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March 31, 2020

Cai Emmons's Playlist for Her Story Collection "Vanishing"

Vanishing

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.

Cai Emmons's short fiction collection Vanishing impressively develops themes of identity.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"With an ominous air and well-crafted prose, Emmons’ stories are both immersive and challenging."


In her own words, here is Cai Emmons's Book Notes music playlist for her story collection Vanishing:



Vanishing is a collection of five short stories about women who are unsure of their place in the world. Each of these women has had the rug pulled out from under her in some way, forcing her to see that the world is not as she thought it was. Now what should she do?

This playlist was challenging to compile as the stories are focused on identity, particularly female identity in a male world, instead of love and relationships, which is the subject of so many songs. As a result, three of the ten selections here are instrumental tracks.


In “The Deed” the unnamed narrator, an attorney whose husband is away on business, returns home with her twin babies to find a man in the house who claims the house belongs to him. The character works in a law office populated by men who devalue her, so she is primed to cede ground to this intruder. His certainty of ownership confuses and disorients her, leaving her unsure of the truth.

1) “Road to Nowhere” by the Talking Heads
This song encapsulates the mood of “The Deed” perfectly. “Maybe you wonder where you are,” the lyrics say. “I don’t care…they’ll make a fool of you.” Not only do the lyrics speak to the character’s sense of dislocation, but so does the slightly sinister tone of the music.

2) “Vortex” by The Blue Man Group
This instrumental piece employs a range of percussive sounds coming from unconventional instruments. The driving beat continues throughout the piece. Sounds grow and multiply creating a sense of unease and unpredictability. Where will the next intrusion come from? The piece mimics the frame of mind of the story’s protagonist. She is highly anxious and has no idea what to believe or how to ground herself.


“Fat” tells the story of twenty-year-old Tasha who has recently moved from LA to New York to pursue a life as an artist. She is immediately confronted with questions about her talent, and her insecurity is exacerbated by her interactions with a model in her drawing class, Jane, who seems to see the deficiencies of her soul.

3) “Wide Open Spaces by The Dixie Chicks
I think of this song as an anthem for all young women leaving home and seeking the freedom offered by “wide open spaces.” Tasha, like so many who have gone before, is seeking a dream and a life of her own, but as the song says, “What it holds for her she hasn’t guessed yet/ She needs new faces/ She knows the highest stakes.” In Tasha’s case she is quickly surprised to discover how much she has to learn.

4) “Hold On” sung by Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes
A song of great musical and lyric power, the song narrates Howard’s dialogue with herself. She is insecure and impatient to prevail, much like Tasha. “I don’t know where I’m gonna go/ Don’t know what I’m gonna do/ Hey you got to wait/ But I don’t wanna wait…I got so much to do/ I ain’t got much time/ Come on girl! Yeah!/ You got to get back up.” The instruction she gives herself is: Hold on and you will survive. Listening to the song in the context of the story “Fat” I hear the influential character Jane telling Tasha the same thing: Hold on and you will be fine.


“Vanishing,” the title story of the collection, is about Marty, a woman in her fifties, recently divorced. She goes to visit her oldest friend Betsy, with whom she shares years of history and memories. But Betsy is now in the grips of early onset dementia and remembers Marty only intermittently. The story explores what happens when people who share important parts of our past disappear from our lives (in Marty’s case, both her husband and her friend). There is terrible sadness for Marty, but also an unexpected connection with her disappearing friend.

5) “And She Was” by The Talking Heads
This song was written about a woman tripping and having the sense of levitating above the world. It sounds to me as if it might describe, in part, what it feels like to succumb to dementia, the feeling of being at some remove from the rest of the world. “The world was moving she was floating above it and she was/ She was drifting through the backyard and she was taking off her dress… Moving into the universe she’s/ drifting this way and that.”

6) “Blue Bayou” performed by Linda Rondstadt
This poignant song of longing speaks to the loss of a person, a lover presumably, but it speaks even more powerfully to the loss of a place, a place where the singer was once happy. The song does what we all frequently do: mythologize past happiness. Martha and Betsy, the two main characters in “Vanishing” would both give anything to return to their shared past, the time before the world damaged them.


“Redhead” tells the story of a recent college graduate floundering in her efforts to put together a life in New York City. Morna can’t find love or work, and she disdains the people she knows who are thriving. When the wife of her former boyfriend dies, Morna becomes entangled in a deceptive relationship with the dead woman’s heartbroken mother.

7) “Everybody Here Hates You” by Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett has, like Morna, an idiosyncratic and slightly snarky view of the world. The speaker in this song is addressing a departed lover and, while Morna’s main problem is not a breakup, she shares in common with the singer a feeling of alienation and impotence. “I feel stupid, I feel useless, I feel insane,” Barnett sings. Later she observes, almost gleefully: “Everybody hurts, everybody breaks and everybody fades.” The song’s repetitive rhythm and melody combine to create an overriding and inescapable feeling of depression.


Talmadge, the protagonist of “Her Boys” manages a magazine office where all her employees are young men trying to find themselves. As their leader and queen, she cheers them on, thinking of herself as Wendy with her troop of Lost Boys. But she cannot insulate herself from the wounding that comes each time one of them departs for bigger and better things, and she has to face the fact that the job and she are, to them, nothing but a transitional way station. Her pain is that of the person who is unseen.

8) “Cruel” by St. Vincent
The singer here has been treated by her family in a casually cruel way, precisely the way Talmadge sees her boys as treating her. “They took you and they left you/ How could they be casually cruel…You were the one waving flares in the air so they could see you…And they were a laughter blowing past ya, blowing fastly so they can’t see ya.” The song is eerie in the way it juxtaposes a soaring, almost romantic melody with lyrics that are searing.

9) “A Portrait of Tracy” by Jaco Pastorius
This dreamy instrumental by bassist Jaco Pastorius evokes the wistful interior space where Talmadge escapes to when she comes to understand her insignificant place in the lives of those for whom she thought she loomed large.

10) As a concluding track I have chosen “High Done No Why To” composed by William Brittelle and performed by Roomful of Teeth, an octet of four women and four men. The group was established to “mine the expressive potential of the human voice,” and their pieces cavort through many states of human emotion without using words, or using words that in combination are nonsensical. “High Done No Why To” includes staccato vocalizations, operatic soaring, growling and panting, among other techniques, to capture the cacophony and variety of human life. It is this very variety and cacophony that the characters in Vanishing are trying to navigate.


