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January 16, 2019

Brendan Lorber's Playlist for His Poetry Collection "If This Is Paradise Why Are We Still Driving"

Cork Wars

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Brendan Lorber's impressive poetry collection If This Is Paradise Why Are We Still Driving repeatedly transforms the banal into the beautiful and thought-provoking.


In his own words, here is Brendan Lorber's Book Notes music playlist for his book If This Is Paradise Why Are We Still Driving:



For twenty years, If this is paradise why are we still driving knocked on heaven’s door from the other side, demanding to be let back down to earth where it belongs. Tonight may be dark, the hallelujah cold and broken, but the candles are just right, the moon is full, and the snapped air says help is on the way in the form of human supernovas ready to make the rumors true. Obz If this is paradise has its own prosody, but just as the real fun of going to a reading is the hang that follows, this playlist is a pretty sweet after-party. Some songs are called out by the book, but many live in the background, the no-nonsense roadies who set the stage so the poems can stage the upset.

On the Wings of Love / Jeffrey Osborne

In my poem Completely Almost I say: “There was a radio station that played nothing but love songs / that tormented everyone who loved songs but people not so much.” Among the songs on WPIX was “On the Wings of Love,” which later I’d hear as a musical consort to Frank O’Hara’s “Sleeping on the Wing” and which instilled in me a healthy skepticism of love. I mean, if it’s so great why all this musical propaganda? I imagine Osborne reading O’Hara thinking, blast! He’s exposed my naïveté. And O’Hara listening to Osborne with a sarcastic smirk that turns slowly to a thin, wistful smile, as if as if gives way to if only. The structure of the song is a totally insane litany that opens and closes all the lines with the title. A confident hero who says this will work, trust me and it does despite the doubters, haters, and solipsists sipping sorrow from their Solo® cups.

What’s Love Got to Do with It / Tina Turner

My poem “What’s love want to do with it,” like many of the others in the book, gestures towards joy despite the evidence that it will never be yours. And towards pain despite (and as) your sheer delight. Love, like it or not, has everything to do with it.

4’33” / John Cage

I’m an expert in creating the conditions for something to happen and then not letting it. There are blank spaces within almost every line of If this is Paradise why are we still driving where tension builds, where the poem takes a breath and stares back at you unblinking, and is like, your move, dear reader. You become the missing part, facilitating a phrase’s new meaning in the light of the one that follows (which in turn gets recast by the next). Silence is the retort, the cauldron, the fiery carburetor in which regular music/language is held at bay and the mute gives way to transmutation. John Cage’s masterpiece understands this alchemy. It’s an ultimate interrogation of the listener, a composition for any instruments in which those instruments are not played for four minutes and 33 seconds. But silence is never silence, it’s a vacuum into which rushes everything at the edges. The moment-to-moment reels away and the indescribable takes the wheel. From here, it’s neither right nor left that we turn; we turn into something new.

Suzanne / Leonard Cohen

The blank spaces of If this is paradise are also Suzanne’s river as in:

And just when you mean to tell her that you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer that you've always been her lover

The river has other answers too. But first, let’s have some tea and oranges that come all the way from China.

After Hours main theme / Howard Shore

Shore’s score for Scorsese’s 80’s SoHo shadow odyssey is made of what penetrates the darkness, which is just more darkness. Late night footsteps around the corner, something dripping, faint piano through the wall, and a ticking clock that reminds you how far we are from daylight or anything else that might dispel the air of spooky, isolated gallows romanticism. The film, shot a few blocks from my childhood home, came out just in time to make my first dead of night adolescent forays at once more enticing and terrifying. If fear and desire were any closer, they’d be behind each other, which they are, upholstered in steam vents and cobblestones. My poem “Protocol and Deviance” is happy to walk alongside and help you locate the weird overlap between Rumi’s longings and those of then-Mayor Ed Koch. It’s a great score for when you’re trapped in someone else’s dreamcatcher or stuck in the kissing booth with the missing tooth.

Dark, Dear Heart / Mary Margaret O’Hara

Why in the darkness do I see so clearly… Out of breath and into the depths, her haunting, halting quaver of a voice reaches halfway to you and you realize nobody else has ever even come that close. The heart’s dive through high notes.

Dancing in the Dark / Bruce Springsteen

It feels so good to live in the moment of most profound grief, confusion, utter defeat and find yourself rising up to dance, to be fired up with that which can not be but is. Every Springsteen song has this total catharsis. But only “Dancing in the Dark” has the throwaway line: “There's a joke here somewhere and it's on me,” which is quickly followed with, and changed by: “I'll shake this world off my shoulders. Come on baby this laugh's on me.” Right now, someone is dancing to this song and when they are done, someone in another time zone gets up to carry the dark flame. The Keats of New Jersey’s negative capability. We are lucky to live on a planet where this happens.

