Twitter Facebook Tumblr Pinterest Instagram

May 29, 2015

Book Notes - Kate Lebo "Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter"

Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter

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.

As well as an accomplished poet, Kate Lebo is also an eloquent evangelist for pie. Her cookbook Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter brings the lessons from her baking classes to print with the same flair, wit, and enthusiasm in a book as rewarding to bake from as it is to read.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Abbreviating her in-person, face-to-face pie-making course for the benefit of us all, Lebo is all about the how-tos of the handmade—no food processors, no other kitchen machines, and certainly no store-bought prepackaged ingredients. The writing itself is almost enough to seduce."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Kate Lebo's Book Notes music playlist for her cookbook Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter:


If you live in the sort of place that gets rhubarb, you'll have it fresh and stacked in pink piles wherever you shop for produce right around now. The first day of the Pie School year coincides with that first rhubarb, a sign of the better weather and sweeter fruits to follow. If you started with the first recipe in Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter (rhubarb custard, yum) and continued to bake chronologically once or twice a week all the way through the book, hitting each fruit at its peak, you'd take the last of fifty pies (pumpkin chiffon for the win!) out of the oven around Christmas. January, February, March—that's cake season. Today is for fruit pie.

Here's a song for your pie kitchen from each chapter of Pie School.


"Lola" from Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, The Kinks (A Hubbub of Rhubarb)

The Kinks did not go as far as to describe Lola's pie preference, but my bets are on rhubarb, the vegetable we crossdress in sugar, pair with strawberries, and eat like fruit. It's even taxed as fruit. In 1947, a New York court decided that taxes should agree with tastebuds, citing as precedent an 1893 Supreme Court ruling that allows vegetables to be called fruits and vice versa according to how they're most popularly used.


"Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Soundtrack, (Blueberry Beauregarde)

Maybe the only time blueberries and justice—or just desserts—come together in one terrific punishment is that scene from Gene Wilder's version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It happens after our golden ticket winners lick the wallpaper, after they pooh-pooh the snozzberry, after they gorge on sugar-spun toadstools while Wilder sings "Pure Imagination" with an enigmatic smirk. As a child, this was my first exposure to type of performance art that encourages the worst from strangers while the artist stands back, studying his idiots.

Punishment comes first to Augustus Gloop, who falls into Wonka's chocolate river, eliminating himself from the race to claim Wonka's empire. Now we know: this movie is an Agatha Christie-style And Then There Were None to Eat the Candy sort of story, but about business and candy, not murder.

Violet Beauregarde fails next. She grabs experimental gum from Wonka's palm and chews herself into a blueberry. Blueberries contribute to Violet what they contribute to pie—mildness. As Oompa Loompas roll her offstage, she's sweeter than she'll ever be again.


"Cherry Pie" from Cherry Pie, Warrant (She's My Cherry Pie)

Because I am a pie lady, I am reminded by well-meaning people of this stupid song more often than is entertaining. I cannot sing "She's My Cherry Pie" at karaoke or enjoy it ironically on the car stereo. It is not the kind of bad that bears delight. Warrant's song is not as party-stopping as my favorite 90s sad bastard anthem Hey Jealousy, but that song is at least ashamed of itself to the degree required to maintain sympathy for the narrator, which I cannot feel for the dumb innuendo of this one hit wonder, or for fools who still mistake women for desserts.


"Spanish Pipedream" from self-titled, John Prine (The Perfect Peach)

"She was a level-headed dancer on the road to alcohol" is the best metaphor for peach pie anyone will ever write, though John Prine wasn't singing about peach pie, not precisely, just suggesting it's helpful to have a buddy when you decide to unplug, bow out, find god, have babies, and eat a lot of peaches. This is a fantasy of no war, no poverty or violence or accountability, no Facebook, a utopia got by getting the hell away from people, which is what good peach pie can do, but only for the amount of time it takes to eat a slice.


"City of New Orleans" from City of New Orleans, Willie Nelson (A Tyranny of Plums)

Italian plum trees grow in every neighborhood in Seattle. I don't know why or who planted them or when. Today, cities tend to plant ornamental cherries and pears to avoid the mess of real fruit. But the old fruit-bearing trees remain, especially in backyards.

I have not heard whether the renegade arborists from San Francisco who secretly graft fruit-bearing branches on ornamental trees have influenced a similar band of plant graffitists in Seattle. For my last September in that city, I paid my rent with pie and jam made from Italian plums gifted by weary tree owners overwhelmed with their abundance. In my new city, Spokane, a municipal program invites volunteers to pick fruit from untended trees to donate to food banks or keep for their own pantries.

