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June 29, 2015

Book Notes - Wendy C. Ortiz "Hollywood Notebook"

Hollywood Notebook

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.

Wendy C. Ortiz's Hollywood Notebook is a brilliant memoir composed of striking prose poems.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Wendy C. Ortiz's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Hollywood Notebook:


During the initial writing of Hollywood Notebook I was influenced by the music I heard in friends’ and lovers’ cars, apartments, dj booths. This mix reflects some of those influences, sounds I integrated and made mine. This is one interior soundtrack to that time period.

"Junk Barge" – Sally Timms
This song was a refrain many days during the writing of Hollywood Notebook and after. And I don't know where I'm going to is still a constant refrain, in just this melody.

"How to Disappear Completely" – Radiohead
A friend introduced me to Kid A while on a drive to Ventura and back, when he let the CD loop and loop. It lodged in me. In my apartment, it had a completely different meaning than on a coastal highway. This song in particular was the one I related to most. Wanting to sing this to the character "Sh." but singing it to myself on hikes, sweat and tears. Wanting to erase an entire relationship because of the pain. I had never experienced that desire before, or since.

"Tightly" – Neko Case
S. introduced me to Neko Case. The first time I saw her, in a small venue in Hollywood, I couldn't stop the tears from rolling. Uncontrollable. Her voice unlatched something in me that reminded me of the music my grandmother listened to on AM radio when I was a child. The word covet repeated through the song felt prescient, deeply honest. Still does.

"Rowboat" – Johnny Cash
A friend I traded mix tapes with for years put this on a tape, since lost, that I still want to reconstruct. Though I first heard this song when I lived in Olympia, it followed me to Los Angeles. So many days and nights spent with a joint and a beer, a boyfriend with a country bent, these words an undercurrent in my life. This song is a poem I've memorized.

"Enjoy" – Bjork
My apartment, with its tiny built-in vanity, my sequins bustier showcased on the surface, a single drawer full of my collection of porn, vibrators, wrist restraints, matches, weed if I had it, a pack of cigarettes. I wanted to move through my life with this beat underneath. The lyrics seared me with the truths I felt I was living.

"Cars" – Gary Numan
Killradio, the internet station where my boyfriend DJ'd. Hearing this, one of my favorite new wave songs since I was a kid, reverberating in the dank dark little space with its window facing the street full of traffic at all hours, a cold beer in my hand, was heaven. (The song still has some power over me.)

"Physical (You're So)" – Adam Ant
I'd never heard this Adam Ant song until Sh. shared it with me. Then I probably over-listened to it. And still do. Anyone I've ever shared it with hates it. Makes it even more sexy to me.

"Warm Leatherette" – The Normal
One of the reasons I love Jumbo's Clown Room so much is because the women who work there choose songs like this to dance to. I admire anyone who even attempts to dance to this. I admired one dancer who did more than justice to this.

"You Got Lucky" – Tom Petty
Frank n' Hank. Sunlight streaming in from the doorway. Belly up to the bar. Feeding singles into the jukebox. One afternoon, he maybe had surpassed me one or two drinks and played this. When he returned to his stool next to mine and the song started I probably frowned at his selection. He didn't slur when he sang it to me. His voice was always too loud. He emoted when he sang anything. I always think of him when I hear this and remember that someone felt this way about me, wanted me to know it. And I still wince.

"Hurt" – Nine Inch Nails
I saw Nine Inch Nails play this live and sang along with thousands of others on a field in the best kind of choir I can imagine. When I think of the hole I was in for a spell, the suicidal ideation making me spin out on that fourth floor, unknown to anyone but me, I remember this song as one of my lullabies.


Wendy C. Ortiz and Hollywood Notebook links:

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

Bustle review
Entropy review
The Rumpus review
Yay! LA review

Bustle interview with the author
Electric Literature interview with the author
Forth interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Excavation
Lunch Ticket interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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June 29, 2015

Book Notes - Jonathan Papernick "The Book of Stone"

The Book of Stone

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.

Jonathan Papernick's novel The Book of Stone is a smart and engrossing literary thriller.