Bound by the Beauty / Jane Siberry

Sometimes being bound is to be tied down. Sometimes it’s all aspirational movement, like a Brooklyn-bound train if Brooklyn were beautiful. Siberry bounds past the utilitarian teleology of art for life’s sake, then past art for art's sake, to a fragrant forest floor we can lie on and take on life for art's sake. In the supine alpine, we are bound by, bound for, and bound to hear the sweetest, constant rearrange.

Don’t Worry Be Happy (minor key cover) / Ryan O’Neil

Major key songs rearranged to minor is a marvelous genre that reveals the secret despair inside joy, and so makes a more fulfilling joy possible, if not immediately attainable. Bobby McFerrin’s a cappella tablespoon of simple syrup from 1988 is a frustrating emblem of that moment’s bright neo-liberal veneer. This diatonic version wakes the diabolic and sets it free. The opposite action, minor key songs stepped up to the majors, is also beautifully tragic. Like being asked to set the table and then setting it on fire.

We Found Love / Rhianna and Love Is All Around / Sonny Curtis

What does “in” mean? Did love emerge from a hopeless place and make it all better, or did we find our love had arrived at a hopeless place? Is this secretly a cover of “Love Is All Around,” Sonny Curtis’s theme to Mary Tyler Moore? No. Nobody would think that. But if there’s a most hopeless place, I’ve always considered Mary Richard’s Minneapolis to be the place furthest from it.

Movie and TV Themes: Little House on the Prairie, Star Trek TOS, Gilligan’s Island, Star Wars
Theme music, the distillation of years into ninety seconds, are more attuned to the forces of the universe than the shows they introduce. These songs have walk-ons throughout the book, especially in “Little house a priori,” “The Galileo 7,” “I am the time traveling mayor of the three hour tour,” and “Townies of Dagobah in the Renaissance.”

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space / Spritualized

Spiritualized’s junkie-paced overlapping of lyrics is an anti-round. A heartbreakingly broken-keeled Rimbaudian row row row your drunken boat and gently break the keel. Falling to the bottom of the sea and falling in love are the best ways to solve your biggest problems with even bigger ones. My poem “Consolation and reprisal” does a lot of things, and some of them it does as a sort of mission control for Spiritualized’s non-cover of Bowie’s Major Tom.

Everything in Its Right Place / Radiohead

“Consolation and reprisal” also works in conversation with Radiohead’s Hitchcockian opening track to Kid A. Hitchcockian in that the director said you should always say the opposite of what you mean. In the song, Thom Yorke intones: “Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon… Everything in its right place… There are two colors in my head… What is that you tried to say.” My poem says “What I meant to say was / misunderstanding is what makes / contact possible” That is to say, a wound is not merely where the light comes in, but the shared darkness that makes love likely.

Super-Sonic / The Brian Jonestown Massacre

“This song is about you and my life now without you…” A perfect breakup song, when it’s yourself you’re breaking up with. The internal departure that happens every day in the slow peel of identities to make way for the void, or sometimes for new identities. How many ch-ch-changes before I becomes an other? It’s like existential Jenga. How many parts can you remove from something (a house, a relationship, a self) before it’s not that thing anymore?

Gratulemur Christicole / Italian 15th Century Chanson / Performed by Ensemble Ars Italica

Everything Edith Piaf did, or J. S. Bach for that matter, is definitely a cover of this polyphonic chanson with the deep organ riffs. Maybe not everything, but “La Vie en Rose” rose from the same fifteenth century techniques that also unlocked Johann’s keys. The poems in If this is paradise couldn’t exist without the poems that came before them. The good ones by other people, and the early disasters of my own. I think Piaf would agree that to really regret rien doesn’t mean making no mistakes, it means making enough of them that you can see clearly by their light. Within this six hundred year old incantation is a kind of duty to be derelict.

It Was Just One of Those Things / Ella Fitzgerald

Speaking of Italian treasures, nobody at Verve Records knew Ella Fitzgerald’s 1958 birthday gig in Rome had been recorded until it was discovered in their vaults thirty years later. And now we all get to join her for that trip to the moon on gossamer wings.

Supernova / Liz Phair

Nothing like walking around a new city listening to music that makes you walk a little faster and maybe spin around unselfconsciously. And to further the unselfconsciousness, nothing like mishearing the lyrics. Phair’s Whipsmart was my soundtrack to daily rambles among the homes of Bay Area poets a few years ago. Turns out “And your lips are sweet and slippery like a sheriff’s bare red ass” is not how the song goes. Turns out she was never channeling the angry love-despite-yourself of a clever but morally compromised Jim Thompson character. Turns out her version of pop music is not based on the universe of Thomson’s Pop 1280. But because I regret my mistakes least of all, I still hear the totally wrong line when it comes around. The secret of my success is failure.

