Extemporaneous pop culture critic Klosterman sets off on a U.S. cross-country road trip with a twin purpose: look up old girlfriends and visit the places where famed rockers, from Buddy Holly to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Kurt Cobain, met their tragic fates.
Because he's not known as a travel writer and because this book wasn't marketed as one, Klosterman's unexpected and unique travelogue is unfairly overlooked.
"I'm shocked by anyone who doesn't consider Los Angeles to be anything less than a bozo-saturated hellhole. It is pretty much without question the worst city in America. The reason 'Walking in L.A.' by Missing Persons was the most accidentally prescient single of 1982 was because of its unfathomable (but wholly accurate) specificity: Los Angeles is the only city in the world where the process of walking on the sidewalk could somehow be (a) political, and (b) humiliating. It is the only community I've ever visited where absolutely every cliche proved to be completely accurate."
10. "Out of Sheer Rage" (1997)
By Geoff Dyer
Some travel for discovery.
Some travel to for recreation.
Dyer travels for procrastination.
To put off writing a book about D.H. Lawrence, he roams the planet (Rome, Greece, Mexico, United States) in an elaborate stall.
No less a comic authority than Steve Martin blurbed it as "the funniest book I have ever read," and several on our expert panel, including Andrew McCarthy and Little A publishing's Ed Park, rated it highly.
"Laura asked if we could have just a drink, nothing to eat, and the woman said no, not just a drink. Then she gestured to us to sit down: she would bring us a drink. They are like that in Sicily, said Laura. Their instinct is to say 'no,' but once they have established that a thing cannot be done they are happy to do it."
9. "Queenan Country" (2004)
By Joe Queenan
Charmed and discombobulated in equal measures, unapologetic Yank Joe Queenan travels through Old Blighty -- homeland of his wife and extended family -- to find out what makes the British tick.
The man the "Philadelphia Inquirer" once called the "Emperor of Eviscerations" is sharp as ever here, but also has such a soft spot for England that he's one of the few writers who can muster some kind words for soccer hooligans, as well as an eccentric epicure who specializes in fox stew.
"The terms Brits and British are suffused with a subliminal suggestion of latent ponciness: cucumber sandwiches, sticky wickets, cream teas, tasty bickies, getting all squiffy, Noel Coward. In making this assertion, I do not mean to suggest that the British, whoever they are, are in fact poncey, or that there is anything wrong with being poncey. But the Scots and the Welsh definitely do not fit this description. Whatever Limeys are, they are not."