Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4
( 60 )
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  • Posted August 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Funny, thought-provoking, and entertaining...and a little crazy

    This collection of Klosterman interviews of famous people in American culture, his speculative essays of pop philosophy, and one crazy hilarious unfinished-feeling novella were just plain fun to read. I love his style of writing, which I know many people have to hate, which makes me love it all the more. If you have every liked anything Klosterman has written, you will certainly love this. If you have never liked anything by Klosterman, you will certainly not like this. Fun and crazy. Read a sample of it, and you will find it is a fair and accurate representation of the whole work.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Everything Relevant and Irrelevant

    You know the friend you have that always seems to know everything about the strangest of subjects? Chuck Klosterman is that person. Klosterman knows almost all there is to know about eighties hair metal, the formation of punk, and the texture of chicken nuggets. In IV, Klosterman shows that he has settled nicely into the niche of a pop-culture writer by creating articles over anything and everything, relevant or irrelevant, for magazines like Spin. This book is a compilation of a decade worth of his articles about a variety of subjects.

    His style of writing is very down-to-Earth, like he's talking to a friend, but at the same time it's condescending. Each person he interviews is almost made fun of or turned into a social experiment. For example, while interviewing musician Jeff Tweedy, who later suffered from a nervous breakdown, Klosterman mocks his family-man lifestyle while also saying that Tweedy is a modern Willy Loman, a man who will never live up to his own ideals. For Klosterman, every interviewee is not a person, but a lesson. He finds insight in all of his articles, but I'm not sure there really ever is such an insight. In the Tweedy interview, the musician seems like he's enjoying his life, but Chuck always seems to see a deeper meaning. He twists the quotes of his subjects to fit into his hypotheses about the modern world.

    It feels as if Klosterman is trying to be the guru of modern pop culture, and while he may hold that title, I question if it is well-deserved. The conclusions that he comes to want to have resonance, but they always seem to fall flat and feel rushed. In his novel "Downtown Owl," the same kinds of "deeper meanings" are given, but they have more of a place in a story with characters, than in an interview with celebrities. Klosterman turns his subjects into characters in his own personal novel of life. The interviews are never solely about the interviewee, but always relate to Klosterman's life or the life of everyone in America, like the theme and message of a novel should.

    To me, there is no comment on popular culture in Britney Spears' answers about her perceived Madonna/Whore. They are simply the comments of a young celebrity. But for Klosterman, every subject has something to tell the world about life. I admire his love and quasi-obsession of music and popular culture, but that love makes him sometimes sound a bit condescending towards the reader, as if they are inferior since they aren't obsessed as well. Yes, Klosterman sometimes has valid points and interviews, but the distracting messages and the self-importance distract from that. I would recommend this book to someone who is interested in learning about a variety of subject from music to Nebraska, but won't mind some unimportant themes thrown in.

    3 out of 4 stars.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    chuck, the blogger

    chuck was blogging before blogging was anything. his witty prose about music and the lifestyle will have you in stitches. i read this novel in one sitting, couldn't put it down. if only we could all live such an exciting life

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Chuck is hilarious

    I love reading Klosterman's books and this one was just as fantastic as his others that I've read. His focus is mostly on rock music - heavily from the '70s and early '80s - and sports, specifically NBA basketball, however I still enjoyed his essays about these topics and others that more closely applied to me. The entries provide interesting insight on topics I know a good bit about and also those on which I know very little. I also just really enjoy his writing style and humor, so I'll read anything that he writes.

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