Blue Nun / The Beastie Boys

What’s the Beastie Boys’ secret? Naturally, I’ll say it’s the unsung members—the ones they sampled over their many years. Especially CIA-operative turned wine connoisseur Peter Sichel. (Adam Yauch was friends with his daughter and Sichel was happy to let them use his voice.) “The Last Beastie Boy” is an elegy to their accelerant methodology and a peripheral ode to the ill boutique of brass-monkeyed intergalactic joy—submissive, open, and immune to the bell’s toll until they weren’t.

The Planets / Gustav Holst

Peter Sichel was always pairing wines with experiences. My poem “Heliophelia” works well with “The Planets.” My musical chairs of the spheres is populated with the real original cast of Star Wars: persecuted scientists like Copernicus and Ptolemy. And Holst wrote what might be the original soundtrack long before John Williams’s parents ever met. I mean, Williams is brilliant and his works are all his, but the gusto of Gustav’s gravity, wells is pretty undeniable. Not that that’s bad. Knowing we live on a planet shaped by the vacuum all around it, the effect we have on one another is most welcome.

Bruce’s Philosopher’s Song / Monty Python

I was tricked. I thought a degree in philosophy would lead to a life of endless Monty Python sketches. Instead, it lead to a sketchy life in which every day I more and more come to resemble the It’s… man who opens each episode. This song however, and a flask in your boot, is a pretty good (if not entirely accurate) Rosetta stone for any theoretical references in If this is Paradise. The Hegel reference on page 37 however needs its own translation: “It looks like your face has undergone the Hegelian dialectic with a 2x4” Also, while there are a lot of Rationalists referenced in “The new water” on page 49 (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz), do NOT drink the titular water as it is from the Gowanus Canal.

Hallelujah / Jeff Buckley

The original Sin-é on St. Marks Place, where Jeff Buckley used to sing, was only a few feet wide. Exactly the distance of a quiet whisper. You’d feel his breath when he sang and your beer was going to get knocked over when he swung his guitar neck. The intimate infinity in that grain of sand of a room opened up whenever he worked his way to the finale. Through bitter valleys where hallelujah becomes hardly knew ya, then back up to where beauty and the moonlight overthrew you. I hung there every Monday to hear him sing with some other friends of mine like Susan McKeown of Chanting House and Star Drooker of Native Tongue, and we’d all have a drink after and try to figure out what it was, that secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord.

Kathy’s Song / Simon & Garfunkel

I like the double-nostalgia of “Kathy’s Song,” written long ago by a now-defunct band, about a relationship ended still earlier. But “Kathy’s Other Song” is a nostalgic nostrum, an antidote to the oldest of -algias. It’s dedicated to Adam DeGraff and Edmund Berrigan as they were when I first met them years ago in San Francisco while misunderstanding Liz Phair. The unstated third dedication in the poem is to the late sound artist Dale Sherrard, now unfathomably dead, and all the things he taught me inadvertently and on purpose, about the depths of loss.

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina / Andrew Lloyd Weber

In “I will die in exile do not follow me,” I argue it’s simpler to make the entire world love you than any one person in it. In the commercial for Evita on Broadway, a dying Eva Perón sings and is interrupted by Che who angrily hisses the word ask:

“Don’t cry for me Argentina —
You were supposed to have been immortal. That’s all they wanted. Not much to ask for.”

Been Caught Stealing / Jane’s Addiction

Hard to think of stealing without this song. The poem “We are so lucky to live on this planet” despite it all alludes to not being punished for stealing, but for enjoying it.

Time After Time / Cindy Lauper

We never quite get it right, but not getting it right means we have to keep trying, and the attempt, not the result, is perfection. We wind up wounded, unwound by the wind, but if you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting. If you’ve listened this far, we’ll probably get along, which is so unusual. Precious even, to be out of time, not like the clock says it’s over, but to be over the clock, and thus being over the moon is next.


Brendan Lorber and If This Is Paradise Why Are We Still Driving links:

the author's website

Brooklyn Rail interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Largehearted Boy List of Online "Best Books of 2018" Lists

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

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
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






January 16, 2019

Shorties (Carmen Maria Machado Profiled, An Interview with David Bazan, and more)

Pedro the Lion

Entertainment Weekly profiled author Carmen Maria Machado.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed Pedro the Lion's David Bazan.


