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February 25, 2020

Chana Porter's Playlist for Her Novel "The Seep"

The Seep

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 Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Chana Porter's debut novel The Seep is an auspicious work of speculative fiction, an impressive work of love and loss and optimism.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Porter’s gripping, subtly hopeful work of literary speculative fiction is shaped by remarkable world-building elements and acute observation of human frailties and impetus."


In her own words, here is Chana Porter's Book Notes music playlist for her novel The Seep:



The Soul Stirrers/Sam Cooke “Come, Let Us Go Back To God”

Tonally, this beautiful song really speaks to the opening of my book— the despair of the world, feeling mired in our problems, and then a savior coming from the sky to heal everything. In this case, it’s an alien intervention. And this religious awakening is not optional.

Minnie Riperton “Come Into My Garden”

I love imagining The Seep as the speaker in this song, promising to take away all of our troubles. You’ll never leave the garden. So lush, intoxicating, creepy, sensual. Also I’m obsessed with Minnie Riperton and I hope you are too.

Kate Bush “The Sensual World”

Speaking of sensual, this song always makes me think of really good sex or being on drugs—both things The Seep appreciate very much. In Seep world I bet Kate Bush would become like a dryad in Scotland or something equally delightful.

Neutral Milk Hotel “Holland, 1945”

Perhaps the best song ever written about reincarnation. I love imaging Anne Frank as “a little boy in Spain, playing pianos filled with flames” It’s also wistful in the way that feels tonally resonant with my book.

Alton Ellis “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”

The plot of The Seep centers around a very strange kind of divorce. This is such a sweet break-up song! Breaking up is less hard to do when you have the tender crooning of Alton Ellis, the godfather of Rocksteady, keeping you company.

Bill Callahan “Ein Ma Clack Shaw”

Another amazing break-up song. Bill’s lyrics are so evocative, the music shifting and purposive, images tripping over themselves like a strange dream. “Last night I dreamed it was a dream that you were gone/ I woke up feeling so ripped by reality”

Lisel “Mirage”

I absolutely adore Lisel’s new album Angels on the Slope and this music video is so dope. Perfect soundtrack for Trina running around the city looking for a lost boy (but actually running from her own problems.)

Nina Simone “Lilac Wine”

A song about losing yourself, about drinking too much, and lost love! Nina’s voice pouring out like raw honey. An absolute classic, and so fitting for The Seep.

David Bowie “Young Americans”

No spoilers, but this song actually is actually pivotal in the novel. Bowie Forever.

Alphaville “Forever Young”

The Seep can make us forever young, so that’s the obvious connection, but this song is actually pitch perfect in so many ways— the lyrics about creeping dread of nuclear war, combined with the sweet synths and horns. Such a weird yet lovely juxtaposition. Also— have you seen the music video?! It looks like something from early Star Trek— people on some planet are getting ready to jump through a portal. Who art designed that video? I can’t be the only person obsessed with this.

These last two tracks I write to often:

Alice Coltrane “Journey in Satchidananda”

Spiritual Jazz definitely belongs in the world of The Seep. This is the title track from one of my favorite albums of all time— certainly in my top ten. I write to Alice Coltrane all the time. A patron saint of creativity.

Laraaji “Unicorns in Paradise”

I LOVE writing to Laraaji— he’s such a special person and musician. Hearing his loving voice come on at the end of this track, saying “may we be released from the need to perfect any person, place, or thing” always gives me comfort. That guy doesn’t need to be Seeped. He already knows we’re all connected.


Chana Porter is a playwright, teacher, MacDowell Colony fellow, and co-founder of the Octavia Project, a STEM and fiction-writing program for girls and gender non-conforming youth from underserved communities. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is currently at work on her next novel.


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

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






February 25, 2020

Shorties (The Most Influential Science Fiction Books, TORRES on Patti Smith, and more)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Lifehacker Australia listed the most influential science fiction books of all time.


Singer-songwriter TORRES shared her admiration for Patti Smith at American Songwriter.


February's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale today for $1.99:

We Wanted to Be Writers: Life, Love, and Literature at the Iowa Writers' Workshop by Eric Olsen and Glenn Schaeffer


Under the Radar profiled Greg Dulli.


Paste listed the best Joanna Newsom songs.


O: The Oprah Magazine has new short fiction by Laura van den Berg.


Bustle recommended music memoirs to read after streaming High Fidelity.


Vogue listed the best books of the year (so far).


Stream a new Soccer Mommy song.


The New York Times recommended books about pandemics.


