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September 24, 2016

Book Notes - Tobias Carroll "Transitory"

Transitory

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Tobias Carroll's Transitory impresses with its range and poignancy, and is one of the year's finest short story collections.

Carroll's debut novel Reel will be published next month.

Laura van den Berg wrote of the book:

"Ingenious and mysterious, the stories of Tobias Carroll are spun with quiet loneliness and wild surprise. Transitory is that rare kind of collection where each story stands shining alone and, in the end, forms a beautifully melancholic whole. Tobias Carroll is an original and deeply exciting talent."


In his own words, here is Tobias Carroll's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection Transitory:


The stories in my collection Transitory were written over the course of about ten years. In them, you'll find unearthly creatures walking down a city's streets at night, low-budget films of unknown origin, and a group dedicated to reversing time for an easier daily commute; you'll also find subdued conversations in train station bars, several years in the life of a man obsessed with a painting hanging in his parents' house, and one man's search to right the wrongs of his younger self. Alternately: some of the stories are grounded in the everyday; others are more surreal or fantastical.

Putting together a short story collection, for me, wasn't too different from assembling a mix for someone. Balance was critical: shorter stories versus longer ones, realistic ones in tandem with weirder fiction. So putting together a playlist for the book is a kind of meta-mix, at least in my mind. It seemed fitting to do one song for each story—some of the choices innate to the stories, others less so.



"Winter Montage, Hoboken Station": Carissa's Wierd, "Low Budget Slow Motion Soundtrack Song For The Leaving Scene"
Songs used to score montages in films and television are pretty much ubiquitous at this point; you could start a new genre around them. The great Carissa's Wierd understood this years before most, and gave this sad and beautiful song a title that was more than a little self-aware. Admittedly, if someone ever wanted to turn this story into a short film, this would fit perfectly at the very end–on both an emotional and an intellectual level.

"The Wenceslas Men": Pale Sketcher, "Playgrounds Are Empty (Slumber Mix)"
I'd been tempted to put Protomartyr's "Feast of Stephen" here for the sake of symmetry, but as much as I'd have liked to have done that, the mood of the story and the mood of the song don't really line up. So instead, I'll go with music from Justin K. Broadrick's Pale Sketcher project. Specifically, a song that's uncanny, monumental, and just a bit ominous–all qualities that suit this story well.

"Airport Hotel Ghost Tour": King Midas Sound, "Earth A Kill Ya"
One of the key things, for me, as I worked on "Airport Hotel Ghost Tour" was creating a sense of sustained tension and a fundamental wrongness as the tour builds towards its conclusion. I wanted there to be a stillness and a sense of the familiar juxtaposed with something lurking in the background. Thus King Midas Sound: booming, textured, and quietly intimate, with a sense of the unearthly running throughout.

"A Record Called ‘American Woodworking'": Policy of 3, "Canyon"
This should probably be this band's "Nine Years Old," but this is already off to a very sad start, so instead, this more upbeat number will do. Both of them can be found on a seven inch by this New Jersey band called, well, American Woodworking. It's a record that's eternally associated in my mind with the period of my life that ended up inspiring this story; it's also a record that's held up quite well in the nearly twenty years since I first heard it.

"Yannick's Swiss Army": John Cale, "Pablo Picasso"
Writing "Yannick's Swiss Army" was a strange process, in part because I threw in a couple of conceptual jokes and references that approximately three people would find funny. Among the conceptual jokes: there are quite a few references to the Modern Lovers song "Pablo Picasso" in this story, along with my circa-2013/14 habit of showing up late to watch Tottenham Hotspur games. The first time I heard "Pablo Picasso" was via John Cale's cover of it, and thus, that's why it's here.

"You In Reverse": Built to Spill, "Goin' Against Your Mind"
This one was an easy choice: I borrowed the title of a Built to Spill album for this story, so it seemed fitting to use the first song on that record right here. Also, it's a really good song.

"An Old Songwriter's Trick": dälek, "Megaton (Deadverse Remix)"
For a story that deals with a long-running friendship, I wanted to choose a song from an artist whose music I've followed for many years. That would be the experimental hip-hop group dälek, whose music I've been listening to for nearly 20 years. It doesn't hurt that the line "I pray for the day of the megaton" is one of my favorite lyrics in any song, ever. And the sense of frustration and growing discontent imparted by this song mirrors the tension that grows over the course of the story.

"Party Able Model": Joan of Arc, "A Party Able Model Of"
This is one of two stories in here originally written for THE2NDHAND's Mixtape series of readings of stories inspired by songs. Reading this in Chicago in 2007 while the band Big Time played a variation of the Joan of Arc song behind me was probably the closest I'll come to singing for a rock band, and it was pretty cool. I still have very warm feelings about this song, too.

"Dulcimers Played, Strings Played": Labradford, "Dulcimers Played By Peter Neff, Strings Played"
I was listening to this song a lot as I worked on this story of one man's return to Asheville and the personal drama that hasn't entirely died down. And for a story with an abundant sense of place, the slightly skewed ambience of this song seemed very appropriate.

"Why I Was Not In New Jersey For Christmas In 1997": Olivia Tremor Control, "A Sleepy Company"
This story was inspired in part by a vivid dream I had one night, and in part on an experience that I had when I had a particularly bad 24-hour bug in college. (The first half of this story is, for all intents and purposes, nonfiction.) And this Olivia Tremor Control song evokes a similar sort of delirium for me–a kind of primal pop classic that abruptly shatters its template.

