Chuck Klosterman

reading is FUNdamental


the other day i wrote about my top 5 worship songs. i like top 5 lists. top 10’s are very David Letterman, and top 20’s can be exhausting, besides a top 5 makes you really examine your favorites to get them down to the best.

so with or without fanfare, i present my top 5 books.

5. Fargo Rock City-Chuck Klosterman

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i actually checked this book out of the library and it was my first exposure to the genius that is Chuck Klosterman. his sharp witted essays about his love of Motley Crüe and the bleakness of North Dakota are brilliantly written and connect with the teenagers of the 80’s. he loves this genre of music and you can feel that passion come out in the book.

4. High Fidelity-Nick Hornby

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what? books about music that are my favorites? i wonder why? if you know me, then you know that i love all things English and this extends to my literature. Nick Hornby is as inventive a writer as i’ve read. his characters are so very flawed and very British that you can’t help but hurt with and pull for them. actually the idea for “top lists” comes from this book as it is a theme that weaves throughout. the main character, Rob, is an audiophile and has an extensive collection of vinyl and that makes me smile. he continually ascribes songs to feelings and ideas. music is rich throughout this book and Hornby writes from a level of expertise in a wonderfully relational style. side note, i like John Cusack in the movie version, but i hate it when Hollywood takes English novels and “Americanize” them.

3. No Country For Old Men-Cormac McCarthy

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oh, how i love Cormac McCarthy. i actually read a few of his books from the library. i started with All The Pretty Horses.  i picked this one up on a return trip and was mesmerized from the title page. Anton Chigur is the embodiment of evil. the character was so scary in the book that i had to remember that i was reading a work of fiction and not a real crime novel. the inner dialogue that Sherriff Ed Tom Bell provides in the interludes of action are beautifully rough and simple. i grew up in the region that the book is set in which makes it all the more real to me. when he describes the sheriff’s office in Sonora, or the open range where the drug deal gone wrong takes place, i can truly see it. masterful prose from a reclusive genius.

2. Chasing Francis-Ian Morgan Cron

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this book was recommended by Randy Elrod and i actually got to sit with the author at a SuperBowl party in Nashville in 2010 and talk about how awesome Led Zeppelin is. this book details the journey of a pastor named Chase who becomes disillusioned with his church and accepts an invite to visit his uncle in Italy where he has some supernatural experiences in the areas where St. Francis of Assisi lived and worked. it is a rich novel and Cron weaves beautiful ideas about life and God into the fictional story of this man who is struggling with who he thinks God is. you might also want to check out Cron’s book Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me (a memoir of sorts)

1. The Chronicles of Narnia-The Last Battle-C.S. Lewis

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i fell in love with this series at a young age. there was an old linen bound collection at the Dublin Public Library, and i spent the summer between fourth and fifth grade becoming well accustomed to the wilds of Narnia. actually the whole series is precious to me, but this book especially has my heart. because in this book, Aslan, my favorite literary character of all time, reaches the culmination of who he really is throughout the series. don’t laugh, but i seriously cry when Aslan appears in the books. some of my favorite prose that Lewis wrote is in this book.

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

so tell me your top 5. what do you like to read? and give me ideas for future top 5’s.

i don’t always write about….


church or the Christian life in general.

i think so many people compartmentalize faith and worship and life.  i fight not to do that.  i mean i work at a church….there are so many directions i could go with that, but i won’t.  instead i will treat you to a passage from one of my favorite authors Chuck Klosterman.

The best response to a police officer who’s just asked the question, “Have you been drinking tonight?”

“That’s a great question, and I totally understand why you’re asking it.  I can see where you’re coming from, sir.  I realize my behavior seems a little erratic.  I smell vaguely of alcohol.  I’m in a motor vehicle, and it’s three o’clock in the morning.  It’s a unique circumstance.  But I’m not intoxicated.  I’m distraught.  I’m a hyper-emotional person who can’t accept the inherent unfairness of the universe.  Have you ever read Arthur Schopenhauer?  You know, that dead German pessimist?  He once said that the vanity of existence is revealed in the form that existence assumes:  in the infiniteness of time and space contrasted with the finiteness of the individual in both; in the fleeting present as the sole of all things in which actuality exists; in the contingency and relativity of all things; in continual becoming without being; in continual desire without satisfaction; in the continual frustration of striving of which life consists.  Crazy, right?  I don’t really get what he’s saying.  But I do know this, officer:  That’s how I feel all the time.  And to make matters worse, I’m an insomniac.  I haven’t slept more than two hours in any given night since I was sixteen.  That’s why I’m awake right now, wandering the roadways of quasi-reality, living my wretched, vampiric existence.  I suppose you could say I was suicidal, but too depressed to kill myself.  And then, when I saw the rolling blue lights of your squad car in my rearview mirror, I realized nothing I could say or do would reflect positively on my condition.  The game was over.  I’ve lost.  Why fight it?  I pulled over to the side of the road, depressed the parking brake, turned off my vehicle, and imbibed one full shot of Bombay gin, which I happen to keep in the glove box of my car, precisely for this type of situation.  That is the alcohol you smell.  In fact it’s still coating the inside of my mouth.  Which also means if you give me a Breathalyzer right now, the remnants of the alcohol will still be there, so I’ll fail the test, even though I’m not intoxicated.  So–to answer your original question–yes.  I have been drinking.  I’ve had exactly one drink tonight, thirty seconds ago, in response to the hopelessness of existence.  Do I still need a lawyer?”  Chuck Klosterman from Eating the Dinosaur

so, do you think that would get the driver out of the DUI?

i’m a huge fan of Chuck Klosterman…


and will probably use my Border’s rewards points to get his new book.

i was first exposed to his work when i checked Fargo Rock City out of the library.  i quickly purchased other books of his.  i liken him to a modern day Jonathan Swift when it comes to the art of the satirical essay.  his essays range in topic from Britney Spears to why he hates soccer.  he delves into the racial and socio economic implications of the Lakers/Celtics battles of the 1980’s.  then sometimes he just writes about the fact that he has a drinking problem.

this however is why i like Chuck Klosterman.  no matter what he writes about….it’s always painstakingly authentic and as true as he can be.  he doesn’t hold back to give us nice saccharine overloaded stories.  he gets to the dirty, bottom of the the facts.  i think that’s what i enjoy.  he wants you to be shocked, to disagree with him, to write him angry letters telling him how you feel (well he may not like angry letters, but in my imagination i picture him getting hate mail).

so i invite you to check out Fargo Rock City, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, or IV, and if you disagree with me, well….we can still be friends.  i think that’s how Chuck would like it.

(BTW, i was going to devote a post today to how HORRID Taylor Swift performed on the Grammy Awards Show last night, but decided i’d rather write about something that i like.)