Stranger Than Fiction / Non-fiction by Chuck Palahniuk

I love Chuck Palahniuk.

I love people watching.

I believe solitude is important, but loneliness kind of saddens & numbs me.

I genuinely care about people & about the stories these people have & about writing these stories down in a way that makes them interesting, but still honest.

I like American culture, but I also kind of hate it. So pointing out it’s flaws, while still realizing I’m a huge part of it, is fun for me.

I like any of the following: Fight Club, Rosemary’s Baby or any of Ira Levin’s other stories, Trainspotting, American Psycho, Kierkegaard, sex, Marilyn Manson, castles, demolition derbies, amateur wrestling, writing in general, the U.S. Navy, and/or rescue dogs.

If you agree with any of the above, you should read this book. It’s a book for people who enjoy reading or who enjoy a good “do it for the story” type of tale. It amazed me that all of this was non-fiction, but a good writer can take something semi-interesting & turn it into a whole new breed.

The stories are split into three sections, People Together, Portraits, & Personal. People Together was probably my favorite section, but Portraits is very similar, just more concentrated. The Personal section is the shortest. Each section zooms in a bit more till we reach his personal life while also offering a decent summary of the rest of the content in a way.

I really enjoyed most of the stories in here. If the first one doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will, but I’ll just say it isn’t PG. “Confessions in Stone” dragged on a little too long. “Frontiers,” “Human Error,” & “In Her Own Words” weren’t that great either, but the rest of them were all favorites & I don’t think I could choose just one that stood out in particular.

It makes you think about Palahniuk as a writer & as a regular guy. If he’s so normal, but surrounds himself with such interesting people, then what’s stopping me from doing this? But at the same time, you realize that everybody is interesting. Everybody has some specific knowledge or story that you don’t know. Palahniuk just has the patience, talent, & grit to write it down. He makes it real even though you’re being told secondhand.

His non-fiction follows a lot of the same themes as his fiction, some of the stories or articles more so than others. Even his personal life is like his fiction, or probably vice-versa.

It’s a great book for bloggers, the short style, the content. It’s a decent quotable book as well. One of my favorite quotes was actually said by Marilyn Manson. I don’t necessarily agree with all the opinions, but I think they have merit.

“That becomes the revolution, to be idealistic enough that you think you can change the world, and what you find is you can’t change anything but yourself.”

“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.”

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