Paste profiled the band Tennis.


Granta shared a conversation between author Fernanda Melchor and her English translator Sophie Hughes.


Stream a new No Age song.


Author Gayle Brandeis interviewed herself at The Nervous Breakdown.


Mental Floss recommended songs about true crime.


The Chicago Review of Books interviewed author Charles Yu.


Twin Peaks visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


Filmmakers discussed working with composer Johann Johannson at Deadline.


Stream a new song by Momma.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed musician and composer Robbie Lee.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support 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)
Flash Dancers (authors pair original flash fiction with a song
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


February 24, 2020

Mathea Morais's Playlist for Her Novel "There You Are"

There You Are

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 Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Mathea Morais's coming-of-age debut novel There You Are impressively wields music as the heart of both its characters and environment.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"...for readers who enjoy a story of robustness and fragility of love, Morais' work is a must-read."


In her own words, here is Mathea Morais's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel There You Are:


While There You Are is a love story and a coming-of-age story, I didn’t think about it that way when I wrote it. To me, There You Are is about music - and the people who turn to it for guidance, solace, kinship, and relief. I keep saying I’m going to make a playlist that includes every single song/artist that is mentioned in the book, but it didn’t make sense to do that here since it would be some hundred songs and no one has time for all that.

There is already a corresponding playlist for The '80s, '90s and 2000s Mix Tape sections of the book, so I decided to make an Outtakes Mix. These are the 20 songs that didn’t make it onto the other mix tapes, but that I still consider crucial to the story and to understanding the characters. Interestingly enough, when making the other mixes it took a lot of work to get the order of the songs right so that they worked together the way a mix tape is supposed to. However, these songs fell right into place.


THERE YOU ARE - THE OUTTAKES: A MIX TAPE



Boom - Royce da 5’9”

I think I can safely say that I love anything that Premier produces, but the pairing of Premier and Royce da 5’9” is simply genius. This is one of their earlier songs and in the book, when I say that Octavian listens to Royce while readying his classroom for the beginning of the year, this is the song I imagined he would put on first.

Billy Jack - Curtis Mayfield

I am a true sucker for anything with horns (or drums for that matter) and the horns in this song always bring tears to my eyes. Octavian plays songs for his students to inspire them. This song, which is about a friend getting shot, he puts on because it has been stuck in his head since learning about Michael Brown’s murder.

To Be Free- Fontella Bass

The album Free is not Fontella Bass’s most well-known record, but the character Andrea Applegate talks about how it saves her life every time she listens to it. I chose the song “To Be Free” because when I think about the honest and vulnerable lyrics someone with the kind of mental-health struggles that Andrea has would need to hear, these are them.

Criminal Minded - Boogie Down Productions

This is one of the first rap songs I memorized all the words to. It is also the first song that we see Octavian recite to himself to help bring him out of a panic attack. When I hear that drum beat, it feels like a heart that can’t figure out which way it wants to go - which is what I imagine Octavian is feeling.

Whisper Not - Lee Morgan

Lee Morgan is hands down one of my favorite jazz musicians and I love the whole Lee Morgan Sextet album (horns and drums again). “Whisper Not” is a song that, regardless of my mood, makes me feel better. This is why Octavian puts it on after he’s made it through the panic attack he has after learning about Michael Brown.

Blackbird - Nina Simone

As much as I was yet another white girl obsessed with Nina Simone in college, I didn’t discover this song until later. With only Simone’s unparalleled voice and drums/clapping, “Blackbird” is about deeply struggling as a Black woman in our white supremacist society. It is one of the most haunting of her many haunting songs, and is the last song that the character Cordelia asks to listen to before she dies.

Quiet Storm - Smokey Robinson

Growing up in St. Louis, we listened to the Quiet Storm show on Majic 108 FM with religion. The show was a mix of slow jams from early Aretha Franklin to the newest Ready for the World single, but it always started with Smokey Robinson’s “Quiet Storm” at 9 pm. Those first stormy sounds and bass line were a signal to get on the phone with whoever you had a crush on. Mina was definitely listening to the Quiet Storm while she was on the phone late at night, and Octavian probably was, too.

Nasty (featuring Planet Asia) Guilty Simpson & Apollo Brown

As an old-school hip hop head, Octavian would absolutely be a fan of Guilty Simpson and Apollo Brown. Like Royce, the music coming out of Detroit has an amazing sound that speaks both to the old heads and the young ones as well. Plus the continuous breakdown in the song with the tambourines and gospel that goes into that headbanging beat is breathtaking. Try not to blow your speakers out on this one.

