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April 27, 2015

Book Notes - Hermione Eyre "Viper Wine"

Viper Wine

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, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Hermione Eyre's Viper Winean ambitious and dazzling postmodern historical novel, an auspicious debut.

BookPage wrote of the book:

"Hermione Eyre’s brilliant debut, Viper Wine, explores the perils of achieving beauty at all costs, set against a backdrop of the political and social upheaval of 17th-century London...Eyre’s stylish flair and sense of invention is truly impressive. Like Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, Viper Wine is a historic fantasy reminding us of the limitless reaches of the imagination."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Hermione Eyre's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Viper Wine:


Part of the fun of writing a novel is that you can do anything you like – for example, make time permeable. My novel Viper Wine is, on the surface, a straight historical novel set in the 1630s, and based on real events: the unexplained death of the 32-year-old noblewoman and famous beauty Venetia Digby, who was popularly believed to have died from drinking Viper Wine, a fashionable beauty potion.

I took this richly suggestive story and ran with it. As Venetia starts to look younger, strange things begin to happen in the novel. Her husband the alchemist Sir Kenelm Digby is haunted by the future. He catches moonbeams in his alchemical laboratory while humming David Bowie; sent by the King to plunder warships in the Mediterranean, he brings home dubloons, a marble statue of Venus, and a radio mast, which he raises as an unusual obelisk in the graceful gardens of his home. Viper Wine first comforts, then afflicts Venetia with its potent mixture of pregnant mares' urine (an ingredient used in HRT today), baked adders and opium.

Today, women are sold ever more extravagant beauty treatments, from bee venom to Botox. When they don't work they are merely extortionate; when they do work they are at first, wonderful, then they become terrifying. The quest for artificial youth leads, inevitably, to a loss of identity. Venetia begins to look younger, but less like herself.

The opium in Viper Wine gives her a heightened sensibility, and the book itself is something of a trip into the 1630s. I was inspired by Derek Jarman films like Caravaggio, with its rock n roll soundtrack, and Sofia Coppola's Marie-Antoinette, as well as TS Eliot's "Burnt Norton." In our minds, stocked with history and memory, time is elastic. It is only our bodies that let us down.

1) Rameau's rondeau 'Les Sauvages' from Les Indes Galantes
A total floor-filler. You can't hear this and not want to dance. It was composed in 1735, about 100 years after the action of Viper Wine, but it sounds so fresh and carnal, it helped me as I was writing the chapter about the Queen's Twelfth Night Masque, a spectacular court entertainment that culminates in a mad fancy dress ball.

2) Joy Division, "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
In the Masque scene, I imagined Kenelm dancing to this song: "Kenelm stamped with the music. The song made him feel like a link in the endless chain of human longing, and as he flicked the sweat off his blonde quiff, he danced with every sinew of his body, the music animating him like a spirit-wound clockwork man." The track, to me, has a timeless quality – its bittersweet key and simple, repetitive rondeau structure reminds me of a jig or folk tune. I can imagine it working well on period instruments.

3) Schubert Piano Trio no. 2. II – Andante
This may be familiar from Kubrick's Barry Lyndon and more recently Tom Hooper's John Adams mini-series. To me it represents the power historical fiction can have to take you to a different place, separate to our own world, sealed off, ruled by its own pace and propriety. For me Barry Lyndon is Kubrick's masterwork. I particularly love the way that for all its 18th century authenticity, the atmosphere is redolent of the 1970s, when the film was made.

4) Mark Mothersbaugh – "Ping Island/ Lightning Strike Rescue Op"
This is from the soundtrack to The Life Aquatic by Wes Anderson, whose fertile invention is a constant inspiration. I listened to this a lot when I was writing the chapter in which Sir Kenelm Digby sails down the Thames in a prototype submarine. I get a buzz out of it every time. It isn't so inappropriate a theme tune for an English Renaissance experiment in natural philosophy (they didn't yet use the word ‘science') because the heroism required to sail under the Thames would have been immense. And the capes and tights and heraldic symbols of the day easily convert into superhero costumes…

5) David Bowie – "Starman"
Alchemy adumbrates modern theory in instinctual, lyrical ways, and I inevitably thought of David Bowie when, holed up in the British Library, I read that the alchemists believed we were "star-men", made of stars and returning to the stars. Carbon, in other words. Alchemy was influenced by Eastern beliefs about the circularity of time, so for Kenelm all things are happening simultaneously. Enter the Space Oddity himself. Only a song as great as this could endure being catapulted into 1632.

