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Non-Fiction

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Chuck Palahniuk's world has been, well, different from yours and mine. The pieces that comprise Non-Fiction prove just how different, in ways both highly entertaining and deeply unsettling. Encounters with alternative culture heroes Marilyn Manson and Juliette Lewis; the peculiar wages of fame attendant on the big budget film production of the movie Fight Club; life as an Chuck Palahniuk's world has been, well, different from yours and mine. The pieces that comprise Non-Fiction prove just how different, in ways both highly entertaining and deeply unsettling. Encounters with alternative culture heroes Marilyn Manson and Juliette Lewis; the peculiar wages of fame attendant on the big budget film production of the movie Fight Club; life as an assembly-line drive train installer by day, hospice volunteer driver by night; the really peculiar lives of submariners; the really violent world of college wrestlers; the underground world of anabolic steroid gobblers; the harrowing circumstances of his father's murder and the trial of his killer - each essay or vignette offers a unique facet of existence as lived in and/or observed by one of America's most flagrantly daring and original literary talents.


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Chuck Palahniuk's world has been, well, different from yours and mine. The pieces that comprise Non-Fiction prove just how different, in ways both highly entertaining and deeply unsettling. Encounters with alternative culture heroes Marilyn Manson and Juliette Lewis; the peculiar wages of fame attendant on the big budget film production of the movie Fight Club; life as an Chuck Palahniuk's world has been, well, different from yours and mine. The pieces that comprise Non-Fiction prove just how different, in ways both highly entertaining and deeply unsettling. Encounters with alternative culture heroes Marilyn Manson and Juliette Lewis; the peculiar wages of fame attendant on the big budget film production of the movie Fight Club; life as an assembly-line drive train installer by day, hospice volunteer driver by night; the really peculiar lives of submariners; the really violent world of college wrestlers; the underground world of anabolic steroid gobblers; the harrowing circumstances of his father's murder and the trial of his killer - each essay or vignette offers a unique facet of existence as lived in and/or observed by one of America's most flagrantly daring and original literary talents.

30 review for Non-Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    I have often said there is no reason to read fiction as life is far stranger and more interesting and it is this premise that leads award winning and best selling author Chuck Palahniuk to write this compilation of real life oddities and bizarre observations. Organized into journalistic sketches, Palahniuk describes such things as: out in the open pornography wheat field combine demolition derbies the art of American castle building (there is a castle near where I live that hosts a Renaissance fes I have often said there is no reason to read fiction as life is far stranger and more interesting and it is this premise that leads award winning and best selling author Chuck Palahniuk to write this compilation of real life oddities and bizarre observations. Organized into journalistic sketches, Palahniuk describes such things as: out in the open pornography wheat field combine demolition derbies the art of American castle building (there is a castle near where I live that hosts a Renaissance festival every year) fun with anabolic steroids the secret, hidden sex life of submariners the politics of solitude modern philosophy of Marilyn Manson the applied, visionary genius of Ira Levin and many more. All the sketches are good and frequently Palahniuk hits a chord and becomes very good.

  2. 5 out of 5

    J. Kent Messum

    *Official rating is 3.5, but always round up! Collections of short works are tricky things to review. I say this almost every bloody time I review one. The reason being that each story or article or piece is inevitably pitted against one another in terms of likeability, and by a law of averages certain ones swim while other sink. A talent-fueled tale, followed by an even better one, tends to devalue the first. This is often the case with Palahniuk's 'Stranger Than Fiction'. This book was on my rad *Official rating is 3.5, but always round up! Collections of short works are tricky things to review. I say this almost every bloody time I review one. The reason being that each story or article or piece is inevitably pitted against one another in terms of likeability, and by a law of averages certain ones swim while other sink. A talent-fueled tale, followed by an even better one, tends to devalue the first. This is often the case with Palahniuk's 'Stranger Than Fiction'. This book was on my radar for years. Someone bought it for me last Christmas and I finally got around to diving in. I dig Chucky P quite a bit, enough to cite him as a writing influence of mine. Generally, there is a mixed response to his books and subject matter, but I've always admired his minimalist style and the way he strolls through territory where other writers fear to tread. However, his shock and awe tactics can get a bit transparent at times. Like a lot of his works, 'Stranger Than Fiction' is no different in this department. For example, the first story you encounter is called 'Testy Festy'. It's about the Red Creek Lodge Testicle Festival, and an all-out in-your-face collage of blowjobs, handjobs, and crude lewd public sex acts in a nudist campground setting. It's signature Palahniuk, acting as a gatekeeper of a story that will make a number of readers put the book down before they've gotten through the first few pages. If you can get past that one, you'll be fine. The rest of this collection of non-fiction shorts offers some incredible insight to Palahniuk's considerably different, sometimes slightly demented, world. The book is divided into three sections: People Together, Portraits, and Personal. There is so much variety to take in, but it does have its problems. And those problems will often boil down to what you personally find interesting or engaging. I loved reading about the author's life in 'Personal', his trials and tribulations, successes and failures. Mostly, it's his own eclectic experiences with family, friends, loss, steroids, shitty day-jobs, sickness, and writing that I found most fulfilling. A lot of the 'People Together' stuff was pretty great too; a combine harvester demolition derby, a collection of American DIY castle builders, the wrecked world or amateur wrestling, uncomfortable life aboard a US nuclear submarine. These stories couldn't be more different from one another. The spectrum covered is as wide as it is odd and interesting. But the 'Portraits' section was often a let down for me. I can't fault Palahniuk too much for this, as most of them were gleaned from interviews with famous folk, and an article can only be as good as its subject. Let's just say I didn't really care about Juliette Lewis before I read Chuck's article about her, and I certainly couldn't give a shit about her afterward. Ditto for Marylin Manson and a couple others. There were other slight annoyances, like the mentioning of "Brad Pitt" a little too often throughout the book or Palahniuk occasionally passing judgement on people or topics that felt a bit unfair, particularly in the face of evidence that suggested his conclusions were wrong or weak. I think the people who will mine the most profit out of 'Stranger Than Fiction' are writers themselves. There is a lot we writers can relate to in this book, and it's always a treat to be invited inside a successful author's head to be granted insight alongside memories recovered/analyzed. If you're at all a fan of Chuck Palahniuk, 'Stranger Than Fiction' makes a great companion to whatever collection of his books you already possess.