Cai Emmons is the author of the novels His Mother's Son (which won an Oregon Book Award), The Stylist, and her newest, Weather Woman (fall 2018), about a meteorologist who discovers she has the power to change the weather. Emmons was formerly a playwright and screenwriter, and her short work has appeared in such publications as TriQuarterly, Narrative, and Arts and Culture, among others. She has taught filmmaking at the University of Southern California and Orange Coast College, and creative writing and screenwriting at the University of Oregon.


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






March 31, 2020

Shorties (A Self-Isolation Reading List, The 10th Anniversary of Dum Dum Girls' I Will Be Album, and more)

I Will Be by Dum Dum Girls

BuzzFeed shared a self-isolation reading list.


Stereogum reconsidered Dum Dum Girls' I Will Be album on its 10th anniversary.


March's best eBook deals.

eBooks free today:

several titles at Verso Books (through April 2nd)

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

The Cracks in Our Armor by Anna Gavalda
In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

eBook on sale for $2.99 today:

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg


NPR Music is keeping a calendar of online live virtual concerts.


The A.V. Club recommended new graphic novels.


Allen Stone played a Tiny Desk Concert.


Starting April 2nd, Dolly Parton will read a children's story live on Facebook.


Conde Nast Traveler recommended books about Japan.


PopMatters shared a playlist of David Bowie deep cuts.


The Stylist recommended fashion books for an escape from reality.


Jason Isbell talked songwriting with Rolling Stone.


CBC Books recommended books b Canadian women to read right now.


Flood shared a batch of cover songs by indie artists.


Comic Years examined How Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comics refreshed the genre.


Stream a new song by Thurston Moore's Chelsea Light Moving.


The New York Times explored the controversy around the Internet Archive's National Emergency Library.


NYCTaper shared a recording of a January Wilco performance.


The Washington Post's Ron Charles recommended quarantine reading.


Shilpi Somaya Gowda recommended books about multicultural families at Electric Literature.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed musician Haley Fohr.


The New York Times shared a new Paul Theroux essay.


Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires covered Radiohead’s “High and Dry.”

Read More: watch Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires cover Radiohead’s “High and Dry” | http://www.brooklynvegan.com/watch-jason-isbell-amanda-shires-cover-radioheads-high-and-dry/?trackback=tsmclip


CityLab interviewed author N.K. Jemisin.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Rob Roberge.


BOMB interviewed poet Asiya Wadud.



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


March 30, 2020

Sara Rauch's Playlist for Her Story Collection "What Shines from It"

What Shines from It

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.

Sara Rauch's impressive story collection What Shines from It was awarded Alternating Current's Electric Book Award.

Eric Shonkwiler wrote of the book:

"Complex, tender, and deeply human."


In her own words, here is Sara Rauch's Book Notes music playlist for her story collection What Shines from It:


Music has always been an experience for me—I am sensitive to sound and mood, words and notes—and I can’t listen to anything while I write or revise. Mostly I listen when I’m walking or driving, times when I can absorb songs, allow them into my body, where they live, almost like ghosts. A lot of these songs make appearances in the book. Some of them are part of me the way family stories become part of a person—they’ve accompanied me through life, informing how I see the world. There is so much that changes as time goes by, but a beloved song remains constant.



“Wildewoman” by Lucius
My female characters tend toward the feral, and I think of this song as their collective anthem. I love the incongruousness of gorgeous harmony and gritty intention here: the woman they’re singing about defies all notions of femininity, but “you love her anyway.”

“Maybe Sparrow” by Neko Case
There’s something so appealing about Case’s soaring, rich voice, and this is one of my favorites of hers. It’s at once tender and cautious and mournful... and yet, stormy and hopeful? No matter how many times I listen to it, I can’t put my finger on her intention, but something about her keening makes me not mind.

“Is This Love” by Bob Marley
My first love was a devoted Bob Markey fan, and through him, I absorbed Marley’s musical oeuvre. For a long time after we split up, I didn’t listen to Marley at all, but then, slowly, in my early 30s, his songs started trickling back into my consciousness. “Is This Love” has an easy beat, and a sweet declaration, but at its center is a question—one that can be so hard to answer, especially when young. I wrote “Secondhand” before casting around for the Marley lyrics I wanted to include in it, and when I got to this one, I nearly laughed at the coincidence of lyric and image.

“Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin
The myth of the tragic female artist that Janis Joplin embodied captivated teenage me, but I definitely didn’t know then what “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” actually meant. Audrey sings it in the opening of “Free,” getting on Calla’s nerves, and there’s a hint in it. Calla, of all of my characters, might understand Joplin’s sentiment best, but she keeps quiet about it. She’s like that—a secret keeper—and that’s maybe her biggest tragedy, but it’s also a big part of her charm.

“Tamburitza Lingua” by Ani DiFranco
I’ve always admired Ani DiFranco’s ability to synthesize seemingly disparate topics in her songs, and here she’s approaching one of my longstanding obsessions—how the past, present & future are in constant communication with one another. Linear time is useful for capitalist culture, but the truth is, time is much groovier than that, a feedback loop on endless repeat.

“Esther” by Phish
A disorienting song for a disorienting story (“Free” was originally called “Esther,” after the central infant character, who gets her name from this weird-o, slightly sinister song). When I first wrote “Free,” back in 2013, I got a lot of kickback about the plot. But for me, the story was about more than two teenage girls grappling with an unexpected turn of events; it’s a story about the strange things fate burdens us with—like the doll in the song, the baby in the story becomes both curse and blessing.

“The Body Breaks” by Devendra Banhart
I listened to this song on endless repeat the summer I wrote “Kintsukuroi.” My personal life had just exploded, and I was living alone after many partnered years, and the story pretty much flew out of me. It was one of those moments of grace as a writer: everything around me was a struggle, but here was this story, fully formed, like a gift. I can see Christine’s pain, and I can see her mouthing “one tiny spark, that’s yours and mine” to comfort herself, long after the story ends.

“Holiday” by Weezer
I thought a lot about this song as I wrote “Slice”; poor Emmeline, she just wants a holiday, and escape, and she can’t even get a proper one. But it’s hard to be sad when you listen to this song—it’s too noisy and wide open and exuberant for all that. It’s the perfect expression of what Emmeline wants to feel, even if she never quite gets there.

