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April 24, 2017

Book Notes - Kristen Radtke "Imagine Wanting Only This"

Imagine Wanting Only This

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Kristen Radtke's graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This is one of the most moving and thoughtful comics I have read in years.

The Chicago Tribune wrote of the book:

"One of the most haunting graphic memoirs I’ve ever read. . . . As we turn the pages on [Radtke’s] journey, we are ravaged and ravished. There is a proud tradition of graphic memoirists—of those dually equipped to wield word and image—to tell the true and deeply considered story of a life. Alison Bechdel, Roz Chast, Riad Sattouf, David Small, Marjane Satrapi, Art Spiegelman and others have done it searingly well. Add now to that list Radtke, who proves herself an equal among equals with this debut book."


In her own words, here is Kristen Radtke's Book Notes music playlist for her graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This:



A note: It'd be disingenuous for me not to mention that a common soundtrack to much of the drawing in Imagine Wanting Only This was the television and radio: drawing over 1,200 images means incountable hours alone, and after some of the early choices are made in each drawing, a lot of it can feel simply like labor and execution. Jessica Abel made an entire book about the radio in reaction to this, called Out on the Wire: the Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio. After a few hours of NPR, the comforting formulas of television often served as easy backdrops for me, too—Law and Order: SVU, 90s sitcoms, poorly-rated sci-fi like Fringe. Still, I often write in silence, particularly when I first start composing.

Leonard Cohen, "Chelsea Hotel #2"

I think this is one of the most beautifully disingenuous songs of all time. Cohen spends the entire song reminiscing about the times he spent with a woman, and then ends with "that's all, I don't even think of you that often."

Stevie Nicks

I can't really pick just one here, but I listened to her so often during the writing and drawing of Imagine.

My Morning Jacket, "I Will Be There When You Die"

I love putting on old college favorites when I'm working through drafts. I was introduced to My Morning Jacket via a mix-CD that a dreamy art student with a tongue ring slipped under my dorm room door. He played guitar and knew how to use Photoshop, so I took his music recs really seriously.

Houndmouth, "Houston Train"

I love drawing to smokey lady voices.

Penguin Cafe Orchestra, "Perpetuum Mobile"

Maybe it's because two of the most brilliant literary people I know got married while this song played, but I stick this song on writing playlists all the time.

Portishead, "Glory Box"

Good for sexy writing.

Miles Davis, "Four"

I like cheerful songs while I'm making work about the end of days.

This Will Destroy You, "Leather Wings"

Just super duper beautiful.

Phoenix, "Love Like a Sunset Part I"

This one's a little frantic in parts and can make you feel a little nuts if you're trying to parse through an idea, but has always kept me energized, too.

Beirut, "The Gulag Orkestar"

This song makes me feel like I want to win a war, and the war is turning in a book on time.


Kristen Radtke and Imagine Wanting Only This links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Atlantic review
Chicago Tribune review
Full Stop review
Kirkus Reviews review
Publishers Weekly profile of the author

Bustle profile of the author
Comic Book Resources interview with the author
The Daily Iowan profile of the author
Dallas News profile of the author
ELLE profile of the author
Michigan Quarterly Review interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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)
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






April 24, 2017

Shorties (An Interview with Paul Auster, Stephin Merritt on Writing, and more)

Hazlitt interviewed author Paul Auster.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields about writing.


The New York Times shared a primer of resistance poetry.


Stream a new How To Dress Well song.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.


The Paris Review shared an excerpt from Damon Krukowski's book The New Analog: Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World.


The New Yorker profiled author Elizabeth Strout.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields about writing.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Jeff VanderMeer's new novel Borne.


Musician Aidan Moffatt discussed his favorite album art at The Quietus.


The Rumpus interviewed author Lidia Yuknavitch.


Stream a new Pond song.


Literary Hub recommended contemporary novels about teens for adults.


Rolling Stone interviewed Iggy Pop.


The Creative Independent interviewed poet Nikki Giovanni.


Stereogum reconsidered Feist's The Reminder album 10 years after its release.


The Los Angeles Times interviewed author Jonathan Lethem.


Aimee Mann broke down her song "Patient Zero" on the Song Exploder podcast.


Vanguard interviewed author Okey Ndibe.


Stream a new song by Jonathan Rado of Foxygen.


The Los Angeles Times interviewed author Jason Diamond.


Stereogum ranked Prince albums.


Granta shared an excerpt from Amelia Gray's forthcoming novel Isadora.


SPIN listed 10 of Prince's best deep cuts.


The Believer interviewed author Jeff Jackson.


David Cross and members of Yo La Tengo shared an oral history of the band's "Sugarcube" video.


Paste recommended books for aspiring farmers.


The Record looked back on Prince's posthumous year in business.


The Verge recommended books about about climate change's worst case scenarios.


Paste ranked Father John Misty songs.


The Guardian interviewed author Francesca Segal about her debut novel The Awkward Age.


The band Tacocat discussed its Coachella experience with The Record.


Alison MacLeod discussed her new short story collection All the Beloved Ghosts with Weekend Edition.


eBooks on sale for $1.50 today:

After Disasters by Viet Dinh
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks by Donald Harington
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Georgia O'Keefe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Henry and June by Anais Nin
I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Familiar by J. Robert Lennon
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
On Immunity by Eula Biss
Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon



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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


April 21, 2017

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - April 21, 2017

Charly Bliss

The Black Angels' Death Song, Charly Bliss's Guppy, Ron Sexsmith's The Last Rider, Tara Jane O'Neil's Tara Jane O'Neil, and Woods' Love Is Love are all albums I can recommend this week.

Raveonettes' 2016 Atomized collects the band's 12 singles released last year.

Vinyl reissues include four Tom Petty albums (Echo, em>Highway Companion, The Last DJ, Songs and Music From The Motion Picture She's The One), two from Pete Townshend (The Iron Man: The Musical, White City: The Novel), and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

What new music are you looking forward to or enjoying this week?