  3. 4 out of 5

    vikki

    i stopped torturing myself at the half way point and burned the book over my stovetop and ate the ashes in hopes of regaining the 3 hours i put in. didn't work. this was one of the worst things i've read since i tutored freshmen in their first writing course. to anyone who happens upon it and can't resist, here are the only nuggets worth digesting: {you are here} and {the lady}. and i'd say the latter was more so, if only for the quick spill on palahniuk's personal history. also it's worth taking i stopped torturing myself at the half way point and burned the book over my stovetop and ate the ashes in hopes of regaining the 3 hours i put in. didn't work. this was one of the worst things i've read since i tutored freshmen in their first writing course. to anyone who happens upon it and can't resist, here are the only nuggets worth digesting: {you are here} and {the lady}. and i'd say the latter was more so, if only for the quick spill on palahniuk's personal history. also it's worth taking into account that i didn't read much past the second section of portraits where the mental yawns became unbearable.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Francisco

    You will like this book if you are easily amazed by the things your fellow humans do for fun or to make a living, or to survive or to fend off loneliness and despair' if you are not surprised but what we do to light the flickering light of "I am special". You will like this book if you prefer understatement and no-sentimentality in presentation of the harsh and the painful and the noble, and if you prefer examples of the profane in the presentation of the mysterious and even the mystical. If you You will like this book if you are easily amazed by the things your fellow humans do for fun or to make a living, or to survive or to fend off loneliness and despair' if you are not surprised but what we do to light the flickering light of "I am special". You will like this book if you prefer understatement and no-sentimentality in presentation of the harsh and the painful and the noble, and if you prefer examples of the profane in the presentation of the mysterious and even the mystical. If you like to sense the writer's hard lived experience in what you read, you will like this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I liked this book. This is a collection of true stories of very bizarre things that have occurred or occur regularly. They are all as the old adage goes: So strange they could only be true. In the intro to this book Chuck Palahniuk even admits that he is something of a one trick pony. He views everything in America as the following struggle: We strive to be alone. We fight our way to independence from our fellow human beings by pursuing whatever interest we have, and then we get there and find our I liked this book. This is a collection of true stories of very bizarre things that have occurred or occur regularly. They are all as the old adage goes: So strange they could only be true. In the intro to this book Chuck Palahniuk even admits that he is something of a one trick pony. He views everything in America as the following struggle: We strive to be alone. We fight our way to independence from our fellow human beings by pursuing whatever interest we have, and then we get there and find ourselves lonely, and must reacquaint with our fellow humans. I agree with him, this is the lense that he views everything through, and it is getting annoying in his fiction literature. But these stories, these are true stories. And I think that his writing style is very aptly applied to these stories and telling them. Long story short: Chuck Palahniuk's writing style is best applied to nonfiction. I read this book because I was staying for a week on the Oregon coast with my family. It seemed appropriate because Chuck Palahniuk is from portland. Also, this book seemed interesting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Constantine

    I wanted to like this way more than I did, as I love stories about the things and the people who occupy the margins of society. Unfortunately many of the essays read like collections of notes, rewritten as to form a cogent narrative, but really lacked that certain something that makes them readable. There were a few times I nearly dozed off during an essay - never a good sign. HOWEVER. There were two really wonderful pieces that I think made the whole experience worthwhile. The first was about th I wanted to like this way more than I did, as I love stories about the things and the people who occupy the margins of society. Unfortunately many of the essays read like collections of notes, rewritten as to form a cogent narrative, but really lacked that certain something that makes them readable. There were a few times I nearly dozed off during an essay - never a good sign. HOWEVER. There were two really wonderful pieces that I think made the whole experience worthwhile. The first was about the writers at a writer's conference, you know, one of those deals where a writer pays $75 in exchange for the opportunity to pitch her story to agents and publishers. It was so sad and yet so poignant, to think of all of the people out there hoping they can peddle their story into something bigger, some recognition or some money, perhaps. He took it beyond that, and talked about the way writers mine the world around them for material, to the point where sometimes they get so wrapped up in thinking about how they will turn this thing or that person into fodder for their latest story that they lose the ability to take life on its own terms. I really loved this essay. I also loved the final one, which mostly pivoted around the murder of his father by some jealous lunatic ex-husband of a woman he had just started seeing. Very powerful. But aside from those two essays I didn't really like much about this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Maas