6) Theme on a Variation by Thomas Tallis, Ralph Vaughan Williams
Thomas Tallis composed this melody for a psalter in 1567. It is a tune my characters might actually have known – especially because they were Catholic, and Tallis was "unreformed" by the Reformation. Ralph Vaughan Williams' setting is deeply moving, with a tranquility and resolve that feels to me very English.

7) Bach's The Art of Fugue – Contrapunctus 1 (and onwards…)
I listened to this night and day while I was finishing Viper Wine. It is inexhaustible, in its melancholic poise, its complex argument and counter-argument. It fitted the mood when I was writing about the destruction of the English civil war, the extinction of everything the Digbys knew, and, particularly, the iconoclasm which wrecked what was left of pre-Reformation England. It was the last thing Bach wrote, and it's all the more moving because it's unfinished. It just stops.


Hermione Eyre and Viper Wine links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Guardian review
The National review
Publishers Weekly review
Telegraph review
Word and Film review

ELLE interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
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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April 27, 2015

Book Notes - Ryan Chapman "Conversation Sparks"

Conversation Sparks

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, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Ryan Chapman's book Conversation Sparks is filled with clever, discussion-inducing trivia, charmingly presented in hand-drawn comics.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Ryan Chapman's Book Notes music playlist for his book Conversation Sparks:


The book came together in two parts: research and illustration. I found the following music helpful for each.

Research:

If you've ever had reason to spend entire days with reference books, science blogs, and dozens of "did you know?" sites, you'll soon discover the necessity of reliable indie pop. Bonus: these songs either name-check famous writers or slyly impugn the more pretentious aspects of writing. ...Or they have really solid puns.

King Charles, "Ivory Road" from LoveBlood
Camera Obscura, "Swans" from My Maudlin Career
Darwin Deez, "Bad Day" from Darwin Deez
Spoon, "Something to Look Forward To" from Kill the Moonlight
Parquet Courts, "Master of My Craft" from Light Up Gold
Joyce Manor, "The Jerk" from Never Hungover Again
Kishi Bashi, "The Ballad of Mr. Steak" from Lighght
The Blow, "Parentheses" from Paper Television
Rhett Miller, "Our Love" from The Instigator
The Russian Futurists, "One Night, One Kiss" from The Weight's on the Wheels


Illustration:

Sketching hundreds of cartoons is a perfectly acceptable way to spend one's nights and weekends. Right? Sure! Especially if you listen to brain-tingling, meditative classical and ambient music.

Steve Reich, Drumming
M83, "Midnight Souls Still Remain" from Saturdays = Youth
Forest Swords, Engravings
Juliana Barwick, The Magic Place
Spriritualized, "Effervescent (Chimes)" from The Complete Works Vol. 1
Phoenix, "North," from It's Never Been Like That
Kronos Quartet, "The Beatitudes" from The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellazza) Soundtrack
Dan Deacon, "Prettyboy" from America
Wild Nothing, "On Guyot" from Empty Estate
Broken Social Scene, "Pacific Theme," from You Forgot It in People
Max Richter, Infra


Ryan Chapman and Conversation Sparks links:

the author's website
the author's Tumblr
excerpts from the book

Washington Post interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
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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Shorties (The World's Greatest Literary Pubs, Stream the New Torres Album, and more)

The world's greatest literary pubs.


NPR Music is streaming the new Torres album, Sprinter.


The L Magazine shared a spring and summer book preview.


NPR Music is streaming the new Metz album, II.


RA interviewed Michaelangelo Matos about his new book The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America.


The Quietus interviewed Kim Gordon about her memoir Girl in a Band.


Literary paper dolls.


NPR Music is streaming the new Tallest Man on Earth album, Dark Bird Is Home.


SPIN interviewed Pity Sex frontman Sean St. Charles.


The Irish Times profiled author Alejandro Zambra.


