Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman

Buy it at

Buy it at

The 150-word Review: To anyone who’s read Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs or his Esquire articles, it’s obvious:  Chuck Klosterman knows pop culture.   Under his lens, it’s as essential-and mundane-as breakfast cereal.  But what if Klosterman turned his eyes on a place untouched by popular culture?  You’d get Owl, North Dakota.

The residents of Owl aren’t much different than the rest of us.  They have the news, soap operas, sports heroes, and entertainments; but instead of CNN, it’s 3PM at the coffee shop, instead of Carrie Bradshaw, it’s the new history teacher at Owl High, instead of John Elway, it’s the local legend (and “the play”), and instead of the WWE, it’s Grendel (the oafish giant) vs. Cubby Candy (the town psycho).  Mixing equal parts Garrison Keillor and Raymond Carver (with a dash of David Sedaris), Klosterman proves that downtown Owl is as fascinatingly banal, otherworldly familiar, and glibly violent as anywhere else.

You will like this book if you’re a fan of: the etymology of nicknames, extreme libertarianism, snow, gin and tonics, hypothetical fisticuffs, cassette tapes, George Orwell, mid-western ennui, coffee, and 8-man football.

Cliff Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Actually Norm, Chuck Klosterman grew up in rural North Dakota and chronicled his experience growing up there as a heavy metal fan in Fargo Rock City.