Smalltown Boy - Bronski Beat

The move from Guilty Simpson to Bronski Beat wasn’t intentional here, but it’s perfect. Bronski Beat is one of those '80s British synthpop, openly gay groups that this collection of characters would put on right after a hardcore hip hop song. Regardless of what kind of music they were resident “experts” in, they were always open to hearing something new and different.

Something in the Water (Does Not Compute) - Prince

This is the one Prince song I wanted to include in the original MixTape and didn’t. There is so much I love about this song - the hyperactive drumbeat (see, drums!), the spooky synthesizer, but it is Prince’s questioning and vulnerable lyrics that made it the perfect song for Octavian to put on when he’s frustrated about his inability to communicate how he feels to Mina.

Let it Loose - Rolling Stones

Mina is a much bigger Rolling Stones fan than she lets on, and this is such a quintessential Stones song. Exile on Main Street is one of the albums she and Octavian put on and listen to from beginning to end and this would definitely be her favorite song on that album. (Also, there are those heartbreaking horns.)

Human Nature - Michael Jackson

It would be incomplete to write about music in the '80s and not include Michael Jackson. Thriller was such a huge pop music explosion that none of the “real” music head characters would have been able to admit to liking it. However, the fact that Octavian and Francis can reminisce about their mom loving “Human Nature” allows them to love it, too. And I don’t care how cool you think are, there is no denying the beauty of this song.

Rule This Land - Bunny Wailer

I have very early memories of listening to the whole Bunny Wailer Sings the Wailers album and this song in particular. In the book, when things are really good for Octavian and Mina, they taste the lyrics of Bunny Wailer songs on each other’s lips. But this song is also such a youth anthem and speaks to the power that young people can have and feel sometimes. A power I imagine this group of young characters feeling when they are hanging out together.

The Bird - Jimmy McGriff

One of the greatest things about hip hop - especially from the “Golden Era” - is the amount of music it exposes listeners to through samples. For pre-internet music heads, figuring out a sample was not only a fun game but also a way of finding a gem of a song you never heard before. That Mina hears Cypress Hill’s “Hole in the Head” and thinks about Jimmy McGriff’s “The Bird” (which was later sampled by KRS-One, Ultramagnetic MCs, and House of Pain) means she’s pretty good at that game.

The Choice is Yours - Black Sheep

Since so much of this book is about two sides to the same city, about making a decision which will leave the characters unsatisfied in some way, I needed to include this song. Plus, even though their career did not last as long as others, Black Sheep was most definitely an important part of early '90s hip hop. And this is the first song I ever heard in a club where the DJ turned down the music and everyone in the crowd sang the lyrics (Engine, Engine, Number 9…).

Close to Me -The Cure

I went back and forth for a long time about using this song or New Edition’s “Can You Stand the Rain” as a title track. I wound up going with the New Edition song, but I am still on the fence as to whether or not that was the right decision. The melody of “Close to Me” is far too playful to fit the seriousness of that chapter, but at the same time, the lyrics couldn’t be more on point for what is happening for Mina and Octavian. I guess I’ll just lay my gratitude right here for Large Hearted Boy for giving me the option to now have both.

Five Years - David Bowie

The character Francis is a total Classic Rock head. However, after he and Octavian’s mother dies, he can’t listen to music. When he comes back from rehab and is succeeding in staying sober, he suddenly can again and this is the first song he and Octavian listen to together since their mother dies. Also, almost as much as I love drums and horns, I love songs that tell stories and there is nothing like the story this song tells.

I Get Lifted - KC & the Sunshine Band featuring George McCrae

While Mina prided herself on loving the original of a song better than a cover, she still loves the KC & the Sunshine Band cover of George McCrae’s “I Get Lifted” (talk about a song that has been sampled a lot) enough to have it be her favorite song to play on the jukebox. Next time you see it on a jukebox, put it on. It makes everyone around you happy.

Simon Says - Pharaoh Monch

When Octavian and Mina reconnect after many years, and Mina asks him what he’s listening to, he tells her, Pharaoh Monch. I went back and forth between “Calculated Amalgamation” (because, drums) or “Ass” (because growing up on Too Short and Akinyele) but finally settled on the headbanging classic “Simon Says” (because it’s my favorite - mostly because of that sample of Godzilla horns…).