Willie's cover of Arlo Guthrie's elegy for the railroad makes me ache with nostalgia for an America that doesn't exist, which is exactly how I miss the Italian plum trees of Seattle, which I lost when the rent on my apartment followed a city-wide trend of rising ridiculously. Economic eviction, Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times called it. Out here on the east side of the state, huckleberries are the fruit of choice. They only grow wild in the mountains and aren't nearly as prolific as plum trees, but because they haven't yet been domesticated, because they thrive in forest clearings but not backyards, as long as we protect public lands, huckleberries—unlike plums—can belong to everyone.


"We Are Never Getting Back Together" from 1989, Taylor Swift (Blackberry, Blackberry, Blackberry)

An earworm best represents blackberries, an invasive vine that jubilantly tears through clearcuts, sneaks down alleys, and breaks down (then becomes) fences all over Western Washington, where I have watched people snack on berries growing from a not-yet-rebuilt lot while they wait for the number 7 bus to downtown Seattle. Blackberries thrive where the land is so damp and fertile it teeters on the edge of rot, which is almost exactly how I feel listening to Taylor Swift, the Dixie Chicks, Ace of Bass, and all the other candy pop I should be embarrassed to admit to, invasive weeds that root through the ear until the only way to clear them is by ritual karaoke performance, preferably in the company of others whose vocal range is as wishful as my own.


"Apple Tree" from Winter Creatures, Grand Hallway (An Everlasting Apple Pie)

As a pie lady I am regularly asked the following three questions.

1. Did your grandmother teach you how to make pie?

Answer: No. My grandmother made vodka tonics and Christmas Jello but could barely bake her way out of a brownie box. I learned from my mother, practicing on my own, and other pie ladies, including crust magic from Kate McDermott of The Art of the Pie and baking for the masses from Beth Howard of the American Gothic House. Now I learn the most from my students, who routinely come to Pie School (the in-person version of my cookbook) with fantastic tips from their own family pie traditions.

2. How do you stay so thin?

Answer: Contrary to what our teachers said, there is such a thing as a stupid question. This is one of them. On the other hand: My favorite bad Amazon review chastised me for paying "no attention, as far as I can recall, to health concerns regarding overuse of butter (fat)," which is absolutely completely correct.

If you can't beat them, bake for them.

3. What's your favorite pie?

Answer: The apple pie I make in early September when the early-season heirloom pie apples arrive. Heirloom fruits aren't just a branch of the vintage craze. They are often better bakers because fruit that lends itself to the preserving pan would have been more useful in the "heirloom" days before refrigeration. I prefer Gravensteins. They're a tart green Danish apple grown in California's Sonoma Valley and the western half of the Pacific Northwest. The Gravenstein's crisp, cream-white fruit bakes like a dream, soft but not mushy, sweet but not cloying, shapely but not—like question #2—underbaked.


"Sweet Illusions" from Cold Roses, Ryan Adams & the Cardinals (Snow Cupboard Pies) and "Fantasy" from Daydream, Mariah Carey (Chiffon Pie Chic)

When pumpkins, meyer lemons, and cranberries make their appearance at the market, the pie year has come to a close. Thin-skinned lemons can be mandolined, peel and all, into a pile of tart-bitter-sweet slices and soaked in sugar overnight, then baked with four eggs between two crusts. A handful of tart cranberries in an apple pie can end a year begun by tart rhubarb. Pumpkin is as good in a can as it is roasted and pulped from your own kitchen, so choose whichever degree of labor suits your November day. I lighten my pumpkin by making it into chiffon pie—a cream, meringue, and gelatin concoction popular in the mid 20th century and named after the sort of fabric you'd find in Betty Draper's party dresses.

After pumpkin I put the pie plates away, but that doesn't mean you have to. Cream, shoofly, Hoosier and chess pies made from shelf-stable sugar, nuts, vinegar, and always-available good dairy are the best option. I suggest Nancie McDermott's Southern Pies or check out Emily Hilliard's Nothing in the House blog for year-round recipes in this vein.


I hope your pie year is sweet and tart, and full of friends who'll help polish off all those spare slices. Happy baking!


Kate Lebo and Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter links:

the author's website
Pie School website

The Los Angeles Review review
Seattle Times review

Ploughshares interview with the author
Seattle Weekly profile of the author
Spokesman-Review profile of the author
To the Best of Our Knowledge interview with the author
USA Today 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)





May 29, 2015

Shorties (Reviews of the Theatrical Adaptation of Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, The Fashion Legacy of Siouxsie Sioux, and more)

The Guardian and Telegraph reviewed the theatrical adaptation of Haruki Murakami's novel Kafka on the Shore.


Dazed examined the fashion legacy of Siouxsie Sioux.


Helen Oyeyemi interviewed Kelly Link at the Los Angeles Review of Books.


Aquarium Drunkard featured a live session from singer-songwriter Jerry David DiCicca.


Cult #MTL profiled author Sean Michaels.


