I’m on planes a lot this month. When I fly I’ve been reading Chuck Klosterman IV, a collection of his essays on music, sports, and pop culture that have run in Spin, Esquire, NYT magaine, etc. When I get home, this book is going on a short stack of books I keep nearby and read when I need help getting going, just because the writing is so damn good. (other authors in that stack include EB White and Sue Hubbel)
So I’ve spent the better part of several flights in awe of how good Klosterman is, and feeling mildly annoyed that he’s three years younger than me and already managed to put this kind of amazing work together. Damn him for being so sharp and funny and good. Like every great nonfiction writer, his work is fascinating even if you’re not interested in the subject. (I could care less about White Stripes.)
It wasn’t until the plane approached Denver that I realized that if I said this to any of my friends, they would imediately point out that I have written three books and have a fourth in the hopper. I would try to explain how that’s not the same, but it probably wouldn’t make much sense, and it would sound like I was looking for reassurance, which I’m not. Some wruters are just so good, in some very specific and peculiar way, that they just bowl you over and show you something just beyond your grasp, in a way that is both inspiring and irritating at the same time.
I still think Klosterman’s book is better than anything I’ve read in a long time, including–especially–my own books. If you read one book this summer, make it his. Available right now in airports everywhere.