This week's interesting music releases:

Actress: AZD
Andrew Combs: Canyons of my Mind [vinyl]
Angaleena Presley: Wrangled
Arto Lindsay: Cuidado Madame
Bee Gees: Timeless - The All-Time Greatest Hits
Big Star's Third Live: Thank You, Friends: Big Star's Third Live...
The Black Angels: Death Song
BoDeans: Thirteen
Boss Hog: Brood X
Brad Paisley: Love And War
Charly Bliss: Guppy
Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Yo-Yo Ma: Bach Trios [vinyl]
Close Talker: Lens
Cream: Fresh Cream (6-LP box set) [vinyl]
David Bowie: No Plan EP [vinyl]
Ella Fitzgerald: 100 Songs For A Centennial (4-CD box set)
The Fall: Perverted By Language (reissue) [vinyl]
Fionn Regan: Meetings of the Waters
Frank Zappa: Proxy by Proxy (reissue)
Imelda May: Life Love Flesh Blood
Incubus: 8
Have Mercy: Make The Best Of It
J Dilla: Motor City
Jason Eady: Jason Eady
Joe Goddard: Electric Lines
Justin Walter: Unseen Forces
Maggie Rogers: Now That The Light Is Fading [vinyl]
Mark Mothersbaugh: Mutant Flora [vinyl]
Matt And Sam's Brother: My Brain Hurts A Lot
Maxïmo Park: Risk To Exist
Overcoats: Young
Pete Townshend: The Iron Man: The Musical (reissue) [vinyl]
Pete Townshend: White City: The Novel (reissue) [vinyl]
Peter Bradley Adams: A Face Like Mine
Preservation Hall Jazz Band: So It Is
Raveonettes: 2016 Atomized
Ray Davies: Americana
The Residents: Diskomo/Goosebumps EP
Richie Kotzen: Salting Earth
Robyn Hitchcock: Robyn Hitchcock
Ron Sexsmith: The Last Rider
Sheryl Crow: Be Myself
Sun Ra: Hello Mr. Schimmel [vinyl]
Tara Jane O'Neil: Tara Jane O'Neil
Tom Petty: Echo (reissue) [vinyl]
Tom Petty: Highway Companion (reissue) [vinyl]
Tom Petty: The Last DJ (reissue) [vinyl]
Tom Petty: Songs and Music From The Motion Picture She's The One (reissue) [vinyl]
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: Before The Flood (Music from the Motion Picture) [vinyl]
Various Artists: The Brain Box - Cerebral Sounds Of Brain Records 1972-1979 (8-CD box set)
Various Artists: Groundhog Day The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Various Artists: Hillbillies In Hell - Country Musics Tormented Testament (1952-1974) - The Final Chapter
Various Artists: Honeybeat: Groovy 60s Girl Pop
Various Artists: Max's Kansas City 1976 (reissue) [vinyl]
Various Artists: Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack) (reissue) [vinyl]
Woods: Love Is Love
The Zombies: Greatest Hits (reissue) [vinyl]


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
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)


Shorties (New Nonfiction by Cormac McCarthy, Sad13 Covered Carole King, and more)

Nautilus published new Cormac McCarthy nonfiction.


Sad13 covered Carole King's "It's Too Late."


Stream a new Polica song.


Electric Literature hosted a conversation between authors Sarah Gerard and Lidia Yuknavitch.


Stream a new Katie Von Schleicher track.


Author David Grann discussed his favorite crime novels at Five Books.


Stream a new Mark Lanegan song.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Lance Olsen's novel Dreamlives of Debris.


Stream a new Steve Gunn song.


Author Elif Shafak talked Turkish politics with WorldPost.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed the band Kikagaku Moyo.


The Paris Review interviewed author Patty Yumi Cottrell.


All Things Considered explored the musical legacy of The Simpsons.


The Rumpus interviewed author Jon Raymond.


Stream a new Jonsi song.


Publishers Weekly previewed summer's best new books.


The Arizona Daily Sun profiled Jay Farrar of Son Volt.


Jessa Crispin recommended reading outside our "literary bubbles" at the Guardian.


Christian Today profiled singer-songwriter Craig Finn.


Comic Book Resources interviewed Kristen Radtke about her graphic novel Imagine Wanting Only This.


PopMatters reconsidered Prince's Sign o' the Times album 30 years after its release.


The Washington Post recommended April's best poetry books.


Stream three new Justin Townes Earle songs.


The 2017 Man Booker International Prize shortlist has been announced.

Congratulations to Largehearted Boy contributor Dorthe Nors.


Paste ranked Father John Misty songs.


Flavorwire interviewed Max Winter about his debut novel Exes.


Deceptive Cadence interviewed Lyanda Lynn Haupt about her book Mozart's Starling.


Read an excerpt from Peter Straub's new novella The Process (is a Process All Its Own).


The Washington Post examined prescription drugs' influence on modern music.


Literary Hub shared a conversation between authors Joseph Salvatore and Scott Cheshire.


eBooks on sale for $1.50 today:

After Disasters by Viet Dinh
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks by Donald Harington
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Georgia O'Keefe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Henry and June by Anais Nin
I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Familiar by J. Robert Lennon
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
On Immunity by Eula Biss
Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon



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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


April 20, 2017

Book Notes - Anne Elizabeth Moore "Body Horror"

Body Horror

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Sharp, shocking, and darkly funny, the essays in this sapient collection … expose the twisted logic at the core of Western capitalism and our stunted understanding of both its violence and the illnesses it breeds. … Brainy and historically informed, this collection is less a rallying cry or a bitter diatribe than a series of irreverent and ruthlessly accurate jabs at a culture that is slowly devouring us."


In her own words, here is Anne Elizabeth Moore's Book Notes music playlist for her essay collection Body Horror:



1. Glory And Gore - Lorde
Body Horror is kind of a joke book about horrible diseases and labor abuses, and can probably act as some kind of coping mechanism for women and non-binary folk under capitalism, but is also kind of a peek into my bizarre interest in combining cute things with serious gore f*cking winning. The chorus of this song goes, "Glory and gore go hand in hand / that's why we're makin' headlines." It's probably not irrelevant that 20-year old pop prodigy Lorde got the full-page NYT treatment for her "dramatic return" after her debut at 16, and the freaking comments on the story are all about how she doesn't smile enough.