Stereogum listed the best Stereolab songs.


Elisa Gabbert examined the importance of book titles at The Smart Set.


SPIN listed the 100 best EDM anthems of the '10s.


The Independent recommended recently published debut fiction, including novels by Catie Disabato and Kirsty Logan.


PopMatters previewed June's music releases.


The Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and Vulture interviewed cartoonist Daniel Clowes.


Author Roxane Gay talked about diversity in publishing at Code Switch.


Mike Patton talked to The Record about the new Faith No More album, Sol Invictus.


Troy Little talked to the Guardian about adapting Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas into a graphic novel.


The New York Times is streaming the new Eternal Summers album, Gold and Stone.


Bustle listed literary board games.


Consequence of Sound listed the most anticipated summer music tours.


The New Yorker features a new short story by Salman Rushdie.


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 (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, A Smiths Tribute Album, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Brendan Dalton: "Beachcomber's Holler" [mp3] from Medium (out June 22nd)

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: On the Radio EP [mp3]

The Domestics: "American Drag" [mp3] from The Domestics

Lauryn Peacock: "Wounds Grow Grass" [mp3] from Euphonia (out June 26th)

Lisa LeBlanc: "You Look Like Trouble (But I Guess I Do Too)" [mp3]

Luke Brindley: Crack of Light album [mp3]

Shades: "Time Back" [mp3] from Common Desire (out July 31st)

Thanks: "Red Tattoo" [mp3] from The PDX Pop Now! 2015 Compilation

Various Artists: A Dreaded Sunny Day - A Tribute to The Smiths album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Media Jeweler: 2015-04-03, 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)

May 28, 2015

Book Notes - Kathleen Ossip "The Do-Over"

The Do-Over

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.

Kathleen Ossip's The Do-Over is a stunning poetry collection, a powerful and unforgettable elegy for the poet's mother-in-law.

The Paris Review wrote of the book:

"Unassuming and masterfully crafted, Ossip's poetry is sneaky, very often disguising itself as easy and surprising you the moment you let your guard down. . . . The Do-Over is a kind of elegy to contemporary culture: it critiques modern life while basking in its ever-younger, glitzier rabble."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Kathleen Ossip's Book Notes music playlist for her poetry collection The Do-Over:


I'm a lover of music but I'm not someone who needs music budded into her head to accompany every activity. I like silence too, and talk. As a poet, I find words indispensable. So I should say, I'm a lover of songs, of the corner of Music and Lyrics, the compression of them into both sense and pleasure. Specifically, I'm a lover of pop (and not only in songs, but in film too, and fiction) but only pop that transcends: When a song is both immediately accessible and deeply pleasurable and immeasurably profound, I experience true aesthetic magic. There are a lot of songs sprinkled throughout The Do-Over, overtly and covertly (the list in a minute), but first, there's a particular collection of pop songs that, in a weird way, inspired the shape and spirit of the book.

That would be Tusk, Fleetwood Mac's greatest album and, as my all-time favorite album, music that has become part of my nervous system. When I started writing the poems in the The Do-Over I didn't know much about where I was going with them, but I did know that I wanted The Do-Over, a book about death, to have the formal range and varied textures of Tusk. Singleminded in my exploration of that one grand theme, I wanted a variousness of approach, outlook, form, one way to get at the unfathomable complexity of experience. Similarly Tusk applies itself to its one grand theme (heterosexual bliss, heartache, and rage) with all the multiplicity its three singer-songwriters had in them. You never know what you're going to hear next, except that you know it'll have the shimmer of craft, of its having been thought through in some careful way, and you know that each song will sound intensely like itself. I wanted to create a similar sense of texture for the readers making their way through my book. A sampling of the range (and my favorites for each of the writers):

Lindsey Buckingham's "The Ledge"
Stevie Nick's "Beautiful Child"
Christine McVie's "Never Forget"
(the perfect final song)

Famously, Tusk was producer Lindsey Buckingham's deliberate 180 away from the smooth pop splendor of Rumours, the band's previous mega-success. There's a stripped-down weird artlessness to the production (though the playing and singing remains as artful as ever) that I like to think is also reflected in the blunt, strange, naive voice I tried to evoke in much of The Do-Over.

Now for some individual poem-song pairings:

Poem: "Tool Moan"
Song: Jimi Hendrix, "Voodoo Child"

Jimi Hendrix was a fantastic poet; my favorite of his couplets is "You can hear happiness STAGGERING on down the street
/ Footprints dressed in red," which is from "The Wind Cried Mary." But in this poem, the speaker (me) sits at an outdoor table at an Irish pub, hearing in the distance a funk cover band play "Voodoo Child" while, on the pub's patio, an accordion player attempts to compete with the noise, an epic battle of the derivative versus the authentic. I won't spoil the punchline, which explains the poem's title.

