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August 28, 2015

Book Notes - Michael Dirda "Browsings"

Browsings

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.

Michael Dirda's Browsings is a smart and compulsively readable book about reading, writing, and literature from a distinctly personal perspective.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"This joy-filled, reflective collection makes perfect bedside reading. Literate but never snobby, this collection of essays surely will entertain and enlighten book lovers of all stripes."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Michael Dirda's Book Notes music playlist for his book Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books:


Nietzsche once wrote that "without music life would be a mistake." While one can argue with the great German philosopher about many things, this isn't one of them.

When I was writing the pieces that make up Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books, I would sometimes end the day's work by putting some favorite disc in the CD player or on the turntable. I'd relax, occasionally sip a beer, and quite regularly feel sorry that I couldn't play music all day long. Why not? Because I can only write by mouthing words aloud in my head, and for that I need quiet or at least nothing more distracting than random noise.

But music, almost any music, demands to be listened to. Old rock and roll quickly sets me daydreaming about my vanished youth. Country-and-western songs make me feel so lonesome I could cry. Hip-hop hurts my ears. Classical works—apart from some 18th-century chamber pieces—tends to demand particularly close attention. That's true of much jazz, too.

I probably most enjoy listening to music on long car trips. There's nothing like, say, the soundtrack from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly to keep you awake at 2 AM on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I especially recommend the "Ecstasy of Gold" section toward the end, when composer Ennio Morricone pulls out all the stops, then adds church bells. Once upon a time in the west, I mean New York, I spent some time with Christopher Frayling, then head of the British arts council, who said that whenever he had to attend an important meeting, he'd play "Ecstasy of Gold" beforehand. Fully pumped and feeling like Clint Eastwood in a serape, he'd be ready to face any budgetary committee.

As a kid from a Slavic working-class family, I took years of accordion lessons. Start the "Beer Barrel Polka" and I'm still ready to hit the dance floor while singing along as loudly as possible. When I got to Oberlin College, I heard live classical music for the first time. George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra came to Finney Chapel to play Sibelius's Second symphony. After those thrilling crescendos in its last movement, I walked out of the concert saying to myself—to quote Ira Gershwin-- "How long has this been going on?" Soon afterwards, I persuaded a conservatory student to suggest a dozen standard masterpieces I should listen to. His list included Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, Debussy's "Afternoon of a Faun," Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" and Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde."

Over three particularly memorable evenings, while sitting in a sound-proof booth with headphones around my ears, I listened, mesmerized, to Wagner's opera. To this day, my hands will break into a sweat when I hear the Love Duet or the Liebestod, especially when sung by Kirsten Flagstad. No wonder that a century ago mothers would prevent their daughters from hearing this once controversial masterpiece. In its climax--nothing less than sexual rapture translated into music--Isolde's yearning voice rises, then falls, then rises again, competing with the orchestra, reaching impossible heights, before finally breaking into an orgasmic, soul-shaking cry of ecstasy, then slowly sighing away as the opera comes to a close.

I own hundreds of vinyl LPs—who, of my generation, could possibly resist picking up long-desired records when libraries and bookstores started selling them for a dollar or less?—and many more CDs. Just as I like real books rather than e-texts, so I prefer my music to come with sleeve notes and libretti and pictures of the artists. In music, as in books, my tastes range pretty widely: I revere pianists Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Sviatoslav Richter no more than I do saxophonists Ben Webster and Paul Desmond. And I love virtually anything sung by Ella Fitzgerald, Patsy Cline, Eva Cassidy, or Jussi Bjorling. Here's a short list of some other favorites:

Opera: Mozart's "Don Giovanni," (dir. Giulini) closely followed by "The Marriage of Figaro" (dir. Jacobs) and Wagner's "Tristan" (dir. Furtwaengler)

Musicals: Leonard Bernstein, "Candide" (dir. Bernstein); Cole Porter, "Kiss Me Kate" (original Broadway soundtrack)

Pop songs: "The Way You Look Tonight," sung by Margaret Whiting; "I Was the One," sung by Jimmie Dale Gilmore; "Cry Me a River," sung by Julie London; "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," sung by the Platters; "Maybe It was Memphis," sung by Pam Tillis; "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," sung by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel; "American Pie" sung by Don McLean.

