Friday, September 29, 2006

Book-A-Day #74 (9/29): Killing Yourself To Live by Chuck Klosterman

Klosterman wandered across the USA for about three weeks in the summer of 2003, trying to see as many places that rock stars died as possible and then making some sense out of it all. The resulting book isn't about rock music directly all that often, but it's about caring about music, and relating everything in your life to music, all the time. If you have no interest in popular music, this is not the book for you. (But I'm very far from plugged into the current scene, either hip or popular, so you don't need to be a music geek to love Killing Yourself To Live.)

Klosterman is the kind of guy who can -- and does -- equate all of his girlfriends and crushes to the members of KISS that he thinks they are the equivalent of, and he's also the kind of guy who has an encyclopedic knowledge of KISS, only in part because they're his favorite band. So this book is sort of a non-fictional road trip version of High Fidelity -- which is to say, it's also about a music obsessive, but otherwise the shape of the book is very different.

Killing Yourself To Live ends up mostly being about Klosterman's love life, but he digresses a lot, and he's the kind of writer whose digressions are endlessly entertaining. (Reading it, I thought of at least five wildly divergent things to say about it here, but I've now forgotten them all.) I enjoyed this book a lot -- I dragged it around the house the last two evenings to keep reading it, which I hardly ever do -- and I'm going to try to find Klosterman's other three books. And, for an editor, there's no higher recommendation than "I plan to spend more of my own money on this guy's books."

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