Poem: "Lyric"
Song: Robert Johnson, "Stones in My Passway"

"Lyric" is a longish poem written from the state of mind I found myself in when my beloved stepmother-in-law was dying. (Called A., her story forms the spine of The Do-Over.) I saw death everywhere, in history, in the most mundane of daily activities, in the present political atmosphere. The voice of the poem is anguished, fragmented, histrionic. Two of the three sections end in a three-line blues stanza, in which the speaker (me) voices the deluded fantasy that comes out of her death-drenched despair:

There's a crazy bright object stapled to the Western sky
There's a crown of fire bragging in the Western sky
I'll brag right along with it I am never gonna die

"Stones in My Passway" is a brilliant blues song that uses this traditional stanza, recorded by Johnson in 1936 but so elemental it might as well be prehistoric. It's insanely dark; even the singer's (sexual) body turns against him. A true bookworm, I first encountered this song when I stumbled across Greil Marcus's Mystery Train in my public library when I was in high school. Mystery Train contains a long essay on Robert Johnson's short life and indispensable work, including a detailed analysis of "Stones in My Passway." The argument it seemed to make was: If you want to feel what it is to be American, you need to live with and internalize Johnson's songs. I always (I'm tempted to qualify it with "almost always" but no, always) want to feel deeply American in my poems. This poem includes the quintessential U.S. road trip to the Grand Canyon. As a kid, my immigrant ancestry was very present to me, in the dueling ethnicities of my mother's and father's families (Irish/Italian); harder to come by was a true sense of being American, a longed-for connection with, say, the folk songs ("Polly Wolly Doodle," "Bluetail Fly") in my elementary school textbook. Greil Marcus showed me the way to that connection; Robert Johnson makes the dark end of the way visceral. "Lyric" was written mindful of that same sense of the body's tragic limitations and the same root-deep connection to the U.S. soil.


Poem: "How can we know the journey from the path?"
Song: Bob Dylan, "Subterranean Homesick Blues"

For a while, the British poet Roddy Lumsden enjoyed setting up poetry readings that centered on a single iconic song. When he came to New York in 2009, he invited a bunch of local poets to write poems based on lines in "Subterranean Homesick Blues." He assigned me the lines "Keep a clean nose / Watch the plain clothes," which happen just before the celebrated "You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows." Like the song, my poem questions the intentions of "institutions of power" and looks for a place of freedom (of body, of imagination) in a death-ridden culture. The poem was composed while I was listening to the song.

Poem: "Amy Winehouse"
Song: Amy Winehouse, "Rehab"

Poem: Donna Summer
Song: Donna Summer, "I Feel Love"

The Do-Over includes five elegies for famous people who died while the book was being written. "Amy Winehouse" and "Donna Summer" bookend the sequence. Fittingly, the "Amy Winehouse" poem focuses on the formality of her persona and of her craving for escape via substance abuse, so "Rehab" is the appropriate soundtrack. The "Donna Summer" poem is more celebratory, although her death was also untimely, and "I Feel Love," her groundbreaking collaboration with Giorgio Moroder (the first time Brian Eno heard it he said "I have heard the sound of the future"), is called out in several lines of the poem, including the first: "Discourse that night concerned the warm-blooded love we felt."


Poem: "Three True Stories"
Song: Madonna, "Give Me All Your Luvin'"

"Three True Stories" is exactly that, actual things that actually happened to me and other actual people. The third true story happened in the aftermath of the 2012 Superbowl. Madonna put on the halftime show, with the help of a bunch of guest superstars, including a medley of her hits and the premiere of her new offering, "Give Me All Your Luvin'." As many unlikely things tend to do in our house, this song led to an existential dinnertime conversation. You wouldn't think that we could wring death out of this supremely lightweight pop song (and selfie-paean to the life force personified, Madonna) but we did, with my teenage daughter getting the last, knell-like word.


Poem: "What is Death"
Song: John Lennon, "Imagine"

The Do-Over follows the process of A.'s dying and its aftermath; "What is Death" is the poem where the story of her death is told, where she, as a living person, leaves the book. It's a long poem, with many repeated lines and images, one of which is "Above us only sky," from "Imagine." John Lennon was cremated in Hartsdale, NY, where A. lived and died. The first occurrence of the line informs readers of that fact and expresses shocked outrage about the impossibility of life after death:

John Lennon was cremated there.
What??!! Above us only sky?

After that, the line recurs, as the speaker (me) tries and rejects various ways of understanding what happens when someone you love is, abruptly, no more.