    Though this is Non-fiction, it still delivers the best of Chuck Palahniuk We all know Chuck Palahniuk right? Even if you haven't read him, you probably know what he represents. That's not him, that's Henry Rollins, but you get the point. Palahniuk is the white male that has found a way out of a life of corporate unfulfillment. He is the fellow captured soldier who escaped past the POW fence one night. Even though you are still in the cage, you cheer him on with your fellow captured soldiers. You wi Though this is Non-fiction, it still delivers the best of Chuck Palahniuk We all know Chuck Palahniuk right? Even if you haven't read him, you probably know what he represents. That's not him, that's Henry Rollins, but you get the point. Palahniuk is the white male that has found a way out of a life of corporate unfulfillment. He is the fellow captured soldier who escaped past the POW fence one night. Even though you are still in the cage, you cheer him on with your fellow captured soldiers. You wish him well, and tell him not to come back. Why? He offers you the hope for escape yourself - just by letting you know it is possible. He left behind an extensive escape plan for you to read, and to one day make your own plan. And of course, there is the chance that he is coming back with an army, so that everyone is freed. Though this book is Non-fiction, it distills the best of Palahniuk and gives it to you straight Palahniuk gets into rarely-visited situations as a journalist - he visits wrestlers in their element, or explores the world of combine-demolition derbies. He is not Gabriela Wiener - she finds insane situations and then enters them. Palahniuk will just witness a combine-demolition derby. He will not drive one of them in a competition. But still - every page holds insight. If anything, this reminds me of Jonathan Franzen's The End of the End of the Earth - just a collection of a contemporary fiction author's best non-fiction. Each one is short, and each one can change you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Magdelanye

    In the spirit of this years motto, to boldly go where my inclinations have never led me to browse,I applied myself to finishing this collection of essays.I had liked the introduction very much but got bogged down immediately in alien territory and put it aside.Although he is better known as a novelist, I reasoned that if I was going to read only one thing by him, this might be the book to give me some kind of perspective on Palahniuks work.I determinined to finish with it already.I started agin In the spirit of this years motto, to boldly go where my inclinations have never led me to browse,I applied myself to finishing this collection of essays.I had liked the introduction very much but got bogged down immediately in alien territory and put it aside.Although he is better known as a novelist, I reasoned that if I was going to read only one thing by him, this might be the book to give me some kind of perspective on Palahniuks work.I determinined to finish with it already.I started agin with the introduction. If I had been anticipating a barrage of chauvanistic observations this prejudice was quickly laid to rest in the opening essay. Palahniuk is a keen and sensitive observer and he can write. His comments about the process and the reasons why he finds writing so gratifying were all pertinent to me, but even when he is writing about things that rather appall me,like extreme sports with farm machinary, he writes with such appreciation that finally even I can. Actually, many of the stories captured my interest. I especially was fascinated by the one on American castle builders,and the essay on Amy Hempel gives some great leads. He also drops well thought out little nuggets referencing some of the great thinkers. Jefferson I might expect but I was pleasantly surprised to find a good precis of the essence of the philosophy of Kierkgaard. Taken together, the stories offer a cultural spectrum of America, and in fact, most of stories offer some great leads for our own inspiration. What I like most about Palahniuk is his embracing of life in all its its astounding variety and aspects. Even writing about the sordid underside of the glimmering canopy, he retains his fresh perspective.We are not contaminated by his observations or despair. Curiously, the after effect of this book was hopeful.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joaquin