Library Journal wrote of the book:

"This intelligent and timely thriller is told through a Jewish prism, but ­Papernick's persuasive insights into the nature of fanaticism and its destructive consequences could be applied to any ideology."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Jonathan Papernick's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Book of Stone:


My new novel The Book of Stone deeply explores loss and faith and belonging after twenty-five-year-old Matthew Stone's father, a legendary Zionist and controversial judge dies. This is a dark novel about redemption, the heavy burden of the past and the lure of terrorism as an equalizer. The novel is set in pre-9/11 Brooklyn and my grieving, troubled narrator is desperately in search of some sort of direction to make his life meaningful. I often listen to music before writing, and sometimes while I write, though this novel took me so long I really can't remember any of the influential music I listened to. I tried to piece together a playlist as if my novel, which is quite cinematic, were to be made into a film. These sixteen songs I believe encapsulate some of the moods and tones of this complex and disturbing novel.

"Let Me On Out," by The Raveonettes
The novel opens with Matthew Stone the narrator, on the roof of his Brooklyn apartment house considering jumping to his death. His father has just died and Matthew is full of regret because he was always a disappointment to his father. From Matthew's vantage point in Fort Greene much of Brooklyn and the entire Manhattan skyline is visible as he ponders his life and whether to continue on. This song is a slow, melancholy wall of distortion which echoes Matthew's confusion. It is a moody song that perfectly captures Matthew's tortured psyche.

"It's Catching Up," by Nomeansno
In an early chapter of the novel, Matthew Stone is approached by an FBI agent at a Brooklyn bar asking questions about his father, a controversial judge who just died. Matthew has been estranged from his father his entire life and feels terrible guilt that he was somehow responsible for his father's undoing. He is well aware that answering any of the FBI agent's questions would be tantamount to betraying his father once again, so he runs out of the bar believing he is being pursued. What I like about this song is not just the literal aspect of the FBI agent catching up, but also about Matthew's father's past catching up with Matthew. The song is aggressive and full of jazzy hard-core chaos which reflects his confusion as he jumps drunk into his father's car to flee the FBI agent. He is so disturbed and disoriented that he believes he sees his father's disapproving face in the rearview mirror of the car. I love the lyric "give me asylum, let me in," which works really nicely as he ultimately ends up passing out in front of his father's now empty apartment.

"Phosphene Dream," by The Black Angels
This is the perfect trippy mind-fuck of a song that comes as close as I can imagine to capturing Matthew, pinned to his mattress, out of his mind on his dead father's leftover morphine. In his mind he slides back into the past, a time before his mother ran out on the family, and now she has returned, but Matthew cannot distinguish the past from the present and the ominous voice of the Black Angels' singer chanting monotonously "Oh the phosphene dream, the phosphene dream," is nightmarish in its insistence against the backdrop of disembodied screams and juddering guitars. I recently had a well-known book reviewer and critic ask me if I still take drugs, and I see that as a huge compliment despite the fact that he should know better than to ask that of a fiction writer. I have never taken serious drugs and I probably could not have written this scene without this song which, when listened to in headphones in the dark really is quite terrifying and disorienting.

"In My Room," by The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys voices are almost angelic in this song as Matthew shuts out the harshness of Brooklyn outside his window for three days straight as he immerses himself in his father's books. This is the first time since the death of his father that he feels he can understand his father, this powerful, influential man who he disappointed. He feels he can see a path forward to redeem his father and himself. A certain clarity comes during these marathon reading sessions and the accompaniment of this song suggests something resembling peace of mind.

"Im Telech (If You Go,)" by The Idan Raichal Project
I like this song because of its tenderness and fragility and the fact that it is sung in Hebrew. This is the first time the reader learns that Matthew had an Arab girlfriend while living in Jerusalem and that his father disapproved of her and tells him he has no choice but to leave her. Matthew loves her deeply and resists, but the reader can see his will breaking down. I like the idea of his girlfriend Fairuza, an Arab, but not a Muslim, but rather a Christian, singing to Matthew about what will happen if he goes.