“A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” by Andrew Bird
During the two years that I wrote What Shines from It, I worked at a wonderful shop in Northampton, MA, called Pinch, which sells handcrafted, artisan goods. Being inside the shop is an incredibly tactile experience, and the atmosphere buoyed me. But, for some reason, one summer, the internet went out constantly, and we had to fall back on the owner’s iTunes collection for music. We listened to a lot of Andrew Bird that summer. And this song wormed its way into my consciousness: “What happens when two substances collide?” That’s a central question in my work, and Bird’s ethereal, slightly trippy song is so silly and serious about it.

“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
I was named after a Fleetwood Mac song. And their music was a constant backdrop to my growing up, spinning on the record player while my mom cooked dinner. That line about the loneliness “like a heartbeat drives you mad in the stillness of remembering what you had and what you lost” is just so simple and so perfect for what heartbreak feels like. A lot of my characters are caught in that stillness, not quite able to breathe their way out just yet. It’s a terrifying place to be, and yet, it’s so fertile for creation.

“Fever Dream” by Iron & Wine
There’s something quiet and plaintive about this song (and much of Iron & Wine’s early music) that burrows deep beneath my skin—the images and phrasing are poetic and spare and a little bit strange. I wanted What Shines from It to set a similar tone—for my readers to feel the sadness rippling beneath a seemingly calm surface.


Sara Rauch is the author of What Shines from It: Stories. Her writing has also appeared in Paper Darts, Split Lip, So to Speak, Hobart, and other literary magazines. She lives in Massachusetts with her family. Find her online at www.sararauch.com and on Twitter at @SaraRauch.


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 (Tove Janssen's Personal World, A Riot Grrl Album Guide, and more)

Letters from Tove by Tove Jansson

Sheila Heti reviewed Letters from Tove and explored Tove Jansson's personal world at the New Yorker.


Rolling Stone recommended a Riot Grrl album guide.


March's best eBook deals.

eBooks free today:

several titles at Verso Books (through April 2nd)

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

A People's History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian

eBook on sale for $2.99 today:

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin


NPR Music is keeping a calendar of online live virtual concerts.


Cameron Esposito discussed her memoir Save Yourself with Weekend Edition.


Stream a new Jason Isbell song.


The funniest writer in America, Samantha Irby, discussed her new essay collection Wow, No Thank You with Weekend Edition.


Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie discussed the band's album We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes with SPIN 20 years after its release.


BuzzFeed shared an excerpt from Mitch Weiss's book Broken Faith: Inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, One of America's Most Dangerous Cults.


Stream a new Mountain Goats song.


BBC Culture recommended the best books of 2020 so far.


Stream a new song by William Tyler.


ShortList recommended the best soccer books of all time.


Sonic Youth made 11 live recordings available to stream at Bandcamp.


Library Journal listed winter and spring's best debut novels.


Stream a new song by Superwolf (Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Matt Sweeney).


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author Deb Olin Unferth.


Hayes Carll and Allison Moorer covered "That's the Way Love Goes."


The Guardian interviewed author Damian Barr.


TORRES covered Portishead's "Wandering Star."


Hilary Leichter discussed her novel Temporary with Literary Hub.


David Byrne wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.


Comic Book Resources listed the most realistic comics about pandemics.


Michael Stipe and Aaron Dessner share a new song.


Book Riot recommended literary podcasts to relieve stress.


Mike Cooley pf the Drive-By Truckers discussed the band's new album The Unraveling with Guitar World.


George Saunders talked to the New Yorker about his new story in this week's issue.


The Creative Independent interviewed musician Reggie Watts.


The New York Times features a new essay by Ann Patchett.


The Quietus reappraised Elastica's albums.


The New York Review of Books features a new essay by Leslie Jamison.


The Quietus recommended April's best comics.


Longreads shared an essay from Rachel Vorona Cote's collection Too Much.



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


March 27, 2020

Marianne Chan's Playlist for Her Poetry Collection "All Heathens"

All Heathens

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.

Marianne Chan's brilliant debut collection masterfully develops themes of identity and the long-term effects of colonization.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"[Chan] considers how the erasure and realignment of an individual's identity, and an entire people's history, creates shockwaves that affect generations both in the Philippines and around the world. Chan's mournful poems are brimming with longing and anger and redemption as she takes control of her own story and of Filipino history."


In her own words, here is Marianne Chan's Book Notes music playlist for her poetry collection All Heathens:



My book, All Heathens, travels from the Philippines to Germany and Italy, from Lansing, Michigan, to Las Vegas to Tallahassee. It is a book focused on family, immigration, and colonization. In my poems, I wanted to capture the cultural hybridity that comes with being a part of the Philippine diaspora. For this playlist, I included songs that could follow the physical and thematic movements of the collection. Here you will find musical artists from the Philippines, Europe, and the U.S. I hope that you enjoy this playlist and that these songs enhance your reading of my book.

“O Ilaw” by Ruben Tagalog

Ruben Tagalog was an actor and a musician who sang in the Kundiman style and was popular in the 1950s and 1960s. The Kundiman is a hybrid musical genre which incorporates the traditions of native Filipino songs and European music. “O Ilaw,” which means “O Light,” is a song of longing, the singer begging his beloved to open her window. According to Wikipedia, Ruben Tagalog sang for the Japanese during the Japanese colonization of the Philippines in World War II, which makes him an interesting musical artist to listen to before reading the first poem in my collection: “Momotaro in the Philippines.”

“Magellan” by Yoyoy Villame

Yoyoy Villame was a singer and comedian from Bohol, Philippines. When I was growing up, my parents played this song all the time, and they encouraged my brother—who is now an actor—to perform the song during social events, which is perhaps why we both knew who Ferdinand Magellan was at an early age. This song narrates the story of Magellan “discovering” the Philippines and his defeat at the Battle of Mactan by Lapu-Lapu, and it ends comedically with Magellan crying for his mother to help him. Listening to this song now, I find it interesting that, while the narrative is about Magellan “discovering” the Philippines for Spain, the song isn’t sung in Spanish, Tagalog, Cebuano, or another Filipino language. The song is in English. As a result, this song embodies multiple layers of colonization. Listen to this song before or after reading “Lansing Sinulog Rehearsal, 2010.”