2. Chemo Limo - Regina Spektor
"This shit is making me dead, it's making me dead": Insurance policies, chemo, being tired, going out in style, and the sudden moment where the narrator, describing her kids, breaks down about how much her daughter looks like her mom: this may be my favorite song about facing death. Why are the Russians always so good about death? Gogol, Tatyana Tolstaya. Apparently Spektor wrote the song when she was 18. Mother Jones asked her how her songs so accurately describe such horrible experiences she couldn't have had. She said, "As a writer, you must have been told: Write about what you know. But Kafka didn't. Gogol didn't. Did Shakespeare write only what he knew? Did Camus? Our own selves are limitless. And our capacity for empathy is giant."

3. (Hospital Vespers) - The Weakerthans
The Weakerthans is one of my go-to bands. This song about wanting to protect private fear before a medical procedure is something I think about often. How do we express care for each other? Maybe love is as simple as being willing to stand on a chair and block a video camera for a second. In one of the most brutal essays in the book, I more or less catalog every single shitty thing anyone said to me over the first three years of illness. But there are a handful of moments of light tucked in there, kindnesses that were overwhelmingly meaningful to me, that the person who committed them later may not have even recalled doing, and this song seems to capture that exact variety of moment.

4. I'm Better (feat. Lamb) - Missy Elliott
Missy Elliott is rumored to have an autoimmune disease, the frighteningly named Graves disease, which isn't nearly as terrifying as it sounds, except in the sense that all autoimmune diseases are terrifying. Also she is the best, and songs about being able to get out of bed in the morning just because you have pals are also the best.

5. Only Women Bleed - Alice Cooper
Obviously.

6 . Shotgun Blues - Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn
"If I had a shotgun / and you were in the woods / I'd hunt you down / and tell you you're no good." Oh did you think Body Horror was exclusively about horrors perpetrated on the feminine body? No sir. Try to keep up.

7. Ativan Eyes - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Ted Leo is also just the best, is he not? : "I'm so sick of cynics and I want something to trust in." Obviously I needed to have the Pharmacists on this playlist too, so.

8. Distracted - Sean Spillane
This song is from the soundtrack to The Woman, Lucy McKee's amazing horror film about misogyny, which I write about pretty extensively in the book. The song's not great, I'll admit, but I love it for the lyric, "We're all adrift upon this planet spinning 'round the sun / Years ago I thought we were f*cked / Now I bought a gun / got target practice noon to one / Yeah, and I'm having a lot more fun."

9. Shark Week - Hand Job Academy
Here's the thing about women and gore: we're actually kinda over it.

10. Hospital Beds - Cold War Kids
Nice plodding piano song about how boring it is to be hospitalized, and everyone else there is always mind-numbing, until we get to that sweet twinkly refrain about putting out the "fire on us."

11. Lupus - Killdozer
I have never loved a band harder than I love Killdozer. Michael Gerald's songwriting and delivery has always gone above and beyond. But this freaking song about how Flannery O'Conner died of lupus—"she wrote many books before death came upon her," although the narrator doesn't really remember what happened in any of those books—is just so good. And, of course, is one of the very few songs actually about an autoimmune disease. I only had lupus for a few months, but shit that is a suck-ass diagnosis.

12. Nine Out of Ten - Caetano Veloso
"Nine out of ten movies stars make me cry / I'm alive": Most books about illness are cast as stories about mortality, but I take that notion to task pretty seriously in Body Horror. For the most part, these are actually just stories about life under duress, which is a condition a lot of people deal with on a pretty regular basis. So marginalizing such stories as only about death, or as only relevant to those who are close to death, is pretty whack. It's been gratifying to see critics pick up on that, too, and talk about the book in terms of athletic prowess and vitality.

13. Doll Parts - Hole
I'm supposed to note the relevance of the lyric here, "Some day, you will ache like I ache." But more appropriate to my personal interests is the lyric about accruing the highest volume of cake, which is extremely important to me.

14. Meningitis Blues - Memphis Minnie
All those old songs about very specific diseases and their very particular ailments—I really miss them. Now we just have personal blogs and chatrooms and specialists and those are not very catchy at all. If more songwriters had the stamina of former child prodigy Kid Douglas—ran away from home at 13 and played in the streets until she literally joined the circus, then married, then signed to Columbia records with her first husband before kicking off her solo career as Memphis Minnie, albeit in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Detroit—we'd probably have better songs in general.

15. Pregnant Women are Smug - Garfunkel and Oates
I wish Garfunkel and Oates would stop pretending they're a comedy band and just admit they're a real band but keep doing exactly what they already do. This is a clever song about how fully our society condones maternity—which I write about in relationship to the development of intellectual property rights law in the book. Short version: I'm not exactly a maternal person.

16. Night of Blood in a World Without End - The Body
OK, there are some dark moments in the book.

17. Housewives And Their Knives - Miles Kurosky
Cutesy ditties about ladies maybe murdering their husbands, if you're not basically here for that you probably have the wrong Anne Elizabeth Moore.

18. Open Up and Bleed - The Stooges
I mean.

19. Lithium - Nirvana
I called in a ringer on this playlist, a personal music consultant who has nearly opposite natural tendencies in music than I do, but whom I trust explicitly in all matters aesthetic. He f*cking hates this song. I get it: I refused to listen to it for 20 years. However, I recently realized it is a good song, and I get to make the playlist because I wrote the book.

20. Houses - Elyse Weinberg
Of course I have heard this far more frequently as a Dinosaur Jr. cover, but Weinberg's original, with all that late-1960s lilt and raw sweetness, conveys something Dino Jr just can't (sorry dudes) in the lyrics: "I could never make it in your house / you could never make it in mine."