Solo pieces: Bach, "The Goldberg Variations" (the 1981 version by Glenn Gould); also the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin (Nathan Milstein)

Classical vocals: Tallis, "Spem in Alium" (Tallis Scholars); Schubert, "Winterreise," (Ian Bostridge); Strauss, "Four Last Songs" (Elizabeth Schwarzkopf)

Chamber works: Haydn, String Quartets (Kodaly Quartet); Beethoven, String Quartets (Vegh Quartet); Schoenberg, "Verklaerte Nacht" (Hollywood String Quartet); "Elevator to the Gallows" (Miles Davis and others)

Concertos: Beethoven Fourth Piano concerto (Leon Fleischer, with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra); Bruch, Scottish Fantasy (Heifetz); many others.

Symphonic works: Berlioz, "Symphonie Fantastique"; Mendelssohn, Overture of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; many others.

Classic rock: "Shout," (Dion and the Belmonts); "Louie, Louie," (The Kingsmen), "Satisfaction," (The Rolling Stones), "Stairway to Heaven" (Led Zeppelin).

Okay. That's enough writing for today. In fact, I do believe it's time for that beer and, let's see, should it be one of the Mozart piano sonatas, played by Mitsuko Uchida, "Deep River Blues," by Lou and Jim, or some early Diana Krall? No, none of them today. Given the season and the year, I think it's just the right time to listen to Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer of 1915," sung by Leontyne Price.


Michael Dirda and Browsings links:

the author's Wikipedia entry

Cleveland Plain Dealer review
Kirkus review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review
Paste review
Washington Post review

Barnes and Noble Review interview with the author
Publishers Weekly 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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August 28, 2015

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - August 28, 2015

Beach House

Two of the year's finest albums are released this week, Beach House's Depression Cherry and Destroyer's Poison Season.

Frog Eyes' Pickpocket's Locket, Infinity Girl's Harm, Sea Lion's Desolate Stars, Yo La Tengo's covers album Stuff Like That There, and The Weeknd's Beauty Behind the Madness are also worth your time.

Reissues include new vinyl editions of five albums by The Jam.


This week's interesting music releases:

All Dogs: Kicking Every Day
Atlas Genius: Inanimate Objects
Beach House: Depression Cherry
Cold Showers: Matter of Choice
David Ramirez: Fables
Defeater: Abandoned
Destroyer: Poison Season
Dialect: Gowanus Drifts
Dope Body: Kunk
Faces: 1970-1975: You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything... (5-CD box set)
Fake Palms: Fake Palms
Foals: What Went Down
Frog Eyes: Pickpocket's Locket
Grandchildren: Zuni
Halsey: BADLANDS
I See Stars: Phases
I tried to run away when i was 6: Can I See You Today
Infinity Girl: Harm
The Jam: All Mod Cons (reissue) [vinyl]
The Jam: In the City (reissue) [vinyl]
The Jam: Setting Sons (reissue) [vinyl]
The Jam: Sound Affects (reissue) [vinyl]
The Jam: This Is the Modern World (reissue) [vinyl]
The Jet Age: Destroy.Rebuild
The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live At The Atlanta Pop Festival
Liam Corcoran: ROM-DROM
Mastodon: The Hunter [vinyl]
Mike Krol: Turkey
Motorhead: Bad Magic
Nile: What Should Not Be Unearthed
Pixx: Fall In
Rayland Baxter: Feathers and Fishhooks
Rob Moir: Adventure Handbook
Sea Lion: Desolate Stars
Silicon: Personal Computer
Steep Canyon Rangers: Radio
Stolen Jars: Kept
Sun Kil Moon: Universal Themes [vinyl]
Tamaryn: Cranekiss
Tijuana Panthers: Poster
Van Morrison: The Essential Van Morrison
Various Artists: The End of the Tour (soundtrack)
Various Artists: Our Generation: 75 Mod Classics: A Way of Life
The Weeknd: Beauty Behind the Madness
Willis Earl Beal: Noctunes
Yo La Tengo: Stuff Like That There


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)


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Atomic Books Comics Preview - August 28, 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.


Big Pussy

Big Pussy
by Gina Wynbrandt

Okay, just look at the cover and the title of the very funny Wynbrandt's risographed mini comic from 2D Cloud and tell me you don't feel compelled to read it. If you do (and you know you do), you'll be rewarded with the struggles of a 24 year old woman trying to grow up while avoiding responsibility at the same time.