“Lass Mich Dein Pirat Sein” by Nena

When you get to “When We Lived in Germany,” play “Lass Mich Dein Pirat Sein” by Nena. Nena is the singer-songwriter who is famous for “99 Luftballons.” However, “Lass Mich Dein Pirat Sein” is not nearly as upbeat; it’s a soothing, melancholic tune, with moments of dramatic flourishes. Because exploration and sailing are themes in this collection, this song is especially apt; the speaker begins by telling her beloved to let her be his/her pirate sailing on the seven seas.

“Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra

This song is referenced in my poem “Lunch is Ready,” which is about my great grandfather, a Chinese business owner in Barili, Philippines. The poem is set in the 1960s, and my father told me that everyone in the Philippines at the time was listening to Frank Sinatra. My great grandfather didn’t really care much for Frank, but his children seemed to love him. My father remembers his aunt buying the family their first phonograph. I love picturing my dad’s aunts and uncles—the children of Chinese immigrants—selling heavy bags of rice in the scorching hot store and listening to Sinatra, the son of Italian immigrants to the U.S. I wonder if they felt they had something in common with him.

“Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes

“Please Mr. Postman” is referenced in “Seafood City,” a poem about living in Las Vegas and feeling homesick for Michigan. When I first moved to Las Vegas to pursue my MFA, I often drove around listening to the oldies station (102.3!) and the songs they played only exacerbated my feelings of longing for my family in the Midwest. I think, in a way, I liked being reminded of my family through music. “Please Mr. Postman” is of course about waiting for a letter from one’s beloved.

“Words” by Bee Gees

Lyrics from “Words” appear in my poem “Viewing Service,” which is dedicated to Fabian Nudalo, my uncle, who died in 2016. My uncle was a karaoke master, and I won’t ever forget how beautifully he sang Bee Gees songs. In my poem, I include these lyrics from “Words”: “talk in everlasting words and dedicate them all to me.” These lyrics resonate with other poems throughout the collection. This book is full of poems that are dedicated to my family members—past, present, and future.

“Kiss” by Prince

In 2013, I was living in Cebu, Philippines, for 10 weeks, and I went to a meat market with my aunt and cousin. My aunt needed to pick something up for dinner. I remember turning around and seeing the lyrics to “Kiss” by Prince scrolling along a TV screen. The screen was behind a man who was swaying and singing to the song while shaving a dead pig’s disembodied face. His gloved forefinger poked through where the pig’s eyeball would be. He wasn’t performing for anyone; he was simply passing the time joyfully while doing his job. It was a startling and funny image, and I laughed when I saw him. The man saw that I was laughing and glared at me. This moment was indicative of how ubiquitous karaoke is in the Philippines (people are constantly singing in Cebu!), which is why the man shaving the pig’s face appears in my poem “In Defense of Karaoke.”

“Usahay” by Pilita Corrales

Another song that is referenced in “In Defense of Karaoke” is “Usahay” by Pilita Corrales, which my maternal mother—Guadalupe Mabano, who is mentioned in “Some Words of the Aforesaid Heathen Peoples”—used to sing. “Usahay” in Cebuano means “Sometimes,” and this song was popularized in the 1960s. While I love Pilita Corrales’ voice, I think my lola sings it better. My parents have a cassette tape from the 80s of her singing it, and I cherish the fact that I can hear her voice. Unfortunately, my lola is not on Spotify.

“Tornero” by I Santo – California

Listen to this song after reading “Counterargument that Goes All the Way Around,” which is the last poem in my collection. “Counterargument” is an abecedarian, a poem in which the first letter of each line follows sequentially through the alphabet. In other words, the first line of the poem begins with an “A”, the second begins with “B”, and so on. However, in my poem, after the lines reach the letter “Z,” the poem moves backwards through the alphabet, and the final line of the poem begins with “A.” In I Santo – California’s “Tornero,” the speaker tells their beloved to wait for them, that they will return. This poem—along with many poems in this collection—is about returning and reclaiming the past, so I think “Tornero” is appropriate exit music for this collection.


Marianne Chan grew up in Stuttgart, Germany, and Lansing, Michigan. Her poems have appeared in West Branch, The Journal, Poetry Northwest, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Carve Magazine, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She serves as poetry editor at Split Lip Magazine.


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 (How Pitchfork's 10.0 Review of Radiohead's Kid A Changed Music Criticism, Remembering Flannery O'Connor, and more)

KId A by Radiohead

Georgia Public Radio remembered Flannery O'Connor on her 95th birthday.


Billboard examined the effect Pitchfork's 10.0 review of Radiohead's Kid A album had on music criticism.


March's best eBook deals.

eBooks free today:

several titles at Verso Books (through April 2nd)

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Cluster by Piers Anthony
Those Who Wander: America’s Lost Street Kids by Vivian Ho


NPR Music is keeping a calendar of online live virtual concerts.


InStyle recommended books to read in your 20s.


El-P talked to Pitchfork about the music that has influenced him over his lifetime.


Vulture recommended books with lonely protagonists.


Nine Inch Nails shared two free albums of instrumental music.


Entertainment Weekly profiled author Andrea Lawlor.


Paste profiled Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield.


Bookworm interviewed author Rebecca Solnit.


Stream new music by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.


Celeste Ng recommended the books she's reading at Salon.


Neil Young shared another "fireside session."


Writer AN Devers discussed bookselling at The Stylist.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed guitarist William Tyler.


Electric Literature interviewed poet Natalie Diaz.


Stream a new song by Disheveled Cuss.


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


The Memories and Colleen Green covered Ace of Base's "The Sign."


The Reading Women podcast interviewed author Emily St. John Mandel.


Stream a new Braids song.


The New York Times recommended cookbooks that comfort.


Stream a new song by Ladybug Transistor’s Gary Olson.


The Maris Review podcast interviewed author Quan Barry.


Stream a new song by Trace Mountains.


3:AM shared an excerpt from Lee Rourke’s new book Vantablack.


Stream a new Bob Dylan song.


Elizabeth Gilbert talked books and reading with the Guardian.

Reading Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet as a teenager was a thrilling and soul-shaping experience. He offers a dizzying mix of encouragement, faith and challenge – making me think I wasn’t completely delusional to want to live a creative life.


Alicia Keys discussed her book More Myself with Morning Edition.


Russia Beyond recommended Russian post-apocalyptic fiction.


Gorilla Vs. Bear recommended the week's best new albums.


PAPER and Vanity Fair recommended books to read during quarantine.


Stream a new song by Hamilton Leithauser.


Granta shared an excerpt from Madeline Bunting's debut novel Island Song.