"Western Bridges": Spinanes, "Winter On Ice"
This would be the other story written for a THE2NDHAND Mixtape event—this one held in Brooklyn, at the first location of a record store called Sound Fix, which hosted some amazing events in its day. (One of which was an acoustic Scritti Politti set, which I really wish I had a recording from.) In the back of Transitory, there are short pieces of writing about each of the stories; for this song, it's basically me talking about how the second Spinanes album Strand is one of a very small number of records that I'd call "life-changing." This was also, I believe, the first time I wrote something set in the Pacific Northwest; maybe it was a dry run for my novel Reel. Maybe not.

"Twenty Minutes' Road": No Age, "Every Artist Needs a Tragedy"
This story let me channel a whole lot of images and scenes that had been rattling around inside my head for a long time–and it let me poke at the idea of what happens when your inspiration for something major in life turns out to be thoroughly flawed. (I have a drawer novel that also deals with this at length.) The title of this No Age song struck me as a good counterpoint to that.

"Spencer Hangs Over Newark": Boo Radleys, "I Hang Suspended"
To a large extent, the music of Brian Eno served as a stylistic inspiration for this story: Music for Airports for the first half, and his work with Talking Heads for the second. But I think my inspiration for the title goes even further back–to the mid-90s, when I was listening to a whole lot of shoegaze on WHTG and buying nearly everything English with ecstatic guitars at the local record stores. The Boo Radleys didn't quite fit into the same template that a lot of other groups of the era did, but their album Giant Steps has improved for me with age—a wonderfully strange exploration of sounds that sounds like something out of time. Which, in its own way, seems very appropriate for the themes of this story.

"Stanton Stands, Sees, Stares": The Gun Club, "My Dreams"
It's a Los Angeles story, so throwing a great song by the Gun Club in here seemed entirely appropriate. And it also lets me confirm my theory that this song and "Goin' Against Your Mind" are secretly the same song.

"The Independence Shipping Company": Múm, "The Land Between Solar Systems"
Sometime between 2000 and 2002, I went to the Brooklyn Lyceum to see the Icelandic band Múm perform a live soundtrack to Battleship Potemkin. And, like a baby duck seeing the first adult animal near it and believing it to be its mother, I found myself associating the band's music with scenes set on the water from that point onwards.

"Some Things I Botched": Collections of Colonies of Bees, "Flocks III"
This seemed like a good song to end things on–a surreal and bittersweet song to partner with a surreal and bittersweet story. Do I find pairing an eleven-minute song with one of the shortest stories in the collection to be odd? Maybe. But strange connections are half the fun (for me, anyway) of writing fiction.


Tobias Carroll and Transitory links:

the author's website
the author's blog

San Diego CityBeat review

The Catapult interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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September 23, 2016

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - September 23, 2016

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen's Chapter And Verse, the companion album to his memoir Born To Run, is out this week.

Beach Slang's A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings, If You See Me, Say Yes from Jenn Wasner's side project Flock of Dimes, and Warpaint's Heads Up are new albums I can recommend.

Archival releases include the 12-CD (or 13-LP) David Bowie: Who Can I Be Now? (1974 to 1976) and a 5-disc (3-CD, LP, DVD) remastered and expanded edition of Fleetwood Mac's Mirage album.

What new music are you looking forward to or enjoying this week?


This week's interesting music releases:

Beach Slang: A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings
Billie Marten: Writing of Blues and Yellows
Billy Bragg and Joe Henry: Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad
The Black Keys: Chulahoma (Pink Vinyl) [vinyl]
Boxed In: Melt
Bruce Springsteen: Chapter And Verse
Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just (Pink Vinyl) [vinyl]
Crystal Castles: Amnesty (I) [vinyl]
David Bowie: Who Can I Be Now? (1974 to 1976) (12-CD or 13-LP box set)
The Dear Hunter: Act V: Hymns With the Devil In Confessional [vinyl]
Devendra Banhart: Ape In Pink Marble
Dwight Yoakam: Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars
Every Time I Die: Low Teens
Flock Of Dimes: If You See Me, Say Yes
Fleetwood Mac: Mirage (3-CD, LP, DVD box set) (remastered and expanded)
Forma: Physicalist
Frank Zappa: ZAPPAtite - Frank Zappa's Tastiest Tracks
God Damn: Everything Ever
Greensky Bluegrass: Shouted, Written Down & Quoted
Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam Batmanglij: I Had A Dream That You Were Mine
How to Dress Well: Care
Idina Menzel: Idina.
Kristin Chenoweth: The Art Of Elegance
Lee "Scratch" Perry: Must Be Free
LVL UP: Return To Love
Merchandise: A Corpse Wired For Sound
Mick Jenkins: The Healing Component
Neurosis: Fires Within Fires
Paper Route: Real Emotion
Passenger: Young As The Morning Old As The Sea
Pet Shop Boys: Say It To Me
Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother (reissue) [vinyl]
Pink Floyd: Meddle (reissue) [vinyl]
Pink Floyd: Obscured By Clouds (reissue) [vinyl]
Prince: Lotus Flow3r (reissue) [vinyl]
Rachael Yamagata: Tightrope Walker
Randy Newman: The Randy Newman Songbook (4-LP box set) [vinyl]
Randy Newman: The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 3
Ray Charles: The Atlantic Studio Albums In Mono (7-LP box set) [vinyl]
Reckless Kelly: Sunset Motel
Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Getaway (2-LP Limited Edition Pink Vinyl) [vinyl]
Sex Pistols: Live '76 (4-LP box set) [vinyl]
Shawn Mendes: Illuminate
Skylar Gray: Natural Causes
The Sword: Low Country
Vangelis: Rosetta
Various Artists: The Man Who Fell To Earth
The Verve: A Northen Soul (reissued and expanded 3-CD box set)
Warpaint: Heads Up


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

Essential and Interesting 2015 Year-End Music Lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)


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Atomic Books Comics Preview - September 23, 2016

In the weekly Atomic Books Comics Preview, Benn Ray highlights notable new comics, graphic novels, and books.