21. My Red Self - Heavens To Betsy
This was what I have been listening to for the last 20 years instead of Nirvana: Corin Tucker's pre-Sleater Kinney band. Blame me? I didn't think so. "What is the color of shame / I know it's red, blood blood red." There's quite a bit about the shame of menstruation in the book—and the unbelievable commerce to be milked from it, particularly in the sanitary hygiene industry. I don't want to brag, but I bet I'm the world's foremost leading critic of the sanitary napkin disposal bag.

22. Juggernaut - Stan Hubbs
Psychedelia about our godless times. If I were actually making this book as a body horror film, this song would for sure close out Act I.

23. Westfall - Okkerville River
This is just the best song ever written about how easy and fun it is to murder people in cold blood. I mean, I've never done it, but this song makes it seem like maybe I will one night, hanging out with some pals. I write a bit about something Virginie Despentes says about rape in King Kong Theory, about how it would be limited if women started carrying carpet knives around with them everywhere; if men thought that getting their dicks sliced off might be a possible outcome of sexual violence. There's something nice about that notion in relation to this song: this comfortable, kinda clueless guy who just decides to kill a girl in the woods one day and then finds himself a little surprised that there may be consequences. One thing that really underpins the super broad essays in Body Horror is how what we do and do not fear ends up defining us.

24. Living in a Coffin - Lost Cherrees
My ringer dug this one up for me, hilarious pun NOT intended but I'm leaving it in out of laziness. Lady-fronted anarcho punk seems an excellent way to close out the playlist, donnit?


Anne Elizabeth Moore and Body Horror links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Autostraddle review
Publishers Weekly review
Viva la Feminista review

Chicago Magazine interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Cambodian Grrrl
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Hip-Hop Asporia
The Matthew Filipowicz Show interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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)
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


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - April 20, 2017

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 Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington

The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington
by Leonora Carrington

We are big fans of The Dorothy Publishing Project, and books like The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington only reaffirm the love. Carrington, 20th century surrealist writer and painter, was the unsung seamstress of gleeful satires, stories, and nimble motions of the imagination. Published to coincide with the centennial of her birth in 1917, The Complete Stories is the first collection of all of this remarkable artist’s stories, including several never before seen in print.


Book of Mutter

Book of Mutter
by Kate Zambreno

Written in a thirteen-year period after her mother's death, Book of Mutter is Kate Zambreno's intimate and disquieting portrayal of grief in all of its manifestations. Tender and yearning, Zambreno’s text is fragmented and fractal, mimicking the shapes that memory takes when compounded with loss.


I Have to Live

I Have to Live
by Aisha Sasha John

I Have to Live is the much anticipated new collection following Aisha’s much-loved and radiant first book, Thou. Full of movement, verve, urgency and inquiry, Aisha’s writing has a way of blazing through you, leaving you deeply warmed and abuzz. She writes, “Trumpeting the forensic authority of the heart: I have to live.”


Of Cats and Men

Of Cats and Men
by Sam Kalda

For centuries, felines and femininity have been practically synonymous—hence the reproachable "crazy cat lady" stereotype. Of Cats and Men takes the initiative in celebrating some of history's famous, cat-loving men, including Nikola Tesla, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, and Andy Warhol!


The Interview

The Interview
by Manuele Fior

The Interview is a science fiction graphic novel that eschews the stars in favor of the delicate, fragile, interior world of human emotion. It is a moving story about the passage of time, the commonalities and differences between generations, and on our changing society.(*The Interview will also be the next book for our Graphic Novel Book Club and Librairie Drawn and Quarterly!)


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)


Shorties (Ranking Fictional Drugs, Jawbreaker's First Show in 21 Years, and more)

Literary Hub ranked fictional drugs.


Jawbreaker will play its first live show in 21 years.


eBooks on sale for $1.50 today:

After Disasters by Viet Dinh
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks by Donald Harington
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Georgia O'Keefe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Henry and June by Anais Nin
I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Familiar by J. Robert Lennon
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
On Immunity by Eula Biss
Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon


The Quietus interviewed Thurston Moore.


NPR Books reviewed Lidia Yuknavitch's novel The Book of Joan.


Stream a new Woods song.


The Independent recommended children's books to re-read as an adult.


Stereogum interviewed Feist.


The Guardian recommended books about trees.


Stream a new Afghan Whigs song.


BookPage interviewed author Sara Baume.


Stream a new Okkervil River song.


Democracy Now interviewed author Valeria Luiselli.


The Global Archive is an online database of Alan Lomax recordings.


VICE interviewed author Matthew Desmond.


The Fader interviewed Augusta Koch of Cayetana.

Stream a new song by the band.


Slice interviewed poet Kaveh Akbar.


NPR Music is streaming Colin Stetson's new album All This I Do For Glory.


New York Tyrant shared a new poem by Leopoldine Core.


Morning Edition shared a conversation between George Clinton and Killer Mike.


Literary Hub interviewed authir David Grann.


NPR Music is streaming Willie Nelson's new album God's Problem Child.


Book Riot recommended children's books about non-traditional families.


Paste profiled the band Alex Napping.


Paste interviewed filmmaker John Waters.

Waters talked books and reading with the New York Times.


Bill Murray talked to the New York Times about his new music project.


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author Lidia Yuknavitch.


Organisms named after musicians.


Darcie Wilder talked to Vol. 1 Brooklyn about her debut novel literally show me a healthy person.


Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers discussed his favorite songs at the Washington Post.


WGN Radio interviewed author Jami Attenberg.


Bruce Springsteen shared an anti-Trump song.


Bookworm interviewed poet Talamantez Brolaski.


Stereogum is streaming Tara Jane O'Neil's self-titled album.


The Huffington Post shared an excerpt from Kristen Radtke's graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This.


The New Pornographers visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Fresh Air interviewed lexicographer Kory Stamper about how words enter the dictionary.


Wire's Colin Newman and Graham Lewis broke their new album Silver/Lead down track-by-track at Drowned in Sound.


The Last Magazine profiled poet Ocean Vuong.