Singer-songwriter Will Oldham and author Max Porter are collaborating on a book.


TIME recommended virtual book clubs.


The Coil shared an excerpt from Beth Lisick's debut novel Edie on the Green Screen.



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


March 26, 2020

Beth Lisick's Playlist for Her Novel "Edie on the Green Screen"

Edie on the Green Screen

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.

Beth Lisick's debut novel Edie on the Green Screen is impressive, filled with dark humor and often startling insight.


In her own words, here is Beth Lisick's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Edie on the Green Screen:


I wanted to write a book about a person who’d been entrenched in an art scene, but wasn’t much of an artist or a muse. The point of view of the audience. A participant in a different way. There’s a decent amount of music weaving itself through the story, though I intentionally left out band names and song titles when I wanted readers to hear their own music. Sometimes that’s more fun. That said, I couldn’t help but write a scene where a cover band at a chili cook-off in the parking lot of the Saddle Rack (country and western bar in Fremont) plays Lenny Kravitz’s “Let Love Rule”. I once experienced that and was so moved by how the singer obviously got to throw his pet song into the mix, despite his bandmates not being happy about it at all. He sang his guts out on that one. There’s also a moment where Edie drives her dead mom’s station wagon and sings along while blasting “Make It With You” by Bread. College radio is a huge deal to her (and to me) and she has this moment of homage:

All praise the patois of the college radio deejay! The sheer relaxation of delivery, the shuffling of papers on the mic, the stall for lost liner notes, the humble struggle to remember or pronounce a difficult band name, the laugh following the record skip, the dead air of an ill-timed bathroom break, the droll ramble of the public service announcement, and the promise that the next song up was going to blow your mind. Discovering KFJC meant that I said goodbye to my mom’s AM radio of traffic and weather together “on the eights” or mellow gold songs about angels in the morning and piña coladas. The college deejays sounded like people I wanted to meet, laid back and in-the-know, hot with some fresh tip, ear to the ground, curious, nerdy, not ashamed.



The Largest Elizabeth in the World
The Roches

The first time I remember tripping out on the concept of “a woman” was when I saw The Roches on Saturday Night Live. It was 1979, I was obsessed with Charlie’s Angels, and here were these three sisters—one looking like my elementary school librarian (you were fucking hip, Mrs. Eisenberg), another like a jewelry maker I saw at the Ren Faire, and the third, surely a gymnastics coach who owned a reptile. (I was 10. My world was small.) When I got a little older, I would call the radio station and request them. This song is for the young Edie who pits apricots in the remaining orchards in the valley and dreams of having a bigger life someday.

The Golden Age of Hustlers
Justin Vivian Bond

This song was written by San Francisco legend Bambi Lake, who saw me reading poetry at an open mic and asked me to open for her cabaret show at The Stud. Every time she sang this song I would be in tears. It can’t be repeated or stressed enough how important the city’s queer underground was to San Francisco’s art, music, and politics. Justin Vivian Bond came out of that scene and does this beautiful rendition. And Bambi is still with us! Her wit and wisdom is available in her book The Unsinkable Bambi Lake, co-authored with Alvin Orloff. A few years ago, Silas Howard (Transparent, Pose, High Maintenance) directed a music video that has a cameo by Bambi and can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwr0pFho32E

Fibulator
Molly Ringwald

Listen to this song and you can smell the warehouse shows of the ’90s. There were so many fantastically alive bands, almost all of them not currently available for streaming on Spotify. So happy to be able to share Fibulator on this list. They were lethal.

Jenny Hoyston
Deep Lines

If I had to pick one song that captures the vibe of the whole book for me, it’d be this one. Jenny was in one of my favorite bands, Erase Errata, and thank god she’s still making music. This is from her latest solo record Hold On, Loosely and is a glorious, haunting take on the coulda/woulda/shoulda theme.

Pharaoh Sanders
You’ve Got To Have Freedom

There’s a scene where an old jazz musician is asleep on the couch in Edie’s warehouse (inside his bass case) and nobody knows who he is. I wanted the energy of all the jazz I love on this playlist even though Edie is the kind of person to be a jerk about jazz. Sanders is one of our greatest living players. Get into it! The great John Hicks (RIP) on piano.

Pink Love Red Love
Linda Hagood

Edie tries to have hot reveries about her former lovers, but conjuring them proves incredibly difficult. She’d always had so much sex that it didn’t occur to her she was going to have to remember it for later. That’s the kind of funny/sad I enjoy. Linda Hagood was in a fantastic band called The Double U and still writes and performs solo. I have a few friends I suspect are not actually 100% earthlings and Linda is one of them.

American Music Club
I’ve Been a Mess

Everything relating to San Francisco should have an American Music Club or Mark Eitzel song in it.

The Fairest of The Seasons
Nico

Edie and her brother get into a Tesla and put on KFJC, the station from Foothill Junior College. The DJ is playing an all-clown set. They hear “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, “Cathy’s Clown” by the Everly Brothers, “Clown Time is Over” by Elvis Costello, “Fifty Fifty Clown” by Cocteau Twins, and “All Tomorrow’s Parties” by The Velvet Underground and Nico (I’ll turn once more to Sunday’s clown). I’ve never actually heard a DJ do this, but I bet one has. I chose this song because “All Tomorrow’s Parties” is almost too on the nose. I love the lyric: I want to know do I stay or do I go/And maybe try another time/And do I really have a hand in my forgetting?

Chris Cohen
Optimist High

Chris used to play in Deerhoof (who are still blowing minds 25 years after they started). His solo stuff is so disarmingly brilliant. Melancholic, and yet… maybe things will be okay? I imagine this song playing as Edie walks on the hot San Jose streets during a drought looking at all the crunchy juniper bushes and dead lawns. This is a great “what’s next” song.


Beth Lisick is a writer and actor from the San Francisco Bay Area, currently living in Brooklyn. She is the author of five previous books, including the New York Times bestseller Everybody Into the Pool, and co-founder of the Porchlight Storytelling Series. Beth has also worked as a baker, a promotional banana mascot, a background extra for TV and film, and an aide to people with developmental disabilities and dementia. This is her first novel.


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Everybody Into the Pool
Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Yokohama Threeway

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 (Dennis Lehane on Elmore Leonard's Novel Get Shorty, Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield on Her New Album, and more)

Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard

Dennis Lehane reconsidered Elmore Leonard's novel Get Shorty on its 30th anniversary at the Guardian.