E-Man: The Early Years

E-Man: The Early Years
by Joe Staton / Nicola Cuti

Those who read my picks regularly might rightfully get the impression I am not a huge fan of all things superhero. I am, however, unreasonably excited by this collection of E-Man comics. Somehow, as a kid, I lucked into finding the character's Charlton Comics early '70s run, which this book now, finally collects. I'm not sure I can adequately explain the comic here, but I'll give it a shot by saying it involves a sentient form of energy from a nova and an exotic dancer/grad student.


Imagine Caring About This

Imagine Caring About This
by Meghan Turbitt

In this mini comic, the very funny Turbitt presents a series of one page comics featuring stories about things like what Jeb Bush ate for lunch or what J.Lo thinks of her exes, and then challenges you to care about them. And you probably won't. But you will laugh at how much you don't care.


Snowden

Snowden
by Ted Rall

I'm including this new Ted Rall comics bio of Edward Snowden because I want to end up on some NSA watch list. Just kidding, I'm probably already on one. We've seen so much of how mainstream (or institutional) America has presented Snowden, but Rall gives us a more complete view, along with humor and commentary on the current security state we currently live in. Hi, NSA!


Ultra Violent Magazine #12

Ultra Violent Magazine #12

It's been too long since there was a new issue of this global horror and exploitation magazine. But the new issue is finally here and it's loaded with interviews and reviews.


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 (An Interview with Elena Ferrante, An Interview with Grimes, and more)

Vanity Fair interviewed author Elena Ferrante.

The Guardian shared an excerpt from Ferrante's novel The Story of the Lost Child.


Entertainment Weekly interviewed Grimes' Claire Boucher.


The Rumpus interviewed author Ottessa Moshfegh.


All Songs Considered is streaming August's best dance tracks.


PBS Newshour interviewed author Jesmyn Ward about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.


Stream a new Laura Stevenson song.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn listed the best poetry books of 2015 so far.


Stereogum ranked Richard Thompson albums.


Justin Taylor shared a book tour playlist at Lit Hub.


Stream Alison Moyet's unreleased demo of "More."


BuzzFeed interviewed poet Claudia Rankine.


Stream a new Zola Jesus song.


Jenna Leigh Evans interviewed author Wendy C. Ortiz.


Stream Sounds Better with Reverb's best shoegaze and dream pop songs of 2015 so far.


The Chicago Tribune reviewed Haruki Murakami's novels Wind and Pinball.

"Both books are powerful, unsettling, mature novels, replete with many of the same distinctive traits that characterize his later fiction: jazz, beer, a gentle surrealism, a tendency to treat the strange and the mysterious as mundane facts of life and characters haunted by an ineffable, pervasive melancholy, a kind of metaphysical perplexity that arises from the basic nature of being human."


Stereogum interviewed Garbage's Shirley Manson.


Newsday reviewed Jonathan Franzen's new novel Purity.


Paste interviewed singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore about her personal style.


Five novels about climate change.


Carly Rae Jepsen talked to All Things Considered about her new album Emotion.



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 (All Dogs, Antietam, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

All Dogs: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Ben Foerg and The Absurd: The Trigger Warning EP [mp3]

Ezra Gross: Margot and Other Fictions album [mp3]

Feed Me to the Waves: Feed Me to the Waves EP [mp3]

Ian McGlynn: A Map To Get Away : The Collection album [mp3]
Ian McGlynn: North Pole Vault album [mp3]

Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes: 2015 Sampler EP [mp3]

Oak Palace: Oak Palace EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Antietam: 2015-08-21, Athens [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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August 27, 2015

Book Notes - Cara Nicoletti "Voracious"

Voracious

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.

Cara Nicoletti's Voracious is an entertaining amalgam of memoir and cookbook with a literary angle as she recounts the influential books of her life alongside recipes inspired by them.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Nicoletti turns both reading and cooking into eagerly anticipated visceral experiences."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Cara Nicoletti's Book Notes music playlist for her book Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books:


One of the greatest powers of food and literature is the way they both can transport me so completely to a specific time in my life. Much of my book Voracious is about this food and book-induced reminiscence—I will never read Rebecca without recalling the gutpunch of my first heartbreak, or smell a peach without remembering how Joan Didion pulled me out of one of my darkest periods. Next to books and food, music is the greatest nostalgia-provoker. This playlist, like Voracious, is driven by nostalgia for the phases of life I've left behind.