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. He also runs the Mutant Funnies Tumblr.

Atomic Books has been named one of BuzzFeed's Great American Bookstores, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.


I Feel Weird #2

I Feel Weird #2
by Haleigh Buck

Former Atomic Books staffer Haleigh continues to document, in comic form, her ongoing mental health battles. This time she deals with a creepy therapist.


All Black Cats Are Not Alike

All Black Cats Are Not Alike
by Amy Goldwasser / Peter Arkle

Sure, it's a cat book, but with Halloween just around the corner, you may want to hone your black cat identifying skills.


Comfort Eating with Nick Cave: Vegan Recipes to Get Deep Inside of You

Comfort Eating with Nick Cave: Vegan Recipes to Get Deep Inside of You
by Automne Zingg / Joshua Ploeg


Defensive Eating with Morrissey: Vegan Recipes from the One You Left Behind

Defensive Eating with Morrissey: Vegan Recipes from the One You Left Behind
by Automne Zingg / Joshua Ploeg

These hardcover vegan cookbooks have themed recipe collections - one Nick Cave-based and one Morrissey-based. Get 'em now, before the "Cease and Desist" letters are delivered. Quality, accessible recipes and lots of fun illustrations.


Fluke #13

Fluke #13
by Matthew Thompson

This issue of Fluke focuses on the Little Rock, Arkansas punk rock scene of the early '90s. Didn't know Little Rock had a decent punk rock scene in the early '90s? Then you need Fluke.


Warpwish Comix #1

Warpwish Comix #1
by Nathan Ward

Nathan's Warpwish Comix is some crazy, intense art the brings to mind the best of Raw-era comics, except here he one-ups that and runs his comics in full color.


Red Star over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the Death of Stalin

Red Star over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the Death of Stalin
by David King

This is a rich visual history of the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, loaded with photos, illustrations, propaganda posters and more.


Questions, concerns, comments or gripes – e-mail benn@atomicbooks.com. If there’s a comic I should know about, send it my way at Atomic, c/o Atomic Books 3620 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211.


Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

Atomic Books website
Atomic Books on Twitter
Atomic Books on Facebook
Benn Ray's blog (The Mobtown Shank)
Benn Ray's comic, Mutant Funnies


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

other Atomic Books Comics Preview lists (weekly new comics & graphic novel highlights)

Online "Best of 2015" Book Lists

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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Shorties (Michael Chabon on the Photos That Inspired His New Novel, Stream the New Drive-By Truckers Album, and more)

At Entertainment Weekly, Michael Chabon shared the photographs that inspired his new novel Moonglow and announced his book tour.


NPR Music is streaming the new Drive-By Truckers album American Band.


Ebooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Flight by Sherman Alexie
The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman


eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin


Stream a new Dirty Projectors song.


At Google Play, Tobias Carroll examined four recent novels where bad decisions were the crux.


NPR Music is streaming the new John Prine album For Better, or Worse.


Electric Literature interviewed Jane Alison about her novel Nine Island.


PopMatters interviewed singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus.


The New Yorker profiled author Sharon Olds.


NPR Music is streaming the new Jenny Hval album Blood Bitch.


Patrick Ryan offered short story writing advice at Signature.


Minneapolis City Pages interviewed singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless.


Shaun Tan talked to the Guardian about finishing Mel Tregonning's graphic novel Small Things after her suicide.


NPR Music is streaming the new Pixies album Head Carrier.


discussed her writing class experiences with Tin House.


Rolling Stone profiled the band Sleigh Bells.


The Rumpus interviewed author Rachel Hall.


Salon interviewed Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith.


Paste interviewed cartoonist Tom Gauld.


Drowned in Sound discussed worthwhile albums released 25 years ago.


Flavorwire interviewed Danielle Dutton about writing her novel Margaret the First.


Warpaint visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Huffington Post Canada and Coastal Living recommended fall's best new books.


At Drowned in Sound, Jenn Wasner offered a track-by-track breakdown of the new Flock of Dimes album, If You See Me, Say Yes.



also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


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September 22, 2016

Book Notes - Kathleen Rooney "René Magritte: Selected Writings"

René Magritte: Selected Writings

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

René Magritte: Selected Writings collects letters, poems, film scripts, and more to present an insightful portrait of the artist.

The Spectator wrote of the book:

"Selected Writings is nicely presented, properly scholarly and dense with interest. It is good value too. Of course, as a collection covering more than 40 years, it is inevitably repetitive and fragmentary, but there is an irrefragable sense of intellectual and artistic quality throughout."