Stream a new Replacements song.


The New Yorker features new short fiction from Milan Kundera.


The Guardian interviewed Tori Amos.


The San Francisco Examiner profiled author and filmmaker Miranda July.


Will Oldham interviewed Sir Richard Bishop at the Oxford American.


A call to bring back the serialized novel.


The A.V. Club offered starting points into Damon Albarn's discography.


Elisa Gabbert discussed the power of the paragraph at The Smart Set.


Paste interviewed singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet.


Weekend Edition interviewed Maureen Gibbon about her novel Paris Red.


The A.V. Club looked back at 2014 in band names.


Phillip Glass talked to All Things Considered about his memoir Words Without Music.


Follow Largehearted Boy on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" posts.


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Daily Downloads (Courtney Barnett, The Star Department, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Claire Michelle: The Demo EP [mp3]

Courtney Barnett: World Cafe Session EP [mp3]

The Mid North: Tales from a Mountain album [mp3]

Riley Coyote: Something 'Bout a Train album [mp3]

Sea At Last: Atlas album [mp3]

The Star Department: "This Ship Won't Sail" [mp3] from Pea Green Boat (out July 7th)

Tangled Memories: Darkening Garden EP [mp3]

The Trendees: We Are Sonic Art EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Hawk Moth Records Shed Sessions Vol.1 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Sarah Borges: 2014-01-25, WLVR [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

April 26, 2015

Largehearted Boy Weekly Wrap-Up - April 26, 2015

A list of the past week's Largehearted Boy features:


Book Notes: (authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates to their book)

Aline Ohanesian for her novel Orhan's Inheritance
Andrew Roe for his novel The Miracle Girl
Emily Schultz for her novel The Blondes
Jeffrey Rotter for his novel The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering
Matt Sumell for his novel Making Nice
Nick Courage for his novel The Loudness


Weekly New Book Recommendations:

Atomic Books Comics Preview (recommended new comics and graphic novels)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


New Music Recommendations:

The Week's Interesting Music Releases


And of course, the daily music and news posts:

Daily Downloads (10 free and legal mp3 downloads every day, plus links to free live recordings online)
Shorties (news & links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)


also at Largehearted Boy:

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines
Atomic Books Comics Preview
Book Notes
Contests / Giveaways
Cover Song Collections
Daily Downloads
Lists
weekly music release lists
musician/author Interviews
Note Books
Soundtracked
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week


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Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Downloads, Including Mew, Ben Frost, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Ataris: Record Store Day 2015 album [mp3]
The Ataris: Live in Los Angeles album [mp3]

The Ballroom Thieves: The Ballroom Thieves EP [mp3]

Ben Frost: "Rare Decay" [mp3]

Frances Luke Accord: Live at Strobe EP [mp3]

The Local Strangers: Take What You Can Carry album [mp3]

Mew: Exclusive +- EP [mp3]

Teen Cult: Teen Cult EP [mp3]

Thad Kopec: "Guardian" [mp3] from The Ridge (out May 19th)

Tidelands: "Dog Named Bart" [mp3] from Old Mill Park EP


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Ween: 2006-07-21, San Francisco [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

April 24, 2015

Book Notes - Aline Ohanesian "Orhan's Inheritance"

Orhan's Inheritance

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, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Aline Ohanesian's impressive debut novel Orhan's Inheritance effortlessly moves between the 1915 Turkish puge of Armenians and the 1990s. Today is the official worldwide day of commemoration for the Armenian Genocide, which happened 100 years ago, the perfect time to celebrate this important book.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote of the book:

"A remarkable debut novel that exhibits an impressive grasp of history as well as narrative intensity and vivid prose​."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Aline Ohanesian's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Orhan's Inheritance:


Writing Orhan's Inheritance was in many ways like conducting an exorcism. It is a story of love and family secrets but the most difficult scenes in the book take place during the Armenian Genocide of 1915. I felt a tremendous responsibility to my grandparents who were all survivors. Music played a large role in the writing of this book - it helped transport me across time and space, and helped me channel the grief and sometimes outrage that 100 years of denial has created.