“I see my work as not necessarily building a piece of art like a vase, but rather the vase having shattered through various modes of rupture,” he says, “and insisting that down here in the dirt, where the vase has been destroyed, the debris itself is art. Even within the pieces, one can still create a narrative that one does not have to be whole in order to have a life worthy of art and literature.”


Stream a new Perfume Genius song.


Jim Ruland on running his reading series since 2004.


Tidal interviewed the members of the band Potty Mouth.



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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


April 19, 2017

Book Notes - Emma Richler "Be My Wolff"

Be My Wolff

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Emma Richler's ambitious novel Be My Wolff is innovatively crafted and broad in scope.

Library Journal wrote of the book:

"Jewel-like bits of fable and fact are interwoven with modern-day conversations . . . as the tale of the Wolff family unfolds and reaches back into history in adroit and surprising ways."


In her own words, here is Emma Richler's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Be My Wolff:



I love music, but I never listen to it when writing, because music is so emotionally manipulative and I cannot have that kind of influence playing on me while I work. This is not to say musical ideas do not influence my work in other ways, but these are self-generated, and character driven. There is, for instance, a great deal of music in Be My Wolff, meaning that during the many years it took me to write this novel, and especially in early stages, I listened to the music that arose from the story. Who knows how this process begins, this exchange of predilections between character and author? I'd rather not know. There is music in this novel that I loved as a child. There is music in this novel I knew little about, but was obsessively drawn to before starting to write. In Be My Wolff, Katya Wolff, mother of the protagonists and a Russian émigrée, is a conductor of a Russian male choir. Her sister is a composer. This novel is full of music! When I listen to music out of hours, it is usually a very concerted occupation; I sit and listen and do nothing else. I listen over and over to the same piece and then I am able to play it while exercising or doing chores. In recent times I began to sing in Russian while cooking and cleaning, and also in my dreams, though I sing poorly and do not speak Russian.

1. The Foundling Hospital Anthem, G F Handel, HWV 268

Handel became a governor of the Foundling Hospital in London, influenced by his friends Captain Thomas Coram and William Hogarth. Coram campaigned for the founding of the Hospital for many years and eventually won a Royal Charter from George II in 1739. Hogarth persuaded some of his famous artist friends to donate works to the Hospital in order to attract patrons and charitable donations, and Handel conducted his first benefit concert in the chapel there in 1749. He attended these yearly performances until his death and they continued thereafter until the 1770s. He also wrote the hospital anthem, which includes his Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah. He left a copy of the great oratorio to the Foundling Hospital in his will. Listening to the Hallelujah Chorus is doubly moving for me now.

2. Peter's Theme from Peter & the Wolf, Sergei Prokofiev, Op.67

Prokofiev was commissioned by Natalya Sats, director of the Central Children's Theatre in Moscow in 1936 and the piece had its debut at a children's concert at the Moscow Conservatory in that year. I've always loved this work and grew up with the version narrated by the great Sir Ralph Richardson. I've listened to other narrations, but love this one above all. The music resurfaced and rang in my ears before I began this novel. I listened to it endlessly, not quite understanding how strongly it would figure. Sometimes an author waits a lifetime for a passion to find its place.

3. Zemlyanka, music, Konstantin Listov. Lyrics, Alexei Surkov

There are a number of versions of this available to hear on the internet and the oldest are the most delectable. Basically, this is a sentimental war song written during the Battle of Moscow in 1941. A 'zemlyanka' is a dugout, used by many a Russian soldier. The song is quoted several times in the novel, both Lev Wolff and his wife Katya having had young fathers who fought on the Eastern Front. The lyrics are particularly poignant. To quote a few lines:

'In a snow-white field near Moscow/ I want you above all to hear/ How sad my living voice is.'

4. Little Blue Shawl (sometimes known as 'Blue Scarf') is another Russian war song, this one a patriotic number about a promise of eternal love from a girl to a departing soldier. The lyrics are not so distinguished, but it was a hugely popular song and written, ironically and not atypically, by a Jewish lyricist and a Jewish composer. Jewish compositions were much loved, but their authors did not do so well in Stalinist Russia.

5. Oh What Can the Matter Be, or, Johnny's So Long at the Fair is a song shared between the lovers in the novel. It has many permutations and can be traced back to late 18thc England, when it was sung as a folk ballad. I am fond of the traditional lyrics and the song is both playful and full of longing. The main characters Rachel and Zachariah often speak to one another in song and folktale refrains. I think her anxiety for him is sublimated in ballads such as these.

6. Lavender's Blue is an even older English folk ballad, 17thc in origin, and it has many variations and many verses. Of these, the earliest is the one favoured by Rachel and Zach. The song is playful and has an incantatory quality, which suits them, and has little to do with the popular dance version of this nursery ballad, written in 1948-9, some 250 years after the original. This is the refrain Rachel and Zach sing to each other:

Lavender's blue, diddle, diddle,
Lavender's green;
When I am king, diddle, diddle,
You shall be queen.

7. Reuben and Rachel, William Gooch and Harry Birch, Boston, 1871

This is another duet of Rachel and Zachariah's, adopted from memories of childhood bedtimes when Katya, for whom tenderness does not come easily, would sing the song to them, substituting 'Zach-a-ri- ah' for 'Reuben, Reuben'. I too have an emotional association with the song, which my own mother, for whom tenderness does come easily, used to sing to my brother Jacob when he was a baby, substituting Jacob, of course, for the Reuben name in the duet. In my mother's version, as with Katya's, the sea in the verse was the Irish and not the Northern, and so, in my adaptation:

Zach-a-ri-ah, I've been thinking,
What a queer world this would be
If the girls were all transported
Far across the Irish Sea.