Lass of the Low Country- Odetta

Throughout the book, Mina is noted as a folk music fan, and when Octavian asks Mina, after all those years, what she’s listening to, she tells him, Odetta. Unlike Pharaoh Monch, choosing this song was easy. It’s from Odetta’s second solo album that was recorded in 1957 (the same year that Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” was number one). “Lass of the Low Country” showcases Odetta’s phenomenal guitar skills and it is haunting and sad but most importantly, it is about lost love.


Mathea Morais and There You Are links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
St. Louis Post-Dispatch review

Martha's Vineyard Times profile of 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

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Flash Dancers (authors pair original flash fiction with a song
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


Shorties (An Excerpt from Hilary Mantel's New Novel, The 25th Anniversary of PJ Harvey's To Bring You My Love Album, and more)

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

Authors and actors discussed their favorite Hilary Mantel books at the Guardian.

The Guardian also profiled Mantel.

Read an excerpt from Mantel's new novel The Mirror and the Light.


The Quietus reconsidered PJ Harvey's album To Bring You My Love on its 25th anniversary.


February's best eBook deals.


Paste recommended the week's best new music.


Adam Levin discussed his story in this week's issue with the New Yorker.


SPIN listed Lee Ranaldo's best albums.


Allison Pataki recommended six books with strong female voices at The Week.


Paste interviewed Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino.


Experts discussed who should choose appropriate books for prisons at NPR Books.


CNN and Zebra profiled the Drive-By Truckers.


Lee Matalone recommended books about the anxiety of settling down at Electric Literature.


Stream a new Allie X song (that features Mitski).


Remezcla recommended books that celebrate Afro-Latinos.


Stereogum reconsidered Yo La Tengo's And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out album on its 20th anniversary.


Essence recommended books that celebrate being black and proud.


American Songwriter shared a 2000 interview with Lou Reed.


The Nebula Award finalists were announced.


Stream a new song by Perlee.


Electric Literature shared an excerpt from Hilary Leichter's impressive novel Temporary.


The New York Times shared a defining playlist for NYC's Lower East Side neighborhood.


WWNO interviewed authors Lauren Groff and Amy Bonnaffons.


Jenny Lewis played a Tiny Desk Concert.


The Inflection Point podcast interviewed author and actress Amber Tamblyn.


Stereogum reconsidered Air's score for The Virgin Suicides on the album's 20th anniversary.


Salon profiled musician and composer Danny Elfman.


CarolineLeavittville interviewed author Clare Beams.


The Creative Independent interviewed Caribou's Dan Snaith.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed author Wendy Heard.


BOMB interviewed author Marcelo Hernandez Castillo.


CarolineLeavittville interviewed author Kathleen Donohoe.


Vanessa Hua talked books and reading with BookMarks.


Writers remembered Charles Portis at the Oxford American.


Full Stop interviewed author Helen Philips.


Boricua Reads previewed spring's books by Latinx authors.


The Millions interviewed author Jaquira Díaz.


Amina Cain listed female mystics in literature at Electric Literature.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support 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)
Flash Dancers (authors pair original flash fiction with a song
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


February 21, 2020

Shorties (Sally Rooney on Books and Reading, Zoë Kravitz and Nick Hornby on the New Television Adaptation of Hgh Fidelity, and more)

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney talked books and reading with the New York Times.


Vulture interviewed Zoë Kravitz and Nick Hornby about the television adaptation of Hornby's novel High Fidelity.


February's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti


Stream Archers of Loaf's first new song in over 20 years.


The New York Times recommended the week's best books.


All Ears examined musicians' varied uses of distortion.


Tor.com shared a story from Ken Liu's collection The Hidden Girl and Other Stories.


Paste listed the best posthumous albums of all time.


O: The Oprah Magazine recommended books to spark conversations at your book club.


PopSugar recommended spring's best books.


SPIN interviewed Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba.


The L.A. Times Book Prize finalists are announced.


Stream a previously unreleased Jay Som song.


The Washington Post profiled Daniel Lavery, formerly Daniel Mallory Ortberg.


Stream a new Sufjan Stevens song.


Vanity Fair profiled author Jenny Offill.


Fontaines D.C. covered the Pixies' "Gouge Away."


The Los Angeles Times profiled author Charles Yu.


Stream a new song by Christelle Bofale,


Laura Lippman on Spelling Bee at Slate.

Spelling Bee, however, is perfect, a sort of no-holds-barred Boggle, minus the time limit. Every day, it’s made up of seven letters, six of which surround a central letter. Because each letter is encased in a hexagon, the visual effect is hivelike. The goal is to make as many so-called common words as you can, using the letters as often as you like—as long as the central letter appears at least once in each word and each word is at least four letters long.