"Keler Tsorer" by Gomidas (My favorite is a rendition by Nune Mellikian)
Komitas was a musicologist and priest who from 1899- 1915 collected thousands of pieces of Armenian and Kurdish folk songs from remote Anatolian villages that would have otherwise been lost. In April of 1915 he was arrested along with 180 other writers, poets and intellectuals. Most were executed but Komitas was sent to a prison camp. After witnessing unspeakable horrors, Komitas suffered a mental breakdown and eventually died in a psychiatric ward in Paris. In many ways, Komitas single handedly saved the cultural heritage of Western Armenia that would have been disappeared after the genocide. I see Orhan's Inheritance as my own small contribution in preserving that culture. This rendition in particular transports me to the landscape of Anatolia and eventually reduces me to a puddle of tears.

"What the Waves Brought In" by jazz pianist Tigran Hamsyan.
I love how he blends American jazz with Armenian folk music. I heard him play this live in a little theater in Los Angeles a few years ago. His improvisations were like nothing I'd ever heard before. Just when you think the song is reaching toward a musical future, it bends back to an ancient past. Listening to it makes me believe that time is not linear at all.

"Siro Yerke" or Love Song: by renowned duduk player, Djivan Gasparian
A duduk is an Armenian Oboe, it's a single or double reed wind instrument made from the soft wood of the apricot tree. The melody is haunting and lovely. The song feels ancient and has a haunting quality.

"Arto" by System of a Down
This piece is a hidden song in System of a Down's Toxicity Album. It comes around 3:57, and starts out with a duduk, then weaves in a chant from the Armenian liturgy which is thousands of years old. The chant translates to "Lord have mercy." The tribal screeches are unexpected and wild. The song is like a quilt in many ways, it sews together hedonistic yelps, the liturgy, all to the beat of a hand beaten drum.

"Holy Mountains" by System of a Down
There is so much rage in this song. I played it whenever I had to write scenes from Ani's perspective. She's a character who, like me, is a descendant of genocide survivors. Unlike me, however, Ani isn't quite sure what to do with the trans-generational grief she's inherited. The song refers to the Holy Mountain of Ararat which is currently located in Turkey and has been a symbol of Armenian culture for six centuries.

"Desert Rose" by Sting
Part of this song is in Arabic and I have no idea what the words mean, but the English lyrics and the melody were on constant replay when I was writing the love scenes in the novel. I love the role the landscape plays in it. I think so much of what we experience and we remember is tied to the land on which we stand. For me, all stories are rooted in place. I always what to know where a story takes place. Without that information, stories float in some indecipherable ether I can't quite grasp.


Aline Ohanesian and Orhan's Inheritance links:

the author's website

Christian Science Monitor review
Kirkus review
Library Journal review
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review

Asbarez essay by the author
Bookselling This Week interview with the author
CarolineLeavittville interview with the author
Fiction Writers Review interview with the author
Library Journal essay by the author
Weekend Edition profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
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)

Atomic Books Comics Preview - April 24, 2015

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

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. The Mobtown Shank is his blog, and his comic Said What? is syndicated weekly in the Baltimore Sun's B-Paper.

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.


An Entity Observes All Things

An Entity Observes All Things
by Box Brown

So if you read Box Brown's acclaimed Andre The Giant biography and were thinking, "Okay, what else has this guy got?" Well, he's got this! A collection of science-fiction based short stories reveal an important young cartoonist expanding his styles and stories.


MAD Magazine #533

MAD Magazine #533
by The Usual Gang Of Idiots

Remember that song "I'll Sue Ya" where Weird Al helped advance the tort reformers' agenda to limit our access to courts by propagating bogus "frivolous lawsuit" claims? This issue of MAD, guest edited by Weird Al Yankovic, is funnier than that.


Print Is Dead. Long Live Print: The World's Best Independent Magazines

Print Is Dead. Long Live Print: The World's Best Independent Magazines
by Ruth Jamieson

Coming out at a time when the media is running stories about the failure of so-called "e-books" and the bottoming out of their related gadget/tablet readers, this hardcover, full-color art book celebrates the exquisite design that select print publications have brought us. Print Is Dead spikes the Kindle.


