Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nathan's 60 second book review: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

After one rather botched attempt at a book club a few years ago (we lasted all of about four meetings), I decided to go ahead and do my very own book club. I will review books selected, read and analyzed by me. They will range from traditional best-seller fiction, obscure non-fiction, classics (yes Michelle, I'll read at least one), beach novels, chick-lit, suspense, to graphic novels, biographies and current affairs.

I promise you no public service of any kind, no deep analytical thought, no searching for themes, motifs or Christ symbolism. What I do promise is that they will be brief and should at least let you know whether or not I liked the book at all. I hope.

Anyway, onto the first episode in Nathan's 60 second book reviews!

Episode 1: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by (Breckenridge's own - he was born there, by Minnesota rules, we claim anyone born, raised, marketed in, flown into or out of Minnesota as our own. We're provincial. Eat it.)

According to The Onion A.V. Club, this book was "One of the brightest pieces of pop analysis to appear this century." Now, while I'm not sure if it's one of the brightest pieces of pop analysis, it's certainly the best (and only) piece of pop analysis I've read this century.

Klosterman rambles from chapter to chapter, covering his takes on such topics as Saved by the Bell, Star Wars, Porn, Pamela Anderson, Guns N' Roses, Alternative Rock, Say Anything, soccer, The Sims, The Real World, Celtics v. Lakers, Vanilla Sky, serial killers and journalism with the wit, banter and pop-culture references to which I have become accustomed in my 31 years on this planet. While I enjoyed these essays, and yes, much to the chagrin of my beloved, I laughed out loud with regularity, the section of the book that really sold it for me was "The twenty-three questions I ask everybody I meet in order to decide if I can really love them."

Now, these questions led to many a lively lunch discussion in the office, but I'm not going to ruin the surprise and give you a head start on determining whether or not Chuck Klosterman can really love you, or if anyone can really love you based upon their answers. Just know that these questions may or may not decide the next President of the United States. I mean, honestly, who cares about war, the economy, climate change, famine or suspension of habeas corpus when what we really want to know is whether Barack Obama or John McCain would save their spouse the pain of a broken collarbone every three years by way of crescent wrench by having every song they hear or sing (to their ears only) sound like it's being performed by the Layne Staley-led Alice in Chains. Okay, so I gave you one. Now for the other twenty-two, you need to check out the book. I highly recommend it.

Coming soon, Episode 2: Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski.

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