Stereogum interviewed Caribou's Dan Snaith.


Philippe Falardeau discussed his film adaptation of Joanna Rakoff's My Salinger Year with the Hollywood Reporter.


Dresden Dolls covered Midnight Oil's "Beds Are Burning."


The New York Times Style Magazine recommended spring's most anticipated books.


Wolf Parade discussed their influences at BrooklynVegan.


Full Stop interviewed author Helen Philips.


The Maris Review interviewed author Ada Calhoun.


Chana Porter discussed her novel The Seep with Electric Literature.


The New York Observer profiled author Andrew Krivak.


The Millions interviewed author Sarah Moss.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support 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)
Flash Dancers (authors pair original flash fiction with a song
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


February 20, 2020

Flash Dancers: Ekphrastic Singles - "Hey Nineteen" by Aimee Parkison

The Flash Dancers: Ekphrastic Singles series is curated by Meg Pokrass. Authors pair an original work of flash fiction with a song.



Hey Nineteen by Aimee Parkison

(inspired by the song “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan)


Because he didn’t know my name and I wasn’t going to tell, he asked how old I was.

I said, “Nineteen.”

After that, he started calling me Nineteen, as if I were a number.

“Hey, Nineteen,” he said. He laughed, so I guess he thought it funny. It got old real fast, the way he did.

“Seems like only yesterday I was your age, Nineteen,” he said, grinning and sweating in his designer shades while driving up to me in his shiny white convertible, top down, engine revving like a big cat’s purr.

“Hey Nineteen, we got zilch in common and can’t chat at all, but slide on in my car, and we’ll go for a long ride.”

“No,” I said, “no way, old man.”

And he said, “Come on, Nineteen, we can’t dance together, we can’t chat. So, let’s drive.”

“We can’t dance? We can’t chat?” I asked, knowing he thought the car could do the flirting for him. He revved it, again.

He said, “I mean, there’s nothing I can say that you’ll understand, and the dances I used to dance are nothing like the dances they have now, but we could spend time together tonight, on a long drive and have some fun. You like fun, don’t you, Nineteen?”

“Why?” I asked. “Where would we go? We can’t dance together. We can’t chat at all. We can’t even screw.”

He said, “Hold on! I said we can’t chat, and we can’t dance, but I could teach you a few things about a few things. Maybe tonight?”

That’s when I realized he thought he could screw me without dancing, without talking, without knowing my name.

Sometimes it sucks to be Nineteen, especially if you’re Thirteen.




Aimee Parkison is the author of Girl Zoo, Refrigerated Music for a Gleaming Woman, Woman with Dark Horses, The Innocent Party, and The Petals of Your Eyes. Parkison has won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, and the North American Review Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize. She teaches in the creative writing program at Oklahoma State University and serves on FC2’s Boards of Directors.


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

previous Flash Dancers stories

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

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


Shorties (Two Interviews with Brandon Taylor, The 10th Anniversary of Joanna Newsom's Have One on Me Album, and more)

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

them. and The Rumpus interviewed author Brandon Taylor.


Aquarium Drunkard reconsidered Joanna Newsom's Have One on Me album on its 10th anniversary.


February's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for $2.99 today:

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

eBook on sale for $3.99 today:

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston


Paste previewed 2020's music books.


The finalists for the Aspen Words Literary Prize have been announced.


Stream a new Josh Ritter song.


USA Today listed the best books of 2020 so far.


Stream a new Mark Lanegan song.


The Atlantic examined "deathfic," fan fiction where popular characters are killed.


Stream a new song by Man Man.


WIRED examined "doomer-lit," cli-fi with a dark edge.


Steam a new song by Beauty Queen.


The Rumpus Book Club interviewed author Jenn Shapland.


Stream a new Wye Oak song.


Literary Hub shared a reading list about America's housing crisis.


Stream a new song by Street Whirl.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Ander Monson's new book I Will Take The Answer.


Vogue shared a new essay by Lily King.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support 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)
Flash Dancers (authors pair original flash fiction with a song
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


February 19, 2020

Crissy Van Meter's Playlist for Her Novel "Creatures"

Cargill Falls

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 Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Crissy Van Meter's novel Creatures is a stunning debut, a coming-of-age tale with a strong sense of place.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"Vivid and moving . . . The tempo of [Van Meter’s] sentences matches Winter Island’s foggy skies and roiling seas: at once bright and languid, visceral and lyric . . .Van Meter’s debut is an unwavering triumph . . . A coming-of-age that’s as human as it is wild."