"Big Shot," by Dr. John
Matthew believes he finally has the opportunity to begin to redeem himself in his father's eyes because he holds important information that his father must be his former best friend holds. This song is sassy and upbeat, and though is out of step with Matthew's mood, it does hint at a certain possibility for lightness, to unburden himself and if not dance, at least start to move in the right direction towards normalizing his messed up life. Doctor John's voice is perfectly filthy and untrustworthy and I think that matches nicely with the deceitful Rabbi Seligman.

"Kol Nidre," by Neil Diamond
I wanted to include a song that encapsulates the awesomeness of the Jewish High Holidays and I find Kol Nidre to be really haunting and beautiful and terrifying. I find absolutely nothing terrifying about Neil Diamond except perhaps his wardrobe.

"The Only One," by The Black Keys
Matthew is smitten. Dan Auerbach's falsetto smites me. Every. Time.

"Hava Nagila," by Dick Dale
Jewy but totally rad. Dick Dale can get a corpse's heart pounding with adrenaline. If this was a movie, this would be the obligatory montage scene.

"Stay Don't Go," by Spoon
This song is sex. Or at least desire. That kind of desire that never ends well. We've all been there. It's a helpless feeling but we press on because we are so full of wants.

"I Wanna Destroy You," by The Soft Boys
Jealous much?

"Song of the Palmach"
A rousing Zionist march that never fails to make me stand up straight.

"There's a War Going on," The Brian Jonestown Massacre
This song so obviously cribs from "House of the Rising" by the Animals but is full of feedback and fuzz and chaos and confusion and it does a wonderful job at illustrating how Matthew's confused mind might look as he needs a group of Jewish extremists bent on setting up a terrorist attack against Arab dignitaries in Brooklyn. The song is heavy and intense and threatens to blow out the speakers – it sounds like it was recorded at 11. It is hard to think clearly while listening to this song, but you feel the heaviness of the song rattling your bones. It is stirring at the same time I can imagine Matthew's heartbeat speeding up as he understands it is his obligation to join this group and help carry through what he believes to be his father's final wishes.

"It Is Not Meant to Be," by Tame Impala
It's no fun to be on the outside looking in. This song still offers hope with its up tempo beat and Matthew Stone is determined to do whatever is necessary to join the group of radicals bent on destruction.

"Reach for the Sky," (live and acoustic) by Social Distortion
My heart is bursting just hearing Mike Ness's voice. I love this song so much; it is sentimental, and aspirational and sad and says everything about Matthew Stone's failed attempts to make good. And, "tomorrow may never come."

"Get Out Get Out Get Out," Jason Molina
The ultimate song of regret. "I live low enough so the moon won't waste its light on me," says it all. Jason Molina's voice is haunting, chilling and it is clear now that Matthew has lost every chance to get out of the mess in which he finds himself immersed. Molina's voice is so full of pain, his voice breaking as we understand that life as we know it is over.


Jonathan Papernick and The Book of Stone links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Jweekly review
Shelf Awareness review
The Times of Israel review

About.com interview with the author
CarolineLeavittville interview with the author
Dead Dearlings interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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Shorties (The Original Alice in Wonderland Manuscript, Soccer's Influence on the Clash's London Calling Album, and more)

The New York Times shared pages from the original manuscript of Alice in Wonderland.


EightByEight examined how soccer influenced the Clash's London Calling album.


The Rumpus interviewed author Christine Sneed.


NPR Music is streaming the new Matt Pond PA album The State of Gold.


The Rumpus interviewed author Austin Bunn.


NPR Music is streaming Neil Young's new album The Monsanto Years.


Quartz recommended Latin American authors to read this summer.


NPR Music is streaming Joy Williams (of the Civil Wars) solo album Venus.


The Globe and Mail and Omnivoracious interviewed Jami Attenberg about her new novel Saint Maizie.


The Smart Set explored unlikely places the Confederate flag pops up in popular music.


The Los Angeles Times listed classic works of gay literature.


NPR Music and The A.V. Club listed the top albums of 2015 so far.


Author Karen Joy Fowler listed her favorite books about "almost magical" women at The Week.


