An excellent reference for those of us who love making lists of our favorite things/best of/etc. Not only are albums greatly represented, but single r...moreAn excellent reference for those of us who love making lists of our favorite things/best of/etc. Not only are albums greatly represented, but single recordings are included in the conversation. Songs like Planet Rock, I Feel Love and I Heard It Through the Grapevine are listed as must-hears.
There's also a very healthy dosage of classical music; while I'm not much of a classical music enthusiast, I did appreciate the inclusion of composers like Samuel Barber and Edward Elgar into the discussion.
This book has compelled me to seek out a few gems I would have never listened to before. (less)
Chuck Klosterman's previous series of essays,...moreFor one take on Eating the Dinosaur, check out Anthony Shafer's review, which kicks ass in it's own way.
Chuck Klosterman's previous series of essays, Chuck Klosterman IV read more like a collection of rarities and half-formed ideas that left me wondering if Klosterman might be more enthralled with his celebrity as perhaps the pre-eminent pop culture essayist alive than being the pre-eminent pop culture essayist.
All those fears were put to rest after reading Eating the Dinosaur. Simply put, Eating the Dinosaur is the finest collection of essays Chuck Klosterman has ever penned. He even addresses those "sell out" fears in the first essay, attempting to reconcile his craft with his celebrity. It doesn't always work, Chuck writes, but there really is no other way.
The essays get better, stronger after that. His essay on the cult of personality surround Kurt Cobain takes a chilling and deadly accurate turn when he makes the link between Cobain and David Koresh, the apocalypse-spewing leader of the Branch Davidians. Not to say that Cobain was gunning for a Waco-style end of days, but both Cobain and Koresh attracted a cult of personality; one completely rejected it, when he should have embraced it, the other embraced it, when he should have rejected it. This essay alone is worth the price of the book.
Yet Klosterman saves his best essay for last; his rumination on the mad ramblings of Ted Kaczinski, aka the Unabomber, may be one of the best essays you'll read in a long time. Klosterman proves here he's not just the best pop-culture essayist alive, but one of the best essayists alive, period.
I felt as if Chuck wrote this book for me. Seriously. I've had conversations like the essays he's penned in this collection.
When an essay on a Christian Rock festival starts off a bit slowly, then suddenly sneaks up on you, you know you've got a skilled essayist grabbing yo...moreWhen an essay on a Christian Rock festival starts off a bit slowly, then suddenly sneaks up on you, you know you've got a skilled essayist grabbing your attention. The first few essays from John Jeremiah Sullivan's collection of essays, Pulphead, do exactly that: keep your attention focused on his narrative shifts and vivid descriptions, all the while aware that the subject matter may or may not be of interest
Halfway through, however, he lost me. The last 3 essays were no longer exercises in narrative strength, but instead a collection of thoughts and ideas that lacked cohesion. And it's not as if the subject matter was of no interest; far from it, actually. Sullivan seems to go on and on and on, without providing the reader a much-needed payoff. Essays that lack compactness should reward the reader, and they never seem to.
A shame, really. I was greatly looking forward to reading this collection. Still, Sullivan's a skilled essayist, but in this case, his essays are often overblown with way too many unfocused ideas, and a narrative pretension that suggests his literary ambitions are getting in the way of his true talents.(less)
In Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone magazine found a voice that legitimized the periodical from its' earliest musical journal trappings. In Rolling S...moreIn Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone magazine found a voice that legitimized the periodical from its' earliest musical journal trappings. In Rolling Stone, Hunter S. Thompson found himself the perfect home from which to fire off breathtaking, foul-mouthed, drug-fueled, and superbly crafted missives against the political and social monsters slowly destroying the American Dream he still believed in. Clearly, the magazine and writer found kindred spirits within one another, forging a mutually beneficial, if often times toxic and irritating, relationship that lasted until the Good Doctor decided Football Season Was Over, and made mouth love to his beloved .357 Magnum.
This collection of HST's works published by Rolling Stone rank as some of the most essential reads of Thompson's illustrious and misbegotten career. Nearly 1/3rd of this collection is dedicated to the stories he wrote while covering the 1972 Presidential campaign, which were later chronicled in the now-legendary Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail 1972. That work is a must-read for anyone interested in the barbaric and incestuous orgy of clumsiness and deceit that is a Presidential campaign.
Later chapters don't seem to have quite the zest that Thompson's earlier missives have, but no matter. Thompson on a bad day was better than 99% of the writers that slavishly came in his wake. There will ever be only one Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
Long may you live, Dr. Thompson. We miss you like fucking crazy. (less)