In her own words, here is Crissy Van Meter's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Creatures:



Creatures is set off the coast of California on the fictional Winter Island. It’s the story of Evie and her well-meaning, drug-dealing, drunk father, and a portrait of a life that asks how we can truly overcome our past to have a future full of love. So much of the book is about California, grief, betrayal, and of course, love. Also, it’s a lot about whales.

I can’t really listen to music (at least with lyrics) while I’m writing, but as I get to know my characters, I start building a soundtrack to their lives. I end up making a lot of Spotify playlists for each character, sometimes per chapter, sometimes based on how I’m emotionally feeling during a part of the writing process.

Here are a few songs that live on many of my Creatures playlists.


“Midnight Special” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

There’s a scene in Creatures when Evangeline’s absent mother returns and forces her out for a cheezy bachelorette party on Winter Island. They get loaded and watch a CCR cover band at a bar. Things get weird and go emotionally south. This is the song the band plays while Evie’s wild mother dances along.

“Charlie Don't Surf” by The Clash

Creatures is so much about place – California and the ocean. Naturally, there’s a lot of surf culture in the book. I love “Charlie Don’t Surf” and imagine that Evangeline and her father would sing this song to kook tourists.

“Xxplosive” by Dr. Dre

Evangeline comes of age in the '90s. When Evie and her best friend, Rook, spend their time getting into teenage trouble, they listen to a lot of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. This song is one of my personal favorites, but is also the perfect, too-sexual song for a pair of lost and troubled fourteen-year-old girls.

“Forever” by The Beach Boys

Evangeline falls in love with Liam and she must figure out how to overcome her past to truly make her marriage work. I loved writing the marriage section of Creatures so much and I imagine this perfect love song to be their wedding song.

“Evangeline” by Emmylous Harris and The Band

I grew up dancing to this song with my own father. This name has always been so lovely and special to me. My father and I shared in so much love for music, and especially we love Emmylou Harris. When I began writing Creatures, and building a world for a young girl and her father – I knew my heroine had to be named Evangeline.

“Maybellene” by Chuck Berry

Evangeline’s father drives a beat-up, old truck that he lovingly names Maybellene after this song. He’s a guy who loves music, who likes to dance and party, and who loves Chuck Berry. In this book, so many people have nick names, or code names, or silly names – as way to protect themselves perhaps – so it makes sense that Evie’s father named his truck.

“Sweet Virginia” by The Rolling Stones

This is my favorite get-drunk song. This book is a lot about people getting drunk and high, for better or worse. I imagine this song playing throughout these characters’ lives, especially when they are the perfect amount of drunk. A very good sing-along-with-your-buddies tune.

“Sunday Morning Coming Down” by Johnny Cash

And, a lot of this book is about coming down -- from booze, and drugs, but also from betrayal. This song so perfectly captures the dread of the day after you’ve gone too hard. There’s so much desperation in these lyrics, and in the tone of Cash’s voice. This the theme song of Evangeline’s father.


Crissy Van Meter and Creatures links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
Los Angeles Tines review
New York Times review
NPR Books review
Publishers Weekly review
San Francisco Chronicle 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

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


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - February 20, 2020

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.


Black Sunday

Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham

This promising debut novel from Nigerian-born, Iowa-based Tola Rotimi Abraham comes via the consistently interesting Catapult press and narrates the aftermath of a Lagos family’s dissolution following a father’s immersion in a “wealth gospel” church and subsequent financial ruin. The two twin daughters and their brothers are left in the care of their Yoruba grandmother as their parents’ marriage dissolves and the story follows their divergent paths to resistance and independence.


Machines in the Head: Selected Stories

Machines in the Head: Selected Stories by Anna Kavan

Anna Kavan is a cult favourite for her final novel, 1967’s Ice, an uncategorizable work of post-apocalyptic surrealist science fiction inspired by the author’s long heroin addiction. That book was republished in 2017 to some attention, and the stalwart NYRB Classics have now published a collection of her short works, including her elegiac tale of mental breakdown, Asylum Piece (1940), war stories from I Am Lazarus (1945), fantastical tales from the late 1950s, and accounts of addiction from her posthumous Julie and the Bazooka (1970). Sometimes compared to Jean Rhys and Leonora Carrington (and praised by J.G. Ballard and Doris Lessing), Kavan was a true original whose diverse writings plumbed the interior world of the imagination.


