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What are you currently reading?

“I’m reading Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, by Chuck Klosterman.”

Tell me about it.

“It’s not really based on anything — it’s, like, pop culture compared to actual life. In one chapter, he talks about The Real World on MTV; in another, he goes on tour with a Guns N’ Roses tribute band; and then there’s a chapter where he’s coaching a Little League team. It’s random, but he’s a really brilliant writer. I can really relate to the stuff in it because I’m all about pop culture as well.”

Do you have a favorite chapter?

“Probably the one where he goes on tour with the tribute band. Each member of the band has to fit the character of the real band members — the Axl Rose guy hits on every girl in every bar and invites them to the show. There’s a debate about kicking the Slash guy out of the band because his hair isn’t long enough. And the band members talk about how they enjoy making music for people when it’s not really their music. They’re totally comfortable being a fake band. But then they were trying to do the after-party thing and get the girls to go back to their hotel room and it didn’t work because they weren’t Guns N’ Roses. It’s ridiculous.”

Tell me about the style.

“Klosterman uses a lot of profanity. He writes like he’s talking to you — it’s not overly intellectualized.”

What book has been most life-changing for you?

“Probably God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens. I was raised an atheist — my father is an atheist as well. The book opened my eyes to a lot of stuff; I wasn’t educated in any religion, and Hitchens showed how religion poisons things. I’m not trying to talk trash about any kind of religion, but it does affect a lot of things, and it has caused a lot of horrible stuff in this world. He touches on everything: how, basically, it’s the reason for wars and all that other stuff. He’s really educated about religion, and he talks about all of them, not just Christianity. The more I read of it, the more I can grasp the world as a whole.”

Who are your favorite authors?

“I didn’t get into books until last year, so it would have to be Klosterman. I also want to read more Hitchens.”

Do you talk to your friends about reading?

“My ex-girlfriend got me into reading. She gave me Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs for Christmas. She also gave me the Hitchens book. She is the most amazing girl in the world, and she is all about the reading. She basically built my taste for literature.”

What magazines or newspapers do you read?

“The Reader, 944, and Vice. Vice is one of my favorite magazines; they cover streetwear, art, music, and everything. My favorite section is the “Do’s and Don’t’s.” They’ll have random pictures of people on the street and really funny captions. They’ll talk about how an outfit is totally Eurotrash. Sometimes, they’re inappropriate. There’s one where a guy is wearing shorts that are so short that you can see pretty much everything. And 944 gives me really great suggestions for restaurants.

Name: Alan Alzona | Age: 24 | Occupation: Clothing store manager

Neighborhood: Scripps Ranch | Where interviewed: UTC La Jolla

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Jane Belanger Feb. 28, 2008 @ 10:02 a.m.

I'm burning through Klosterman's "Killing Yourself to Live" right now. The guy provides a truly entertaining read. Love his stuff!


Russ Lewis Feb. 28, 2008 @ 11:25 a.m.

He also provides an entertaining listen. Try his self-read audio books -- five discs each, with plenty to keep you entertained during a plane trip or road trip. Sometimes he's an irritating pseudointellectual who thinks "deconstruction" means analysis and who can't pronounce "et cetera" (he says "excedra") and spins elaborate arguments about pop cultural items not because they have any weight but just to give them weight, not because the arguments are true but just because he can, nattering endlessly about the significance of basketball stars or Pamela Anderson's mammaries. But when he's not being a blowhard, he can be a lot of fun.


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