes (I skimmed a few). This was especially true of the interviews, of which I only really paid close attention to those that had subjects in whom I was at all interested. That said, some of the essays are great. This was my first real exposure to Klosterman after hearing him on a few podcasts and having others recommend him to me. I tend to like his writing style; it isn't overly formal, but it isn't watered down either. He doesn't seem to think little of his audience or their intelligence and that's respectable. As for his arguments, I give him credit for often thinking of and approaching issues in novel ways. I don't always agree (in fact, I often didn't), but I do usually appreciate and agree with his approach. I frequently found myself thinking something along the lines of "Clever start, but I'd have gone somewhere else with it." All this to say that I can appreciate Klosterman's work even if we don't come to the same conclusions. He provides stimulating commentary on pop culture a step above others. Final note: his review of the Beatles' box set is masterful satire. Disclaimer: I was provided with an Advance Reader Copy of this book for free from the Penguin First to Read program. All opinions expressed in the following review are my own and have not been influenced by Penguin.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    If you care at all about sports or music in any meaningful way, you should read Chuck Klosterman. He has a way of making me care about things I have never cared about at all. I find myself stopping in the middle of an essay to look up statistics of an NBA game (even though I hate the NBA) or to watch a Billy Joel music video (something I thought I'd never do). This collection of essays isn't a great place to start. I like his other collections and essays better, but there are still some really g If you care at all about sports or music in any meaningful way, you should read Chuck Klosterman. He has a way of making me care about things I have never cared about at all. I find myself stopping in the middle of an essay to look up statistics of an NBA game (even though I hate the NBA) or to watch a Billy Joel music video (something I thought I'd never do). This collection of essays isn't a great place to start. I like his other collections and essays better, but there are still some really great reads, like the piece about mental illness in the NBA or the last essay about mourning celebrity death. I could have done without the fifteen page analysis of every KISS album, but even the last few pages of that essay were pretty great. Overall, I enjoyed this book. His writing is just fun to read, period, but this collection felt a little tired and didn't contribute anything mindblowingly original to his body of work. It was just familiar, but that's okay for Klosterman.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    A collection of pieces written by Chuck Klosterman over the last ten years. Much of it appeared in Grantland (what is dead may never die), some of it I had read already. Like with his previous previously published essays collection Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas, I read maybe 65% of this on my first read. I'm rarely interested in the sports stuff and pop star stuff, so I ususally skip it (at least on the first go). Chuck Klosterman is at his most "Chuck Klost A collection of pieces written by Chuck Klosterman over the last ten years. Much of it appeared in Grantland (what is dead may never die), some of it I had read already. Like with his previous previously published essays collection Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas, I read maybe 65% of this on my first read. I'm rarely interested in the sports stuff and pop star stuff, so I ususally skip it (at least on the first go). Chuck Klosterman is at his most "Chuck Klostermaniest" when he's obsessing over (particularly 80s hair metal). Two chapters, one giving baseball-style statistics to musicians and bands, and the other a 10,000 word essay on KISS (including a review of all studio albums, live albums, and solo albums) is at levels we haven't seen since Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story. I was in heaven for these chapters, and most of the rest of the essays I read are also pretty darn good.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paula Lyle

    I believe that Chuck Klosterman is a genius writer and here's why: Of all aspects of popular culture, sports and music are the two that I care about least. I care about sports only if someone I know is playing (my kids). I listen to music and have favorites, but rarely know the musicians involved. (My daughter and I have conversations where she insists that I know the music of a certain group even though I deny this. Sometimes she is right.) That being said: I read this book from cover to cover. I believe that Chuck Klosterman is a genius writer and here's why: Of all aspects of popular culture, sports and music are the two that I care about least. I care about sports only if someone I know is playing (my kids). I listen to music and have favorites, but rarely know the musicians involved. (My daughter and I have conversations where she insists that I know the music of a certain group even though I deny this. Sometimes she is right.) That being said: I read this book from cover to cover. I love to read his writing even when I have little experience with the topics. I find him fresh and entertaining way beyond my connections to actual things he is discussing. That is genius, to me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cesar Marchena

    Was a really great experience with some well chosen articles of Chuck. Most of them talk about Rock Music and American sports -as most of his essays, really- so if you are into them you’ll love this book. If not, it would be better to read something else. Some texts are kind of repetitive and at least three interviews are just OK. I’d definitely recommend ‘What if...’ book instead of this one. However I had a great time while I enjoyed the references he made to the current pop culture.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Josh Peterson

    As always, fun to read a Klosterman book. He's so unique and probably my favorite writer today. My one criticism is an odd one: sometimes I don't care for the music he writes about. But other than that I love pretty much everything else he does. Happy I purchased the actual book. Looks awesome. 8.5/10.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laird Bennion

    Read the audiobook, which is really just crib notes with better commentary and analysis. A terrific peek inside Klosterman's worship of mass media. He's at his best talking about music more than sports. Worth it for the obit of his dad, which was one of the most thoughtful I've read since the Economist Book of Obituaries.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cj Jenkins

    When I was younger I loved everything Chuck Klosterman wrote. I don't know if it's an age thing, or if this anthology just isn't his best work, but I really didn't care for it. To be clear, I'll still buy his next book too.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stevie

    Chuck Klosterman is so good I have now read more about Taylor Swift, Gnarls Barkley, and Tim Tebow than I ever have or will again in my life.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Reverenddave

    Not his strongest collection of essays, those perhaps more hampered by the fact that since they are more recent, I was already familiar with almost all of them.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Grace

    it's an uneven collection but it could have been 80% blank pages plus A Night With the World's Most Hated Bands and the KISS essay and it would still be a 4 tbh

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    I enjoyed reading this. I got something out of each essay.

  30. 4 out of 5

    J.J. Lair

    I knew going in that this was a compendium of older articles and essays. I expected somethings tone out of date. It was still fairly recent articles. The subjects grabbed my attention. The sports didn’t interest me so I cannot rate that. The Pavement essay was good. I went to ITunes after reading the Kiss essays to look up the songs. I’m not big on Kiss, but he made me interested. There are some essays I really liked and some that were slow. Overall, it was worth the time and money.

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