Flavorwire listed the best movie theme songs.


The Rumpus interviewed Sarah Hepola about her memoir Blackout.


Paste listed the 10 most disappointing follow-up albums.


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)


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Daily Downloads (Jenn Grant, Woods, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Guthrie: "Calgary" [mp3]

Jenn Grant: Free EP for Good People EP [mp3]

Jillian Kay: Dead Flowers album [mp3]

Leena Culhane: The Reckoning EP [mp3]

Lesser Strays: <em>Funeral Tropicana album [mp3]

The Silent War: "Same As You" [mp3]

Various Artists: Escape To The Lake 22-Track Sampler (2015) album [mp3]

Various Artists: German Gothic Isn't Dead compilation album [mp3]

Various Artists: Revolution - The Shoegaze Revival album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Woods: 2015-06-15, 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


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June 28, 2015

Largehearted Boy Weekly Wrap-Up - June 28, 2015

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


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

Ben Tanzer for his short fiction collection The New York Stories
Christian McEwen for her book Sparks from the Anvil: The Smith College Poetry Interviews
Ethan Nichtern for his book The Road Home
Jonathan Galassi for his novel Muse
Laura Dave for her novel Eight Hundred Grapes


Weekly New Book Recommendations:

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


New Music Recommendations:

The Week's Interesting Music Releases


And of course, the daily music and news posts:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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


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June 26, 2015

Book Notes - Laura Dave "Eight Hundred Grapes"

Eight Hundred Grapes

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.

Laura Dave's Eight Hundred Grapes is a compelling novel of relationships, family, and love.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"A charming summer read with depth."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Laura Dave's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Eight Hundred Grapes:


My new novel Eight Hundred Grapes focuses on love, marriage, family, wine, and the treacherous terrain in which they all intersect. Georgia Ford is having a pretty terrible week. Eight days before her wedding, she discovers her fiancé has a child he never told her about. Seeking perspective, she heads home to her family's vineyard in Sonoma County only to discover that her romantic woes are the least of her problems. Her siblings are at war, her parents are separated, and her father is selling the beloved family vineyard to a massive winemaking corporation. As the Ford family sucks her into their struggles, Georgia wrestles with longheld beliefs about what matters most to her, what she's willing to let go, and what she never really did.

I always listen to music while I write. Several of these songs I listened to while working on Eight Hundred Grapes. All of them, in surprising and eloquent ways, speak to feelings of longing and love, of forgiveness, and of finding a place you belong.

"When I Drink" – The Avett Brothers

My love affair with the Avett Brothers is long and true. This song from The Gleam belongs on a jukebox at a tavern at closing time. Eight Hundred Grapes opens at The Brothers' Tavern at closing time, so this feels like an ideal open for this playlist. It's groovy and slow-moving and it takes you a place where you're singing along before you even know the words.

"Start A War" – The National


Georgia arrives home to Sebastopol, the way many of us arrive home, seeking comfort. Instead, she finds mayhem: Parents splitting, family home being sold off for the parts. Georgia dives in, trying to fix her family's problems. This goes about as well as you would expect when anyone tries to force their family to face dirty truths they'd rather run from. The National provides the lyrics to match.

"Better Days" – Bruce Springsteen


There is something about going home again that reminds us how we often feel like we don't have a home anymore. Georgia bumps up against this truth early and hard, lying on the twin bed in her bedroom, staring at the teenage posters on her ceiling. If it had been my ceiling, Bruce Springsteen would have been front and center. I still adore "Better Days," an uncharacteristically hopeful number about finding the person (and place) who takes you somewhere pure.

"Girl From North County" – Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan

Something I love about spending time in Sonoma County is that it feels a little country: there are winding hills, apple orchards, vineyards as long as far as you can see. The Cash and Dylan version of this song is a perfect accompaniment to those back roads. It's happy and sad at once. And it feels like they're singing directly to you. Which is pretty much the greatest thing there is.

"Sweet Thing" – Van Morrison

Georgia is unhappy that her father is selling the family vineyard. Even though she left home years ago, the vineyard is still the place she associates with happiness, with work that has been earned. I spent a good amount of time thinking about the Ford family vineyard, while Sweet Thing was in the background, helping me figure out where Georgia was going.