8. O My Field/ The Evening Bell/ Steppe, Endless Steppe/ Along Peterskaya Street

These are four Russian choral songs that obsessed me for the dozen years and more I spent in the writing of this novel and they became a recurring theme in Be My Wolff, important for the whole family of Russian émigrés and their children. I heard the extraordinary singing on the EMI recording 'The Male Choir of St Petersburg, conducted by Vadim Afanasiev. who did the arrangements for all the above, but 'Along Peterskaya Street', this last of which is a hilarious drinking song that I fell in love with for its hilarious and exuberant lyrics concerning a fellow riding alone in a troika, drunk on vodka by the half-pail, and bringing a fish home for his girl so she can make him a stew with parsley, hey! When my mother still had her flat in Chelsea, London, I lived with her most of the winters in the desperately sad aftermath of my father's death. I used to drive her merrily crazy singing 'Along Peterskaya Street' in English and Russian and, in fact, by playing this record as a whole. Over and over. Some of the songs are exceedingly beautiful and haunting, 'Steppe, endless steppe' and 'O My Field' especially. The vodka, the fish, the bells, the snow, the love, exile, nostalgia and tragedy in these songs, all figure in the book. These are songs with powerful echoes for the Wolff family. To quote a few:

(From O My Field)

O my field, my open field,
You are my wide expanse.

(from The evening bell)

The evening bell,
How many thoughts it arouses in me,
Of the days of my youth in my homeland,
Where I knew love, where my father's house stands.

(from Steppe, endless steppe)

Give to my wife
A word of farewell
[. . . ]
And tell her that I died here,
In the freezing steppe,
And that I have taken her love
Away with me.

9. Felix Mendelssohn Octet in E-flat major, Op.20

Mendelssohn wrote this when he was sixteen. Mendelssohn, and his love for his sister Fanny, plays a small part in this novel for several reasons. If there is a piece of Mendelssohn's most often mentioned in Be My Wolff, it is The Hebrides (or Fingal's Cave), Op. 26, but it was the immensity of feeling and energy of the Octet that swirled about in my head in the course of writing, however, because it informed me about the boy and the man. I also listened to his sister Fanny's Piano Trio in D Major, Op 11. This man of extraordinary talents and moods and capacities died aged thirty-eight, less than six months after his beloved sister Fanny. I think the tempest of his life and his 'Hebrides Overture' and his loves much affects Rachel Wolff.

10. The writing of Be My Wolff was a compulsive and obsessive and feverish adventure and took up many years of my life. I often lay on the floor with exhaustion and, for relaxation, would listen to Max Richter's Recomposed, his Vivaldi Four Seasons adaptation, published in 2012. It is beyond measure exhilarating and moving and I am attached to it for many reasons, amongst them my childhood memories of listening to The Four Seasons on car journeys to and from our country house in the Eastern Townships, Quebec, and my more recent interest in the man as a music teacher at the orphanage, the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice in the early 18thc, a detail about which I had been ignorant and which fed my fascination for the tardy foundation of the Foundling Hospital in London and the support it found in another remarkable composer and émigré German, George Frideric Handel.


Emma Richler and Be My Wolff links:

the author's Wikipedia entry

Publishers Weekly review
Quill & Quire review
Toronto Star review

Globe and Mail interview with the author
Montreal Gazette profile of the author
Signature interview with the author
Toronto Star profile of the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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)
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 (The 2017 Best Translated Book Award Finalists, New Music from Waxahatchee, and more)

The 2017 Best Translated Book Award finalists have been announced.


Stream a new Waxahatchee song.


eBooks on sale for $1.50 today:

After Disasters by Viet Dinh
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks by Donald Harington
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Georgia O'Keefe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Henry and June by Anais Nin
I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Familiar by J. Robert Lennon
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
On Immunity by Eula Biss
Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon


Stream a new song by Art School Jocks.


Publishers Weekly profiled author Kristen Radtke.


Stream a new Juana Molina song.


The Daily Beast features an excerpt from Lesley Nneka Arimah's new collection What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky.


Stream a new Terry Allen song.


Tobias Carroll shared some writing tips at The Porch.


Stream a new Terror Pigeon song.


Entertainment Weekly shared an excerpt from Chloe Benjamin’s novel The Immortalists.


Father John Misty covered the Velvet Underground's "Who LOves the Sun."


Electric Literature interviewed author Kristen Radtke.


NPR Music is streaming Close Talker's new album Lens.


Literary Hub shared a conversation between authors Robin Wasserman and Charles Bock.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed Dave Davies of the Kinks.


The Rumpus poetry book club interviewed Adrian Matejka.


Stream a new Justin Townes Earle song.


Elizabeth Warren talked to All Things Considered about her book This Fight Is Our Fight.


BrooklynVegan interviewed the music supervisor for the television series Fargo.


The CBC interviewed author Durga Chew-Bose.


Stream a new James Elkington song.


The New York Times features new nonfiction by Jami Attenberg.


Classic songs reimagined as Stephen King book covers.


Historian David McCullough discussed his new book The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For with TIME.


Singer-songwriter Samantha Crain talked style with Paste.


The Minneapolis Star Tribune profiled author Lesley Nneka Arimah.


Stream a new Cende song.


The Tampa Bay Times profiled author Margaret Atwood.


Stream a previously unreleased Prince song.


BuzzFeed shared an excerpt from Lydia Yuknavitch's novel The Book of Joan.


CLRVYNT interviewed Hannah Lew of the band Cold Beat.



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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


April 18, 2017

Book Notes - Lidia Yuknavitch "The Book of Joan"

The Book of Joan

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Lidia Yuknavitch's ambitious and accomplished novel The Book of Joan, a dystopic and science fiction retelling of Joan of Arc, might be the perfect novel for our times.

KIrkus Reviews wrote of the book:

"Yuknavitch writes with her characteristic fusion of poetic precision and barbed ferocity, and the ingenuity of the world she creates astounds even in the face of the novel’s ambitiously messy sprawl. Perhaps even more astounding is Yuknavitch’s prescience: readers will be familiar with the figure of Jean de Men, a celebrity-turned–drone-wielding–dictator who first presided over the Wars on Earth and now lords over CIEL, having substituted ‘all gods, all ethics, and all science with the power of representation, a notion born on Earth, evolved through media and technology.’ A harrowing and timely entry into the canon of speculative fiction."