Above us only sky.
We don't have the tools, yet, to prove

much of anything. I believe in cosmic energy, spirit
heading to reunite with the source while our

bodies burn to ash or decompose. She would say:
Enjoy life on earth because this is all there is


Story: "After"
Song: Prince, "Kiss"

I knew that I'd have to grapple with the afterlife in this book about death, but for a long time I couldn't figure out how. My dilemma was that I wanted to make the extremely nebulous possibility of an afterlife feel real in the world of the book, something that didn't seem to happen with my attempts at poems on the subject, which no matter how I tried felt tentative and speculative. What finally emerged was the short story "After," where a somewhat clueless woman visits her dead ancestors at night (through the portal of her boyfriend's bathroom mirror) while she struggles with career woes by day. Though she ultimately ends up losing everything, for a while her relationship is happy enough, and "Kiss" serves as the couple's seduction song.

Poem: "The Arrival of Spring"
Music: Mozart, String Quartet No. 14 in G major, K. 387 "Spring" - I. Allegro vivace assai

After death, we hope for rebirth, and as survivors we usually find some metaphorical way to achieve it. In the last section of my book, after A.'s death, I include poems about how we grope our way toward those moments of grace. Spring is a rebirth available to everyone, every year. This poem was inspired by my favorite painting, Botticelli's Primavera. It depicts the moment at which spring blooms, with Venus presiding over all in the center, the Three Graces dancing on her right, Mercury stirring up the clouds with a wooden rod to let the sun shine through, Zephyr and Chloris enacting the allegory of winter-into-spring, blindfolded Cupid hovering. I always think it looks like a charming 15th-century cocktail party with the guests in classical costume. The poem ends:

Below the canopy,

all is explained,
everything's
explainable
and explained.

This pleasant and necessary delusion happens to all of us occasionally and is perhaps most pleasant and necessary after a great loss. Mozart seems the obvious choice for a soundtrack.


Kathleen Ossip and The Do-Over links:

the author's website

Brooklyn Rail review
New York Times review
NPR Books review
Publishers Weekly review
The Rumpus review
Slate review

Huffington Post interview with the author
Tin House 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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - May 28, 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.


Melody

Melody
by Sylvie Rancourt

In autobiographical comics that have never before been translated into English, alter ego Melody and her boyfriend Nick move to Montreal from Northern Quebec, where she begins working as an exotic dancer. Despite the challenges, nothing is too much to handle for the cheerful, indomitable heroine.


Strange Plants II

Strange Plants II

Featuring the work of thirty artists, Strange Plants II picks up where the first collection left off, exploring the place of plants in contemporary art. Whether it's how plants are incorporated into their art or how vegetation makes them feel, each artist's approach is unique, and accompanied by an explanatory interview.


The Oaf

The Oaf
by Nick Maandag

What happens when you're sharing a disgusting apartment with a mismatched roommate, and unemployment makes leaving impossible? Do you take a stand or make do? In this comic, the decision isn't always easy.


Breakneck

Breakneck
by Nelly Arcan

A new English translation of famed Quebec writer Nelly Arcan, Breakneck tells the story of Rose and Julie, two women whose competitive relationship and feelings for the same man create an arms race of artificial beauty and debasement, and show the tenuous power of stereotypical femininity.


River Music

River Music
by Mary Soderstrom

In a sweeping work of historical fiction, pianist Gloria Murray put nothing ahead of her musical career. But the secrets of her past collide with the life she's made for herself, thirty years after she studied piano in post-WWII France.


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

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)

Shorties (Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro on Genre Fiction, Wilco Albums Ranked, and more)

Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro discussed genre fiction at BBC Radio 4.


Diffuser ranked Wilco albums.


Paste interviewed cartoonist Nate Powell.


Pitchfork interviewed Destroyer frontman Dan Bejar.


Bookworm interviewed author Valeria Luiselli.


Paste profiled the band The Milk Carton Kids.


Biographile interviewed Deborah Lutz about her new book The Bronte Cabinet.


Stereogum interviewed Christopher Owens about releasing his surprise new album Chrissybaby.


The Masters Review Blog interviewed author Daniel Orozco.


The A.V. Club shared a playlist of essential Wire songs.


Author Anna North recommended books and films about famous female artists at Flavorwire.


Drowned in Sound interviewed singer-songwriter Roisin Murphy.


BuzzFeed recommended new books to read this summer.


Paste listed songs based on real life crimes.


Huffington Post listed innovative writers who are shaking up the book world.


Hype Machine is streaming the new Trails and Ways album, Pathology.


The Grio recommended books by black authors for summer reading.


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 (The Barn Mice, Mountain Lakes, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Barn Mice: The Barn Mice album [mp3]

Burzinski: Paralyzed EP [mp3]

Fleece: Fleece EP [mp3]

Good Lovelies: Burn the Plan EP [mp3]

Mountain Lakes: Eyesore EP [mp3]

Plastic Sky: Meet Plastic Sky EP [mp3]

Slaraffenland: Slow Waves album [mp3]

Twin Brother: Swallow the Anchor album [mp3]

Zach Vinson: "You Can Have Me" [mp3] from How We Spend Our Days EP


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Follakzoid: 2015-05-23, 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)

May 27, 2015

Book Notes - Gallagher Lawson "The Paper Man"

The Paper Man

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.