85 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation last week (bringing the total to 1,487), including Clash Magazine’s best music books and Graphic Policy’s best comics.


Largehearted Boy's essential and interesting 2018 year-end music lists (updated daily).


January's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for$3.99 today:

The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya


Stream a new song by Shana Cleveland of La Luz.


Cosmopolitan recommended 2019 books for your book club.


Paste profiled Deerhunter's Bradford Cox.


BOMB interviewed Sophie Mackintosh about her novel The Water Cure.


Billboard shared reflections of Lou Reed's New York album o its 30th anniversary.


The Rumpus interviewed author Tessa Hadley.


Stream a new Xiu Xiu song.


Between the Covers interviewed author Genevieve Hudson.


Stream a new song by the Drums.


Literary Hub shared a conversation between authors Lauren Groff and Rachel Kushner.


Petal shared some of her favorite music with BrooklynVegan.


CrimeReads recommended modern classics of rural noir.


Stream a new Tiny Ruins song.


gal-dem profiled author Roxane Gay.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
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


January 15, 2019

Shorties (An Interview with Julie Doucet, Deerhunter's Bradford Cox Profiled, and more)

Julie Doucet

The Creative Independent interviewed cartoonist Julie Doucet.


All Things Considered profiled Deerhunter's Bradford Cox.


85 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation last week (bringing the total to 1,487), including Clash Magazine’s best music books and Graphic Policy’s best comics.


Largehearted Boy's essential and interesting 2018 year-end music lists (updated daily).


January's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for$3.99 today:

Three James Herriot Classics: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The Emissary by Yoko Tawada


Paste listed the best Sharon Van Etten songs.


The New Yorker shared an excerpt from Salvatore Scibona's new novel, The Volunteer.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Kelly Luce.


Rolling Stone profiled musician Steve Gunn.


The Millions shared a conversation between poets Ada Limón and Erika Sánchez.


Samanta Schweblin discussed her new story collection, Mouthful of Birds, with Literary Hub.


Oprah Magazine recommended January's best books.


Dani Shapiro recommended memoirs that take big risks at BookMarks.


Hannah Sullivan has been awarded the T.S. Eliot prize for her collection Three Poems.


BBC News examined how science fiction is explaining climate change to readers.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
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


January 14, 2019

David A. Taylor's Playlist for His Book "Cork Wars"

Cork Wars

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

David A. Taylor's Cork Warsis a surprisingly personal examination of the cork industry and espionage before World War II.

Mark Athitakis wrote of the book:

"Cork Wars doesn't just illuminate a critical element of the World War II economy: it reveals the surprising ways that war reshapes lives. Whether he's writing about Baltimore immigrants or globetrotting spies, David Taylor fills his story with emotion and intrigue. It’s richly researched history, delivered with a novelist's heart."


In his own words, here is David A. Taylor's Book Notes music playlist for his book Cork Wars:



In Cork Wars, I write about the private lives of people caught up in World War II, a period that we often think of in uncomplicated terms. The enemy was unambiguous. But in fact at the time life during the war was very complicated, especially for immigrant families.

Music plays a big role for me while writing, and music provided key memories for people I interviewed for the book. Sometimes the songs that lingered in their stories segued in my mind to other sounds.

This sequence reflects the story’s main characters: a Baltimore-born business mogul named Charles McManus; a Catalan-born factory manager named Melchor Marsa in Portugal; and Frank DiCara, son of Italian immigrants in east Baltimore.

"Stewball" by Peter, Paul and Mary

One thread of the story follows Charles McManus, the son of a hardscrabble construction worker. Charles dropped out of school after a school shooting, took night school classes, and reinvented himself. He ended up a major player in the bottle-cap business. He took a long-shot mentality to business and the race track. “Stewball” is a folk song that tells the story of a similar gamble – one that the song’s narrator doesn’t trust himself to make, and lives to regret it. As a kid I loved this song’s bittersweet loss.

Vida Vivida (“Life Lived”) by Nadia Leiriao

Fado is a Portuguese form made for wistfulness and loss – a mournful, wistful blues. It suits the thread of Melchor Marsa, who spent much of the war in Lisbon. Leiriao has a supreme fado voice and Vida Vivida brings you right into that atmosphere.

Postcard from NY by Marc Ribot

Spying and espionage came into the story in Lisbon, along with listening and silence. Marc Ribot’s haunting Silent Movies is full of atmospheric melodies that belonged in this space.

"Bateau" by Marc Ribot

In “Bateau,” also on Silent Movies, Ribot’s solo guitar steps up the tension with a drone oscillating between two strings, almost like the zither in the opening credits of The Third Man. It rises, falls, circles back, heightening emotion until it spins into a finale.