The Smiths—"This Night Has Opened My Eyes"
In the Night Kitchen

The Smiths are my dad's favorite band, so my childhood memories sound like Morrissey. "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" always scared me, made me feel bad in my guts, but I loved it anyway. I felt the same way about In the Night Kitchen and actually, most of Maurice Sendak's other books, which are full of children thrown into dangerous, parentless worlds, facing creepy monsters and bad men. The books that scare us are usually the ones that stick with us the most and make us realize the power of the written word. I guess the same is true for songs, because "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" is still on my top-five list all these years later.

The Sugarcubes—"Birthday"
Little House in the Big Woods

In 1994, when I was eight, the album Life's Too Good by The Sugarcubes got stuck in the tapedeck of my mom's Volvo station wagon. It was jammed so badly even the radio refused to work, which meant that every time we wanted to listen to music in the car for the next year, we had to listen to this album. To this day, my mom will go apoplectic if she even hears Bjork's voice. I'll always have a soft spot for the album, though, particularly the song "Birthday," which reminds me of driving back and forth to my grandpa's butcher shop after school, where I would read The Little House On The Prairie series behind the counter for hours, with the song playing loops in my brain.

The Police—"Canary in a Coalmine"
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

It was The Legend of Sleepy Hollow that taught me that the earth is in constant rotation—which is to say, it was The Legend of Sleepy Hollow that gave me my first and most frequent childhood panic attack. After my dad read to me that "the world did absolutely turn round, and that [we] were half the time topsy-turvy!" I started complaining regularly of being dizzy. "Dizzy" became a catchall word for any kind of nervousness or anxiety I was having. My dad started calling me "the dizzy dame" and "canary"—short for "canary in a coalmine," a song that we played a lot in my house, and a euphemism for someone who is overly-sensitive to their surroundings. The song has the line "you get so dizzy even walking in a straight line," which seems fitting, too.

Fiona Apple—"Sullen Girl"
Rebecca

My first heartbreak at age 15 dictated my musical taste for the rest of my high school career, which makes choosing a song difficult. I remember, after this first heartbreak, feeling very keenly the loss of some essential part of myself—an innocence, yes, but a basic certainty about who I was, too. At night I would listen to this song on my Discman over and over again, buried underneath my covers—rewinding the line "he washed me ashore, and he took my pearl, and left an empty shell of me" until it became a kind of mantra. One of the things that pulled me out of my own sullen girl phase was my mom leaving Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca on my pillow one night. Reading the book was the only thing that distracted me from my own angst. Once I finished I felt more like myself again (and swapped "Sullen Girl" for Ani DiFranco's "Not a Pretty Girl"—anger is easier than sadness).

Clipse—"Ride Around Shining"
The Corrections

In college I worked in a coffee shop in the West Village with a girl named Elise who was from the Midwest. She told me horror stories about the food she ate growing up—Jell-O pretzel "salads" and something called "city chicken" that was actually pork. She gave me a copy of The Corrections, a novel set in the Midwest that is haunted by disgusting food, to back up her claims. This coffee shop, like most I've worked in, was staffed with people who cared very deeply about obscure music. After long days of listening to industrial noise rock and Gregorian chants the only music I wanted to hear was something with a beat that I could follow. I listened to Hell Hath No Fury a lot that year on my iPod, and "Ride Around Shining" got the most plays.

Neko Case—"Margaret vs. Pauline"
The Bluest Eye

I wrote an essay in Voracious about when I moved to Brooklyn almost nine years ago. The apartment was in absolute shambles, and I spent my first couple of weeks on my hands and knees scrubbing away mysterious stains, stuffing Brillo pads in mouse holes, and laying roach traps. There is a ton of music that reminds me of this time, but most of my time spent cleaning and wandering around my new streets had Neko Case playing in the background. A lot of this time was also spent comparing myself to (and envying) my peers, most of whom had good, stable jobs and clean apartments, which makes "Margaret v. Pauline" the most fitting song choice.