In her own words, here is Lidia Yuknavitch's Book Notes music playlist for her novel The Book of Joan:



Music is so profoundly at the heart of The Book of Joan I almost can't make sentences about it because it makes my hands shake (from nerd glee). That is, in my refiguring of the Joan of Arc story, I took theological God out of the equation, and in his place I put string theory--the music of the planets and cosmos. But you know who says it best? Physicist Michio Kaku: "In string theory, all particles are vibrations on a tiny rubber band; physics is the harmonies on the string; chemistry is the melodies we play on vibrating strings; the universe is a symphony of strings, and the 'Mind of God' is cosmic music resonating in 11-dimensional hyperspace."

See why my hands shake? Nerd gasm.

So while I was writing The Book of Joan I threaded through this string theory musicality, and that is what she hears instead of god. All energy and all matter manifesting as a fierce symphonic music in her head.

The actual music I listened to in the years I was writing The Book of Joan thus carries the trace of astrophysics in them—if only in my ears and head and heart.

NASA's recordings of the sounds of planets and stars in space

You heard me. The sounds are made from electronic vibrations of the planets, moons and rings, electromagnetic fields of the planets and moons, planetary magnetosphere, trapped radio waves bouncing between the planet and the inner surface of it's atmosphere, charged particle interactions of the planet, it's moons and the solar wind, and from charged particle emissions from the rings of certain planets. When I imagined what the Joan of Arc character in my book hears in her head instead of god, this is where I began.

The Soundtrack to Three Colours: Blue (from Trois couleurs, a three-part film series directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski : "Song For The Unification Of Europe (Patrice's Version)"

Originally, the music that Joan hears from the cosmos was pure space sound; as I evolved the story I decided to evolve what she hears toward something more symphonic. The music that the main character in Trois Couleurs, Bleu hears in her head as she struggles with her grief at the death of her husband and daughter—the bursts of sound—was the core influence for my narrative version as I imagined that mixed with the music of Saturn's rings and other string theory orchestral sounds.

Sigur Rós:: "Untitled 3," "Sæglópur" and "Hoppípolla"

Um, I played these three songs in loops as endlessly as a 17 year old angsty boy the entire time I was writing The Book of Joan. I'd say I don't know why, but I do know why. Sigur Rós defies musical categorization, and since I was dislocating a "real" story from history and scattering it like new stars in the sky of my imagination, I needed music that didn't remind me of old tropes and categories and tired out stories.

Sun Ra :: "The Cosmos Fire" and "Hidden Spheres"

In so very many ways Afrofuturism has influenced my imagination as a writer. Early on I was influenced by Afrofuturism writers such as Octavia Butler, Samuel Delaney, and more recently by Colson Whitehead and Nnedi Okorafor. For me Sun Ra is a musical ground zero for the Afrofuturism impulse. Making a helix of jazz and space created an imaginal realm that catapulted me into multiverses and the possibility of creating new myths. His insistence that he had a vision in which he visited Saturn partly inspired me to ask the question, how might we make new myths of our lives and experiences?

John Coltrane :: A Love Supreme

As I was casting about in my mind's eye for how to represent non-theological spirituality as a kind of cosmic music for my Joan of Arc character, I kept coming back to the four movements of A Love Supreme—Acknowledgement, Resolution, Pursuance, and Psalm. Not only do I experience this music as a kind of extended ecstatic state every SINGLE TIME I listen to it, but I also patterned the narrative movements of Joan's journey in my novel after secular versions of these musical movements.

Devotchka :: "The Last Beat of My Heart"

This seemed to me to be the lovesong between Joan and Leone.

Devotchka :: "How It Ends"

This would be the lovesong between Christine and Trinculo toward the end of the novel.

David Bowie :: "Blackstar"

David Bowie died while I was in the final editing stages of The Book of Joan. But he left us the gift of a lifetime with the Blackstar release. The title track incorporates Jazztronica or Nu jazz in a way that made me feel like the past and the present and the future are not linear, that life and death are not linear, and that music, like narrative, is quantum. It felt like his music made a portal from his death, released it from time and into the multiverses. This concept—that time is not linear, proven by astrophysics, is also at the heart of The Book of Joan. Since I no longer believe in linear time, nor linear narrative, his last music scorched itself into my heart and creative psychic space. The entire work reminds me that everything is matter and energy; I believe in art the way other people believe in god. Blackstar (in its entirety) loosens the story of a life and sets it sailing back out into space. I cried listening to the tracks over and over and over again while I was reaching the "ending" of The Book of Joan and saying goodbye to the characters I had created.


Lidia Yuknavitch and The Book of Joan links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book
video trailer for the book

BUST interview with the author
Kirkus Reviews review
Los Angeles Review of Books review
Publishers Weekly review

Bustle profile of the author
Oregonian profile of the author
Powell's interview with the author
Weekend Edition interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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)
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


Book Notes - Sara Baume "A Line Made by Walking"

A Line Made by Walking

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

A Line Made by Walking, Sara Baume's worthy followup to her stunning debut Spill Simmer Falter Wither, is a captivating novel about art and mental health.

The Guardian wrote of the book:

"Fascinating, because of the cumulative power of the precise, pleasingly rhythmic sentences, and the unpredictable intelligence of the narrator’s mind. . . [In A Line Made By Walking] there is a reminder of the beauty that can be found when you allow yourself to look slowly and sadly at the world"


In her own words, here is Sara Baume's Book Notes music playlist for her novel A Line Made by Walking:



My second novel is named after an artwork of great significance by Richard Long. A Line Made by Walking was an ‘action’ undertaken in 1967 when Long was still a student in St. Martin’s School of Art in London. He caught a train out of the city, and in a field, walked up and down and up and down in a straight line until his footsteps had worn a visible track through the grass, then he documented the site in photographs. This is one of roughly seventy artworks which are described throughout the novel. Frankie, the narrator, is a young graduate struggling to establish an art practice. In the spring of her twenty-sixth year, she abandons her bedsit in the city and goes to stay, alone, in the bungalow in which her grandmother died, three years earlier. Her days are spent drifting the countryside, interrogating the decisions in life which led her up to this point. At intervals, she impels herself to recall the works she learned about in college, as an attempt to find meaning, and to continue to learn in spite of the fact that her formal education has come to an end. ‘I test myself,’ she says, over and over, ‘because no one else will, not any more…’

At the end of the novel, it was important to me to include an ‘Index of Artworks’ and an ‘Author’s Note’. In the ‘Note’, I urged readers to ‘seek out, perceive and interpret these artworks for themselves.’ I also considered adding a list of songs and suggesting that they might be played during the scenes in the novel at which they appear. There are only seven, but each is carefully chosen and placed. In my head, they play in the background of the sentences and my narrator is moved by them far more so than she is by any of the artworks, despite her best efforts.

