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Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story (2005)

por Chuck Klosterman

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2,065286,861 (3.69)20
For 6,557 miles, Chuck Klosterman thought about dying. He drove a rental car from New York to Rhode Island to Georgia to Mississippi to Iowa to Minneapolis to Fargo to Seattle, and he chased death and rock 'n' roll all the way. Within the span of twenty-one days, Chuck had three relationships end--one by choice, one by chance, and one by exhaustion. The road is hard. From the Chelsea Hotel to the swampland where Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane went down to the site where Kurt Cobain blew his head off, Chuck explored every brand of rock star demise. He wanted to know why the greatest career move any musician can make is to stop breathing...and what this means for the rest of us.--From publisher description.… (más)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 28 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
i realized very early on in this book that i don't like chuck klosterman very much and that i did not need to read about his relationships with hot babes, his search for hot babes, or about the hot babe he was drunk with who dangerously climbed upon a roof top, while he sat there and thought about how weird and exciting it would be if she plummeted to her death, all the while hoping he was going to "get lucky." grrrrr.

also, i don't trust a music writer who, though my age, has never ever bought a vinyl record, and is proud of that. i mean, c'mon ...

there are nice moments here, but they are overwhelmed by all the things that are ... not nice. and the anti-climactic climax is anti-climactic. if you're going to vaguely fictionalize a half-baked idea, at least give me a startling ending.
grrr. ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
Normally I'm not drawn to nonfiction books because I love the notion of other worlds no matter how realistic a book is, but Chuck Klosterman is by far my favorite writer when it comes to Esquire. I figured reading a book by him wouldn't kill me. And it didn't, but did make me realize just how fucked up things can be when you're alone with your thoughts chasing the dead.

But what 85% of this odyssey is fact and what 15% is fiction? I'd like to believe that the whole thing is indeed fact, while some of the dialogue might just be on the spot because, as he mentions early on, he doesn't carry a recorder wherever he goes (I do. Seriously you can ask most of the people who are unfortunate enough to know me).

I know it's pretentious of me to compare my life at the moment with Chuck Klosterman's life during the time he complied the book, but the similarities are too obvious to ignore. Perhaps this is the life of every non-serious guy in the USA. Or perhaps what Klosterman does with music and KISS, I do with literature and books. Who knows. Pick up a copy, if you have the time.

And now a quote: "Are and love are the same thing: It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you. It's understanding the unreasonable." ( )
  ennuiprayer | Jan 14, 2022 |
A quick read (took me a few days of off and on reading) in which the intrepid reporter wanders around the country in a rented Ford Taurus under the pretense of writing stories for Spin magazine about visiting various locations where rock stars died. However, it really is just a long book about these three women he is currently or was previously in love with and how exactly he relates all of his trip to that. It sounds boring, but it's actually fun to read and Klosterman makes fun observations about the places he visit and the people he meets. ( )
  smallerdemon | Jul 5, 2021 |
As a longtime admirer of Chuck Klosterman’s writing on pop music and culture, it pains me to report that his latest book, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story, is a dismal, shoddy piece of work. The premise is promising: Klosterman sets out on a cross-country road trip to visit all of the sites of rock ’n’ roll’s long, rich history of death. It seems a brilliant idea — Klosterman’s combination of irreverence and curiosity make him the perfect candidate to unseat the holy-pilgrimage seriousness (and pathos) of most writing on rock ’n’ roll tragedy.

It doesn’t take long for the project to turn sour. Here’s the problem: Klosterman is used to skating by on the wit and originality of his own personal world-view; in his last collection, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, his observations on MTV, pornography, video games, and so on, emerged from a perspective that led him to some surprising conclusions. There was a sense of play, of intellectual gamesmanship, that was fresh and engaging. In Killing Yourself, however, he’s become self-reflexive to the point where he can no longer discriminate between what is valuable and what is piffle; it’s all self-narrative. If he’s looking at something, he thinks his reaction to it — how it affects him — automatically matters simply because it’s him, Chuck Klosterman, looking at it. He has become too lazy and uninterested to make any serious effort at thinking or observing and analyzing what a specific site or incident might mean, and falls back on relaying what it means to him, at that moment.

The most devastating element here is the incomprehensible decision to let Klosterman devote much of the book to pseudo-Hornby writhing about the three (!) women with whom he’s currently involved (that is, either sleeping with or wanting to sleep with). Aside from being, at times, downright creepy, it’s both lazy and irrelevant: as smart and funny and interesting as Chuck Klosterman is, I couldn’t really give two shits about his love life. His self-absorption on this count goes so far as to include a chapter-long conversation between the three women and himself that takes place entirely in his head. What’s sad is that he seems to realize this; the book closes with an actual, real-world conversation between the author and one of his female colleagues at Spin, who urges him not to become “the female Elizabeth Wurtzel.” At this point, one tends to agree wholeheartedly with the criticism, and Klosterman’s only retort is to tell her that “her disdain can only be voiced if I do the opposite of what you suggest.” It’s pre-emptive critical damage control. It’s embarrassing.

It is unsettling to see how turning Klosterman loose on such a promising theme brings out his worst instincts as a writer, because his feature pieces for Spin are often brilliant. A perfect example was his reporting on the Rock Cruise, one of those only-in-America phenomena wherein 40-year-old couples pay to hear REO Speedwagon and Styx perform on a boat. It is hard to imagine a riper opportunity for superiority and ridicule, yet Klosterman never condescends to these people — working-class Midwesterners who are paying money to see over-the-hill versions of the two of the most reviled bands in rock history — and in the end lends both the bands and fans an odd kind of dignity. It is frustrating to know that the author is capable of such insights and then to slog through 235 pages of crap that wouldn’t make it onto a Weezer B-side. One can only hope Killing Yourself was just something he needed to get out of his system.

From THE L MAGAZINE, July 20 2005 ( )
  MikeLindgren51 | Aug 7, 2018 |
I am a sucker for pop culture and I like to be entertained. This book fit the bill. And yet, I wish the author didn't come off as such a jerk.

Enjoyed the narration and found this audiobook perfect for commuting. ( )
  dariazeoli | Mar 21, 2018 |
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I tell you what's really ridiculous - going into a bookstore and there's all these books about yourself. In a way, it feels like you're already dead. ~Thom Yorke
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The fact that [Sid Vicious] could not do something correctly, yet still do it significantly is all anyone needs to know about punk rock. That notion is punk rock, completely defined in one sentence.
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For 6,557 miles, Chuck Klosterman thought about dying. He drove a rental car from New York to Rhode Island to Georgia to Mississippi to Iowa to Minneapolis to Fargo to Seattle, and he chased death and rock 'n' roll all the way. Within the span of twenty-one days, Chuck had three relationships end--one by choice, one by chance, and one by exhaustion. The road is hard. From the Chelsea Hotel to the swampland where Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane went down to the site where Kurt Cobain blew his head off, Chuck explored every brand of rock star demise. He wanted to know why the greatest career move any musician can make is to stop breathing...and what this means for the rest of us.--From publisher description.

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