Sports is Hell

Sports is Hell by Ben Passmore

This 60-page comic is the latest from the amazing Ben Passmore (BTTM FDRS, Your Black Friend) and one of the final releases from Koyama Press, which is sadly closing up shop this year. Sports is Hell is another violent and outrageous satire on race relations from Passmore, in which Super Bowl riots balloon into a civil war among armed groups of football fans. A ragtag band of black anarchists battle white supremacist militias, searching for a star player while babysitting mealy-mouthed white hipsters. But will celebrity wide receiver Marshall Quandary Collins be their doom or their salvation?


Real Life

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Brandon Taylor is senior editor of Electric Literature's Recommended Reading and a staff writer at Lit Hub. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Real Life is his first novel, a coming-of-age story about young black queer man from Alabama whose studies in biochemistrry at a midwestern university have shletered him from truths about himself. Praised by Roxane Gay, Kiese Layman, Garth Greenwell, and others, Real Life announces the arrival of a bold new voice.


Verge

Verge by Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitchis the bestselling author of the novels The Book of Joan, The Small Backs of Children, and Dora: a Headcase, as well as the memoir The Chronology of Water. She has won two Oregon Book Awards and been nominated for various prizes. Verge is her first short story collection, an empathetic group portrait of marginalized and outcast characters that is by turns furious, tender, and explosive.


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's website
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)


Shorties (Lebron James' First Children's Book, New Music from Purity Ring, and more)

I Promise by Lebron James

Lebron James will publish his first children's book in August.


Stream a new Purity Ring song.


February's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

The Leavers by Nancy Ko

eBook on sale for $2.99 today:

The Famished Road by Ben Okri

eBook on sale for $3.99 today:

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi


Paste recommended albums and soundtracks for productivity.


PopSugar ranked Jane Austen film and television adaptations.


Stream a previously unreleased Stephen Malkmus song.


BOMB features new short fiction by Kevin Wilson.


Stream a new song by Cecile Believe.


The Washington Post and Literary Hub remembered author Charles Portis.


Stream a new song by Yves Tumor.


Literary Hub recommended the week's best new books.


Stream a new song by Yumi Zouma.


Words Without Borders interviewed author Roque Larraquy.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support 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)
Flash Dancers (authors pair original flash fiction with a song
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


February 18, 2020

William Lychack's Playlist for His Novel "Cargill Falls"

Cargill Falls

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 Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Roxane Gay, and many others.

William Lychack's novel Cargill Falls is a powerful and lyrical evocation of youth in the recent past.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote of the book:

"'Cargill Falls' is a poignant eulogy for childhood, and childhood friendship, in a time when the world seemed somehow both very small and limitless."


In his own words, here is William Lychack's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Cargill Falls:


We once found a gun in the woods...
me and Brownie, twelve years old...
two of us walking home from school one day...
and there on the ground in the leaves was a pistol...

In many ways, I thought of this novel as a kind of love story to a place and time, a kind of resurrection of a friend and a friendship, but also a hard reckoning of the toll of expectations and disappointments. After hearing about the suicide of my childhood friend, Brownie, I wrote Cargill Falls as an attempt to make amends for what might have gone wrong in a life, circling back to one long-departed winter’s day, when everything seemed to change for “these two little idiots.”

Years from this place—a lifetime away that one afternoon—and still I can’t help but wish I could reach down and somehow lift the gun away from these two little idiots. Give them baseball practice or trumpet lessons. Somehow linger them back to the playground after school with friends. Wish I could make a train set of their town: Cargill Falls, Connecticut, circa 1980, its old mills and tired little worker houses, its churches and sidewalks and cemeteries, the grocery and package stores, that constant hint of potato chips in the air from the Frito-Lay factory in the next town over. If I could, I’d put those boys anywhere but the woods that day. I’d set them out by the train station, figurines throwing rocks at freight cars going by. I’d get them out near the river where the carp pucker the weeds above the falls. I’d wander them home through a kind of Busytown, give them bikes to ride, whisper for them to get out of here already. That’d be me rustling the maple and oak leaves, just enough to spook these kids away.

Not like they’d have listened, of course. Not like they’d have been able to hear a single word. All the iron filings would line up on that magnet of a gun for them, and yet there were so many things a pair of boys might have done different at this point in the story....