"Shooting Star" – Bob Dylan

There is a theme here of boozy, late-night tunes. And that's how I think of this song. It works any time of day, but it feels like it should be reserved for moonlight, midnight, driving home with no one on the road. I'm writing the screenplay for Eight Hundred Grapes and Bob Dylan's songs play a funny role in the harvest—this one especially.

"So Much Water" – M. Ward

The song feels like a soundtrack to a party, at least a party I'd want to go to—like the harvest party, which turns the Ford Family on their head. I like the surprising speed of the song and how it turns on its own head: revealing itself to be the opposite of the cheerful ditty it's almost mascaraing as the first time through.

"What's Been Going On" – Amos Lee

Strumming and low, this song is a stunner. Every time I listen, I get lost in it. And, many nights, the Fords pick grapes in the vineyard. I like to think that Amos Lee is playing in the background, slow like this, while they get a little lost themselves.


Laura Dave and Eight Hundred Grapes links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

CarolineLeavittville interview with the author
City Lights interview with the author
CT Style interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The First Husband
SheaKnows 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)

Book Notes - Christian McEwen "Sparks from the Anvil: The Smith College Poetry Interviews"

Sparks from the Anvil: The Smith College Poetry Interviews

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.

Sparks from the Anvil: The Smith College Poetry Interviews is an inspiring collection of thoughtful interviews with sixteen poets, including Maxine Kumin, W.S. Merwin, and Rita Dove.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Christian McEwen's Book Notes music playlist for her book Sparks from the Anvil: The Smith College Poetry Interviews:


1. Sarah Bauhan: My publisher, Sarah Bauhan, plays both the whistle and the flute, and I would like to begin with a track from her CD, Lathrop's Waltz. The piece itself is called "Calum's Road" and was written by Donald Shaw. It's about a man called Calum MacLeod, who lived on the Isle of Raasay in the Hebrides. When the County Council refused to build a road to his house, Calum built it himself, though it took him a full ten years.

Clearly there are some parallels here with what it means to write -- or indeed, to publish -- any substantial piece of work. It can be a long hard road...

This piece also pays tribute to Annie Boutelle, who founded the Smith College Poetry Center, and who herself grew up in Oban, on the west coast of Scotland. Her interview is the first one in my book.

2.The second piece I'd like to play is from a CD called Wings & Shadows, in which Steve Gorn plays the bamboo flute and the clarinet. I'm especially drawn to a short piece called "Invisible World," which reminds me obliquely, of the poet, Jean Valentine. Last fall, Jean and I spent some time together at the Rubin Museum in New York City. It was a chilly November afternoon, with the rain pelting down. We sat and talked over tea for a couple of hours, and then made our way to the shrine-room, where we sat in silence, looking at the big gold Buddha. "Invisible World" reminds me of that day, and of Jean's poems, which so often draw on worlds beyond our own.

3. The next piece I'd like to play is from a CD called Chant, sung by the Benedictine monks of Santo Domingo of Silos. Its title, in Latin, is "Media vita in morte sumus," which is to say, "In the midst of life we are in death," and I associate it with the poet and translator, Patrick Donnelly, who himself lives with AIDS, and who has written so beautifully about his mother's death, and the deaths of so many of his friends. It is perhaps not accidental that Patrick intended at one point to be a priest, and at another, to be an opera singer. He knows both the depths and the heights out of which the monks are singing.

4. My fourth choice is from Nina Simone's CD Baltimore: it's called "Balm in Gilead." Paul Robeson has sung this too, in his deep basso profundo, but I particularly like Nina Simone's rendition, which I associate it with the African-American poet Nikky Finney. In the course of our interview, Finney spoke to me at length about the kind of deep, attentive listening she used to practice as a child, and also about her father's magnificent jazz collection, which ranged from Nina Simone to Billie Holliday to James Brown and on to what she called "the arresting intonations of Sarah Vaughan." So, this one is for Nikky Finney.