The song and its title evoked for me Marsa’s daughter Gloria story of standing on the deck of what she believed was the last ship out of a free Europe in early 1941. She looked up and wondered, with a foreign correspondent also fleeing Europe, “When will we be back? What will the continent be like then?”

“Hold On” by Tom Waits

The need to reinvent yourself happened a lot in the war, alongside a relentless desire to stay true to yourself. The tension comes through in Waits’ lyrics and his ragged voice.

"O Leaozinho" by Caetano Veloso

Brazilian Portuguese is very different from the European version, and Brazilian music is perhaps even further from Fado. But something about Veloso’s gentle song captured the undulating lines of an American family’s life in Lisbon, shafts of light as Europe unravels around them.

"I’m Shipping Up to Boston" by Dropkick Murphys

As Americans waded further into the war, they got harder. The lead U.S. spy agency, the OSS, adopted a business model and looked at shipping and other businesses as prime targets for recruiting spies and shipmates with divided loyalties in U.S. ports. And sometimes it used blackmail on the docks in a way the Dropkick Murphys seem to understand.

"Pistol Packin’ Mama" by Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby’s silky, low-key voice stuck in the head of a 13-year-old kid in east Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood at the start of the war. The bar nextdoor to Frank DiCara’s family played this song on the jukebox in the wee hours. He was the one to earn pocket change the next day sweeping up the place, so this segues for me into “The Dirty Jobs,” from Quadrophenia that captures a certain feeling.

“Sentimental Journey” by Glenn Miller

Frank was a teenage draftee in the Army when he climbed onto a ship taking him to the Pacific theater in the war’s last months. The band on the pier played Miller’s hit as he made his way up the gangway.

"I’ve Had Enough" by The Who

The drive of this song echoed what Frank experienced even before he’d left his teens: wartime factory work, death of his father, conscripted and sent to the frontlines in the Pacific. Unlikely to make it to twenty.

“Handle With Care” by Traveling Wilburys

For the ones in this story who survived, even just barely.


David A. Taylor and Cork Wars links:

the author's website

Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Soul of the People


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Largehearted Boy List of Online "Best Books of 2018" Lists

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

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


Shorties (Books To Read Before the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, An Interview with J. Mascis, and more)

Kamala Harris

Rolling Stone recommended books you need to read before the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign.


J. Mascis visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.

Under the Radar interviewed Mascis.


85 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation last week (bringing the total to 1,487), including Clash Magazine’s best music books and Graphic Policy’s best comics.


Largehearted Boy's essential and interesting 2018 year-end music lists (updated daily).


January's best eBook deals.

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Dietland by Sarai Walker
Lilith's Brood: The Complete Xenogenesis Trilogy by Octavia Butler


Stream a new song by Eerie Wanda.


The Guardian previewed 2019's hottest debut novelists.


Stream a new Meat Puppets song.


Yan Lianke discussed his novel The Day the Sun Died with Weekend Edition.


Stream another new Ryan Adams song.


Paste previewed 2019's most anticipated comics.


Noisey interviewed guitarist William Tyler.


Sam Lipsyte discussed his new novel Hark with VICE.


Deerhunter's Bradford Cox ranked the band's albums at Noisey.


Heavy Feather Review interviewed author Mairead Case.


Drowned in Sound interviewed singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.


The Evening Standard previewed 2019's best books.


Stream two new Broken Social Scene songs.


The Telegraph previewed 2019's best debut novels.


Stream a new Panda Bear song.


The Los Angeles Review of Books shared a conversation between authors Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ and Oyinkan Braithwaite.


Rolling Stone profiled the band Jawbox.


Literary Hub shared writing advice from Haruki Murakami.


Stream a previously unreleased Townes Van Zandt song.


Book Riot previewed 2019's poetry collections.


Aquarium Drunkard shared two cover songs performed by Steve Gunn.


Electric Literature recommended books to read while waiting for the next season of BoJack Horseman.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed members of the band Harlem.


OUPblog shared a playlist of protest music.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
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


January 11, 2019

Atomic Books Comics Preview - January 11, 2019

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

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. He also runs the Mutant Funnies Tumblr.

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.


Fluke #16

Fluke #16
edited by Matthew Thompson, art by James B. Hunt / NXOEED

For anyone who knows a gifted flyer artist and is thinking about turning a collection of their work into an awesome zine - this issue of Fluke is a master class. It also helps when the artist is as good an illustrator as NXOEED.