Sea Urchin

Sea Urchin
by Laura Knetzger

Knetzger's revelatory Sea Urchin does a great job of capturing what it's like dealing with someone with depression.


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:

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

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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (Joshua Ferris on Learning to Fly, Jim James on the New My Morning Jacket Album, and more)

Author Joshua Ferris is writing a series of articles at Popular Mechanics about learning to fly.


Rolling Stone interviewed Jim James about the new My Morning Jacket album The Waterfall.


This Podcast Will Change Your Life interviewed author Jim Ruland.


The Guardian interviewed Tori Amos.


Stephen Elliott discussed the film adaptation of his memoir The Adderall Diaries at Vulture.


Stream a new HEALTH song.


T.C. Boyle discussed his writing inspirations at the Telegraph.


Gambit interviewed Josh Tillman of Father John Misty.


Author Cate Dicharry interviewed herself at The Nervous Breakdown.


PopMatters reviewed the 16-CD box set The Best of the Best Show.


Author Shawn Vestal is leaving books around Spokane this week.


Elle profiled legendary singer Mavis Staples.


The Tallahassee Democrat recommended Wilco songs.


Thought Catalog listed fiction books that can change your life.


Follow Largehearted Boy on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" posts.


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Daily Downloads (Submarine Lights, Tyvek, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

April Verch: Bright Like Gold EP [mp3]
April Verch: The Newpart single [mp3]
April Verch: Thats How We Run album [mp3]

Broken Glass Kids: Cabin EP [mp3]

Gum: Make It Sound New EP [mp3]

Josh Gilligan: "Old and Tired Ground" [mp3] from Steady On

Space Curse: Chimes EP [mp3]

Submarine Lights: The Dangerous Pleasures of Uncommon Curiosity album [mp3]

Tidelands: "Dog Named Bart" [mp3] from Old Mill Park EP


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Tyvek: 2015-04-11, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

April 23, 2015

Book Notes - Matt Sumell "Making Nice"

Making Nice

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, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Matt Sumell's remarkable debut novel Making Nice is a collection of linked stories that feature an unforgettable young narrator.

The Guardian wrote of the book:

"Making Nice has an anarchic humour and a goofy, ingenuous humanity that makes every page feel new.... In its rampage to nowhere, Making Nice achieves the remarkable feat of making it feel better to travel hopelessly than to arrive."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Matt Sumell's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel Making Nice:


Oh man. Initially I came up with this stupidly complicated plan where I was going to choose like, three songs for each of the twenty linked stories in Making Nice, which if my math is correct equals sixty songs, which is at least forty too many. I scrapped that quick and considered asking some writer friends to each pick a song that reminds them of Alby, the still grieving, overly emotional, highly reactive, occasionally violent half-an-idiot narrator of the book. Then I thought no way, man, get it together, you're mentally ill. So instead, here's just twenty songs for just twenty stories, each of which in some way makes me think of Alby. The only other rubric here is the one I use for all art…does it makes me feel anything? These do.

"Be Aggressive" – Faith No More
Never mind that this song concerns itself with sucking dicks. Like so many of the religious right-wingers out there, let's select only what parts of the text suit our biases and ignore the rest. Here goes: The ordering of the stories in the book was particularly tough to figure, but if the task at hand is for Alby to finally learn how to make nice, why not start with him at his not nicest? Of course the concern was-and-remains that it will turn off some readers, so option A was to find a story that was a little more commercially appealing. But that didn't feel right, so we went with option B, because being aggressive felt righter. Force counts, folks. Go! Fight! Wiiiiiin!!!

"You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire" - QOTSA
Consider rollercoasters: the thrill of them is not their speed—I mean, you get speed in a car, or an airplane, and we all know what that feels like: like nothing at all. The thrill of rollercoasters is due to acceleration; their ability to accelerate us downward one moment and upwards the next, left one moment and right the next, right? Their ability to alternately produce the sensations of weightlessness and weightiness. Of course I have very little idea of the actual science of what I'm talking about, but this is common sense stuff: the thrill is in the changes, man. Fast, slow. Left, right. Up, down. It's all in the switches. The volume jump at the beginning scares the shit out of people who've cranked the volume on their stereos/headphones, and the go-go-go-stop-and-go of this song at the 2:37 mark not only increases emotional G-force, it also reminds me of Alby's explosiveness.