5. My next piece is from Frank London's marvelous CD Invocations. I'd like to play the first track, "Hod:T'kias Shofar" which is a trumpet solo, "blown to signal the end of exile." When I interviewed the poet, Edward Hirsch, he spoke of how it felt to grow up as a Jewish child in the United States, "constantly othered," and how much it meant to connect with the poetry of Eastern Europe as an adult. "I'm not a Russian-Jewish poet," he told me. "I'm not a Hebrew poet. I'm an American-Jewish poet. So that means I try to be in touch with something very deep and resonant in Judaism, which has a long history, and also in touch with what it means to be American." My sense is that Frank London is doing very much the same thing here, braiding together his Jewish and American selves, "to signal the end of exile."

6. Next I would like to play an excerpt from Meredith Monk's impermanence: an astonishing piece of work which faces mortality head on, as every one of us will have to do some day. Maxine Kumin died in March 2014, just three years after we spoke together. So this one is for Maxine Kumin.

7. I would like to end with a piece by the Tibetan flute-player, Nawang Khechog. His CD is called Music as Medicine, and this is the very first track. It's called "Healing through Kindness."

Talking to these many poets, and editing their interviews, as I did over the last six years, I came to see how much healing could be found in the act of listening, in the act of conversation, and in the practice of a very simple, unpretentious kindness. So this piece is my thank you to the poets themselves, and to all of you who are listening here today.


Christian McEwen and Sparks from the Anvil: The Smith College Poetry Interviews links:

the author's website

Grecourt Gate interview with the author
Story Circle Book Reviews interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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Atomic Books Comics Preview - June 26, 2015

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

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

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


Firebrat: My Family Thrives On

Firebrat: My Family Thrives On
by Mike Diana

The controversial comics art of the infamous Mike Diana get the deluxe treatment here in this over-sized, limited edition hardcover collecting a number of his extremely graphic stories (horrific, disturbing and funny at the same time).


Robert Crumb's Sex Obsessions

Robert Crumb's Sex Obsessions
by Robert Crumb / Dian Hanson (editor)

Over the years, Crumb put a lot of his sexual fantasies down on paper. In this Taschen hardcover, he has personally selected a number of them to share with readers.


Rumble Volume 1

Rumble Volume 1
by John Arcudi / James Harren

This is one of the weirder and more entertaining comics I've read in a long time. It involves a magical rivalry between a couple of godlike beings that happens to drag a dive bar into it. It reminds me a lot of The Maxx.


Wytches Volume 1

Wytches Volume 1
by Scott Snyder / Jock

In this volume, collecting the first story arc of the dark horror series, we find the Rooks family, a family with secrets and power, moving into a secluded, wooded house to escape a trauma. The problem is, they've moved right into the heart of a waiting evil.


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


Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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


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Shorties (The Best Books of 2015 So Far, Courtney Barnett Interviewed, and more)

Amazon listed the best books of 2015 so far.

Flavorwire listed the best fiction books and nonfiction books


Singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett played DJ and was interviewed at All Songs Considered.


The Lit Up Show interviewed authors Emma Straub and Jess Walter.


Lit Hub listed great writers no on reads.


Pigeons and Planes listed the best songs of 2015 so far.


Millihelen interviewed Karolina Waclawiak about her new novel The Invaders.


Stream a new Veruca Salt song.


The Rumpus interviewed author Christy Crutchfield.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Kent Russell.


Electric Literature noted a surge in literary revisionist Westerns.


Stereogum ranked Royal Trux albums.


McSweeney's interviewed David Shields about his new book That Thing You Do with Your Mouth.


The Boston Globe interviewed Jeff Tweedy about Wilco's summer music festival.


Joyland interviewed author Anna North.


Bookworm interviewed author Aleksandar Hemon.


The Irish Times profiles St. Vincent's Annie Clark.


Author Amy Bloom talked books and reading with the Boston Globe.


Grantland and WGN Radio interviewed singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.


BOMB interviewed Joshua Cohen about his new novel Book of Numbers.


The A.V. Club shared a primer to the discography of dance music producer Giorgio Moroder.