In her own words, here is Kathleen Rooney's Book Notes music playlist for the book she edited René Magritte: Selected Writings:


In his essay "About 'the Universe of Sound'" the Belgian Surrealist painter Réne Magritte writes:

I am not in the least curious about the enigmas of acoustics: my "Universe of Sound" scarcely exists, it could hardly entertain or disturb anyone. I listen and I hear indeed, without the intervention of any other universe. I listen preferably to delightful and benign things, and I wish to listen to and to see what can evoke their mystery.

Perhaps unsurprisingly there are not a lot of images of sound, per se, in his paintings, but in his 1927 The Menaced Assassin, the assassin of the title is depicted as pausing at the crime scene—freshly murdered corpse behind him, detectives outside the door waiting to catch him—to listen transfixed to a phonograph on the table. What's this killer listening to?



For the first song on the playlist, let's suggest that the phonograph is playing the popular 1920s standard, "Bye Bye Blackbird," performed by the singer Evelyne Brélia, a friend of André Breton and his Surrealist circle, of which Magritte was briefly a part. Sadly, there's no recording of a Brélia version (though it's likely she would have known the piece), but it's best to imagine her as the performer because in 1923, she was the subject and purchaser of the first painting that Magritte ever sold.

Elsewhere in his Selected Writings, Magritte writes that, "In music, I don't go further than Debussy and Ravel," but that he "sometimes asks Georgette: 'Play me Satie's Gymnopédies'." So for Debussy, let's include "Clair de Lune," the third movement of Suite bergamesque, his piano rendition of a Paul Verlaine poem.

For Ravel, let's include Gaspard de la nuit: Trois poèmes pour piano d'après Aloysius Bertrand, a set of piano pieces inspired by the prose poetry of Aloysius Bertrand. Magritte himself has a painting called Gaspard de la nuit, and also wrote several prose poems which are included in his Selected Writings.

And, of course, let's add all three of Satie's Gymnopédies, pretty and grave.

In a letter to his fellow painter and admirer, the artist and art historian Suzi Gablik, Magritte recommends a "magnificent record. Mozart's Maurerische Trauermusik." So we'll include that too.

Finally, because René and his wife and model Georgette really were quite devoted to their series of Pomeranian dogs, all called Loulou (the Belgian-French equivalent of naming a Pomeranian "Pom" in English), let's add "René and Georgette Magritte with their Dog After the War" by Paul Simon. Here the Magrittes are, all three of them, in one of the photographs that may have inspired the song.

The Magrittes


Kathleen Rooney and René Magritte: Selected Writings links:

the author's website

The Spectator review

Chicago Book Review interview with the author
Chicago Reader profile of the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Live Nude Girl
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for O, Democracy
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Oneiromance
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Robinson Alone
Poetry Society of America essay by the author
The Volga interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (Fall's Best New Books, A Profile of Julien Baker, and more)

The Village Voice previewed fall's best new books.


The Sun Chronicle profiled singer-songwriter Julien Baker.


Ebooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Flight by Sherman Alexie
The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman


eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin


Brit Bennett discussed her debut novel The Mothers with Vogue.


Paste listed the best Leonard Cohen songs.


The Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal interviewed cartoonist Gene Luen Yang about being awarded a MacArthur grant.


Stream a new 40 Watt Sun track.


Bookforum interviewed poet Adam Fitzgerald.


BrooklynVegan is streaming the new Dinowalrus album Fairweather.


The Rumpus Book Club interviewed author Michael Helm.


Stream a new Real Numbers song.


Author William Luvaas interviewed himself at The Nervous Breakdown.

Read an excerpt from his novel Beneath the Coyote Hills.


Stereogum examined the legacy of the Olivia Tremor Control album Dusk at Cubist Castle.


Electric Literature recommended 10 books on the American immigrant experience.


Paste profiled the band Still Corners.


Book Riot recommended books about comics.


Stream a new song by the band Goat Girl.


Bookworm interviewed author Affinity Konar.


Paste listed the best Anais Mitchell songs.


Electric Literature shared an excerpt from Brian Evenson's The Warren.



also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

September 21, 2016

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - September 21, 2016

In the weekly Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week, the Montreal bookstore recommends several new works of fiction, art books, periodicals, and comics.

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is one of Montreal's premiere independent bookstores.


The Hidden Keys

The Hidden Keys
by André Alexis

André Alexis did not rest on his laurels after winning the Giller with Fifteen Dogs, instead following up with this year’s fantastic The Hidden Keys. The third installment in a projected five book sequence, The Hidden Keys details an eclectic cast, including a sophisticated thief, a heroin addict, and a taxidermist, as they hunt for a massive inheritance. Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and set in Toronto, the rendering of which has become something of a trademark for Alexis, The Hidden Keys brings to the forefront all the wit, grit, and talent we have come to expect from the reigning Canadian Fiction champ.


King Baby

King Baby
by Kate Beaton

Hark! A new Kate Beaton book! King Baby is the egg-shaped ruler of the house, and his humble servants—a.k.a. parents—are doing all they can to appease him. King Baby will let you take pictures, for King Baby is generous, but as his parents soon find out, King Baby also has many demands. Kate’s illustrations are awww-inspiring; dangerously cute for child and adult alike. Lap this one up!


Hot or Not: 20th-Century Male Artists

Hot or Not: 20th-Century Male Artists
by Jessica Campbell

Jessica Campbell, formerly of D+Q, has forever changed the way we talk about 20th century artists. In this informed and hilarious book, Jessica gives us the rundown on highbrow hotties, from Malevich to Rothko. This is a comic book for those who are just as concerned about an artist’s body as their body of work. The men who occupied the art hierarchy of the past century take their turn as Jessica’s subjects, as she erodes macho ideals of artistic achievement with heart-eyes-hindsight.