    I don't yet have the stomach for Chuck Palahniuk's fiction. I've tried reading pretty much all of his novels and 'Fight Club' is the only one I've been able to finish, and that's because I'd seen the movie and pretty much knew what was going to happen. His writing is just so over-the-top graphic, filled with human suffering and self-loathing that for me they're too much of a mental, emotional, and physical workout to get through. But at the same time I would like to one day be able to read his I don't yet have the stomach for Chuck Palahniuk's fiction. I've tried reading pretty much all of his novels and 'Fight Club' is the only one I've been able to finish, and that's because I'd seen the movie and pretty much knew what was going to happen. His writing is just so over-the-top graphic, filled with human suffering and self-loathing that for me they're too much of a mental, emotional, and physical workout to get through. But at the same time I would like to one day be able to read his stuff, let myself experience all the emotions, memories, and associations his writing churns up for me AND be detached enough to just finish the &$^*!! book. So I was pretty stoked to see this collection of his non-fiction writing on the library shelf. I think a more accurate title would have been, "Perhaps Stranger, but Definitely More Boring Than, My Fiction." Compared to his fiction writing and his fictional characters, like Tyler Durden from Fight Club, the real-life people and their situations he writes about in this collection come across as a little ho hum. Even folks like Marilyn Manson. I found myself wishing that he would take the best, most interesting parts of this non-fiction work and combine them into something fictional. Which I guess is what fiction writing is all about.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte (Buried in Books)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Weird. A series of essays, most of which have been published in other papers/magazines. This is my first experience of this author and i'm not really sure what to make of it. Most of the early stories seem very stripped down, stories about wrestling - where the facts of each bout are told very basically. Other stories really grip the imagination - the combine demolition derby for instance, or the men who build castles out of chicken wire and plaster (or huge lumps of stone). There's a melancholy t Weird. A series of essays, most of which have been published in other papers/magazines. This is my first experience of this author and i'm not really sure what to make of it. Most of the early stories seem very stripped down, stories about wrestling - where the facts of each bout are told very basically. Other stories really grip the imagination - the combine demolition derby for instance, or the men who build castles out of chicken wire and plaster (or huge lumps of stone). There's a melancholy tone to all of them - even the recounting of how the author dressed as a dalmation with a friend of his and ran around Seattle, just to see the reaction he'd get (very nearly getting arrested just for being dressed as a dog). Random thoughts spring up everywhere. The portraits that he offers of people such as Juliette Lewis and Marilyn Manson are really just verbatim conversations or statements that they make to him. I've already forgotten a lot of this book and I've only just finished it. But the Combine Harvester Demolition Derby - that'll stay in my head for quite a long time to come.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    I will admit I was a little bored by his demolition car story, and the testicle festival wasn't my cup of tea, but the rest of the (chapters? essays?) I was in love, and as a whole I can definitely say I loved the book. I recommend this to anyone who likes good writing and smart writing and funny writing and isn't a sensitive reader topic/description wise. Chuck Palahniuk is a genius. He is funny, cohesive, and writes very well: eliminating cloggy words but not going overboard (you know- when you I will admit I was a little bored by his demolition car story, and the testicle festival wasn't my cup of tea, but the rest of the (chapters? essays?) I was in love, and as a whole I can definitely say I loved the book. I recommend this to anyone who likes good writing and smart writing and funny writing and isn't a sensitive reader topic/description wise. Chuck Palahniuk is a genius. He is funny, cohesive, and writes very well: eliminating cloggy words but not going overboard (you know- when you can tell the aim is artistic fluency, but it really sounds like a stage actor cheesily overacting an already overdramatic scene, like "the wind--it hurts. The pain! My love. Oh life!") and picking out the good parts of a story. I love his voice. I love that he made me laugh out loud. Several times. I loved how real his "portraits" of others felt. He talks to you like a normal person, not super loaded and elegant syntax-wise or with diction that's just there to prove you know every four-syllable word in the dictionary. He is just...awesome. 4.8!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eve Kay

    The high rating is purely because: This is still one of the good ones from Palahniuk. This is still one of the ones he writes actual sentences and thinks. You can read all the thinking! I truly enjoyed reading about things that I knew to be actual facts, never mind how much I've heard urban legends about fem fight clubs or people choking on food at restaurants for money, I know the stuff Manson said is true coz I've read his book years back. There is a certain kind of honesty in Stranger than Fict The high rating is purely because: This is still one of the good ones from Palahniuk. This is still one of the ones he writes actual sentences and thinks. You can read all the thinking! I truly enjoyed reading about things that I knew to be actual facts, never mind how much I've heard urban legends about fem fight clubs or people choking on food at restaurants for money, I know the stuff Manson said is true coz I've read his book years back. There is a certain kind of honesty in Stranger than Fiction that I feel Palahniuk lost at some point. His need to make up things and spiderweb worlds overlaps his ability to tell it how it is. In Stranger than Fiction he still tells it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Some of the essays were so interesting and others made my eyes glaze over in boredom. There is one rather funny one where Palahniuk flew to Los Angeles to meet with movie executives for Fight Club. For some crazy reason, Palahniuk decided to shave his head the night before but he completely messed it up and had small cuts all over his head and a nasty rash. He essentially looked like he had a terrible skin disease. It was pretty funny, but most of the essays are serious. I listened to this on au Some of the essays were so interesting and others made my eyes glaze over in boredom. There is one rather funny one where Palahniuk flew to Los Angeles to meet with movie executives for Fight Club. For some crazy reason, Palahniuk decided to shave his head the night before but he completely messed it up and had small cuts all over his head and a nasty rash. He essentially looked like he had a terrible skin disease. It was pretty funny, but most of the essays are serious. I listened to this on audio and there were two narrators, the author and a professional narrator. A word of advice. If you ever see an audio book by Palahniuk narrated by the author, pick up a paper or ebook copy instead.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    So it started out all right, but really crashed and burned in my opinion, maybe because I lost patience. This is a collection of stories, some interesting and indeed, almost stranger than fiction, others average. It is at its best when relating other people's stories, worst when it Palahniuk recording his own musings, which to me seemed as if he's trying too hard, and personal stories, which are not generally strange but seem more the experiences of a person who doesn't want to be well-adjusted, So it started out all right, but really crashed and burned in my opinion, maybe because I lost patience. This is a collection of stories, some interesting and indeed, almost stranger than fiction, others average. It is at its best when relating other people's stories, worst when it Palahniuk recording his own musings, which to me seemed as if he's trying too hard, and personal stories, which are not generally strange but seem more the experiences of a person who doesn't want to be well-adjusted, even when he's verging on it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike Kazmierczak