Gallagher Lawson's startlingly original novel The Paper Man is a fantastic debut in every sense, a bold exploration of identity and art.

Ploughshares wrote of the book:

"Lawson's dark vision proves both intriguing and disturbing, partially summed up when one character says to another, 'Creativity is nothing more than transferring emotions, mostly anxiety and fear, to the outside world.' But, of course, ultimately it is more than that. This is an unusual story about art's costs and its capacity for exploitation, political influence, and profound change–and for its ability, finally, to humanize."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Gallagher Lawson's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel The Paper Man:


1) Allegretto from Shostakovich's Piano Trio No.2

A perfect overture for The Paper Man. It might even encapsulate the entire book. This fourth movement of Shostakovich's trio begins with a funny little motif that is played upon throughout the piece by the various instruments. Sometimes the strings are working together and the piano accompanies; other times they are competing to be the melody. Sometimes the motifs repeat so many times it feels like it's being drilled into our heads, but after awhile, similar to when you repeat a word so many times that it loses its meaning and it feels like a foreign word, this piece will disorient you by the end with its glassy strings. Thematically, the novel looks at identity, and all of the characters, along with the setting of the city by the sea, are undergoing a kind of identity crisis, trying on each other's voices and styles, and then struggling to stand out. The same occurs in this fantastic, final movement of the trio.

2) "The Visitors" by Gino Soccio

There's a scene in Fellini's La città delle donne where Marcello is trying to make it back to the train station. On the way he is picked up by a teenage girl and her friends in a convertible, where they proceed to blast this song by Gino Soccio while waiting at the end of a tarmac. When a plane appears to be landing, one of the girls withdraws a pistol from her purse and prepares to shoot it down.

I imagine Michael hearing this song playing when he arrives in the city by the sea, and everything looks so strange to him, like visitors from another planet, but really Michael is the visitor, the outsider, who especially stands out because his body is made of paper.

3) "Anti Anti" by Bonaparte

Bonaparte's "Anti Anti" is a perfect anthem song for those living in the city by the sea who are resisting the sudden interest that the northern continent has taken in their home. They know that the north plans to take away their livelihood and increase the cost of living and understand their power over their home, because, as Bonaparte says, "They drive a limousine, but we ride a bike; they own the factory, but we're on strike. Anti anti!"

4) "Masin" by Ya Tosiba

Ominous synth strings are a favorite sound of mine. Add some Scandinavian Skweee blips and beats, and I'm hooked. This song by Ya Tosiba illustrates the atmosphere of the city along the coast of a peninsula. The lyrics use old texts from Azeri language, and loosely are about the sudden increase of vehicles on the streets. In the novel, art is the suddenly increasing object, sometimes as a form of protest, sometimes as a thing of beauty in a weary world, and sometimes as a thing of power and danger.

5) "Andy Warhol" by Stereo Total

Stereo Total is one of my favorite bands because of their blend of styles and languages. They sing in so many languages about so many things that they are like musical chameleons. This song seemed especially fitting for the novel, as it's about an artist, and it's not in English. The chorus, simply the artist's name repeated, uses such bittersweet chords. It reminds me of Doppelmann, the artist of the novel, whose reputation ultimately supersedes himself.

6) "Udi Baba" by Asha Bhosle

This song is incredible. It reminds me of the decadence of Mischa, the woman from Michael's past while living inland. Michael is surprised to see her all grown up, and her fascination with his unusual body. A celebration of life, of beauty, of the self before others, this song has the character of Mischa pegged perfectly.

7) "The Way I Feel Inside" by The Zombies

Michael's mixed feelings for everyone in the city deserve a simple, unadorned song like this androgynous-sounding one from The Zombies. Michael confuses kindness from Maiko, the unemployed fur model, as love; he confuses the past with Mischa as love; and the help from the artistic hands of Doppelmann as love. And yet Michael knows not one of them can love a man with a paper body, so he keeps his feelings to himself.

8) "Russian Dance" by Tom Waits

In the middle of the novel, Michael is forced to work in the display window of a department store, where he dances with mannequins and reenacts scene from radio plays. This song by Tom Waits is a good example of the kind of slightly dissonant, crackly songs that played through the speakers outside the display window while Michael stomped on the floorboards with the stiff mannequins.

9) "Che" by Suicide

As Michael searches for his own identity, he decides to imitate the artist Doppelmann. Things begin to get carried away, and he finds himself trapped in a web of lies and paper masks. The lines "The whole world lied / They said he was a saint / But I know he ain't," nicely describes Michael at this stage in his journey.