DIY profiled Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield.

“I’ve always loved Lucinda Williams, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris,” she continues, reeling off the holy trinity of Americana whose influence hangs heavy over the record. “Coming from the South and growing up on country music, it was really formative for me, but when I look back on my earlier records now, I was fighting with my own tendencies all the time. I was this punk who was into indie music, and I was stopping myself from singing a certain way or leaning into certain melodies, even though that was what came naturally to me. Now I’m older, and I’m more mature, and I just feel more secure in my interests and influences. I realised I’d been suppressing these instincts in the past because I wasn’t sure if they were cool, or if they suited me. They really do, though.”

i-D also profiled Crutchfield.


March's best eBook deals.

eBooks free today:

several titles at Verso Books (through April 2nd)


NPR Music is keeping a calendar of online live virtual concerts.


BookPage interviewed author Emily St. John Mandel.


The A.V. Club reconsidered Serge Gainsbourg's Historie de Melodie Nelson album.


The 2020 Whiting Awards have been announced.

Congratulations to Largehearted Boy contributor Ling Ma.


Stream a new Dream Syndicate song.


Paste recapped March's best books.


Steve Earle discussed his new album with SPIN.


KSMU recommended books to read during a pandemic.


Jason Isbell covered the Drive-By Truckers' "Heathens."


The Guardian recommended books to help survive a crisis.


Stream two new Deerhoof songs.


Town & Country listed spring's best books.


Stream a new song by I Break Horses.


Dani Shapiro discussed DNA testing on PBS NewsHour.


Stream a new song by Lingua Ignota.


Authors shared their crisis reading at The Strategist.


Stream a new song by Carey Mercer's new band Soft Plastics.


Literary Hub listed the week's best books.


Stream a new Joan Shelley song.


Bitch Media recommended March books for feminists.


Stream a new Craig Finn song.


Eater recommended spring's best cookbooks.


Aquarium Drunkard shared a playlist of healing music.


Sara Baume discussed her new book Handiwork and played DJ at RTE.


The Fiction/Non/Fiction podcast interviewed authors Rigoberto González and Deb Olin Unferth.


The New York Times previewed April's best books.


Emily Nemens discussed her novel The Cactus League at https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/emily-nemens-interview/.


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed literary agent Monika Woods.


Sharma Shields has an essay at the New York Times.


Paper recommended books to read in quarantine.


Lorrie Moore talked books and reading with the New York Times.

"I hate to read anything that does not sound clear, beautiful and alive."


The Internet Archive has formed the National Emergency Library to offer free digitized books to students and the public.



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


March 25, 2020

Raechel Anne Jolie's Playlist for Her Memoir "Rust Belt Femme"

Rust Belt Femme

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.

Raechel Anne Jolie's Rust Belt Femme is a lyrical and powerful coming-of-age memoir.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"A sharp coming-of-age portrait."


In her own words, here is Raechel Anne Jolie's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir Rust Belt Femme:


My memoir Rust Belt Femme is deeply anchored in music from my early life - nearly ever chapter title is taken from song lyrics. As I was writing about coming-of-age in rural-ish, working-class Northeast Ohio I remembered music that propelled me through adventures in the woods and in our creek, the soundtrack of racecar tracks and childhood dreams. My book extends into my teenage years, at which point I spent less time in the woods and more time in the subcultural haven of Coventry Road, a known spot for artists, punks, and bohemians on the outskirts of Cleveland. That period was a time of post-9/11 politicization through punk music, punk houses, and punk record stores. Writing about this era of my life would have been impossible without writing about music.



“Farewell Transmission” Songs: Ohia

I begin the book with an epigraph from this truly perfect Songs:Ohia song because, affectively, there is no song that better feels like my experience with the Rust Belt. Jason Molina - who grew up about twenty minutes from where I did - moans his songs, guttural and raw. In his own life, Molina suffered from addiction and depression, something we hear in his music. But amidst his pain, there is deep hope in his lyrics. In this song, Molina states: “Come on let's try will try and know whatever we try/We will be gone, but not forever.” There is persistence. Insistence. His music, and this song in particular, are defiant, even if a little worn down. I cannot think of a better way to setup my story.

“Poor Folks Town” Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner

A lot of my book is about coping with economic precarity. After my dad was hit by a drunk driver, my mom and I experienced periods of poverty (food stamps, unpaid utility bills, moving around a lot to find affordable rent), as well as periods of relative comfort. But my early life felt decidedly “white trash” (a problematic term that I’ve come to reclaim). The expected markers of poor, white rural life -- men who worked on cars, overgrown lawns, a general lack of decorum -- that I grew up with were also a source of deep joy. Growing up poor gave me complex-post traumatic stress disorder, but it also gave me a lot of happy memories. The first time I heard Dolly Parton sing, “have a look around/ at rich folks livin’ in a poor folks town/we ain’t got money but we’re rich in love/that’s one thing we got a penny of,” I cried. I never felt community love as thick as that which held me in that poor white trash town. This song speaks to that and is definitely apt to the first part of the book.

“Bad Reputation” Joan Jett

Another aspect of my book is about how geography and class shaped my own gender and sexual identity. Part of my working-class upbringing was a general lack of censorship - that’s not true for all poor folks, but in our house, I wasn’t really shielded from sex or violence on TV (economic scarcity is, after all, it’s own version of violence). I became enamoured with actresses like Drew Barrymore, Winona Ryder, and anyone else who played some version of a crazy, broken, seductress. The sexism of these 90s-era manic pixie dreamgirls (manic pixie nightmares?) is now very apparent to me, but at the time, I was in awe of what looked like power. Joan Jett tells us: “I don’t give a damn about my reputation...a girl can do what she wants to do.” And I agree.

“All I Really Want” Alanis Morissette

It feels trite to say, but Alanis changed my life. She (along with Ani DiFranco) was my introduction to alternative music made by women and her music felt like a diary that I was starting to relate to. I was only eleven years old when Jagged Little Pill was released, but I could already make sense of wanting, as she sings, “comfort...a way to get my hands untied...justice.” I was learning emotions, and Alanis was there to guide me - through middle school crushes, through my first sexual assault, through an identification with the non-mainstream, and through being a different kind of girl.