    This might be a bit of a cheat but I'm going to consider this one done and finished even though I didn't read the entire book. The problem was that I lost the book before I could finish it. Actually I know exactly where it was last left: in the pocket of my airline seat on a flight to Washington D.C. I just plain forgot it there. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've ever done so. Anyway, if I was truly enjoying the book, I would hunt down a new copy or buy the ebook. However, I wasn't really This might be a bit of a cheat but I'm going to consider this one done and finished even though I didn't read the entire book. The problem was that I lost the book before I could finish it. Actually I know exactly where it was last left: in the pocket of my airline seat on a flight to Washington D.C. I just plain forgot it there. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've ever done so. Anyway, if I was truly enjoying the book, I would hunt down a new copy or buy the ebook. However, I wasn't really enjoying it. The book is a collection of life experiences from Palahniuk; each chapter is a different experience. For example, in one chapter he describes what occurs at the Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival while in another chapter he portrays unpublished authors and the steps they take for fame. In these experiences, he illustrates people's lives and their pretty crazy actions. Some of the experiences are simply crazy experiences to be taken as indicative of people's lives; others experiences are infused with insights that provide depth and pathos to those lives. An analysis that makes you analyze your own life and hopefully, at least to me, want to live a more fuller life. So why then, if I was gaining some insight into my life, would I not want to continue? Because it was not the fun, entertaining type of book that I normally want to read. I think that I can count the number of self-help books that I read on one hand; something that I'm sure an ex or two would really prefer I had read more. Self-help books just aren't my usual cup-of-tea. Before I lost this book, I already knew that it was going to be some time before I finished the book. Time enough to start and finish several other books between chapters. Now I can move on and get back to Adam Cesare or Stephen King or start that Brian James Freeman book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike Kazmierczak

    This might be a bit of a cheat but I'm going to consider this one done and finished even though I didn't read the entire book. The problem was that I lost the book before I could finish it. Actually I know exactly where it was last left: in the pocket of my airline seat on a flight to Washington D.C. I just plain forgot it there. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've ever done so. Anyway, if I was truly enjoying the book, I would hunt down a new copy or buy the ebook. However, I wasn't really This might be a bit of a cheat but I'm going to consider this one done and finished even though I didn't read the entire book. The problem was that I lost the book before I could finish it. Actually I know exactly where it was last left: in the pocket of my airline seat on a flight to Washington D.C. I just plain forgot it there. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've ever done so. Anyway, if I was truly enjoying the book, I would hunt down a new copy or buy the ebook. However, I wasn't really enjoying it. The book is a collection of life experiences from Palahniuk; each chapter is a different experience. For example, in one chapter he describes what occurs at the Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival while in another chapter he portrays unpublished authors and the steps they take for fame. In these experiences, he illustrates people's lives and their pretty crazy actions. Some of the experiences are simply crazy experiences to be taken as indicative of people's lives; others experiences are infused with insights that provide depth and pathos to those lives. An analysis that makes you analyze your own life and hopefully, at least to me, want to live a more fuller life. So why then, if I was gaining some insight into my life, would I not want to continue? Because it was not the fun, entertaining type of book that I normally want to read. I think that I can count the number of self-help books that I read on one hand; something that I'm sure an ex or two would really prefer I had read more. Self-help books just aren't my usual cup-of-tea. Before I lost this book, I already knew that it was going to be some time before I finished the book. Time enough to start and finish several other books between chapters. Now I can move on and get back to Adam Cesare or Stephen King or start that Brian James Freeman book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    "About the third week, the priapism subsided or seemed to spread to my entire body. Weightlifting gets better than sex. A workout becomes an orgy. You're having orgasms, cramping, hot, rushing orgasms in your delts, your quads, your lats, and traps. You forget about that lazy old penis. Who needs it. In a way, it's a peace, an escape from sex. A vacation from libido. You might see a hot woman and think grrrrrr, but your next egg white omelet or set of squats is a lot more attractive." This is t "About the third week, the priapism subsided or seemed to spread to my entire body. Weightlifting gets better than sex. A workout becomes an orgy. You're having orgasms, cramping, hot, rushing orgasms in your delts, your quads, your lats, and traps. You forget about that lazy old penis. Who needs it. In a way, it's a peace, an escape from sex. A vacation from libido. You might see a hot woman and think grrrrrr, but your next egg white omelet or set of squats is a lot more attractive." This is the Chuck we all know and love. This right here is why he's my favorite author. No matter what he writes or does, he picks you up and never disappoints. Short stories are always difficult to talk about. Obviously, some are way better than others but these all were unique enough to stand out from each other. Palahniuk is one of those authors that doesn't pull any punches when it comes to writing from personal experiences. He's lead quite the exciting life and we all crave more. If you aren't sold with the title or author, I'll say this.... Testicle Festival! You're welcome!!! Sorry, your seven minutes is up!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    turns out palahniuk’s nonfiction is just as pretentious as his fiction