Land of Talk—"Some Are Lakes"
"Goodbye to All That"

About five years ago, after a long winter working at a job that I hated and living in an apartment with no heat, I traveled to California for the first time. I stayed for ten days and returned even more depressed than when I'd left, wondering in a real way for the first time if it was time to leave New York. It was at this time that I read Joan Didion's "Goodbye to All That," but instead of convincing me that it was time to leave New York, it somehow renewed my love of the place. During this period, I was listening to one album pretty much exclusively—Land of Talk's Some are Lakes. For some reason the album downloaded onto my iPod out of order, so the first song that played was always the title track, "Some Are Lakes," and it never ceases to amaze me how immediately the opening note of the song alone can bring me back so completely to that point in time.

Japandroids—"The House That Heaven Built"
Down and Out in Paris and London


George Orwell's book inspired a recipe for bone-in ribeye steak, so it feels natural to connect it to the years I spent at The Meat Hook, where I learned how best to cut and cook a ribeye. Many albums remind me of my time there—Robyn's "Body Talk," Catcall's "The Warmest Place," any and all Taylor Swift (no? not what you were imagining?). But no album will ever remind me more of my time at The Meat Hook than Japandroids' Celebration Rock, specifically the song "The House That Heaven Built." Much of Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London is about the interior life of a professional kitchen—the camaraderie and drama and sweat—and even though The Meat Hook isn't technically a restaurant, we shared all of that there.

Eliot Sumner—"Wobbler"
The Secret History

When I was a kid, one of my biggest anxieties (besides the earth being in constant rotation) was that someday every combination of musical notes would be exhausted and that new music would cease to exist. I can't explain where this came from, but as an adult, and a writer, I experience a similar kind of fear when my brain is exhausted and blocked and it seems impossible to write anything that hasn't already been written. Rumors about Donna Tartt's writer's block-induced mental breakdowns swirled around during the many years between her first and second novels, but in an interview, Tartt addresses this very simply. "Good writing," she says, "takes time." Eliot Sumner is an artist I've been following since I happened upon one of her concerts in 2009 or ‘10. After getting a lot of buzz around that time, she disappeared completely and reemerged only recently with a completely different sound. I listened to her EP, Information, constantly after I turned in the first draft of my book. I was feeling really strange and hollow, and even though it's a dark album—"Wobbler" in particular is a dark song—it always made me feel better.


Cara Nicoletti and Voracious links:

the author's blog
excerpt from the book

BookPage review
Kirkus review
National Post review
Publishers Weekly review

Brooklyn Magazine profile of the author
Food & Wine interview with the author
Metro profile of the author
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interview with the author
Minnesota Public Radio interview with the author
New York Daily News profile of the author
New York Times profile of the author
Paper/Plates interview with the author
Publishers Weekly interview with the author
Weekend Edition 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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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - August 27, 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.


The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion
by Tracy Daugherty

Joan Didion's literary and journalistic work has both chronicled and contributed to American culture for over fifty years. Now in her 80s, Didion is as revered as ever, so a well-crafted biography of this influential living legend is very timely indeed. Tracing her life and work from her origins through the various stages of her career and personal trajectory, Daugherty has clearly done his homework, and paints a vivid, insightful portrait of one of the finest writers of our time.


A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories
by Lucia Berlin

Any fan of Raymond Carver will find purchase in these stories. Berlin (who passed away in 2004) mines the same sort of dark, sad domestic underbelly that he tended to. She was also similar in that she supposedly wrote short stories because they took less time (any writer of fiction knows this is both true and patently not at the same time: less words means more time poring over each sentence.) Her fanbase, up to this point, has been mostly made up of peers and other writers in the know, here's to hoping this wonderful collection changes that!


Here Kitty Kitty

Here Kitty Kitty
by Mallory Mcinnis

This one's for the cat lovers. Curated by writer and internet blogger Mallory McInnis it amasses a delightful selection of kitty illustrations and cartoons plus your favourite writers weigh in on these cuddly creatures from Twain to Montaigne. Where else can you find sailor cats, skateboard cats, cupcake cats, cats playing accordions and that perennial classic, cats in berets, all in one place?