“No Love” The Get Up Kids

During the period before I drove and after my best friend's older sister got her license, we would get rides to school with her. Every morning she and my best friend (Kat) would come get me in a rusty maroon Oldsmobile where we’d sleepily drive to school. Kat’s sister worked at a ~really cool~ local coffee shop where she met college students who introduced her to music that never got played on the radio. One of the songs was “No Love,” which has this instantly captivating guitar riff in the beginning, followed by perfect drums, then suddenly Matt Pryor’s screechy voice asking pleadingly, “If I gave everything/would you still listen to me?” Followed by a chorus where he insists, “I don’t want you to love me anymore.And then, the best part: “As much as I would like to, I can’t put my hands all over you.” I hadn’t been through a real breakup yet, but I had a feeling I was gonna get this. But more importantly, this was my introduction to “emo” music, which, when this song was released in 1999, was much grittier than what emo would become in the early 2000s. But it was a foray into a world of music-they-didn’t-play-on-radio. That song was my gateway, ultimately, into punk and Left activism, which are two things that are as deeply a part of me as any other part of my identity.

“Confessions of a Futon-Revolutionist” The Weakerthans

The Weakerthans were one of the many bands I discovered after being introduced to the punk/indie/emo scene. This song was the most political thing I’d heard and in the very early stages of developing political consciousness, I loved the line “swear I way more than half believe it when I say, somewhere love and justice shine.” After 9/11 that developing consciousness was concretized: I was against the war, and was not for any Republicans or Democrats who stood for it. I went to Food Not Bombs - an anarchist group that serves reclaimed food to hungry folks - for the first time, and learned about anticapitalism. I went to my first protest, and I played this song, very loudly, on the way there.

“Closed Hands” Saetia

The music scene in which I was newly immersed also included hardcore bands. I learned - from my first punk boyfriend - about the nuances of this genre: there was metal, straight-edge hardcore, and ‘screamy hardcore’ bands, which also had roots in early emo. Like my boyfriend at the time, I liked the screamy stuff the best, Saetia prime among them. There was a time when we would listen exclusively to screamy hardcore when we fooled around and, reader, to this day I find this (admittedly not easy-listening) music to be...kind of a turn-on? (I’d like to give a shoutout here also to Pageninetynine, Orchid, and City of Caterpillar who were also soundtrack to many-a-sexytime.)

“We Laugh at Danger (And Break All The Rules)” Against Me!

This is another example of a band that, during this era, solidified my taste in music, my subcultural proclivities, and my politics. I also get punk-points for loving Against Me! since their first full-length album back in 2001. I also saw them play in the basement of a punk house in Cleveland called Fort Totally Awesome!. This song, in particular, has one of the best handclap breakdowns of any song in history. It brings me tons of joy that Laura Jane Grace (the lead singer) is still making music with the band and that she’s an out-trans woman; since I would later come out as bi, I feel a lot of queer punk kinship with their music.

“Jason’s Basement” Gossip

Finally, some queer feminist punk! It took me a roundabout way to get into the more riot grrrl/riot grrl-inspired scene: first I loved the dude bands, then I found Le Tigre, Gossip, Bikini Kill (etc). When I heard Gossip (on a mixtape the aforementioned boyfriend made me), I was moved. Beth Ditto, the lead singer, is a force, and you can’t listen to a Gossip song without realizing that. Partly because I was into this band, I would go on in college to score some hot gay girlfriends, for which I am grateful. The main lyric of this song is, “I get by with the people I know.” That sums up how I feel about my working-class community, the punk scene, and my queer family.

“Farewell Transmission” (cover) Waxahatchee & Kevin Morby

Yes, I’m bringing this song back. I very intentionally chose a line from this song to both open and close the book, and I like thinking about the latter passage as taken from this version by Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee) and Kevin Morby, two contemporary musicians I count among my favorites. Like the original version, this song is both sad and hopeful. This version is a little more airy, a little more dreamy, a bit more reverent. It’s an homage to the spirit of Jason Molina, who sadly died by alcohol-related organ failure in 2013; it’s an homage, I think, to everyone - and every place - we’ve lost. Whether lost from death, or the inevitable impact of capitalism, this song feels like both a eulogy and a gospel. “If you don't want us to be a secret out of the past,” Crutchfield and Morby sing Molina’s words, “I will resurrect it, I'll have a good go at it.” My book is trying to resurrect secrets of the Rust Belt, and a hidden history of femme identity that is rooted in working-class lives. “Listen,” the song repeats at the end, “Listen.” There is beauty there.


Raechel Anne Jolie is a writer, educator, and media-maker currently living in Minneapolis. She holds a PhD in Critical Media Studies, with a minor in Feminist & Critical Sexuality Studies from the University of Minnesota. Her writing has been featured in outlets such as Teen Vogue, In These Times, Bitch Magazine, and more. Rust Belt Femme is her first book.


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 (Ruchika Tomar Awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award, A Manu Dibango Mixtape, and more)

A Prayer for Travelers by Ruchika Tomar

Ruchika Tomar has been awarded the PEN/Hemingway Award for best debut novel for A Prayer for Travelers.


Aquarium Drunkard shared a mixtape featuring music by Manu Dibango, who passed away this week.


March's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

Approaching Oblivion by Harlan Ellison


NPR Music is keeping a calendar of online live virtual concerts.


R.I.P., playwright Terrence McNally.


Pitchfork recommended winter albums you may have missed.


Austin City Limits has made many of its episodes free for streaming, including all of the past two years' shows.


WIRED examined Covid-19's impact on libraries and their communities.


Stream a new Bright Eyes song.


Katy Simpson Smith recommended poetry collections by women rewriting history at Electric Literature.


Paste listed the best Sufjan Stevens songs.


Ernesto Quiñonez discussed his novel Bodega Dreams with Entertainment Weekly.


Stream a new song by Affectionately,


Christos Tsiolkas recommended books about shame at the Guardian.


PopMatters listed the best Tom Waits songs.


Cai Emmons recommended books about bodies at Literary Hub.


Stream a new Young Knives song.


Deb Olin Unferth shared how she wrote her novel Barn 8 at Granta.

"I also leaned into the funny. Humor can be used to conjure or express all kinds of emotions: bitterness, revelation, kindness, joy, rage. I described aspects of the farm industry in a way that was accurate but truly absurd."


DIY profiled the band Sorry.


OUPblog recommended classics for comfort reading.


Stream a new song by Nadine Shah.


MoMA features a new comic by Gabrielle Bell.


Stream a new TOPS song.


Big Other interviewed author D. Harlan Wilson.