Paste recommended autobiographies written by stand-up comics.


SPIN listed the best dance songs of 2015 so far.


Matthew Quick listed his favorite books about claiming lost ideals at The Week.


Read a new Antonya Nelson short story at The Oxford American.


Flavorwire, the Omaha World-Herald, and Piccadilly Records listed the top albums of 2015 so far.


All Things Considered interviewed author Judy Blume.


VICE shared an oral history of dubstep.


Author Elisa Gabbert discussed aphorisms at The Smart Set.


Louder Than War listed the best synthpop songs ever.


The Guardian examined the dearth of quality nonfiction books being published.


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)


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Daily Downloads (Beach Fossils, Ferdinand the Bull, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Art Thief: Accidents EP [mp3]

Desperate Journalist: "Heartbeats" [mp3]

DMA's: DMA's EP [mp3]

Embleton: An Attic Session: 05/20/2015 EP [mp3]

Ferdinand the Bull: From the Branches EP [mp3]

Nussy: The Nussy Experience EP [mp3]

The Silent War: Introducing... The Silent War EP [mp3]

Two Bars from the Gun: Thief and Love EP [mp3]

Various Artists: The PIAS America 2015 Label Sampler album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Beach Fossils: 2015-06-12, 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


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June 25, 2015

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - June 25, 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

Quebecois cult sensation Melody, Sylvie Rancourt's semi-autobiographical comic of a girl from rural Quebec who becomes an exotic dancer in Montreal, has never been translated into English--until now! With Rancourt's sweet and humorous illustrations and Melody's indomitable spirit, there's nothing our heroine can't handle, be it handsy patrons or deadbeat boyfriends.


Berlin 19

Berlin 19
by Jason Lutes

The eagerly-anticipated newest installment of Lutes' Berlin series is now out, and changes are afoot in this series that starts during the end days of the Weimar republic, leading up to the advent of WWII. A storm is brewing in the spring of 1932, a storm everyone, communists, nationalists, Jews, and Gentiles will have to weather.


If our wealth is criminal then let's live with the criminal joy of pirates

If our wealth is criminal then let's live with the criminal joy of pirates
by Jacob Wren

The newest collection from Jacob Wren (best known for his novel Polyamorous Love Song) compiles two stories and an essay, and only 100 copies were printed. Between a mole infiltrating a Left activist group, complicit postal offices, and meditation on art, emptiness, and spirituality, there's a lot to sink your teeth into in this slim volume.


The Complete Eightball

The Complete Eightball
by Daniel Clowes


For the 25th anniversary of the beloved comic, Fantagraphics is collecting every (very out of print) issue of Eightball in two beautiful hardcover volumes. Written before Clowes made a name for himself through the likes of Ghost World and The Death Ray, Eightball is considered one of the most influential titles of all time, and with the loving care this reprint has received, it's easy to see why.


HB no. 4: Erotica

HB no. 4: Erotica

A Montreal-based contemporary drawing magazine, HB has just launched its fourth issue, with Michael Deforge providing the striking cover for over sixty pages of erotic-themed art. Showcasing watercolours, comics, and everything in between, HB has outdone itself and provided a beautiful space for showcasing the best drawing has to offer.


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)


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June 24, 2015

Book Notes - Jonathan Galassi "Muse"

Muse

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.

Jonathan Galassi's debut novel is a compelling and moving insider's account of modern publishing.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"Muse—much like John Updike's early Bech books—leaves insiders with a knowing portrait of the publishing world before the digital revolution, and gives outsiders a gently satirical look at the passions and follies of a vocation peopled by 'fanatics of the cult of the printed word.'"

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Jonathan Galassi's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel Muse:


Muse is a comic novel that serves up an alternative literary history of the last fifty years through the story of two old publishing lions and their shared obsession with the greatest and most popular poet of their generation, the elusive Ida Perkins (1925-2010).

Some of Ida's most-loved poems were made into wildly popular songs by great stars of the Sixties and Seventies, (and she was married, briefly, to the iconic jazz saxophonist Trey Turnbull, self-exiled in Paris). Yet Ida’s musical taste confounded many of her coolest fans, who didn’t really know what to say about her sometimes embarrassing enthusiasms. Often, they were forced to simply look the other way.

