Chuck Klosterman and a kinda, sort of review

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Chuck Klosterman also has a pretty good podcast that just came out.

My attempt to contextualize my reading habits through a local born author

I was in the Twin Cities about five years ago pretending to be cool in the uptown Book Store Magers and Quinn. I found a book called “I Wear the Black Hat” by Chuck Klosterman. At that point, I did not know how weird this happenstance would be.

The book was good. So good, I recommended it to someone that I knew would appreciate the topics he was writing about. It was such a fun read bringing together seemingly different stories together using unique writing and interesting cognitions to create a flowing theme.

What I really enjoyed about his writing at the time was that he was doing what I felt like I was doing in my head. Connecting different stories in my head to create some sort of world view or some sort of truth. For an 18-year-old, that made sense.

As an aspiring writer, the use of voice and story was inspiring and engrossing but I felt, as I do with most high-level-media writing, distanced. This was NY writing, something that you could only obtain by going to a fancy college on the east coast. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Spin Magazine and the Guardian. These are publications a fledgling writer can only dream of getting a rejection letter from.

Needless to say, I didn’t do my research. Upon picking up his new book “X A Highly Specific Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century,” I read a chapter that describes an unknown basketball game that took place in, wait for it, North Dakota. 

Chuck grew up in Minnesota and went to school at the University of North Dakota. Something that in my world view seemed like a limiter to success in my field. This is not really my opinion as much as a fear of mine, that deep down I’m doomed in the most self-defeating way.

I have grown a lot since I read “I Wear the Black Hat.” I have met extraordinary writers and extraordinary people around Fargo and I have learned to rail against the type of self-pity and self-importance from that time. 

I no longer hold in high regard writers who have opinions. This does not mean that I did not enjoy Chuck’s book, or that I don’t aspire to reach his success, it just means I skipped around a little bit, I didn’t hang on every word. If you gasped at this statement, wait for a second and I’ll explain.

I know what I’m interested in, and when a book focuses on a broad array of topics, I do not mind taking control of my own time and skipping the sections that I don’t care about.

I hope I’m not alone in this weird obsession with how I consume media. But judging by the number of people that I have met with “book anxiety” I do not think I am. 

We live in an era when people are speeding up media like podcasts and audiobooks to take in information at a faster rate. The hype around this may be saying younger people are learning fast but to me, this feels almost dystopian.

We have almost found a way to ruin learning for fun, becoming college androids hell-bent on being the person at the party who has read every book and listened to every new podcast. 

I have nothing against people who do this, I partially envy their almost insane resolve to stay up-to-date. But if you’re like me and anxiety is a real motivator, please slow down and read what you want at a pace that we can call human. And if you’re worried that you live in the wrong place, I sympathize.

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