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    Contributors | September 15, 2015

    Mary Karr: IMG Memoir Tutorials with Mary Karr, Lena Dunham, and Gary Shteyngart

    Editor's note: It's been 20 years since the groundbreaking memoir The Liars' Club sent Mary Karr into the literary spotlight with its phenomenal... Continue »
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Pulphead: Essays


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ISBN13: 9780374532901
ISBN10: 0374532907
Condition: Standard
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lukas, October 1, 2015 (view all comments by lukas)
A mostly strong, somewhat eclectic, purposefully idiosyncratic collection of essays from John Jeremiah Sullivan. Sullivan covers a lot of ground, moving from obscure 19th century naturalists to a Christian rock concert to Axl Rose. He seems to want to have it both ways, writing more cerebral, high-brow essays (he's been compared to David Foster Wallace) on scientific subjects, but also overthought, Chuck Klosterman-ish pieces on pop culture like "The Real World" or Michael Jackson. He mostly succeeds, but I don't know if anyone can make a cast member of "The Real World" interesting. "Rock of Ages," which is the Christian rock concert one, and his Axl Rose essay are the highlights, even if he lets Rose off too easily. You might also like Charles D'Ambrosio's "Loitering."
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Katherine Stevens, January 4, 2013 (view all comments by Katherine Stevens)
Best book I read in 2012, hands down.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
anacoluthon, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by anacoluthon)
Inventively written and engaging essays on various species of American weirdness. Not quite as rich with personal voice as DFW's essays, not as charmingly eager to be liked as DFW, but still useful for filling the void left by his death.
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Katherine Stevens, May 25, 2012 (view all comments by Katherine Stevens)
John Jeremiah Sullivan just has the friendliest, most interesting voice. Whether he's talking about the time his house was used as part of the set of One Tree Hill, a Christian music festival, North American cave art, or how animals may all gang up together one day to try to kill us, he is never boring. One of the top American essayists alive.
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Product Details

Sullivan, John Jeremiah
Farrar Straus Giroux
Popular Culture
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.5 x 5 x 0.938 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Biography
Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Journalism » General
History and Social Science » Journalism » Journalists
History and Social Science » Social Science » Essays
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Pulphead: Essays Used Trade Paper
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Product details 384 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374532901 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I love collections of essays. I almost always have one (or two or three) in a pile on my bedside table. But not since I first read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace have I loved a book of essays as much as I loved Pulphead. The subject matter ranges widely, but every essay is great. If you are my friend, you no longer have to wonder what I'm getting you for your next birthday.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The age-old strangeness of American pop culture gets dissected with hilarious and revelatory precision in these scintillating essays. Whiting Award — winning critic and journalist Sullivan (Blood Horses) surveys 10,000 years of intriguing, inexplicable, and incorrigible socio-aesthetic phenomena, from the ancient Indian cave paintings of Tennessee (and their hillbilly admirers) to the takeover of his Wilmington, N.C., house by the teen soap opera One Tree Hill. Along the way he visits a Christian rock festival brimming with fellowship and frog-devouring savagery; witnesses the collapse of civilization in a post-Katrina gas line; hangs out in the professional-partying demimonde of MTV's RealWorld; marches with exuberant Tea Partiers; scouts the animal kingdom's gathering war on mankind; and traces the rise of rocker Axl Rose from his origins as a weedy adolescent punk in the small-town void of central Indiana. Sullivan views this landscape with love, horror, and fascination, finding the intricate intellectual substructures underlying the banalities, the graceful in the grotesque, the constellations of meaning that fans discern amid the random twinklings of stars. Sullivan writes an extraordinary prose that's stuffed with off-beat insight gleaned from rapt, appalled observations and suffused with a hang-dog charm. The result is an arresting take on the American imagination. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Sullivan's essays have won two National Magazine Awards, and here his omnivorous intellect analyzes Michael Jackson, Christian rock, post-Katrina New Orleans, Axl Rose and the obscure 19th century naturalist Constantine Rafinesque. His compulsive honesty and wildly intelligent prose recall the work of American masters of New Journalism like Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe."
"Review" by , "Sullivans essays stay with you, like good short stories...and like accomplished short fiction, they often will, over time, reveal a fuller meaning...Whether he ponders the legacy of a long-dead French scientist or the unlikely cultural trajectory of Christian rock, Sullivan imbues his narrative subjects with a broader urgency reminiscent of other great practitioners of the essay-profile, such as New Yorker writers Joseph Mitchell and A. J. Liebling or Gay Talese during his 60s Esquire heyday ...[Pulphead] reinforces [Sullivan's] standing as among the best of his generations essayists."
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