M. Ward shared two cover songs at Aquarium Drunkard.


Electric Literature interviewed author Clare Beams.


Stream a new Dirty Projectors song.


Stream a new Sondre Lerche song.



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


March 24, 2020

Cameron Esposito's Playlist for Her Memoir "Save Yourself"

Save Yourself

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.

Cameron Esposito's Save Yourself is an insightful and often hilarious memoir of gender, identity, and much more.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Esposito brings her distinctive and queer-focused brand of humor to the memoir, combining laugh-out-loud moments with somber reflections on gender, sexuality, religion, social power dynamics, and how to start saving yourself."


In her own words, here is Cameron Esposito's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir Save Yourself:


Here are some queer songs and queer feeling songs to set the mood for a memoir about faith in self. Many were listened to during the years covered in Save Yourself: and others during the writing.



Faith, George Michael

This'll get you warmed up for a story about a super Catholic kid who wanted to be a priest and ended up a standup comic. As a bonus, gay! Listen to this before even cracking the book.

Fast Slow Disco, St. Vincent

The sexy, sped-up version of St. Vincent's haunting, lonely, ain't-it-awful-to-be-a-human anthem is perfect for the book's dedication and intro. You'll feel EMOTIONAL and OPEN and RAW and ABANDONED and those are perfect feelings to bring into my reasoning for writing the book to begin with.

Cabaret, Liza Minnelli

This song is going to feel jarring after those first two; the good news is it'd feel jarring following anything that wasn't the entire movie/musical Carabet. Liza's rendition is directly referenced in the intro, and will vastly improve your life any time you bless your ears with it.

Born This Way, Lady Gaga

Perhaps Gaga's antics feel stale, overblown or too on the nose for you. If they do, how terrifically sad. Her work with Bradley Cooper is not my person favorite--I'm a Gaga in a meat dress screaming about equality kinda gal and this song sings to that. Alternate Little Queer Kid anthem: Let It Go from the gayest animated film ever, Frozen.

Supermodel (You Better Work), RuPaul

My girlfriend is thirty-two and somehow that's younger-than-me enough to have missed this tune the first time it took over the airwaves & launched Ru's career. If you can listen to music and read at the same time--which for some reason I've been assuming you can do throughout this playlist--pop this on as you read about young Cammy's struggle with body dysmorphia. You're beautiful, little Cammy!

Bad Ones, Matthew Dear (ft. Tegan and Sara)

This song perfectly describes the feeling I had walking across campus at my conservative Catholic college after realizing I was queer; at first, I didn't question the faith teachings around me, instead internalizing rejection/homophobia and labeling myself a bad boi/demon/problem child. That's why I still own black leather jackets to this day.

This Year's Love, David Gray

This was my first girlfriend and my "song" which says a lot about where I was at the time, since I think it was my suggestion. This shit is the saddest, droopiest thing on the planet and I think to me it felt hopeful.

Then I Kissed Her, The Beach Boys

When I came out--which wasn't 1,000 years ago, but in the scheme of things pretty damn recently, out queer artists weren't really a thing. This song felt gay to me because, lacking anything else, I really relied on lyrics like "I kissed her in a way I'd never kissed a girl before" to get me through. And to Janelle Monae, Hayley Kiyoko, King Princess, Perfume Genius, Lil Nas X and many many more: love you.

Slip Away, Perfume Genius

Speaking of...look: Perfume Genius is amazing. And just put a new video out that you can watch from the comfort of your bunker. I'd really recommend watching the ways this person moves to the music they sing and listening to the whole PG catalogue but this one should get you started and should be paired with chapters on navigating difficult times with my family and my early loves.

Into the Wild, LP

And let's finish with a jam that sets a tone of openness and movement toward what's next. I have blazed paths for myself in comedy, queerness, love, family, community. The anxiety of the current pandemic, can make me feel like I've never done one thing to prepare for this moment; it's a helpful reminder that I've gone forward without plans and a path before and made it by adapting and staying honest.


Cameron Esposito is a Los Angeles-based comic, actor, and writer. Cameron's career has spanned everything from big-budget films to Sundance indies to animation. She costarred in and cocreated the much-lauded Take My Wife, now on Starz, has written for the New York Times, and has appeared as herself on TV, podcasts, and web series alike. Cameron hosts a popular interview podcast, Queery with Cameron Esposito, and her recent hit comedy special, Rape Jokes, raised almost $100,000 for rape crisis intervention.


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 (Recommended Quarantine Reading, The Best Rock Memoirs of All Time, and more)

Chronicles, Volume One by Bob Dylan

PBS NewsHour and Toronto independent bookstores recommended quarantine reading.


Rolling Stone listed the best rock memoirs of all time.


March's best eBook deals.

Free eBook today:

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

High Crime Area by Joyce Carol Oates


NPR Music is keeping a calendar of online live virtual concerts.


NPR shared a playlist of sings about the Coronavirus.


Vulture interviewed author Hilary Mantel.


Soccer Mommy played a Tiny Desk Concert from home.


Hernan Diaz recommended books on isolation and loneliness at Electric Literature.


Roger and Brian Eno talked to All Songs Considered about their new album.


The Washington Post interviewed author Barbara Ehrenreich.


Vanessa Carlton recommended Liz Phair's memoir Horror Stories at NPR.

I'm loving Liz Phair's book Horror Stories. The concept is unique: Each chapter is a story of shame or regret that she has carried throughout her life. It's an unpacking of her darkest and most human stories, and with each chapter you see how these tales were integral in shaping who she is as a person and artist.


Sarah Perry talked books and reading with Book Marks.


Stream a new Mark Lanegan song.


The Creative Independent interviewed author Lidia Yuknavich.


Stream a new Car Seat Headrest song.


The New York Times and Literary Hub shared excerpts from Emily St. John Mandel's novel The Glass Hotel.


World Cafe shared a playlist for the socially distanced.


Valeria Luiselli has been awarded the Rathbones Folio prize for third novel.


Stream a new song by Sorry.


The New York Times shared an excerpt from N.K. Jemisin's novel The City We Became.


Lena Dunham is serializing a "choose your own adventure" novel at Vogue.


Cameron Esposito recommended books for a queer road trip at Literary Hub.


Priests’ Katie Alice Greer has released new music.


BOMB shared an excerpt from Rebecca Dinerstein Knight's novel Hex.


Grouper’s Liz Harris discussed the books of Octavia E. Butler at Jezebel.



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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