10) "We Share Our Mother's Health" by The Knife

The opening line "We came down from the north," fits the atmosphere of the book. But in general, the aesthetics of the band The Knife have influenced me for a long time. The music video for this song haunted me for a long time after seeing it, especially the animation by the artist Motomichi Nakamura.

In this song, in the middle they alter Karin's voice to sound more masculine as she sings: "Say you like it, say you need it when you don't." This masochistic command reminds me of Michael's treatment of himself and his body, and how he thinks he deserves the treatment he gets as an outsider.

I also love when songs can layer over earlier sections. The opening verses of this song are layered over the middle refrain, and you suddenly have voices competing, then complementing each other. Similar to the Shostakovich piece, there's a lot of tension and anxiety from songs that have voices straining against each other, just as the characters in the novel do the same with each other.

11) Waltz from Masquerade by Khachaturian

Without giving too much away, at the end of the book, there is a large masquerade in the city streets. What perfect way to end this playlist, then, with the stately, romantic, slightly terrifying waltz that comes from Khachaturian?


Gallagher Lawson and The Paper Man links:

the author's website

Dwarf + Giant review
Ploughshares review

Brazos Bookstore profile of the author
Electric Literature interview with the author
Los Angeles Times 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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - May 27th, 2015

In the Largehearted Word series, the staff of Brooklyn's WORD bookstore highlights several new books released this week.

WORD Bookstores are independent neighborhood bookstores in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Jersey City, New Jersey. Our primary goal is to be whatever our communities needs us to be, which currently means carrying everything from fiction to nonfiction to absurdly cute cards and stationery. In addition, we're fiends for a good event, from the classic author reading and Q&A to potlucks and a basketball league (and anything set in a bar). If a weekly dose of WORD here isn't enough for you, follow us on Twitter: @wordbookstores.


The Bloody Chamber

The Bloody Chamber
by Angela Carter

A beautifully designed reissue of Carter's story collection, introduced by avowed disciple Kelly Link.


Antigonick

Antigonick
by Sophokles (translated by Anne Carson)

Classicalist/intellectual treasure Anne Carson renders Antigone, a name she translates as "against birth" or "instead of being born".


Thirteen Days in September

Thirteen Days in September
by Lawrence Wright

Lawrence Wright analyzes the historic 1978 meeting at Camp David that led to peaceful relations between Israel and Egypt.


The Water Knife

The Water Knife
by Paolo Bacigalupi

An unfortunately timely story based on water shortages in the Southwest.


WORD Brooklyn links:

WORD website
WORD Facebook page
WORD on Instagram
WORD Tumblr
WORD Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics & graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
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)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

Shorties (Chuck Palahniuk Interviewed, An In-Studio Torres Session, and more)

Chuck Pahlaniuk talked to the New York Post and BuzzFeed about his Fight Club 2 comic book series and new short story collection Make Something Up.


Singer-songwriter Torres (aka Mackenzie Scott) visited Studio 360 for an interview and live performance.


The Offing interviewed author Colin Winnette.


Biographile called for a biography of author Kent Haruf.


PopMatters profiled musician Colleen Green.


Tin House interviewed author Luke Goebel.


Guernica features Kelly Link's introduction to Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories: 75th-Anniversary Edition.


LA Music Blog shared a playlist of songs by actors who rock.


Biographile recommended biographical books about New York's arts and music scenes.


NPR Music is streaming Daughn Gibson's new album Carnation.


The Penny Dreadful Novella Prize is a new award for English language fiction between 15,000 and 35,000 words.


iTunes is streaming Jamie xx's solo debut album In Colour.


Bustle recommended books to read if you enjoyed Leslie Jamison's essay collection The Empathy Exams.


The New Yorker on why we need more female rock critics.


The Montreal Gazette profiled Drawn and Quarterly's new publisher, Peggy Burns.


A new Beach House album is coming August 28th.


Roz Chast has won the Reuben Award fr cartoonist of the year.


The Record interviewed singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones.


Author Mat Johnson shared an essay on bi-racial identity at BuzzFeed.


Vaccines frontman Justin Young talked to Paste about the band's new album English Graffiti.


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 (The Crane Wives, Mogwai, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Alex Burey: Family Stone EP Sampler single [mp3]

The Bear and the Bride: "Summertime" [mp3] from The Bear and the Bride

The Crane Wives: The Fool in Her Wedding Gown album [mp3]

Florals: "Grey" [mp3]

Forrest: "Close to Me" [mp3] from Soluna (out July 16th)

Juna: On Courage EP [mp3]

Messy Is the Bird: Chewed Up Boots album [mp3]

Skyjelly: Boston Hassle Listening Party - May 22, 2015 album [mp3]

Various Artists: Living High On The Dirty Business Of Dreams - A Wiaiwya Sampler album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Mogwai: 2011-05-15, Dallas [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)

May 26, 2015

Book Notes - Litsa Dremousis "Altitude Sickness"

Altitude Sickness

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.