  19. 5 out of 5

    Zvonimir

    4 star only because I'm envious of all these people he gets to meet at random, that are just so damn unique in their damned destiny.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sezín Koehler

    This was excellent. I particularly loved the essays that talked about Palahniuk's family and childhood, as well as the ones about Marilyn Manson and Juliette Lewis. He's such a talented writer. I love the way he puts things into words and his particular style of sentence construction. It's intoxicating.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Farhan Khalid

    Lonely Person All my books are about a lonely person looking for some way to connect with other people The dream is a big house, off alone somewhere Writing Novel You plan and research. You spend time alone, building this lovely world where you control, control, control everything You stay in your story world until you destroy it. Then you come back to be with other people Reading a books is not a group activity In my own cycle, it goes: Fact. Fiction. Fact. Fiction Journalist and Novelist The journalist Lonely Person All my books are about a lonely person looking for some way to connect with other people The dream is a big house, off alone somewhere Writing Novel You plan and research. You spend time alone, building this lovely world where you control, control, control everything You stay in your story world until you destroy it. Then you come back to be with other people Reading a books is not a group activity In my own cycle, it goes: Fact. Fiction. Fact. Fiction Journalist and Novelist The journalist is always rushing, hunting, meeting people, digging up facts, researching. Cooking a story The novelist imagines it Writing. Or theater, or music. Some shared vision. A mutual quest that would keep you together with other people who valued this vague, intangible skill you valued Fight Club I started telling myself a story about a guy who haunted terminal illness support group to feel better about his own pointless life Support Groups Support groups serve the role that organized religion used to. We used to go to church to reveal the worst aspects of ourselves, our sins. To tell our stories. To be recognized. To be forgiven. And to be redeemed, accepted back into out community Staying connected to people resolve our anxiety Anywhere people had nothing left to lose, that's where they told the most truth Storytelling The world is made of people telling stories We live our lives according to stories You want to give the reader a break from their own life. From their own life story This is how I create a character. I tend to give each character an education and a skill set that limits how they see the world A big segment of storytelling is about personal suffering. There's the stink of catharsis This is your life, but processed Selling your story. To turn that misery into big money Martin Heidegger Martin Heidegger pointed out how human beings tend to look at the world as a standing stock of material, ready for us to use. As inventory to be processed into something more valuable. Trees into wood. Animals into meat. He called this world of raw natural resources Is it possible to exploit your own life for the sake of a marketable story Legacy As more people grow old, with the experience of a lifetime to remember, the more they worry about losing it. All those memories. Their best formulas, stories, routines for making a dinner table burst into laughter. Their legacy. Their life Boredom and Fiction How can we create exciting, edgy books and movies if we only live boring, sedate lives? Fiction is a safe laboratory for exploring ourselves and our world Instead of life letting just happen, we could outline our own personal plot The worst part of writing fiction is the fear of wasting your life behind a keyboard. The idea that, dying, you'll realize you only ever lived on paper Slang is the writer's color of palette Invisible, Eternal World All our problems and all our blessings could be readily dismissed because they'd be no more real than plot events in a book or movie. An invisible, eternal world would render this world an illusion Software of Fiction Fiction is a software code that operates in the hardware of your mind So why I write. Because most of times, your life isn't funny the first time though. Most times, you can hardly stand it That's why I write, because life never works except in retrospect And writing makes you look back Because since you can't control life, at least, you can control your version Kierkegaard Adam in the Garden of Eden, happy and content until God shows him the Tree of Knowledge and says, "Don't eat this". Now Adam is no longer free. There is one rule he can break, he must break, to prove his freedom, even if it destroys him. Kierkegaard says the moment we are forbidden to do something, we will do it. It is inevitable Hollywood Hollywood creative people to brainstorm terrorist scenarios We want to know every way we might be attack . So we can be prepared Million New Reasons What's coming is a million new reasons not to live your life. You can deny your possibility to succeed and blame it on something else Stop living as a reaction to circumstances and start living as a force for what you say should be. What's coming is a million new reasons to go ahead

