Friday, April 11, 2014

Everyone looks good in black

Book: I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)
Author: Chuck Klosterman
Published: 2013 (Scribner)
Pages: 199

My only other introduction to Chuck is his amazing crazy motivation essay for writers, and as such I don't think it's unfair to say I went into this book expecting way more zaniness than I actual found.
I feel bad about saying this disappointed me, because Chuck does some in-depth analysis of what makes a villian and how we treat them in both pop culture and history, and he does a great job of choosing subjects to highlight how unevenly the title is distributed.

 But. But some of the logic is overly twisty, and guys. Guys. Listen here. I don't care about sports. I really don't. Chuck almost convinced me with about four words on football coaches, but by the time I got to the end of the sentence I didn't have an answer as to why I should care about people who move balls around for a living. (Yes, major simplification. Yes, semi-hypocritical because why do I care so much about reading when it's learning about the lives and characters of people who don't even exist and yes, something-something-lets-us-discover-and-express-the-human-condition-siss-boom-bah.) It's just not my thing, and he narrowly failed in making me care, and that is about 85% my own prejudice anyway.

 So I guess what I'm saying is I can't decide if I liked reading this book or not. It's on my to-checkout list*, and I picked it at the time I did because I thought it'd be a fun mid-week essay excursion, and it was just a little more serious than I wanted it to be. Back to the library for more appreciative folk to discover its insights, I suppose.

 *I'm at a decision crossroads here, guys. I told you about that one afternoon I spent going through all of the library's website's New Arrivals posts and listing 200 of my closest picks to be checked out and read. I've mentioned more than once that my car is sprouting extra reads from my volunteer credit at the bookstore pretty much every week and that the only reason my apartment is getting any better at that is through stricter reading discipline than is sometimes fun (very mild OCD tendancy to have to read EVERYTHING I buy vs. the stress of that). So should I just chuck my to-checkout list and use the library as a spontaneous reading relief valve? I kind of feel like that would be best, but I also kind of still want to read all the books on my list, so if you have any suggestions on how to reconcile these two impulses, please let me know.

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