This release was cause for great excitement, the start of what I like to call Jamie Reads a Whole Lot of Books Published Within 3 Weeks of Each Other Month. It's most exciting because I've heard so many podcasts between Klosterman and Bill Simmons where Klosterman seems like the type of guy who can think on his feet on cultural phenomena like no one I've ever heard before. Plus, I was just excited because I found "Downtown Owl" anathema to me; after the little novella at the end of "Chuck Klosterman: IV," I decided that without question fiction by Klosterman is not my bag.
Like pretty much every person on the planet, I loved "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs," and this is the first book that Klosterman has written in ten years that follows the same basic idea: essays. Generally on culture. Specifically: pop.
What I find myself thinking now that I've finished it is that these essays are all so much smarter, more adult than the essays written in "S, D, & CP." There is definitely something to be said for someone writing in his late thirties rather than as a 27-year-old (says the 29-year-old who fancies herself a writer when the moment strikes). Yet somehow all of these essays felt much more rushed to me. They were clearly more cogent and thought-provoking than earlier work by him, but at the same time they all feel like Klosterman spat them out rapid-fire, without thinking of how they really work together. It was a strange paradoxical reading experience for me.
Loved: the essay on Nirvana and the Branch Davidians, the essay on Weezer/irony/DFW, etc. Did not love so much: the essay on Ralph Sampson. Sort of fall in between on: everything else. Completely baffled by: the "interview" interludes between essays. Who is interviewing? Who is answering? Are they connected to the essay that follows? Well, clearly sometimes they are, but: every time? Generally they are entertaining (especially the "Best Response to X Question" section) but so confusing. So very very confusing.
So in total: Solid. Smart. Fast read. And... that's all I've got, which is disappointing.