Chickpea Quarterly (Summer 2015)

Chickpea Quarterly (Summer 2015)

Chickpea is a vegan food and writing quarterly dedicated to promoting a plant based whole foods lifestyle. Besides the fact that their print issues are made from high quality recycled material and completely ad-free they are also full of mouth-watering recipes, articles, interviews and book reviews. This issue features a report from the frontlines of the hot sauce movement, marinades, summer salads, sauerkraut, no-bake cakes and an interview with five feminist food writers!


L'Arabe du Futur 2

L'Arabe du Futur 2
by Riad Sattouf

This is the second of a three part series following the first, critically acclaimed volume L'Arabe du Futur. In a darkly comic account cartoonist Riad Sattouf depicts his childhood spent divided between France and Syria and Libya under grim political regimes. Volume 2 recounts 1984-1985 as his family moves back to Hafez al-Assad's Syria. The first book will be released in English this October!


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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Shorties (Ann Beattie on Books & Reading, Stream the New Lou Barlow Album, and more)

Ann Beattie talked books and reading with the New York Times.



NPR Music is streaming Lou Barlow's new album Brace the Wave.



Booksellers recommended fall reading at Lit Hub.


NPR Music is streaming The Arcs' new album Yours, Dreamily.


Electric Literature interviewed author Tanwi Nandini Islam.


SPIN profiled the band Metric.


Biographile interviewed Tracy Daugherty about her new book The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion.


NPR Music is streaming Diane Coffee's new album Everybody's A Good Dog.


Jill Bialosky discusss the benefits of being both a writer and editor at Lit Hub.


Members of Yo La Tengo discussed their favorite cover songs with SPIN.


Author Susan Barker interviewed herself at The Nervous Breakdown.


NPR Music is streaming Joan Shelley's new album Over and Even.


Bustle profiled the world's smallest bookstore, and recommended books it should sell.


Stream a new Julia Holter song from her forthcoming album Have You in my Wilderness (out September 25th).


The New Statesman, Vulture, and the Guardian reviewed the new Jonathan Franzen novel Purity.


The Guardian interviewed Naomi Klein about her new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.


The A.V. Club shared an essential Mountain Goats playlist.


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 (TV Girl, Vic Chesnutt, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Boy Jones: The Boy Jones EP [mp3]

Daniel J. Townsend: "Musselroe Bay" [mp3]

Ed Patrick: "Mexico" [mp3]

Skies Speak: Skies Speak EP [mp3]

Son of Dov: Ulysses EP [mp3]

Ted Drozdowski's Scissormen: Stink Eye EP [mp3]

TV Girl: French Exit album [mp3]

The Wax Girl: "Onwards" [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Vic Chesnutt: 2008-03-01, Athens [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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August 26, 2015

Book Notes - Robert Goolrick "The Fall of Princes"

The Fall of Princes

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.

Robert Goolrick's novel The Fall of Princes is a pitch-perfect account of one Wall Street trader's rise and fall in the New York of the 1980s.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Goolrick’s stellar prose infuses this redemption story with a good deal of depth and despair, making it read like the literary version of The Wolf of Wall Street."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Robert Goolrick's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Fall of Princes:


I really only like rock and roll for its power to break your heart. To put together a retro soundtrack for The Fall of Princes, which takes place in the '80s, would have left me with an endless list of dance remixes, played to the sound of crunching amyl ampules under steel-toed boots, or the greatest hits of Anita Baker, played to the sound of cocaine being chopped on the surface of a mirror. I couldn't have written a word to it, and, more importantly, as much as I was burying myself in nostalgia for the time, I couldn't have listened to it. It was my youth, which is over, and I couldn't bear to raise that particular corpse again.

Instead, I listened to music that broke my heart in a regular, bearable way. I wear sadness like an old sweater, and sad music is my eternal heartbeat, except for every now and then a big, booming song that knocks me in the head and shakes me into what resembles a fury of excitement. These songs are often by the Kings of Leon, but there are occasional surprises.

The Decemberists – "This is Why We Fight" – How can a band I dislike so much produce a song that is a piece of fierce, tenacious and unforgettable perfection? Revolutions have been started on less passion. "When we die/We will die/ With our arms unbound/ This is why/This is why/Why we fight/Come hell." From first note to last, it is exquisite, and in their canon there is nothing else like it and I don't expect there ever will be. But, if it is never to be repeated, it is enough.