The Hideous Hidden

The Hideous Hidden
by Sylvia Legris

The language of anatomy is wrought with rich, poetic potential, and never has this potential been so brilliantly realized as it is in The Hideous Hidden, a voracious foray into the physical by Sylvia Legris. Winner of the 2006 Griffin Poetry Prize with Nerve Squall, Legris uses her poetic sensibility to dissect our “complicated riddle of meats.” Drawing from sources such as da Vinci’s Anatomical Manuscripts and Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil, each poem scintillates, sharp as a scythe. This collection is worth it for some of the titles alone, “Serenade the Glands” and “Cold Zodiac and Butchered Pig” being two that stand out in particular.


The Arab of the Future 2

The Arab of the Future 2
by Riad Sattouf

A follow-up to his much beloved first-installment of the graphic novel, The Arab of the Future 2 picks up right where Riad Sattouf left off. The plot follows the author as he settles in his father’s hometown of Homs, gets to go to school, and focuses on becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad. The scope of Sattouf’s comic is remarkable, taking in the complicated landscape of politics and religion, but it is in the small, human moments that he shines as an artist. A bestseller in both English and French, The Arab of the Future is essential read that deserves such a phenomenal sequel.


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's blog
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Facebook page
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Tumblr
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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Shorties (Kirkus Prize Finalists Announced, A New Leonard Cohen Song, and more)

The finalists for the 291016 Kirkus Prize have been announced.


Stream a new Leonard Cohen song.


Ebooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Flight by Sherman Alexie
The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman


eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin


Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton recounted the history of their band Arab Strap at The Quietus.


Electric Literature interviewed Marisa Silver about her novel Little Nothing.


The A.V. Club looked back on the soundtrack to Wim Wenders' 1990 film Until The End Of The World.


The Rumpus Poetry Book Club interviewed Monica Youn.


Drowned in Sound interviewed Nothing frontman Domenic Palermo.


The Guardian recommended forthcoming graphic novels and comics.


Stream a new song from the Danish band Lowly.


Harpers Bazaar recommended October's best new books.


Rolling Stone profiled singer-songwriter Amanda Shires.


Author Emma Donoghue discussed her love for Emily Dickinson's poem "You" at the Atlantic.


Yo La Tengo is releasing another covers compilation (with cover art by Adrian Tomine), Murder in the Second Degree.


Juan Gabriel Vasquez discussed his new novel Reputations with All Things Considered.


Stream a new song from Man Man frontman Honus Honus.


Flavorwire interviewed Sady Doyle about her new book Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear . . . and Why.


The New York Times reviewed Bruce Springsteen's new memoir Born to Run.


Elle shared an excerpt from A. C. Thomas' debut novel, The Hate U Give.


The Cincinnati Enquirer profiled singer-songwriter Josh Ritter.


Barnes and Noble recommended books about freaky cults.


The Quietus interviewed Mikael Åkerfeldt Of Opeth.


Google Play interviewed author Colson Whitehead.


The Guardian interviewed Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Margaret Wappler about her novel Neon Green.



also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

September 20, 2016

Book Notes - Brendan Kiely "The Last True Love Story"

The Last True Love Story

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Brendan Kiely's The Last True Love Story is a compelling and poignant YA road trip novel.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Readers will be swept up in Kiely's musical prose as Teddy learns about love, romance, forgiveness, and reconciliation."


In his own words, here is Brendan Kiely's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Last True Love Story:


Remember that old Starship song, "We Built this City?" I feel like I built The Last True Love Story on rock ‘n' roll too. The novel is a dual love story, one of contemporary teens learning what it feels like to get free and fall in love, and one of love near the end, a grandfather with Alzheimer's trying to hold onto the memories of his deceased wife before the disease wipes them all away. The trio set out on a road trip from LA to upstate New York, and as is the case on any great road trip, music is the fuel that keeps them going. But even more, music is the thread that ties the two love stories together. Corrina is a young rocker who can play an impressive catalogue of music from the grandfather's Vietnam era. Not only is she the driver, the music she plays and sings weaves the mysteries of the past and the pressures of the present into one rocking story. I don't listen to music when I write, but I listen to music whenever I'm walking or cooking or tackling tasks around the house, and these are a few of the songs that inspired me while I was writing The Last True Love Story.



"Can't Find My Way Home" by Blind Faith
The novel begins with the narrator promising his grandfather he'd help him never forget his deceased wife. They're both well intentioned, but Teddy is naïve enough to believe he can actually do it, or at least try. Gpa, however, as I imagine him, recognizes the inevitable. And this song was a kind of mantra I imagined running through Gpa's mind. The song kind of floats on a melancholy vibe—the kind of vibe I think of when someone is accepting the inexorable—but it is also sweet enough to suggest some possibility. It's exactly the tone I was hoping to suggest in the relationship between Teddy and his grandfather in the novel.

"Dog Days are Over" by Florence and the Machine
The first time I heard this song I felt Florence Welch's voice send chills across my skin, and then lift something buried deep with me up and out and gave it wings to fly—especially as it hits the 3 minute mark and the whole song kind of ascends. I listened to the song over and over while working on the book, because for me, Teddy hearing Corrina sing is like that first time I heard Florence Welch sing this song.

