#7 A Review of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

Cover ImageI need to preface my entire review by stating that Klosterman is one of the most thought-provoking authors I’ve ever read.  He has written several books (Eating the Dinosaur, Killing Yourself to Live, Downtown Owl) showcasing his wide array of knowledge of all things pop culture related.  He is quite simply an expert on pop culture.
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is a book comprised of short essays about everything from Saved By The Bell and the Sims to the Celtics/Lakers rivalry and Star Wars.  There is literally no subject that Chuck does not know/write about. 
I always find it difficult to rate/review a book that is comprised of essays or short stories because there really is no narrative.  Each story is its own entity and there may be some that are amazing and then some not so amazing.  I enjoyed about half of the essays in this book because I was knowledgable enough to understand the pop culture referenced in them.  His essay on the computer game The Sims was by far my favorite.  He writes an entire essay comparing  his real life, to that of his “SimChuck.”  It’s hysterical.  Reading the essay brought me back to the days when I would play the Sims, and his interesting allegory between the life of his “SimChuck” and his own was intriguing.  He compared his own wants and needs with that of “SimChuck”, and found that although “SimChuck” lived in a two-dimensional space which “real” Chuck controlled, they were actually not very different.
His essays on the Real World was also very poignant as he enters into a discussion on how reality television can never be truly reality after its first season.  He uses the first season of the Real World as evidence, stating that the first season was so boring because people were actually just being themselves and not playing a character they thought they needed to play to get air time.  It’s a very interesting thought, one that I have had myself on occasion.
I found myself struggling to get through the essays on sports (most specifically the Lakers/Celtics rivalry).  It’s apparent in Klosterman’s writing that he is a huge sports fan, which puts a damper on some essays for me as I’m the complete opposite.  Discussing coaches and players and fan bases were just lost on me.  I tried to slug my way though that essay, thinking that it would contain portions that would be amicable to non-fans like myself, but it was difficult.  Although Klosterman made parallels linking the Lakers/Celtics rivalry to other great rivalries and events in history, his references sometimes became too specific or were referencing things of which I had no knowledge, like additional sports facts and events.
I give Klosterman a ton of credit for being able to discuss (in infinite detail) the effect of Madonna and Pamela Anderson in the same book as a detailed analysis of sports legends and a ton of historical facts.  The man is clearly a sponge of information, yet I feel that it’s sometimes too much information leaking out.  (As a note, Barnes and Nobles offers Nook customers each of the essay’s found in this book separately for .99.  If you are interested in checking them out, please contact me and I can recommend some for you based on your interests!)
I’d like to end my review by asking that you not read this review and swear off Klosterman for life.  His book Killing Yourself to Live is written in a more narrative style and is amazing!  It chronicles his journey across the US to find out why musicians become legends when they die early.  It’s an incredibly interesting book, one that I highly recommend. 
3 out of 5 stars
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman
Simon and Schuster Adult Publishers (2004)
Paperback 272 pages
ISBN: 9780743236010
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For other books written by Chuck click here

The Weekly Roundup – Week 5

So I’d like to start my weekly roundup this week with the hope that everyone had a great holiday!

Belle and Sebastian (Our cats)

Last Wednesday I did a mini-happy hour with some friends from work.  Our offices were closed on Thursday and Friday so it was just a little way to start the holiday for us.  After we hung out for a bit Todd and I headed off to Home Depot to go pick out our Christmas tree.  Todd and I do fake trees because of the cats.  We had a small little apartment tree the past two years, but have out grown it now.  With our new tree in hand we headed home to get it set up and into its base.  With that all settled I began packing for our overnight trip to Jersey. 

Thursday morning we got up and watched a majority of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while getting ready.  We hopped in the car and started the trek down to Jersey.  We hit major traffic on the Garden State Parkway but we got to Todd’s parents house with time to spare!  After a short respite from all the traveling we hopped in the car again, this time to Todd’s Aunt and Uncle’s house.  We had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner with them and got back to Todd’s parents around 11pm.  Todd’s little cousin Sarah (who is the most adorable thing ever) kept us busy the whole trip, so as soon as we got back it was straight to bed.

Our Christmas Tree

Friday morning we headed up to my parents house (half hour away from Todd’s parents) to help them decorate a bit for Christmas.  We had lunch with my best friend Stephen and then continued with the decorating.  We had a Thanksgiving buffet for dinner with my parents, Grandma, and Aunt Barbara, and then it was back up to Connecticut.  Todd and I made it back to our apartment around 6pm and started getting all of our own Christmas stuff out.  I started blasting the holiday CD’s and decorating our tree.  Adam came over and we had some eggnog and got in the spirit. 

Christine and Me

Saturday was a great day as my sister Christine and her fiancée Jason stopped by on their way down from Cape Cod.  (They live in Manhattan but went up to the Cape to spend the holiday with Jason’s family)  So over they came for lunch with their two dogs Ethan and Chelsea. It’s always hysterical to see the dogs and cats react with each other.  Sebastian tries to act all brave, but as soon as a dog gets near him he freaks out!  We all just hung out, had lunch, and randomly watched the end of Flashdance.  (It was on TV, don’t ask)  Todd and I also watched Brothers later on in the day. WHOA good movie.  I highly recommend it!

On Sunday Todd and I drove to Providence to see Jen, another of our really good friends.  We hung out and got lunch together had bubble teas, and walked around for a bit before heading to the largest liquor store I’ve ever seen.  As most of you know from Todd’s posts he is a HUGE beer fan. This liquor store had almost half  the store dedicated to just beer.  You could mix and match tons of beers from small breweries across the country.  We picked a bunch of beers and loaded the car up.  We headed back and made it home by 6.  It’s only been two days and I think I drank all the beers I picked out.  Todd can tell you more about them in his post, but I’m already counting the days to see when we can head back to that liquor store!

Somehow in the midst of everything that has gone on in the past few days I’ve managed to read three graphic novels.  I was definitely on a graphic novel kick this week.  Sense and Sensibility, The Walking Dead Volume 1, and Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography. I owe you all a review on the last one. 

With December here it’s time to kick into an even higher gear. (I didn’t know I had any more to kick into)  I’ve read 80 books, leaving 20 for December.  I looked back at my totals and realized I had read 12 for the month of November.  I will absolutely die if I make it to 92 books and fail my challenge by 8 books.  If anyone has recommendations for short fast reads let me know.  I’m in the middle of two books right now (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and Fifth Avenue 5AM) and am really hoping to complete them in the next day or two. 

Totals: 80 books read, 20 to go.  Here I go.

Happy Reading!