fun fact: he does not own an mp3 player

“I’m only two chapters into his book, but I think I may love John Sellers almost as much as I love Chuck Klosterman.”

This is what I got out of bed at two in the morning to change my away message to after starting Sellers’s book Perfect From Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life. I am pleased to report that the remainder of the book did not let me down. Not the sappy or nostalgic memoir the title forecasts, Perfect From Now On is a recounting of Sellers’s journey from semi-casual Top 40 listener to full-blown Guided By Voices worshiper.

Sellers admits to a musical history that he could have easily buried (and that most indie-lovers would deny), sharing that he created a dance routine to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration”, choosing Sammy Hagar as his first album purchase, and scissor kicking to Duran Duran’s “The Reflex”. These early transgressions serve to temper the later admissions of obsessive fandom.

The presentation and tone of Perfect From Now On is unique and sassy – the 183-page body offers 178 footnotes (many which span for several pages), plus three appendices offering lists of Sellers’s takes on the good, bad, and ridiculous within music, ‘verdicts’ on several musical matters, and a formula to determine a band’s true awesomeness.

And lest we forget some of the priceless bon mots found throughout:

on singing in the car

“I know that whenever I look over and see some goon energetically mouthing the words to a song I can’t hear, I assume the worst: Creed.”

on frat boys playing New Order

“It might be the case that they played New Order because they knew girls would dance to it, because, hey, dancing is a nice prelude to nonconsensual sex.”

As I said: sassy.

Perhaps I enjoyed this book so much because I can relate to Sellers. To the average person his endeavors may seem crazy (or at the very least, ridiculous). To me, they seem perfectly normal and even enviable. My obsession is not as single-minded as his, but for my favorite bands I have spent more money than I can afford to, camped out in ridiculously long lines for tickets (sometimes in cities hours away from my place of residence), and have even driven halfway across the country to see a band that was not breaking up and tours regularly.

The book may be a bit foggy for those unacquainted with the indie music scene, but Sellers’s humor and exhaustive notes make it a fantastic read for anyone who has ever had a favorite band.

Perfect From Now On was published in 2007.

For more info on John Sellers, visit his website.

and this proved ironic, because now billy joel hates me

(Not so) Simply put, this book is so amusing I couldn’t allow myself to read it in public after a semi-embarrassing display in Atlanta Bread Company involving me sitting alone in a corner laughing to myself. The scene was moved to the public library where I continued to sit alone, silently chuckling and turning red from keeping my laughter in.

Chuck Klosterman’s latest contribution, IV, is a three-part book including “Things That Are True”, “Things That Might Be True”, and “Something That Isn’t True At All”.

The first part is filled with excellent pieces concerning topics from U2 and Led Zeppelin (Bono is crazy/awesome, Robert Plant is hilarious) to McDonald’s (“ronald mcdonald is the harvester of sorrow”).

Part two is filled with insightful hypotheticals and opinions on everything from pirates to VH1 Classic.

Faithful Klosterman followers will probably be familiar with many if not all of the essays featured in IV, as they are reprints of articles that appeared in the likes of SPIN and Esquire magazines. However, Klosterman has annotated and/or expanded several of the essays, allowing for a fresh take on them. One of my favorites is in reference to a piece written in 1995 about Fargo’s rock scene, in which he responds to his own writing by saying “Fuck. I was a really, really wretched person.”

IV ends with a piece of short fiction about a journalist whose day is interrupted when a body falls from the sky onto the hood of his car. The plot reminds me a bit of something Chuck Palahniuk would come up with, though the style and tone are clearly that of Mr. Klosterman. The story, You Tell Me, contains the most memorable line from the entire book – “You lose, Anne Frank.” I’ll let you have the pleasure of finding the context from which it came.

You can befriend IV here.