Hobo Mom

Hobo Mom
by Charles Forsman & Max de Radiques

From the creator of the comic the hit TV show The End of the Fxxxking World is based on and the cartoonist behind The Bastard comes this gorgeous, beautiful bittersweet tale of a mom whose need for independence undermines her efforts at building a family, her forsaken daughter and the lonely locksmith who loves them both. As wonderful as Hobo Mom is, it even managed to offend a group of twentysomethings who were in the store thumbing through a copy of the book earlier in the week (I think they may have been shocked to see an R-rated scene in a comic)- and that's a plus.


Nothing Nice To Say: Complete Discography

Nothing Nice To Say: Complete Discography
edited by Mitch Clem

What up punx!? The comics in this book began back in 2002 as the world's first online punk comic. A few years later it disappeared from the internet, and since then it's become a sort of cult classic for punks. Now you can hold and shelve your own copy in a format far more stable than online. Oh, and it has a bunch of awesome bonus material too. No punk library is complete without Nothing Nice To Say.


Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography

Philip K. Dick: A Comics Biography
by Laurent Queyssi / Mauro Marchesi

For fans of Philip K. Dick - author of Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall, The Man In The High Castle, A Scanner Darkly and so many more great works of fiction, the author's life gets the biographic graphic novel treatment. And unsurprisingly for anyone who's read Dick's work, his life was full of instability, paranoia and hallucinations fueled by drugs.


Unknown Anti-War Comics

Unknown Anti-War Comics
edited by Craig Yoe

Sure, most comics readers are familiar with the war comics genre - but what Yoe harvests here is the complete opposite of that. It's a collection of classic anti-war comics (often masked as fantasy or science-fiction stories) from an era when holding such a position could quite possibly get your ass kicked.


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:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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)


Shorties (An Interview with Kristen Roupenian, A New Essay by Julien Baker, and more)

You Know You Want This

Kristen Roupenian discussed her new short fiction collection, You Know You Want This, with the Guardian.


The Oxford American features a new essay by Julien Baker.


85 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation last week (bringing the total to 1,487), including Clash Magazine’s best music books and Graphic Policy’s best comics.


Largehearted Boy's essential and interesting 2018 year-end music lists (updated daily).


January's best eBook deals.

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier
Delicious! by Ruth Reichl


NPR Music is streaming Toro y Moi's new album, Outer Peace.


The Paris Review features a new essay by R. O. Kwon.


NPR Music is streaming Pedro the Lion's new album Phoenix.


Bookworm interviewed author John Wray.


Stereogum reconsidered Smog's Knock Knock album after 20 years.


Troy James Weaver discussed his latest book Temporal with The Nervous Breakdown.


Stream a new Stella Donnelly song.


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed poet Tommy Pico.


Stream a new song by Beirut.


Literary Hub interviewed author David Mitchell.


Stream a new Deerhunter song.


Harper's shared an excerpt from Han Kang's new book, The White Book.


Joy Williams covered Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence."


Stereogum reconsidered the Knife's Silent Shout album on it's 10th anniversary.


Stream a new Ryan Adams song.


Stream a new SOAK song.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
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


January 9, 2019

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - January 10th, 2019

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.


Mouthful of Birds

Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin

From the author of Fever Dream, Argentina-born Berlin-based author Samanta Schweblin’s latest is one of the most anticipated early January releases here at Librairie D+Q. Mouthful of Birds is a short story collection that looks to be every bit as harrowing, strange, and kafkaesque as Schweblin’s aforementioned first novella.


McGlue

McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

A beautiful new edition of Moshfegh’s first novella, McGlue is out this week. The book takes place in Salem, Mass in 1851 and follows the story of the titular character, waking up from slumber, realizing that he may have killed his best friend.


Breathing: Chaos and Poetry

Breathing: Chaos and Poetry by Franco “Bifo” Berardi

The latest from Semiotext(e) has us salivating. Breathing is a treatise that expands upon Berardi’s earlier works about how poetry and finance intermingle, and explores creativity in relation to Occupy, BLM, and coding. Poetry as Semiotic Insolvency, Postfactual Truth and Ethical Choice, Ethics in Apocalyptic Times are some of the chapter names in this theoretical text. The green to purple fade on the cover is just stunning.


Cane

Cane by Jean Toomer

Zinzi Clemmons gives the introduction in this beautiful new edition of Jean Toomer’s Harlem Renaissance masterpiece, Cane. A tapestry of poetry, prose and play-like dialogue, Cane was originally published in 1923, and is an important portrait of African Americans residing in the north and south during the Jim Crow era.


A Perfect Failure- Fante Bukowski Three

A Perfect Failure- Fante Bukowski Three by Noah Van Sciver

The third and final book in Van Sciver’s story about self-styled wanna-be literary superstar Fante Bukowski. Van Sciver returns with beautifully drawn and coloured panels in this comic, which takes place the midwest and mocks literary pretension.


