Klosterman, Chuck. Eating the Dinosaur. 2009.
Eating the Dinosaur was a Christmas present last year, and I haven't gotten around to it until now. Why? First, it takes me essentially forever to get around to anything (unless I have little else to read), and second, it's Klosterman. Mind, I like Klosterman quite a lot, but I still haven't finished the other work of his that I own (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs). But we were leaving for New York (still here, btw), and I needed to pack relatively light (since the cat coming along meant we had to make a lot of room for his stuff). So that meant not bringing Deed - it's kind of huge - and picking up something that I can read intermittently and not feel bad about not finishing. What the hell, says I, I haven't even finished Klosterman's LAST book, and I don't feel bad about that. So why not bring this one.
I finished it. And I liked it. I liked it a lot.
Eating the Dinosaur, like Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, is all about cultural analysis - specifically, pop culture analysis. In Eating the Dinosaur, Klosterman examines everything from Nirvana to the Unabomber to laugh tracks to professional sports to time travel and raises questions (and some answers) concerning what some people call "the human condition" (namely the crap that keeps people thinking late at night). And it's all pretty fascinating stuff. But I enjoyed it much more than Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. I figure I must, because I actually FINISHED Eating the Dinosaur, and I finished it very quickly.
I suppose the primary difference is while Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is Klosterman's self-proclaimed late night book, written late at night while he's thinking late at night (about the human condition!), Eating the Dinosaur feels more like it's written the next day, with notes from the night before but the clarity of a good night's sleep. As always, Klosterman writes in a very casual style, but now his writing is tighter, his theses clearer, and his explanations are easier to follow.
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs suffers greatly from Klosterman's meandering - as a result, there were whole sections of the book that I just didn't CARE about, so I skipped whole pages. Sometimes I even skipped chapters (but everyone should read his chapter on the Sims, because it's BRILLIANT.) Eating the Dinosaur didn't suffer from this: he has an entire chapter about football, which I followed (and I don't give a flying crap about football) because I was interested in his thesis early on and he explained various aspects and rules well enough for me to follow. At the end of the chapter, I was glad that I did.
Anyway, if I were to recommend one Klosterman book, Eating the Dinosaur is it. If you're interested in pop culture analysis, this is a very good read. It also probably helps that I agree with Klosterman more often in Eating the Dinosaur, but then, I always did interpret When Harry Met Sally a little differently than most people. (And pick up Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs anyway, for that Sims chapter!)
Next: No idea yet. I have a Salman Rushdie novel here - Luka and the Fire of Life - it's supposed to be a sequel to Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Maybe I'll get to it before I go home.