"Rock and Roll" by the Velvet Underground
I love the Velvet Underground, and no playlist I ever make escapes at least one track of their moody, grin-cocked-in-the-corner-of-the-mouth sound. This one seemed perfect when I was thinking about Corrina. She's a rocker, but stuck in sunny LA, when her mood and attitude seems so much more New York—which of course is where she wants to go and why she hightails it out of town with Teddy and his grandfather.

"Bell Bottom Blues" by Derek and the Dominos
Even though this song is about young love, and even though half the novel is about young love, when I listen to the song, I can't get the wailing refrain of not wanting to "fade away" out of my mind. I listen to Derek and the Dominoes on vinyl all the time—one of my favorites—but one day when I was listening to this, the refrain struck me as the perfect kind of fear haunting Gpa's mind. He doesn't want to fade away—or let the things he loves most in life fade away from him.

"Cannonball" by The Breeders
While I use many songs to help me think of the mood and atmosphere of the characters and the way they interact with each other, the driving heart of this novel is still a quixotic, rambling road trip, and every time I hear this song, I think of being on the road and throwing my hands up in a kind of teenage "I don't give a damn; don't hem me in" kind of way. Despite the moments of quiet intimacy in the book, it has to move and cover thousands of miles of road, and this song helped me think about that charging rhythm, like when you're driving through the low, flat grasslands of west Texas, and you hit a small rise, one that's just enough to give you a bit of a drop in your gut if you're driving fast enough. I wanted those moments in the book—just like listening to this song on the road, as I have many, many, times.

"The Weight" (Aretha Franklin 1969 version)
This is the ultimate road trip song for me. I love the version by The Band, but for me, Aretha Franklin's version, with Duane Allman on guitar, lifts the song from the picaresque to something more mythic. This was important to me because chapter-by-chapter The Last True Love Story is an homage to the Odyssey. Gpa wants to get home to his beloved Ithaca (NY), but part of what hinders him from getting there, aside from the 4,000 miles between LA and Ithaca, is the disease that plagues his mind. In fact, I think of Teddy, Corrina and Gpa as a kind of tripartite Odysseus—and I kept circling back to Aretha's version of the song to help inspire me tell their story.

"Stand Up" by Hindi Zahra
When I'm stuck in a scene and I can't figure out what to do, where to go, or what people are saying to each other, I often go for a walk to clear the mind. "Stand Up" does what the title suggests, from the first plucking of the guitar, it makes me want to get up and get on the move. But as the song continues and Hindi Zahra's voice enters, it's like I'm split in two—my feet stay on the ground, walking quickly, almost skipping, but my head seems to disconnect, float and bob in the breeze. It's the perfect song for me as a writer. All I need is a short walk, 10-15 minutes, listening to this song first, and I'm quickly back at the keyboard pushing through the scene.

"Dark End of the Street" by James Carr
For me, so much of young love is that feeling of doing something we want to do but think we're not supposed to do, and Carr's slow-swinging R&B classic is one of those songs that seems to pull two people together, like that moment when you are dancing and you finally lean in close enough to kiss. I wanted Teddy and Corrina to have this kind of slow dance that keeps getting interrupted, until, finally, when Corrina sings this very song as a kind of lullaby to Gpa, Teddy and Corrina are left alone in the quiet without any more distractions.

"Because the Night" by Patti Smith
This song has always stood out as a lovers anthem—the kind of song that makes me think of folks in love, putting the rest of the world at their backs and racing forward into the unknown. It's an American rock anthem, and for me, a kind of anthem for the book too. Despite his disease, Gpa is determined to love Gma all the way to the end; and despite everything wrong Teddy and Corrina are doing, they're racing ahead, hoping their good intentions will protect them from the likely, even inevitable, disaster.

"Noble Heart" by PHOX
I always knew this story would be about falling in love, trying to make love last forever, and also about those times when you know you need to let go. Monica Martin's whispery voice pulls you into that melancholy feeling when you have to let go, and then swells and takes off occasionally. There have been times in my own life, at train stations, or airports, or even on the last day of school, where I had the warm feeling that I loved people around me, but I knew I might not see them again. I needed to sit in that kind of feeling to write a couple of the scenes in the novel, and I'd listen to this song on my headphones to step down into that feeling and let the emotions lap up around me.

"Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
From the first whistles at the beginning of this rollicking, road trip-as-carnival song, it's hard not to want to spring from your seat and swing in circles with someone you love. This song is the other anthem for the book. The Last True Love Story is an homage to the Odyssey, because it is a story about trying to get home—but what would Odysseus's journey be if his beloved Ithaca was gone? There's a moment when he shouts to his weary crew members, "Ithaca is here, with us!" That's the cue I take for my novel, and the cue I hear echoed in this song. "Home is whenever I'm with you." That's true for the ragtag family that races across the country in my novel, and it's true too, even when for some, they can only remain together in memory.

Brendan Kiely and The Last True Love Story links:

the author's website

Booklist review
Kirkus review
School Library Journal review

BookPage interview with the author
Slice interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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Book Notes - Ishion Hutchinson "House of Lords and Commons"

House of Lords and Commons

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Ishion Hutchinson's poetry collection House of Lords and Commons proves him one of the finest poets writing today.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"These poems herald the maturity of a major poetic voice."


