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Stranger than Fiction

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3.57  ·  Rating details ·  21,454 ratings  ·  817 reviews
Chuck Palahniuk’s world has always been, well, different from yours and mine. In his first collection of nonfiction, Chuck Palahniuk brings us into this world, and gives us a glimpse of what inspires his fiction.At the Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival in Missoula, Montana, average people perform public sex acts on an outdoor stage. In a mansion once occupied by The Rolli ...more
Paperback, 233 pages
Published May 10th 2005 by Anchor (first published June 15th 2004)
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christy anne Chrissy & Megan Kaysey: Thank you for getting back to me about Chuck Palahniuk"s books of short stories. I read Stranger Than Fiction years ago & I co…moreChrissy & Megan Kaysey: Thank you for getting back to me about Chuck Palahniuk"s books of short stories. I read Stranger Than Fiction years ago & I couldn't put it down so I'm looking forward to reading the books you recommended.. I love his raw style of writing. He doesn't hold back. You can tell he writes for himself instead of polishing what he wanted to write to get approval from publishers.. It's a beautiful form of honesty....(less)

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Average rating 3.57  · 
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Lyn
Jun 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I have often said there is no reason to read fiction as life is far stranger and more interesting and it is this premise that leads award winning and best selling author Chuck Palahniuk to write this compilation of real life oddities and bizarre observations.

Organized into journalistic sketches, Palahniuk describes such things as:

out in the open pornography
wheat field combine demolition derbies
the art of American castle building (there is a castle near where I live that hosts a Renaissance fes
...more
J. Kent Messum

*Official rating is 3.5, but always round up!

Collections of short works are tricky things to review. I say this almost every bloody time I review one. The reason being that each story or article or piece is inevitably pitted against one another in terms of likeability, and by a law of averages certain ones swim while other sink. A talent-fueled tale, followed by an even better one, tends to devalue the first.

This is often the case with Palahniuk's 'Stranger Than Fiction'.

This book was on my rad
...more
vikki
Oct 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i stopped torturing myself at the half way point and burned the book over my stovetop and ate the ashes in hopes of regaining the 3 hours i put in. didn't work. this was one of the worst things i've read since i tutored freshmen in their first writing course.

to anyone who happens upon it and can't resist, here are the only nuggets worth digesting: {you are here} and {the lady}. and i'd say the latter was more so, if only for the quick spill on palahniuk's personal history. also it's worth taking
...more
Francisco
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
You will like this book if you are easily amazed by the things your fellow humans do for fun or to make a living, or to survive or to fend off loneliness and despair' if you are not surprised but what we do to light the flickering light of "I am special". You will like this book if you prefer understatement and no-sentimentality in presentation of the harsh and the painful and the noble, and if you prefer examples of the profane in the presentation of the mysterious and even the mystical. If you ...more
Timothy Urges
Nonfiction Palahniuk. A mediocre collection of essays compared to his fiction. A few pieces are worth reading but most of them are only worth a skim.
Caitlin Constantine
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this way more than I did, as I love stories about the things and the people who occupy the margins of society. Unfortunately many of the essays read like collections of notes, rewritten as to form a cogent narrative, but really lacked that certain something that makes them readable. There were a few times I nearly dozed off during an essay - never a good sign.

HOWEVER. There were two really wonderful pieces that I think made the whole experience worthwhile. The first was about th
...more
Dan
Aug 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Chuck Palahniuk fans
I liked this book.

This is a collection of true stories of very bizarre things that have occurred or occur regularly. They are all as the old adage goes: So strange they could only be true.

In the intro to this book Chuck Palahniuk even admits that he is something of a one trick pony. He views everything in America as the following struggle: We strive to be alone. We fight our way to independence from our fellow human beings by pursuing whatever interest we have, and then we get there and find our
...more
Jonathan Maas
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Though this is Non-fiction, it still delivers the best of Chuck Palahniuk

We all know Chuck Palahniuk right?

Even if you haven't read him, you probably know what he represents.

Henry Rollins

That's not him, that's Henry Rollins, but you get the point.

Palahniuk is the white male that has found a way out of a life of corporate unfulfillment. He is the fellow captured soldier who escaped past the POW fence one night.