"With My Own Bare Hands" – Ween
For me it doesn't get much better than good old Gener and Deaner, and every time I hear this one I think of Alby at the start of Little Things, laundry-listing all the things he could potentially do with his arms: Lifting, carrying, digging, feeding cows PCP so they revolt with unexpected and tremendous violence—anything….Opening every jar for every lady. Helping. I felt like helping. I felt like I could help. Of course that personal pep talk is quickly undone by Alby's inability to save the people and things he loves the most, but man is it more fun to think—and hear—otherwise. And while I'm at it, here's another fun thought: the inevitable Ween reunion!

"Birdsong" – Tomahawk
Bird chirps + aggression + rape-y lyrics. If this isn't Gary's mood music for butt fucking seagulls than I don't know what is. And I don't. But if I'm best guessing, Patton's post-Faith project gets it.

"Troubles, Troubles" – Clarence "Frogman" Henry
Musical joyousness in the face of overwhelming despair. The two just shouldn't add up but somehow do, maybe because confounding expectations is the just about the best thing you can do with them. Either way I love this song, same as I love the advice Mark Richard gave me back in my U.C. Irvine days: "Just make ‘em laugh and break their fucking hearts." Also, I've been trying to buy a house in New Orleans for years now. Love that city!

"Last Night In Town" – The Twilight Singers
While this isn't my all time favorite from Dulli it's right up there, and what I'm digging most about it is the reaching-but-not-quite-ness of the vocals, an off key-ness if that's even the word. But there's something in that for me, in the almost-but-not-quite-ness, in the failing-to-get-there of it that breaks my dumb heart every time and somehow makes the song even better. It makes it human and it makes it great and it makes me think of Alby, who is trying and failing to honor his mother's dying wish for him: that he finds a way replace his aggression with empathy. It's not in his nature, of course, but he's trying and he's trying and he's trying, and—like force—trying counts, too.

"Everything's Gonna Be Alright" – Naughty By Nature
Sure it is. But sometimes you have to tell yourself that anyway.

"No One Loves Me and Neither Do I" – Them Crooked Vultures
I'm a huge QOTSA fan, and it seems to me that Josh Homme's singing and writing—both there and here—shares something in common with Making Nice, most especially in terms of how it expresses and "performs" masculinity. It's easy to write it off as just machismo or bro-dude-ness or whatever you want to call it, but the truth is it's way more complicated than what some people want to give it credit for. Beneath the hard surface, there's a slippery, elusive sensitivity. There's a vulnerability at work. There's a lot of pain in it. There's grief. There's humor and there's beauty. And yeah, there's aggression, but rarely is that aggression limited to one way. There's a lot of self-aggression at work, to the point it acts like an autoimmune disease. Alby's heartbroken, and he's angry that he's heartbroken, and then he's frustrated that he's angry that he's heartbroken. One feeling attacks another, one thought another, so the whole grief-and-suffering thing gets complicated fast. One thing's for sure though: he's as hard on himself as he is everybody else.

"Frontier Psychiatrist" – The Avalanches
That boy needs therapy. No shit.

"I Go To Extremes" – Billy Joel
If you think I didn't seriously consider comprising this entire playlist from the discography of Mr. Long Island himself, think again. I mean, the fact that The Piano Man was once so distraught that he tried to kill himself by drinking furniture polish (and later joked that he ended up "farting Lemon Pledge for a week") is reason enough. He also drove his car into a house and has publicly struggled with booze for decades. If I didn't know any better I might guess that Mr. Joel and Alby are somehow related, at least in terms of what they share—they're both highly reactive. Lots of extremes here: sadness, anger, intoxication…which may not be a feeling but can definitely be an extreme.

"We Know You're Drunk" – Mule
Speaking of intoxication, when you're suffering your time horizon shrinks. You stop thinking long term and start thinking about relief, at any cost, sooner the better. You get impetuous. You get reckless. You get drunk.

"BoilerMaker" – Jesus Lizard
Then you get drunker. Though it hardly seems possible, Yow's voice has even more grit and swagger than P.W. Long's, and I can't decide which I dig more.