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Palahniuk is right. These essays of his are most certainly stranger than fiction. Just from the every first essay alone, you’re hoping that he’s making all this up. But no. The annual Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival just outside of Missoula, MT, detailed in the aptly-titled “Testy Festy”, is the kind of bizarre and mind-boggling public orgy that you think can – or should, rather – exist only in the most perverted of minds. (The shocking writing and fantasy worlds of Marquis de Sade comes read Palahniuk is right. These essays of his are most certainly stranger than fiction. Just from the every first essay alone, you’re hoping that he’s making all this up. But no. The annual Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival just outside of Missoula, MT, detailed in the aptly-titled “Testy Festy”, is the kind of bizarre and mind-boggling public orgy that you think can – or should, rather – exist only in the most perverted of minds. (The shocking writing and fantasy worlds of Marquis de Sade comes readily to mind.) Yet it is all very real. (Too much Viagra and Spanish fly, perhaps? One can only wonder.) Luckily for us, the rest of this volume of odds and ends Palahniuk composed in-between his novels are much less pornographic, but just as equally bizarre. In the first section “People Together”, we meet semi-professional wrestlers hoping to make the U.S. Olympic team (with or without cauliflowered ears), desperate amateur screenwriters making their three-minute pit to studio hacks, die-hard combine demolition derby contestants in rural Washington State, Northwest castle-builders (a favorite chapter of mine, as I too fantasize about living behind medieval walls…with modern amenities, of course), and psychic shyster who are surprisingly capable of actual divination (but only after one too many glasses of red wine). In the section “Portraits”, Palahniuk spends a lot of time shedding light on the oddity known as Hollywood. Whether it be his odd interview with Juliette Lewis (mainly for her naïve belief in Scientology – that racket of all rackets), or even Marilyn Manson’s depressing tarot-card self-reading in his attic, I am reassured once again that a lot of money – no, make that too much money – can make a self-deluding nut out of you. (The spirit of Howard Hughes is alive and well in the Hollywood Hills and the ephemeral and fickle world of celebrity-dom.) In “Personal”, his third and final section, Palahniuk exorcises many a demon by confessing to a brief addiction to anabolic steroids – which he kicked after his balls shriveled up (which may classify as TMI for some people) – as well as the odd encounters that he still gets to this day from fans of Fight Club, his novel-turned-cinematic-hit. Palahniuk’s prose is best described as a form of personal confession, but told with the eye of a cultural anthropologist, voyeur, and journalist all wrapped in one. I may not know his fiction one bit – except for seeing David Fincher’s cinematic adaptation of his novel Fight Club – but my curiosity is now piqued. Let’s hope it’s just as riveting and astonishing as his non-fiction.

  23. 4 out of 5

    David

    This collection of non-fiction essays starts you off with a one-two punch in the gut (no surprise for anyone that knows Palahniuk) with pieces including descriptions of sexual exhibitionism and of wrestling injuries. (I literally had to pull over to calm my stomach.) That being said, (and having got through without any 'projectile' incidents) the reader may then enjoy several enjoyable essays touching on Palahniuk's life pre- and post-Fight Club, as well as a few very enlightening interviews with This collection of non-fiction essays starts you off with a one-two punch in the gut (no surprise for anyone that knows Palahniuk) with pieces including descriptions of sexual exhibitionism and of wrestling injuries. (I literally had to pull over to calm my stomach.) That being said, (and having got through without any 'projectile' incidents) the reader may then enjoy several enjoyable essays touching on Palahniuk's life pre- and post-Fight Club, as well as a few very enlightening interviews with other well-known persons. You may think you have opinions about Juliette Lewis and Marilyn Manson, but their perspectives are well-worth listening to, and I found them particularly thoughtful and rewarding. My favorite pieces, however, were two about authors and their books. The one on the minimalist writing of Amy Hempel is going to send me out in search of her books right away. And the one conceived as an open address to Ira Levin, author of Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives, is the most important one for us to focus on today, at a time when the necrotizing effect of most news media sources is causing many people to shut off and shut down in despair. The point Palahniuk made over ten years ago, (and that Levin deftly communicated forty and fifty years ago) is that when we become aware of social injustices that need attention, our artistic responses must ride a fine line in order to inspire positive change without overwhelming the audience. My summary is inelegant compared to to Palahniuk's exposition, so I encourage all that are so inclined, to look up this book and that essay. And may all creatives be duly inspired. [Note: the audiobook includes "unabridged selections," so I look forward to turning to my print copy to pick up the pieces that were left out.]

