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Pulphead: essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan
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Pulphead: essays (original 2011; edition 2011)

by John Jeremiah Sullivan (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6322726,562 (3.93)16
"A sharp-eyed, uniquely humane tour of America's cultural landscape--from high to low to lower than low--by the award-winning young star of the literary nonfiction world In Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on an exhilarating tour of our popular, unpopular, and at times completely forgotten culture. Simultaneously channeling the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and insight of Joan Didion, Sullivan shows us--with a laidback, erudite Southern charm that's all his own--how we really (no, really) live now. In his native Kentucky, Sullivan introduces us to Constantine Rafinesque, a nineteenth-century polymath genius who concocted a dense, fantastical prehistory of the New World. Back in modern times, Sullivan takes us to the Ozarks for a Christian rock festival; to Florida to meet the alumni and straggling refugees of MTV's Real World, who've generated their own self-perpetuating economy of minor celebrity; and all across the South on the trail of the blues. He takes us to Indiana to investigate the formative years of Michael Jackson and Axl Rose and then to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina--and back again as its residents confront the BP oil spill. Gradually, a unifying narrative emerges, a story about this country that we've never heard told this way. It's like a fun-house hall-of-mirrors tour: Sullivan shows us who we are in ways we've never imagined to be true. Of course we don't know whether to laugh or cry when faced with this reflection--it's our inevitable sob-guffaws that attest to the power of Sullivan's work"--"A collection of nonfiction essays"--… (more)
Member:NicoletteMarie
Title:Pulphead: essays
Authors:John Jeremiah Sullivan (Author)
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2011), Edition: 1, 369 pages
Collections:Your library
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Pulphead: Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan (2011)

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Patchy, with the stories that didn't interest me I found interminable but when it's good, it's very good. Reminds me of Chuck Klosterman but more likeable, personal and a better writer. ( )
  arewenotben | Jul 31, 2020 |
Not bad, but I don't agree with all of the rapturous reviews it's gotten. ( )
  AldusManutius | Jul 5, 2020 |
Nice set of essays that do a good job balancing an author's personal beliefs and what he discovers along the way. The author is good at giving one a real feel for the time and place that he is describing. And while not every essay was equally entertaining, they all were fun enough to finish. Not a lot of life lessons to glean from this book, other than the always important idea that everyone has a story and if we listen, we might just learn something. Worth the read ( )
  Skybalon | Mar 19, 2020 |
There were a few essays that I wasn't completely into just based on subject matter but the writing was exquisite. I particularly enjoyed the article regarding animal angst and the future of the human race. ( )
  ambersnowpants | Aug 23, 2018 |
Uneven but often fascinating collection of essays and magazine pieces from prototypcial X-er Sullivan, on subjects ranging from Guns'n'Roses to 19th-century botany. Sullivan is a Southerner, by way of Indiana, and has that region's soulful, slightly eccentric melancholy; he's like an erudite, gothic version of Chuck Klosterman. At his best, he's utterly distinctive, even moving, but there's also something slightly off about him; his relation to his subject material can be opaque, and its hard to know how seriously to take him at times. Worth reading, if occasionally exasperating. ( )
  MikeLindgren51 | Aug 7, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
It’s hard not to feel, reading this collection, like someone reached into your brain, took out the half-baked stuff you talk about with your friends, researched it, lived it, and represented it to you smarter and better and more thoroughly than you ever could. So read it in awe if you must, but read it.
added by elenchus | editlithub.com, Emily Temple (Dec 23, 2019)
 
It’s a neat trick—interrupt reportage with memoir to take the harsh spotlight of a straight profile and shine it on yourself for a moment. It’s also exceedingly difficult. It can go all kinds of wrong. And what better way to risk the rancor of your readers (and editors) than veering from “the biggest rock star on the planet..” to yourself at seventeen..? But for Sullivan and a precious few other writers—insert obligatory David Foster Wallace comparison here—the conceit unfolds beautifully. It clarifies and sharpens.
 
Among the best young nonfiction writers in English, the journalists and essayists whose bylines you avidly seek out in newspapers, magazines and online, John Jeremiah Sullivan probably isn’t (yet) in my personal Top 10 or 15. But I suspect that none of those other writers could have gathered together a book that’s as good as “Pulphead,” Mr. Sullivan’s brainy new collection of essays. It’s a big and sustaining pile of — as I’ve heard it put about certain people’s fried chicken — crunchy goodness.
 

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"A sharp-eyed, uniquely humane tour of America's cultural landscape--from high to low to lower than low--by the award-winning young star of the literary nonfiction world In Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on an exhilarating tour of our popular, unpopular, and at times completely forgotten culture. Simultaneously channeling the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and insight of Joan Didion, Sullivan shows us--with a laidback, erudite Southern charm that's all his own--how we really (no, really) live now. In his native Kentucky, Sullivan introduces us to Constantine Rafinesque, a nineteenth-century polymath genius who concocted a dense, fantastical prehistory of the New World. Back in modern times, Sullivan takes us to the Ozarks for a Christian rock festival; to Florida to meet the alumni and straggling refugees of MTV's Real World, who've generated their own self-perpetuating economy of minor celebrity; and all across the South on the trail of the blues. He takes us to Indiana to investigate the formative years of Michael Jackson and Axl Rose and then to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina--and back again as its residents confront the BP oil spill. Gradually, a unifying narrative emerges, a story about this country that we've never heard told this way. It's like a fun-house hall-of-mirrors tour: Sullivan shows us who we are in ways we've never imagined to be true. Of course we don't know whether to laugh or cry when faced with this reflection--it's our inevitable sob-guffaws that attest to the power of Sullivan's work"--"A collection of nonfiction essays"--

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