"Beef Flavored Island" – Pleaseeasur
So I was sitting around The Casbah down in San Diego drinking vodka sodas waiting for Neil Hamburger to come on, when these two maniacs took the stage and had me laughing so hard I almost vomited. Between the absurdist lyrics and the accompanying overhead projector performance—I'll never forget it. And I'm grateful, because for me and for Alby there's real consolation in laughter, because laughter subverts the inevitable pain of being alive. It's the great, saving thing, and the only way I know to combat grief.

"Her Strut" – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Sometimes—as Dulli said about Black Love—"guilt takes a backseat to lust." What he didn't say is that often lust gets left at spectating, so here's one for Alby and the dog-walking Hi Jeans from the story I'm Your Man.

"No Pussy Blues" – Grinderman
And here's one for where that story leaves him.

"Crime Scene Part One" – The Afghan Whigs
Stanley Elkin once said that "Writing is revenge against your bullies." But how do you take revenge on heartwreck? I've got a few ideas, but all I know for sure is that it resonates when Dulli croons on about sticking it to his enemies, then asks, "Do you think I'm beautiful or do you think I'm evil?"

"I'm Evil, Jack" – The Frogs
The fun answer.

"Fallin'" – Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul
Of course, after every blowup is the inevitable comedown. The regret. The realization that you've got loose circuits. So loose…

"Wheels" – The String-a-longs
One time, in the passenger seat of my father's car, we were just rolling through the neighborhood all slow-like when this song came on. I watched my Dad drive as it played, and after about a minute I jumped out of the car and walked home.

"Miles Iz Dead" – The Afghan Whigs
If it's not obvious by now I'm a lifelong Dulli fan—from the early Whigs to The Twilight Singers to The Gutter Twins to the solo stuff and back—and here, ladies and gentlemen, is your parting shot. Thanks for reading.


Matt Sumell and Making Nice links:

the author's website

Guardian review
Irish Times review
Kirkus review
Los Angeles Times review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review
The Rumpus review
San Francisco Chronicle review
Wall Street Journal review

Neon Tommy interview with the author
Paris REview interview with the author
Weekend Edition profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
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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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - April 23, 2015

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.


Supermutant Magic Academy

Supermutant Magic Academy
by Jillian Tamaki

Teenagers will be teenagers even if they're goblins and fox shifters learning magic in an old castle, and the beautiful compilation of Tamaki's incisive and laugh out loud funny webcomic shows that's equally hard to grow up surrounded by the mundaneness of prom as it is the magic of broomstick sports games.


Trames de Patsy

Trames de Patsy

French-language project Trames produces beautiful "portrait-books," a collection of anecdotes, funny stories, and photographs that go far beyond your traditional biography. This edition, based on the life of Belgo-Quebecois artist Patsy Van Roost, the sometimes-styled Fairy of the Mile End, travels through her past, her psyche, and the Montreal neighbourhood she's called home for twenty years.


Asbestos Heights

Asbestos Heights
by David McGimpsey

"Petrarch in a Tweet war about where to buy a good pair of dad jeans." "Yeats but with fewer swans." There are a thousand ways to describe McGimpsey's poetry and the brash way it grabs a chuckle from you, and his new poems are as irreverent as expected. There are uncaring therapists, ankle bracelets, deserts, and a truly stunning collection of literary burns.


God Help the Child

God Help the Child
by Toni Morrison

The incomparable Morrison is back with a new novel, her first set in our current time. The Nobel laureate this time tells the story of Bride, whose blue-black skin is her only beauty but also the cause of maternal neglect, and who must navigate treacherous waters as she grows up, loses love to anger, and meets mysterious strangers.


Dancing in the Dark

Dancing in the Dark
by Karl Ove Knausgaard

The highly anticipated newest instalment of the sweeping My Struggle series takes us to a small fishing town far north of the polar circle, where an 18 year old Knausgaard is an unenthusiastic school teacher trying to save up for a writer's life. Detailing all the mundane, intimate details of his frigid existence, Knausgaard weaves a tale that has ensnared an international audience.


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:

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Largehearted Word (weekly new book 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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

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