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:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel 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)


January's Best eBook Deals

eBooks on sale for $1.99 this month:


Stephen Florida Last Days


American Caesar by William Manchester
Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
Birds, Beasts and Relatives by Gerald Durell
Blind Ambition by John Dean
Chaos by James Gleick
Darkness Visible by William Styron
The Earth Is the Lord's by Taylor Caldwell
Great Lion of God by Taylor Caldwell
The Hidden Flower by Pearl S. Buck
I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro
Last Days by Brian Evenson
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe
My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin
Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash
You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt


eBooks on sale for $2.99 this month:


Love, Loss, and What We Ate Nothing Good Can Come from This


Adulthood Rites by Octavia Butler
Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless
The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis
The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
Nothing Good Can Come from This by Kristi Coulter
Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf
Reamde by Neal Stephenson
Thanks, Obama by David Litt
We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler
Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo
The Witch of Portobello by Paolo Coelho


eBooks on sale for $3.99 this month:


Outline Delicious Foods


Brave Companions by David McCullough
Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare by Giles Milton
Delicious Foods by James Hannaham
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
The Inferno by Mark Doten
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe
The Last Lion by William Manchester
Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby
Outline by Rachel Cusk
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create 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)


Shorties (2019's Must-Read Poetry Collections, An Interview with Sharon Van Etten, and more)

Sharon Van Etten

The Millions recommended 2019's must-read poetry collections.


Drowned in Sound interviewed singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.


85 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation last week (bringing the total to 1,487), including Clash Magazine’s best music books and Graphic Policy’s best comics.


Largehearted Boy's essential and interesting 2018 year-end music lists (updated daily).


eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson


Stream a new Steve Earle song.


Oyinkan Braithwaite discussed her debut novel, My Sister, the Serial Killer, with Electric Literature.


Stream a new Billie Eilish song.


Tor.com shared an excerpt from Charlie Jane Anders' forthcoming novel, The City in the Middle of the Night.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn reviewed Jenny Hval's debut novel, Paradise Rot.


Book Riot recommended 2019's best Arabic short story collections in translations.


Soniah Kamal discussed her new novel, Unmarriageable, with The Rumpus.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
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


January 8, 2019

Chris Power's Playlist for His Story Collection "Mothers"

Mothers

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Chris Power's brilliant short story collection Mothers is an auspicious debut.

Kirkus Reviews wrote of the book:

"Power's wide-ranging debut is confident, complex, bizarre, poignant, and elegantly crafted―a very strong collection."


In his own words, here is Chris Power's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection Mothers:



Each morning, after dropping his kids off at school, JG Ballard would pour himself a large whisky and drink it before he started work. It was the ritual that demarcated his writing from his domestic life. Firing up my ‘Work’ playlist performs the same function: a collection of tracks that have become so associated with writing that they immediately open a portal into that space, and are so familiar that they can envelop without distracting.

I could happily bang on about the stalwarts of that playlist, from Pete Swanson to Grouper, Kevin Drumm to Laurie Spiegel, Angela Hewitt to Porter Ricks, but rather than talk about what I was listening to while these stories were in the process of becoming, I decided to build a playlist that responds to what they are.

“Blue Seven” – Sonny Rollins (Mother 1: Summer 1976)
The opening story in the book takes place over a few hot weeks on a housing estate outside Stockholm. Eva, the narrator, doesn’t get on with her mum’s boyfriend, but she does like his records, and she likes the way the reality of her family’s apartment shifts during the frequent parties they throw. The soundtrack of those parties is hard bop, just like this.

“I Want the One I Can’t Have” – The Smiths (Above the Wedding)
“On the day that your mentality catches up with your biology”, Morrissey sings, and the asynchrony of those two elements captures the conflict that’s tearing Liam, the main character in ‘Above the Wedding’, apart.

“I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair” – Ella Fitzgerald (The Crossing)
Ann and Jim are on a walking holiday in Exmoor, their first trip away together since they started dating. Perhaps it’s the way they respond to the challenges the landscape throws at them that makes her realize she’s with the wrong person, or perhaps the moorland’s bleak beauty helps her see everything more clearly. Either way, she and Jim aren’t coming home together.

“Take On Me” – a-ha (The Colossus of Rhodes)
This story is the most autobiographical in the book. It’s set in the summer of 1985, and Hunting High and Low is the record (or cassette tape, to be precise) my brothers and I couldn’t get enough of that year.