Here are a few of the sounds that shaped (and were shaped by) Ida and her work over more than sixty years:

Frank Sinatra, "Fly Me to the Moon," “I’ve Got You Under my Skin,” and, yes, "New York, New York."
To many, Ol’ Blue Eyes’ nonchalant, smoky-voiced elegance came closest to capturing the ease and glory of Ida’s early lyrics, though others thought it was Ray Charles who spoke most deeply to Ida.

The Rake's Progress, Igor Stravinsky, lyrics by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman
Ida was there at the historic premiere of modernism’s greatest opera at La Fenice on September 11, 1951, with Stravinsky at the podium and Robert Rounseville, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, and Jennie Tourel in the cast. Her date was her admirer the great Italian poet and music critic Eugenio Montale, whose ecstatic review appeared in Milan’s Corriere d’informazione.

Doris Day, "Che Sera, Sera” (1956). Unaccountably, Ida loved to hum this saccharine medley, perhaps because its message reflected her nonchalant outlook on life.

"Since I Lost My Baby," The Temptations (1965)
Ida was a rabid Motown devotee and tried, unsuccessfully, to get Martha and the Vandellas to record “In Your Face,” though Jackie Wilson, The Four Tops, Smoky Robison, and Stevie Wonder all did covers of Ida songs over the years. For a period in the late sixties and seventies, Berry Gordy had Ida on retainer as a lyricist consultant, and it’s rumored that she wrote most of Diana Ross’s cheesy 1970 farewell-to-the-Supremes anthem, “Some Day We’ll Be Together.” Ross, for her part, had an impeccable collection of Perkins first editions, and Ida was often a guest at Diana’s house in the Swedish archipelago after she married Norwegian shipping magnate Arne Naess in 1985.

"Broken Man" (1966)
Ida's most famous song, originally recorded by Joan Baez, and performed by Carly Simon and Carole King in a duet at Woodstock. It has been recorded by more than twenty artists including Kenny Rogers, Tina Turner, Donovan, U2, and most recently Beyoncé, whose “Broken Down Man (Surfboard)” went platinum in 2016.

"The Ida Sessions" (1967)
Trey Turnbull's "smoking" interpretations of ten of Ida's best-loved lyrics, including “Marginal Discharge,” “In Your Face,” and, of course, "Broken Man,” won him a Grammy in 1968, the year they divorced.

Stephen Sondheim, "I'm Still Here" from Follies (1971)
Ida reportedly could do a very convincing rendition of this Broadway classic, and in her later years regarded it as her personal anthem.

Sting, "Every Breath You Take" (1983)
This pounding classic of sexual jealousy always brought a smile of wicked satisfaction to Ida’s face.

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
Kurt Cobain was one of Ida’s last passionate enthusiasms. The feeling was mutual, and he visited her in Venice several times before his untimely death in 1994.

Nora Jones, "Don't Know Why I Didn't Call”
Ida reportedly played Nora’s 2002 debut album, Come Away with Me, constantly in her last years as a virtual shut-in in Venice’s
Palazzo Moro.

Paolo Conte, various recordings
The ironic Conte was Ida's favorite musician during her Venetian years, though she also had a debole for the most saccharine Italian pop, starting with Gino Paoli’s “Sapore di sale” (1963).

John Adams, Barefoot Contessa (2018)
Ida, of course, never lived to hear Adams' haunting yet widely excoriated bio-opera, which premiered at Covent Garden on Ida’s birthday, November 4, 2018 with Joyce Di Donato as Ida, Yonghoon Lee as Paul, and Nadja Michael (Maxine).


Jonathan Galassi and Muse links:

the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book

Boston Globe review
Kirkus review
Miami Herald review
National Post review
New York Times review
New York Times review
Washington Post review

BookPage interview with the author
Globe and Mail interview with the author
New York Observer profile of the author
Publishers Weekly profile of the author
Studio 360 interview with the author
Tweed's interview with the author
Wall Street Journal profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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