Litsa Dremousis's memoir Altitude Sickness is a bold, compelling and lyrical meditation on loss.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Litsa Dremousis's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir Altitude Sickness:


Last April, my now fiance' and I were looking at engagement rings at my favorite antique jewelry store. The next morning, I received an email from my now publisher, Future Tense Books, asking me if I'd like to commemorate their 20th anniversary by launching their first-ever ebook line.

That was a good 24 hours.

They asked if I had a long essay or memoir idea. I replied I did and laid out Altitude Sickness, replete with its title. Within half an hour, we had our book set. Now I just needed to write it.

I'd been taking notes on Altitude Sickness for two years, unsure of what I was going to do with it. In 2009, my best friend and partner died in a mountain climbing accident when loose rock gave way and he fell 1000 feet.

He was brilliant, kind, hilarious, great in bed, and wholly irrational when it came to climbing, his all-consuming passion. Climbing was the one part of his life where logic held no sway: he always convinced himself--and sometimes, me--that the risks were less than they appeared and that most other climbers died for reasons that wouldn't or didn't apply to him.

Two and a half years after his death, when I could finally breathe without feeling my lungs were taking in shards of glass, I began researching the similarities between climbers and addicts, unaware it's a burgeoning field of neuroscience.

Altitude Sickness became part memoir, part reportage, a wry and candid look at the inanity of high altitude climbing.

Here are the songs that fueled the book:


"Mockingbirds", Grant Lee Buffalo "Devastation/ My door was left open wide..." Oh, yes.

"After the Fire", Pete Townshend (live) "After the fire/ the fire still burns/ the soul grows older/ but never ever learns/ the memories smolder/ and the heart always yearns/ After the fire/ the fire still burns..." Townshend emits a howl at the song's start that cuts to the bone. To me, this is what grief sounds like.

"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", Monty Python "Life's a piece of shit/ when you look at it/ Life's a laugh and death's a joke/ it's true/ You'll see it's all a show/ Keep ‘em laughin' as you go/ Just remember that the last laugh is on you..." Because you can't just cry when you're grieving. For me, at least, so much became so morbidly funny. I've treasured this song since high school, but it actually helped save me when the worst of the grief hit.

"Goodbye Little Dream, Goodbye", Susannah McCorkle's version of the Cole Porter classic, "For the stars have fled from the heavens/ the moon deserted the hill/ And the sultry breeze/ that sang in the trees/ is suddenly, strangely still." Exactly.

"Mexican Wine", Fountains of Wayne: Neal gave me FoW's Welcome Interstate Managers one year as part of my Christmas gift. We each loved this song and his favorite line was, "He was killed/ by a cellular phone explosion..." The kind of the thing that's notable because he's dead, but that I might not ever think about if he were alive.

"Good Morning, Heartache" Billie Holiday: Holiday's rendition yanks my soul through my skin. Such genius; such epic pain. When you're convinced hell is the start of yet another day.

"Nothing Compares 2 U" (live), Prince w/ Rosie Gaines: "Since you've been gone/ I can do whatever I want..." I didn't know until he died I'd miss even things about him that drove me nuts when he was alive. The world becomes unknowable when you'd drown a bag of kittens just to hear him explain one more time that "‘Fred Clause' "wasn't that bad of a film".

"Wendell Gee", R.E.M.: "There wasn't even time to say/ goodbye to Wendell Gee/ So whistle as the wind blows...and if the wind were colors/ and if the air could speak..." For 31 years, Michael Stipe has broken and mended my heart again and again. There wasn't time to say goodbye to Neal and I didn't know when we hung up on Saturday night he'd be dead by Tuesday morning. I remember our last conversation, and for a long time, I wished I had a recording. It's embossed in my cells, though. That works.

"No More Drama", Mary J. Blige: This shows how grief demolishes reality. In my all-encompassing post-death shock, thoughts and feelings and rationale became dislocated. As I dimly recall, I needed to believe I'd feel better eventually, that this horrific pain would eventually fade. As Mary sings, "I don't ever want to hurt again." Hey, past self: good luck.

"Fire and Rain", James Taylor: Pretty self-explanatory. If your best friend and partner dies and you don't play this song near all the goddamned time, you are a communist bad person and/or genocidal maniac.


Litsa Dremousis and Altitude Sickness links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Killing the Breeze review

CityArts interview with the author
Hobart interview with the author
Radio New Zealand interview with the author
The Stranger 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)

Google
  Web largeheartedboy.com   


1 | older