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I missed the pattern to this book the first time around. Part of it is Palahnik's collection of anything he's encountered that he thought could be used. "Fight Club" used a lot of his experiences at a charity hospital, "Survivor" had as many interesting cleaning methods that he could find, and calls to telephone sex numbers ended up, well, everywhere. "Stranger Than Fiction" is a collection of the tidbits that he liked best, or hasn't been able to fit into a novel yet. But you also need to pay at I missed the pattern to this book the first time around. Part of it is Palahnik's collection of anything he's encountered that he thought could be used. "Fight Club" used a lot of his experiences at a charity hospital, "Survivor" had as many interesting cleaning methods that he could find, and calls to telephone sex numbers ended up, well, everywhere. "Stranger Than Fiction" is a collection of the tidbits that he liked best, or hasn't been able to fit into a novel yet. But you also need to pay attention to the introduction, because the book has an even larger meaning. "Every story in this book is about being with other people. Me being with people. Or people being together." All the live-sex in a Montana festival (and the parallel story of the amateur wrestlers), or the corpse-hunting dogs, or the smug-but-scared story of the psychics he's VERY sure (oh yes, he is indeed) were pulling a scam, they're all stories about people trying so hard to reach out to someone, ANYONE, who will confirm that, "Yes, it's perfectly okay to do what you do, be who you are, and feel the way you do, because I feel exactly the same way." I loved the story about the castle builders, the Rocket Guy chapter made me sad, and looking at the book as a collection of people trying to make a link to other people makes the final story VERY hard-hitting. Because all his father was trying to do was to start dating again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    If i could've given this book no stars I would've. I got about three stories in and realized I was forcing myself to read the next story. I ended up skimming through the rest and decided I wasn't missing anything. I think the book is an interesting concept; this fiction writer writes a non-fiction book about different people and how they live their lives. It's a book of stories to glimpse into how other people live their lives. The problem is, isn't that what books are in general? It's a glimpse If i could've given this book no stars I would've. I got about three stories in and realized I was forcing myself to read the next story. I ended up skimming through the rest and decided I wasn't missing anything. I think the book is an interesting concept; this fiction writer writes a non-fiction book about different people and how they live their lives. It's a book of stories to glimpse into how other people live their lives. The problem is, isn't that what books are in general? It's a glimpse into a life different than yours. The only difference is the stories (or maybe just how they're written) is not that interesting. For example, the story about the amateur Greco Roman wrestlers. Yea, that could be an interesting glimpse but nothing really hooked me. Yes, they're wrestlers. Yes, they have to make and lose weight at the drop of a hat. So what? I'm not saying the people were boring but nothing sparked about the way the author was presenting them. What was stranger than fiction about wrestlers?

  26. 5 out of 5

    Corinna Fabre

    Here’s a question for you: can Chuck Palahniuk do wrong?? It doesn’t seem so to me. From someone who I associate so strongly with dark, twisted, soulful fiction I have now found dark, twisted, soulful nonfiction as well. Stranger Than Fiction is a masterful blend of storytelling, lecturing and questioning; in every way that Palahniuk explores his stories to find something deeper about them, he does the same to his readers and pushes them to look beyond the ordinary. Through Palahniuk’s way of sp Here’s a question for you: can Chuck Palahniuk do wrong?? It doesn’t seem so to me. From someone who I associate so strongly with dark, twisted, soulful fiction I have now found dark, twisted, soulful nonfiction as well. Stranger Than Fiction is a masterful blend of storytelling, lecturing and questioning; in every way that Palahniuk explores his stories to find something deeper about them, he does the same to his readers and pushes them to look beyond the ordinary. Through Palahniuk’s way of speaking about the extraordinary as if it were run-of-the-mill, each of the book’s sections — People Together, Portraits and Personal — flip the world on it’s head in unique ways; from a touching (yes, touching) interview with Marilyn Manson to a Testicle Festival, GQ photo shoot gone wrong and a drunken seance, Palahniuk crafts morals like a man who dared to stare the devil straight in the eyes and broke the silence with a fart noise. That’s a good thing, I promise.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aimen

    This book was strangely good, I didn't like Haunted by him. I'm setting the bars high for Fight Club, and glad I gained a better perception of him. His writing is really good, and interesting. Some of the chapter/story/essays were better than others. In my honest opinion, the first story/essay/chapter was complete utter nonsense, testicle festival? please. The murder of his father, ghost stories, confessions in stone, and introduction were my absolute favourite. It was so intriguing to read abou This book was strangely good, I didn't like Haunted by him. I'm setting the bars high for Fight Club, and glad I gained a better perception of him. His writing is really good, and interesting. Some of the chapter/story/essays were better than others. In my honest opinion, the first story/essay/chapter was complete utter nonsense, testicle festival? please. The murder of his father, ghost stories, confessions in stone, and introduction were my absolute favourite. It was so intriguing to read about these things, that aren't really thought about. Personally, the portraits were also just okay. I still really liked the book, it's something I would re-read and like to have an intricate discussion about. It's... strange.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brian Joynt

    Never been too much of a CP fan, but these nonfiction selections of essays, interviews, and human interest pieces ring with honesty and grit. At first it seemed the author was merely identifying stupid people doing stupid things, which I experience enough of on my own throughout the day, but on a deeper level you can feel the heart in the writing, and the heart CP had to muster to describe the often bizarre situations he writes about. A worthwhile read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Helgren

    A nice collection of essays and short stories. Some of them lack the punch of his fiction, but are great tales nonetheless. I especially liked when he got personal and shared some of his life. Well worth the read, but if you are expecting Choke or Suvivor you may want to adjust yout thinking before picking it up.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zayar

    5stars to Where meats comes from You are here Confessions in stone Frontiers The lady Bodhisattvas Escort The lip enhancer Monkey think,monkey do Brinksmanship

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