In his own words, here is Ishion Hutchinson's Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection House of Lords and Commons:


I am going to call this short playlist, only ten cuts, "Trouble On the Road Again." I do so in homage to the name of an unreleased gem by Bob Marley and the Wailers, a title which I have availed myself of twice in House of Lords and Commons, once to title a poem and as a stray phrase in another poem. It is an irresistible formulation.

The collection pursues music, or music pursues it, like a ubiquitous spy who leaps beyond the page into an invisible region words fail to reach. Words, out of fear of extinction, are left to do subterranean work—poetry. I cannot write with music playing, but in a way I do because of the layers of music I sense stirring inside me, the way poems hover in my memory, rising up to my rescue or to my further despair, when I am writing.

Some of these pieces that follow bear directly, in limited thematic scopes, on some of the poems in the collection. The others function similar to the experience of listening to music, that of being transformed by the textures of the sounds, building, as it were, a dome in the air.

First, though, we dance. Let us skank so and so, rough as things are, despite the violence and the election on fire, rum drowning in the potholes; for still, the moon is above our heads—look, girl and skin your teeth!—and we have this island of sounds to ourselves. So, let me show you what I know.



"Cherry Oh Baby," Eric Donaldson

This danceable, rubescent love song has to me the quality of country romance and Donaldson's shivery falsetto gives the lyrics the timeless bloom of youth: "Cherry oh, Cherry oh, baby / don't you know I'm in need of thee?" When I listen to it I hear the tender nights of early 1970s beach parties (or sessions), long before I was born, in Port Antonio. When this comes on everyone scatters for a partner.

"Pressure Drop," Toots and the Maytals

Toots is a powerhouse and the sheer energy of his voice enacts—expels, really—the physical force of pressure dropping. Though accusatory ("I say when it drops, oh you gonno feel it / know that you were doing wrong"), the song is not mean-spirited at all; it is joyful one to ‘drop legs' (Jamaican expression to dance) to all night long.

"Bird In Hand," Lee ‘Scratch' Perry

Scratch is an enigma, a contrarian, the eternal child. He is a miracle man; he breaks forms to reveal new symmetries; he is the poet-genius of the mixing board, linking disparate sounds into rocklike shapes. When I listen to Scratch, particularly "Bird In Hand," one of his strangest in a long career of strange inventions, I think of a phrase by Vladimir Voinovich: "something has been clarified there, but something still remains obscure." The song's title is transparent; it points to Aesop's famous bird-in-the hand parable, but the lyrics are, apparently, in Hindi. It amazes me to think, that since my early adolescence, Hindi expressions (one of which translates to mean: "as soon as our eyes met, somebody's heart went mad") have been a staple part of my psyche. Scratch's genius has been making me, from an early age, less a philistine.

"The Sun," Burning Spear

Whenever I want to hear the hills, the hills at dusk in the voice of my favourite uncle, Uncle Big Man, whose life is in the hills, this is the song I put on. The hills are for contemplation. The high grounds the slaves escaped the plantations to, reasoning and questioning: "do you remember the days of slavery? / and how they beat us? / do you remember the days of slavery?" But sometimes the questions are not so heavy, as in "The Sun"; a simple voice only a hill's man like Winston ‘Burning Spear' Rodney could capture, his tone cool, testing the range of distance: "are you ready? / are you ready? / are you re-eh-eh-ady?" The magnificence of the song is how it raises an image of my uncle cupping his mouth to answer me. Yes.

"Trouble On the Road Again," Bob Marley and the Wailers

I love how "again" looms out into a future, acknowledging the past as a crowd of ‘once more.' "When sorrows come, they come not single spies" is no less its grasp. Marley is the great poet of the pivot, a compass needle that is already pointing other directions once you have catch up to him. I chase after him in this collection with the same panic I felt as a boy when I first heard his wail.

"Southeastern Moon," Midnite

With his hieroglyphic style of chanting, Vaughn ‘Akae Beka' Benjamin, the lead singer and prolific lyricist of the band Midnite—they are from St. Croix, Virgin Island—is the emblem of intellectual power. He moves words in a warped field of significations, strangely esoteric and simple, as in these lines addressed to the moon, which I love: "southeastern moon / the evening look like morning I hope you will be coming soon / you keep the seasons waiting for you." The moon as the gravitational point, yoking morning to evening, creates an interval where the register of absence intensifies. Benjamin is a master of making that pyramidal third space, where objects correlate into the permanence of poetry.

"Symphony No. 5," Jean Sibelius (Herbert von Karajan, Philharmonia Orchestra)

Sibelius's power is to make you feel like what it feels like to have wings. It is a powerful fiction: flying over unknown places and then recognizing, like the slow development of a film, with a kind of terrifying exultation, that the landscape below is home. The recognition comes as a kind of amplified grace and gratitude. This is what grips me about "Symphony No. 5," the simultaneous awareness of height and panorama as the music grows. A poem midway in House of Lords and Commons is called "Sibelius and Marley." It puts the two in a cypher of surreal duel against destructive history and nature in their respective—but strange--landscapes.

"Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun," Claude Debussy

The complete, ineluctable auditory pleasure, it masks its menace in wafting glissandi harps; but the faun, to me, is Marsyas, skinned alive by Apollo, the terrible punishment I transposed in a poem, not for challenging the god, but for…just for.

