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Killing Yourself to Live


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Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman is an uproariously funny and smart meditation on life, death, celebrity, rock n roll, why the greatest career move any musician can make is to stop breathing . . . and what that means for the rest of us.

About the Author

Chuck Klosterman is the author of the legendary memoir, Fargo Rock City, and Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs. He was born in North Dakota and lives in New York City.


An editor for SPIN magazine, Klosterman (Fargo Rock City) chronicles his journeys to the death sites of notable rock stars. Driving a Ford Taurus stocked with 600 CDs (many of dubious musical value), he begins his quest in New York City at the Chelsea Hotel, where Sid Vicious ostensibly murdered his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Then it's on to Rhode Island to view the scene of the nightclub fire that killed members of Great White, the American South where Duane Allman and members of Lynyrd Skynyrd perished, and Cedar Rapids, IA, to view the field of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Richie Valens's deaths. The trip ends in Seattle at Kurt Cobain's suicide spot. Writing in a stream-of-consciousness style, Klosterman talks more about himself than these famous ghosts; he tells stories about his family, his apparently good-looking female boss, his friends, and mostly his failed love life and doubts about his self-worth. In the process, he delivers a sometimes hilarious but ultimately superficial account of the meaning and challenges of everyday life. Recommended for general readers looking for entertainment. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/05.]-Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"'Big-hearted and direct, bright and unironic, optimistic and amiable, self-deprecating and reassuring.' Bret Easton Ellis"

Klosterman follows up on 2003's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by expanding on an article he wrote for Spin about driving cross-country to visit several of America's most famous rock and roll death sites, from the Rhode Island club where more than 90 Great White fans died in a fire, to the Iowa field where Buddy Holly's plane crashed. Along the way, Klosterman opines on rock music, never afraid to offend-as when he interprets a Radiohead album as a 9/11 prophecy or reminds readers that before Kurt Cobain's suicide, many preferred Pearl Jam to Nirvana. The quest to uncover these deaths' social significance is quickly overwhelmed by Klosterman's personal obsessions, especially his agonizing over sexual relationships. He applies semifictional techniques to these concerns, inventing an imaginary conversation in the car with three girlfriends that becomes the book's centerpiece. This literary cleverness recalls classic gonzo journalism, but also contains a self-conscious edge, inviting comparison to Dave Eggers. Klosterman also worries his neuroses will brand him as "the male Elizabeth Wurtzel," but he needn't fret. Despite their shared subject matter of drug use and cultural musing, Klosterman has clearly established that he has a potent voice all his own. Agent, Daniel Greenburg. (July 19) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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