The National – "Sweetie you don't look so good/ Your bottom lip is bleeding/ I cut it on your collarbone/ Go on, go back to sleep." If I could be anybody in rock, I would be Matt Berninger, so I could stand in front of thousands of people and sing those lyrics, from "Bitters and Absolut"; both concerned and cruel, mysterious and masochistic, they comprise one of the most intriguing openings to a rock song I've ever heard, since "Impossible Germany/ Unlikely Japan." In the wistful and bitter department, The National never disappoints. The people in my book are the people these lyrics describe, so damaged, and so often damaged that the wound is taken for granted, sweetie. Go back to sleep.

Olafur Arnalds – "For Now I Am Winter" – If you want to wallow in romantic self-pity and regret, Arnalds is your man. He's made a lot of music, all of it haunting and soft and lovely, but this is his first album on which he has included songs with lyrics, and they wrench the deepest feelings out of your hip-hardened heart. The music is like a wisp of smoke from a cigarette late at night, after the party's over, visible but not tangible, the taste of ice-cold vodka still on your tongue. The people are gone. You are ultimately and finally alone. Possibly forever. The eternal winter begins.

Francoise Hardy – "Message Personelle"- The It girl of a generation you don't remember, she was an international pop star and fashion darling, wearing, one evening, the most expensive dress ever made – Paco Rabanne's chain mail mini dress made of gold encrusted with diamonds. In 1970, she walked away from everything. Just in time for the writing of Princes, she returns, older, sadder, still an icon of fierce lost sadness, with the message of lost love. God, she's beautiful, a muse to Damon Albarn and the novelist Michel Houellebecq, and you know, you just know, looking at the video, a triumph of sadness and brutal honesty, or listening to the song as you write songs about your own lost youth, that she knows, she just knows everything you've been through, and holds you in her broken heart. She may be writing to say goodbye, but she knows that nothing is ever really gone, every love is always a new hurt and every wound is fresh.

Tired Pony – "That Silver Necklace" – I don't understand why Snow Patrol never made it in the US. They're a great, literate, extremely moving band that fills stadiums all over Europe. Gary Lightbody, took some time off and created Tired Pony, a sort of superstar band that first appeared with a brilliant video of a song called "Dead American Writers." I could watch the video a thousand times. In two albums, they have given us a tremendously moving palette of music, recently backed by, oddly, Minnie Driver. In "That Silver Necklace" the singer speaks to his girlfriend of a piece of jewelry he once gave her, and wonders if it hurts her to wear that thing, as he puts it. The band has a grace and a poetry that is hypnotic, the poetry is real, not the fatuous schoolboy scratchings of most rock bands. In the middle of a song of yearning love comes this: "We are not the lions of the daylight, daylight/ We are more like wolves in dead of night/We are more the ravens in the schoolyard, schoolyard/ And all the larks about to sing." It's amazing. I don't care what it means.

Frank Ocean – "Sierra Leone" – Love's yearning heart. Love's lost opportunities, and the striving for love's ideal (Sierra Leone, in this case), who is not moved, who has not been there on that uncertain stairway. Frank Ocean approaches loss and sorrow with the gentlest touch, like a doctor who is telling you you're going to die, or a priest who is placing his hands on your head and pronouncing absolution. There is something uniquely sad and lovely in his work, and, in this song in particular he reaches straight or the heart and makes every attempt to make a hopeless situation better by the sheer force of his own loveliness.

Ane Brun – Start anywhere. Listen to Songs 2000-2013. Listen to the whole thing without stopping, all thirty-two songs. "I'm just too romantic, Hey Ho My lover will go/ Without any sense of strategies/ Hey Ho/ My lover will go." This is romantic sadness at a very high peak of sophistication, the words of a woman to whom it has all happened before, and who looks at romantic loss not for the first or last time. She also sings of the most wonderful endearing love – "Don't ever leave, that is what you asked of me, do you know, what it means, when you plead?' It won't do us no good, she sings, knowing that such foreverness doesn't even happen in romantic songs. This on was, unfortunately, used in a mawkish television commercial. She deserves a better listen.