Even though you are still in the cage, you cheer him on with your fellow captured soldiers. You wi
...more
Magdelanye
In the spirit of this years motto, to boldly go where my inclinations have never led me to browse,I applied myself to finishing this collection of essays.I had liked the introduction very much but got bogged down immediately in alien territory and put it aside.Although he is better known as a novelist, I reasoned that if I was going to read only one thing by him, this might be the book to give me some kind of perspective on Palahniuks work.I determinined to finish with it already.I started agin ...more
Joaquin
Dec 31, 2007 rated it it was ok
I don't yet have the stomach for Chuck Palahniuk's fiction. I've tried reading pretty much all of his novels and 'Fight Club' is the only one I've been able to finish, and that's because I'd seen the movie and pretty much knew what was going to happen. His writing is just so over-the-top graphic, filled with human suffering and self-loathing that for me they're too much of a mental, emotional, and physical workout to get through. But at the same time I would like to one day be able to read his ...more
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mallory
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I will admit I was a little bored by his demolition car story, and the testicle festival wasn't my cup of tea, but the rest of the (chapters? essays?) I was in love, and as a whole I can definitely say I loved the book. I recommend this to anyone who likes good writing and smart writing and funny writing and isn't a sensitive reader topic/description wise.

Chuck Palahniuk is a genius. He is funny, cohesive, and writes very well: eliminating cloggy words but not going overboard (you know- when you
...more
Eve Kay
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
The high rating is purely because:
This is still one of the good ones from Palahniuk. This is still one of the ones he writes actual sentences and thinks. You can read all the thinking! I truly enjoyed reading about things that I knew to be actual facts, never mind how much I've heard urban legends about fem fight clubs or people choking on food at restaurants for money, I know the stuff Manson said is true coz I've read his book years back.
There is a certain kind of honesty in Stranger than Fict
...more
Laurie
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
Some of the essays were so interesting and others made my eyes glaze over in boredom. There is one rather funny one where Palahniuk flew to Los Angeles to meet with movie executives for Fight Club. For some crazy reason, Palahniuk decided to shave his head the night before but he completely messed it up and had small cuts all over his head and a nasty rash. He essentially looked like he had a terrible skin disease. It was pretty funny, but most of the essays are serious. I listened to this on au ...more
Nicole
Aug 19, 2007 rated it it was ok
So it started out all right, but really crashed and burned in my opinion, maybe because I lost patience. This is a collection of stories, some interesting and indeed, almost stranger than fiction, others average. It is at its best when relating other people's stories, worst when it Palahniuk recording his own musings, which to me seemed as if he's trying too hard, and personal stories, which are not generally strange but seem more the experiences of a person who doesn't want to be well-adjusted, ...more
Mike Kazmierczak
This might be a bit of a cheat but I'm going to consider this one done and finished even though I didn't read the entire book. The problem was that I lost the book before I could finish it. Actually I know exactly where it was last left: in the pocket of my airline seat on a flight to Washington D.C. I just plain forgot it there. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've ever done so. Anyway, if I was truly enjoying the book, I would hunt down a new copy or buy the ebook. However, I wasn't really ...more
Mike Kazmierczak
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This might be a bit of a cheat but I'm going to consider this one done and finished even though I didn't read the entire book. The problem was that I lost the book before I could finish it. Actually I know exactly where it was last left: in the pocket of my airline seat on a flight to Washington D.C. I just plain forgot it there. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've ever done so. Anyway, if I was truly enjoying the book, I would hunt down a new copy or buy the ebook. However, I wasn't really ...more
Stacy Fetters
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"About the third week, the priapism subsided or seemed to spread to my entire body. Weightlifting gets better than sex. A workout becomes an orgy. You're having orgasms, cramping, hot, rushing orgasms in your delts, your quads, your lats, and traps. You forget about that lazy old penis. Who needs it. In a way, it's a peace, an escape from sex. A vacation from libido. You might see a hot woman and think grrrrrr, but your next egg white omelet or set of squats is a lot more attractive."