"Requiem for My Friend," Zbigniew Preisner

Whenever I listen to this piece I imagine murals or friezes depicting scenes from a life gone. Every note honours that life and every note mourns, without being mournful, enduring the sad occasion with thanksgiving. It is a bracing, radical compliment to Marley's injunction against inaction: "forget your sorrows and dance," which I live by.

"Winter In America," Gil Scott-Heron

Though Scott-Heron's portrait or vision of America is bleak in this ballad ("like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds // And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner"), you sense in the composition a powerful regenerating force: the flute's resilient ripples insisting on the hoped-for rain. I sink into it knowing spring is not far behind.


Ishion Hutchinson and House of Lords and Commons links:

the author's website

Publishers Weekly review


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (Hilton Als on Edward Albee, Nirvana's Nevermind Album Reconsidered at 25, and more)

Hilton Als on Edward Albee.


PopMatters reconsidered Nirvana's Nevermind album 25 years after its release.


Ebooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Flight by Sherman Alexie
The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman


eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin


BrooklynVegan interviewed Chris Murphy and Jay Ferguson of the band Sloan.


The National Book Review interviewed author Christine Sneed.


Stream a new Warpaint song.


The New Yorker features a new short story by Petina Gappah.


NYCTaper shared a recording of a recent P.S. Eliot show.


At Signature, Marisa Silver discussed unconventional works of fiction that have inspired her writing.


The A.V. Club interviewed Sunny Day Real Estate’s Jeremy Enigk.


Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature, a biography of Alexander von Humboldt, has been awarded the Royal Society science book prize.


Fresh Air interviewed Rennie Sparks of the Handsome Family.


The Rumpus shared an excerpt from Danielle Trussoni's new memoir The Fortress.


Paste profiled singer-songwriter Amanda Shires.


At Literary Hub, Lev Grossman recounted writing his first novel.


Drowned in Sound interviewed singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow.


Book Riot listed 2016's best essay collections.


Musicians Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani shared the legacy of synth inventor Don Buchla at The Record.


Signature examined medical mysteries in literature.


Rolling Stone interviewed Keith Morris about his memoir My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor.


Paste interviewed Ben Katchor about the reissue of his Cheap Novelties comics collection.


Pitchfork reconsidered Brian Eno's classic album Another Green World.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed Jeffrey Zuckerman about his translation of Ananda Devi’s Eve Out of Her Ruins.



also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

September 19, 2016

Book Notes - James Boice "The Shooting"

The Shooting

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

James Boice's The Shooting is a timely and pitch-perfect novel about gun violence in America.

Elizabeth Crane wrote of the book:

"In The Shooting, James Boice offers a timely and scathing indictment of our current gun-happy culture, cross-cutting hearts and minds in his incomparable take-no-prisoners style. Another stunner from Boice."


In his own words, here is James Boice's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Shooting:


Gun Songs



"Guns" – Justin Moore

I used to this song to help me get into the head of one of my main characters, Lee Fisher, who sees himself as a good guy with a gun. "As long as I’m still breathing, you won’t take my guns." Beneath all the bravado is fear, insecurity.

"Guns" – Nice as Fuck

On this song from her new project, Jenny Lewis sings "The crisis is not ISIS" – we’re spilling our own blood." We’ve spent over $1.7 trillion on the War of Terror and continue to obsess over "Islamic extremists" potentially killing us, but meanwhile 33,000 of us die each year to routine gun violence and we do literally nothing about it.

"In Bloom" – Sturgill Simpson (via Nirvana)

"He likes to shoot his gun, but he don’t know what it means to love someone." My character Lee Fisher falls into that description.

"Big Exit" – PJ Harvey

This song sums up Lee Fisher’s worldview nicely:

"Look out ahead/see danger come
I want a pistol/I want a gun
I'm scared baby/I wanna run
This world's crazy/Give me the gun"

"Outlaw Shit" – Waylon Jennings

We like to see ourselves as cowboys in this country: independent, self-determining, armed to the hilt. But that myth is clashing too harshly with our reality, which is death and suffering and sadness. As Waylon sings, it’s "gotten out of hand." The Shooting is about this.

"Murder to Excellence" – Kanye & Jay Z

Guns are killing people in droves in Chicago and in black communities nationwide with nothing happening to stop it. My character Clayton Kabede and his family, sadly, fit in with that as they are crushed beneath all our political machinations.

"Happiness is a Warm Gun" – The Beatles

Lennon wrote this song after seeing an advertisement for a gun in American Rifleman magazine. Twelve years later, he would be shot in the back in New York City.

"Not Myself" – Sharon Van Etten

Van Etten dedicates this song to the victims of the Pulse shootings in Orlando. Proceeds from its release benefit Everytown for Gun Safety.

"Bang Bang" – Green Day

New song from the point of view of a school shooter. More and more new art is coming out lately addressing gun violence – this song, Sharon Van Etten and Nice as Fuck’s above, as well as many movies: this year’s Sundance Film Festival saw an unprecedented number of both fiction and documentary flicks centered on the topic.

"That’s When I Reach for My Revolver" – Mission of Burma

Gun as exhibition of desperation.

"Yvette" – Jason Isbell

This boy is going to save a girl in class from her abusive father, and he’s going to do with his Weatherby rifle. He thinks he’s doing right, that he’s being a hero but in fact he has no idea that he’s about to compound the tragedy.


James Boice and The Shooting links:

the author's website

TNBBC's The Next Best Book Blog review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for The Good and the Ghastly


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

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