“Homesick” – The Cure (Mother 2: Innsbruck)
Eva travels to a number of different countries in this story, seemingly fleeing and hunting for something all at once. When she arrives in France she remembers a Frenchman she knew years before, with whom she bonded over The Cure. They liked “the saddest songs best”, and “Homesick” fits into that – admittedly large – cohort.
More than that, the queasy longing of the lyrics – the song’s narrator says he wants to stay, but he also wants to be made to want to stay – speak to the rootlessness and desperation Eva feels at this point of her life as she tries, impossibly, to belong through leaving.

“Pençgâh Solo” – Niyazi Sayin (The Haväng Dolmen)
Whether ‘The Haväng Dolmen’ (it’s Swedish, and pronounced ‘har-veng’) is a ghost story or not is up to you, but it’s certainly structured like one. While I was writing it I happened to be in a bar where this was playing and it blew me away. The music itself is beautiful, but it’s made all the more haunting by the acoustic of the recording; the flute feels so distant that you can’t help but feel plunged into isolation when you listen to it. This made it a perfect companion to the story, in which the narrator comes to feel more and more alone after each uncanny experience he undergoes. From the moment I heard it, it became the only thing I listened to while I worked on this story.

“Grantchester Meadows” – Pink Floyd (Run)
At a certain point in ‘Run’, one of the characters hears a skylark singing as he stands alone in the Swedish countryside. The story has a half-concealed menace to it, and “Grantchester Meadows”, which has the looped song of a skylark woven throughout, shares a similar atmosphere. Roger Waters is singing about idyllic rural scenes, but something about that river “sliding unseen beneath the trees” sets me on edge, as does the “deathly silence” of the countryside he describes.

“Melt” – Leftfield (Portals)
At the end of this story a young man walks the streets of Paris at dawn, with amphetamine, triumph and shame coursing through him. “Melt” is incredibly evocative of that borderline – usually crossed around dawn – where adrenaline meets exhaustion, and the pulse of the club fades away to leave behind the maddening, lonely throb of your heart.

“Man On the Moon” – REM (Johnny Kingdom)
Andy Tower is a stand-up comedian with writers’ block who has become trapped performing the act of an old, dead comedian called Johnny Kingdom at bachelor parties and retirement homes. Kingdom’s act is more about one-liners rather than the conceptual approach adopted by Andy Kaufman, the subject of this song, but I like to imagine the line ‘Andy are you locked in the punch,’ isn’t to do with Kaufman’s love of wrestling, but refers instead to my Andy’s horror of being trapped within another comedian’s act.

“The Winner Takes It All” – Abba (Mother 3: Eva)
In the original version of this story, a man finds this song by chance as he drives toward the hospital where his wife, who he hasn’t seen for many years, is being treated. I quoted the lyrics in the text, but while I was waiting to hear back about copyright clearance, I rewrote the scene just in case any problems arose. As it happened I ended up liking the version without the lyrics better, but either way: what a song. I can’t listen to it too often because it just chews me up and spits me out.


Chris Power and Mothers links:

Atlantic review
Financial Times review
Guardian review
Irish Times review
Kirkus review
New Statesman review

Big Issue North interview with the author
Guardian interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Largehearted Boy List of Online "Best Books of 2018" Lists

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

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


Shorties (Chigozie Obioma on His New Novel, a New Guided By Voices Song, and more)

An Orchestra of Minorities

Chigozie Obioma discussed his novel An Orchestra of Minorities with Weekend Edition.

"I've always wanted to write something that will show the world that prior to the coming of the British to Nigeria, we had some kind of complex systems. I feel like there hasn't been an African version of, say, Milton's 'Paradise Lost' which actually explored the very foundational principle of Western civilization, which would be the free will."

Obioma also talked to Electric Literature about the book.


Stream a new Guided By Voices song.


85 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation last week (bringing the total to 1,487), including Clash Magazine’s best music books and Graphic Policy’s best comics.


Largehearted Boy's essential and interesting 2018 year-end music lists (updated daily).


eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott

eBook on sale for $2.99 today:

No Time To Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin


Larkin Poe visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Trish Hopkinson shared a list of feminist literary magazines and journals.


The A.V. Club previewed 2019's most anticipated albums.


The Week UK previewed 2019's best books.


Paste listed rising Australian bands.


The Pool interviewed author Roxane Gay.


Stream a new Girlpool song.


Literary Hub recommended books you might have missed in December.


Stream a new song by Sharon Van Etten.


The Millions previewed the most anticipated books of 2019's first half.


Stream a new song by Royal Trux.


CrimeReads previewed 2019's mystery and crime books.


Stream a new Steve Gunn song.


Sally Rooney has been awarded the Costa Novel Award for her novel Normal People.


Stream a new song by Hand Habits.


Stream a new song by Balms.


Stream a new Karen O song.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists


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