This is
...more
Carly
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
turns out palahniuk’s nonfiction is just as pretentious as his fiction
Zvonimir
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 star only because I'm envious of all these people he gets to meet at random, that are just so damn unique in their damned destiny.
Sezín Koehler
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was excellent. I particularly loved the essays that talked about Palahniuk's family and childhood, as well as the ones about Marilyn Manson and Juliette Lewis. He's such a talented writer. I love the way he puts things into words and his particular style of sentence construction. It's intoxicating.
Farhan Khalid
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary, american
Lonely Person

All my books are about a lonely person looking for some way to connect with other people

The dream is a big house, off alone somewhere

Writing Novel

You plan and research. You spend time alone, building this lovely world where you control, control, control everything

You stay in your story world until you destroy it. Then you come back to be with other people

Reading a books is not a group activity

In my own cycle, it goes: Fact. Fiction. Fact. Fiction

Journalist and Novelist

The journalist
...more
Erik
Mar 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Palahniuk is right. These essays of his are most certainly stranger than fiction. Just from the every first essay alone, you’re hoping that he’s making all this up. But no. The annual Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival just outside of Missoula, MT, detailed in the aptly-titled “Testy Festy”, is the kind of bizarre and mind-boggling public orgy that you think can – or should, rather – exist only in the most perverted of minds. (The shocking writing and fantasy worlds of Marquis de Sade comes read ...more
David
This collection of non-fiction essays starts you off with a one-two punch in the gut (no surprise for anyone that knows Palahniuk) with pieces including descriptions of sexual exhibitionism and of wrestling injuries. (I literally had to pull over to calm my stomach.)

That being said, (and having got through without any 'projectile' incidents) the reader may then enjoy several enjoyable essays touching on Palahniuk's life pre- and post-Fight Club, as well as a few very enlightening interviews with
...more
Kathryn
Jan 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I missed the pattern to this book the first time around. Part of it is Palahnik's collection of anything he's encountered that he thought could be used. "Fight Club" used a lot of his experiences at a charity hospital, "Survivor" had as many interesting cleaning methods that he could find, and calls to telephone sex numbers ended up, well, everywhere. "Stranger Than Fiction" is a collection of the tidbits that he liked best, or hasn't been able to fit into a novel yet.

But you also need to pay at
...more
Katy
Apr 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
If i could've given this book no stars I would've. I got about three stories in and realized I was forcing myself to read the next story. I ended up skimming through the rest and decided I wasn't missing anything.

I think the book is an interesting concept; this fiction writer writes a non-fiction book about different people and how they live their lives. It's a book of stories to glimpse into how other people live their lives. The problem is, isn't that what books are in general? It's a glimpse
...more
Corinna Fabre
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Here’s a question for you: can Chuck Palahniuk do wrong?? It doesn’t seem so to me. From someone who I associate so strongly with dark, twisted, soulful fiction I have now found dark, twisted, soulful nonfiction as well. Stranger Than Fiction is a masterful blend of storytelling, lecturing and questioning; in every way that Palahniuk explores his stories to find something deeper about them, he does the same to his readers and pushes them to look beyond the ordinary. Through Palahniuk’s way of sp ...more
Aimen
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was strangely good, I didn't like Haunted by him. I'm setting the bars high for Fight Club, and glad I gained a better perception of him. His writing is really good, and interesting. Some of the chapter/story/essays were better than others. In my honest opinion, the first story/essay/chapter was complete utter nonsense, testicle festival? please. The murder of his father, ghost stories, confessions in stone, and introduction were my absolute favourite. It was so intriguing to read abou ...more
Brian Joynt
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Never been too much of a CP fan, but these nonfiction selections of essays, interviews, and human interest pieces ring with honesty and grit. At first it seemed the author was merely identifying stupid people doing stupid things, which I experience enough of on my own throughout the day, but on a deeper level you can feel the heart in the writing, and the heart CP had to muster to describe the often bizarre situations he writes about. A worthwhile read.
Nathan Helgren
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
A nice collection of essays and short stories. Some of them lack the punch of his fiction, but are great tales nonetheless. I especially liked when he got personal and shared some of his life. Well worth the read, but if you are expecting Choke or Suvivor you may want to adjust yout thinking before picking it up.
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Written in stolen moments under truck chassis and on park benches to a soundtrack of The Downward Spiral and Pablo Honey, Fight Club came into existence. The adaptation of Fight Club was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD. The film’s popularity drove sales of the novel. Chuck put out two novels in 1999, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, became Chuck’ ...more

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