As for a soundtrack, the book is noisy with music, a kind of emotional wash over the scenes, an undercurrent in the lives of the people in this world. Crawford's mother wanted to be a singer, so she sings Dusty Springfield and the Shirelles; the narrator's mother has sad and sentimental songs on the hi-fi when he comes home, his childhood filled with Merle Haggard and The Righteous Brothers; and the three boys have bands and albums and radio stations running through their 12-year-old days:

It wasn’t far to Brownie’s house from here. Less than a mile, and we went along singing snippets of The Cars, The Police, The Who. We sang Cheap Trick. We sang like we were driving with the windows down, the three of us hollering Earth, Wind, and Fire. We kicked a flattened soda can. We cross-country skied along the sand and salt that collected in the gutter from winter. We sang, the Devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to steal, he was in a bind, he was way behind, he was willing to make a deal. We tried not to look over our shoulders for a rescue, some miracle of Cutlass or Chevelle to swoop down, some teacher or coach to come calling after us, me and Brownie and Crawford dragging our feet through our la la la la Lola....



Songs of the boys:

"Devil Went Down to Georgia," Charlie Daniels Band
"Dream Police," Cheap Trick
"Let's Go," The Cars
"Behind Blue Eyes," The Who
"Don't Stand So Close to Me," The Police
"Message in a Bottle," The Police
"Got to Get You into My Life," Earth, Wind, and Fire
"Lola," Kinks


Songs of their mothers:

"You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," Dusty Springfield
"Will You Love Me Tomorrow," The Shirelles
"Unchained Melody," Righeous Brothers
"Green, Green Grass of Home," Merle Haggard


You could reach down into your throat and pull your heart out raw and warm and still-beating to show the world, but the world would probably just shrug like it was nothing. The world had its own problems. The world didn’t want your heart. It had more than enough hearts already.

William Lychack and Cargill Falls links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review

Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for The Architect of Flowers


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

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


Shorties (R.I.P., Author Charles Portis, New Music from Anna Calvi, and more)

The Dog of the South by Charles Portis

R.I.P., author Charles Portis.


Stream a new Anna Calvi song that features Charlotte Gainsbourg.


February's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

The Collector's Apprentice by B.A. Shapiro


Stream a new Waxahatchee song.


Hannah Rothschild recommended books of British satire at Literary Hub.


Stream a new song by Greg Dulli.


BuzzFeed and Literary Hub featured new essays by Brandon Taylor.


Aquarium Drunkard found some interesting music at Bandcamp.


Book Riot recommended books about anti-Mexican violence along the Mexico-Texas border.


Stream a new song by Nap Eyes.


National Geographic UK remembered author Jack London.


The Fiery Furnaces may be teasing a reunion.


The New York Times shared an excerpt from Julian Barnes ' new novel The Man in the Red Coat.


Stream a new King Krule song.


Joan Frank recommended short novels at BookMarks.


Veronica Esposito share an essay about misgendered childhood at Literary Hub.


The New York Times showcased three of 2020's addiction memoirs.


Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan discussed her new concept album, Lost Girls, with All Things Considered.

I've always loved artists like David Bowie and Kate Bush — wild, imaginative people that take on roles and use theater and costume and film to explore sub-personalities. So Nikki was my LA girl, the vampire version of me that did all the daring wonderful things and met up with this gang of bike-riding lost girls that have great earrings and great leather jackets. I was living in Highland Park and very inspired by all of the Mexican families there. The culture, again, reminded me of Pakistan: all of the families, all the kids eating together, and the music and the fashion. I felt immersed in all that, too. So Nikki came out of all of those things.


Black feminist literary scholars discussed the work of Toni Morrison at Ms. Magazine.


Brendan Benson discussed his forthcoming album with American Songwriter.


The Conversation examined how psychology has labeled science fiction over the years.


BOMB shared an excerpt from Daniel Kehlmann's new novel Tyll.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author David James Keaton.


Jenn Shapland talked about her book My Autobiography of Carson McCullers with Bookforum.

It tells my own love story, falling in love with my partner, Chelsea, which coincided with the research and writing of the book (we met in the archive where I found Carson’s love letters from Annemarie). It’s also about my own “love story” with Carson. I think my love for Carson as a writer and a person betrays itself in my obsession with getting her story right. I’m trying to understand her and make others understand her as I see her; it’s a kind of love that is possessive.


The New York Review of Books shared Lauren Groff's introduction to Collected Stories by Lorrie Moore.

Ploughshares talked climate change and art with Groff.


The Quietus reconsidered John Zorn's Naked City album 30 years after its release.


The Outline makes a case for why we should all read more Jenny Diski.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support 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)
Flash Dancers (authors pair original flash fiction with a song
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


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