Emeli Sande – "Heaven" – When Ane has left you near death on the floor, let Emeli lift you up. OK, so it's a disco song. She's the Donna Summer for the new millennium. But I'll take it. When she slams into her first song – "Do you recognize me?" – the delight just floats through the room like pot smoke in 1969. "Oh heaven, oh heaven, I wait with good intentions, but the day it always lasts too long." A song of lost love, again, but such by an extraordinarily beautiful woman who, you can tell, has and will, pull herself up by her bootstraps one more time. Knock her down, Emeli gets up.

Carl and the Passions – "Cuddle Up" – One of the most beautiful rock songs ever written. I heard four bars of this song in a Twyla Tharp ballet based on The Beach Boys work, and I remembered it with such clarity twenty-five years later, that I had to dig and dig and consult my friend Margot Ravis, who knows everything, until I found it again. It did not disappoint. Monumental beauty of such gentleness and kindness that your heart cannot help but be moved.

Bat for Lashes – If Florence Welch would just calm down, she'd be Bat for Lashes and sing "Laura." It's a song about the comfort that one friend can give another when everyone else has left. Simple, lovely. "You can't cry/ put your glad rags on and let's sing along/ to that lonely song/ You're the train that crashed my heart/ You're the glitter in the dark/ Laura, you're more than a superstar."

When I write, I am never without music. It helps me concentrate. It connects me to a world of wonders. I sit and make a list, shocked to find that Sam Herring and Future Islands, so much a part of the last several years' playlist, is not on it. Shocked to find Jason Isbell missing, gone also London Grammar, whose Nightcall starts with a line that is pure dread, sung by the beautiful Hannah Reid who makes you feel that she knows you, has always known you? How can you make a list and not start with Dusty in Memphis, surely one of the best albums ever made. How can I not say that anybody who hasn't heard The Tallest Man on Earth has missed a magical experience and that, when it comes to sorrow, nothing matches his song "There's No Leaving Now?" I live alone. I have always lived alone. Music is not just my soundtrack, it is the fabric of my life. The empty room, me, the computer out of which the story pours, on a good day by itself, on a tough one only with the use of a sledgehammer and brute force, and music, my friend, my lover, my sorrow, my memory, my exultation. My forever.


Robert Goolrick and The Fall of Princes links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review
Washington Post review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for A Reliable Wife


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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WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - August 26, 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 Last Love Song

The Last Love Song
by Tracy Daugherty

Seasoned essayist Tracy Daugherty brings out the first biography of the great Joan Didion.


Out on the Wire

Out on the Wire
by Jessica Abel

A fantastically illustrated examination of the contemporary personages of storytelling-based programs on public radio, from This American Life to Radiolab.


Lair of Dreams

Lair of Dreams
by Libba Bray

An epic-scale story of divination, secrecy, dreams, and the fight for life.


Flings

Flings
by Justin Taylor

WORD favorite Justin Taylor's story collection gets the paperback treatment.


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)


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Shorties (Interviews with Alexandra Kleeman, Superchunk's Cover of "Born to Run," and more)

VICE and Late Night Library interviewed Alexandra Kleeman about her debut novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine.


Stream Superchunk's cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run."


Stream a new solo song from Kathryn Calder of the New Pornographers.


Stream a new Sylvan Esso song.


Tin House shared an excerpt from Sara Jaffe's novel Dryland.


The Guardian listed 10 of the best Lemonheads songs.


PopMatters profiled singer-songwriter John Moreland.


Paste profiled the band Wand.

Wand embody a bridge between the delicate and the dissonant. Their songs can start off like day-dreamy/paisley folk trips that suddenly veer off into ominous purple clouds of a doom-laden metal storm.


Ted Rall's graphic novel biography of Edward Snowden is in stores this week.


Pitchfork recommended 10 albums from the Balearic revival.


Justin Taylor discussed book tours at Lit Hub.


The Quietus offered a track-by-track review of the new New Order album Music Complete.

Stereogum interviewed Bernard Sumner about the release.


LitReactor recommended female short story writers.


An interactive chart of the most played '90s songs on Spotify.


The Guardian listed the top conservative novels.


The A.V. Club listed 10 of the most sampled drum beats in history.


Minnesota Public Radio interviewed Cara Nicoletti about her new book Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books.


Paste interviewed Victoria Legrande of Beach House about the band's new album Depression Cherry.


The Guardian listed the best dog stories in literature.


Vulture previewed fall's music releases.


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)

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