The Radetzky March by Johann Strauss Sr., 1848 (first performance)

This is the ringtone of Frankie’s mobile, though it’s rare that anyone actually phones her. I wanted this purposeful, celebratory tune to stand in contrast to the narrator’s suspended, despondent state of mind. When it does ring, Frankie feels as if it’s goading her – an unwelcome reminder of how she has been left behind by the busyness of the world.

"Bright Eyes" by Art Garfunkel, 1978

At the end of her grandmother’s garden, Frankie often sees a colony of rabbits, all of which are brown, except for one, which is, peculiarly, purely black. It makes her remember Watership Down – the classic animated film of 1978 written and directed by Martin Rosen, based on the novel of 1972 by Richard Adams – and then this mournful song from its soundtrack. To Frankie, "Bright Eyes" is an elegy for the slow death of nature, the gradual fading of hope. It seems to her at once achingly appropriate to her own situation.

How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?

"If You Want To Be A Bird" by The Holy Modal Rounders, 1969

From another soundtrack, this time Easy Rider, 1969. In the film, the song accompanies footage of Fonda, Hopper and Nicholson careering around expansive, endless roads on their motorcycles, performing amateur acrobatics – the red dirt and dust and scrub, an epic American landscape as backdrop to their shenanigans. In the novel, Frankie has just been collected from the city by her mother and is being driven away from her independent adult life and home to her parents’ house, like a child. "If You Want To Be A Bird" is playing on the car stereo, and again, Frankie feels goaded – a song about youth and recklessness when she has just suffered her own very personal, and momentous, stumble-from-freedom.

"Wild World" by Cat Stevens, 1970

Frankie is freewheeling on a ramshackle bicycle, listening to "Wild World" through her headphones. Even though it makes her unbearably sad, nonetheless she cannot resist playing it, over and over. Throughout the novel, the narrator is irresistibly drawn to terrifically sad art, as a form of catharsis.

"Jóga" by Björk, 1997

Headphones in again, only this time, Frankie is on a train rushing through the Irish midlands in the gathering dark. Though the specific song is not mentioned here – only that it is by Björk – in my mind it’s Jóga from the album Homogenic and the lyric which resonates throughout the scene is:

Emotional landscapes…

In fact, if I had to describe – very briefly – what the novel is about as a whole, it would be hard to find two better words than these.

"Zimbabwe" by Bob Marley & The Wailers, 1979

From the album, Survival. What is interesting about this song – which the narrator calls to mind in the final chapter as a distraction tactic – is that Frankie can’t logically explain why it means so much to her, nor why she remembers all of the lyrics so effortlessly. ‘…I realise it’s the melody which moves me,’ Frankie thinks, ‘my weakness for Zimbabwe has nothing whatsoever to do with the words.’

"Blue Monday" by New Order, 1983

This is the song which plays in the background of the novel’s closing scene. I spent a long time deciding upon it, and I still can’t explain exactly why it is that it seemed to be the perfect fit. In spite of all of the gloom which leads up to it, in spite of it being a song essentially about disillusion, "Blue Monday" is intended, at the very end, to strike a note of hopeful defiance.


Sara Baume and A Line Made by Walking links:

Booklist review
Financial Times review
Guardian review
Irish Times review
Kirkus Reviews review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review
New Statesman review
Spectator review

Foyles essay by the author
Guardian Books podcast with the author
Irish Times essay by the author
Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Spill Simmer Falter Wither
Motley interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

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)
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 (Online Activist Book Clubs, A History of Cut and Paste in Music, and more)

Bustle recommended online book clubs that combine reading with activism.


The Quietus shared a history of cut and paste in music.


eBooks on sale for $1.50 today:

After Disasters by Viet Dinh
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks by Donald Harington
We're All Damaged by Matthew Norman

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Georgia O'Keefe: A Life by Roxana Robinson
Henry and June by Anais Nin
I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Familiar by J. Robert Lennon
Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
On Immunity by Eula Biss
Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon


Words Without Borders interviewed author Samanta Schweblin.


The New Yorker examined 19th century "polar fiction."


Fiona Maazel talked to BOMB about her new novel A Little More Human.


Entropy interviewed author Christopher Woodall.


Rolling Stone profiled the band Little Dragon.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Sofia Samatar's short story collection Tender.


Stream and/or download a new Shamir album (which includes a Blake Babies cover).


The Los Angeles Review of Books examined the importance of Afrofuturism.


Stream an unreleased Bert Jansch and Johnny Marr song.


D'Marge listed the best books of 2017 (so far).


Stream a new Bully song.


CBC Radio interviewed cartoonist Jeff Lemire.


Bonnie 'Prince' Billy covered Merle Haggard's "Bad Actor."


Paste interviewed author Cecil Castellucci.


The Rolling Stone podcast examined the making of Bob Dylan's Empire Burlesque album.


Olivia Sudjic discussed her debut novel Sympathy with Flavorwire.


PopDust interviewed Kevin Calaba of the band AirLands.


Mohsin Hamid talked to Morning Edition about his novel Exit West.


Stream a new Bleachers song.


Stephanie LaCava talked bad reviews with 0s&1s Reads.


Stream a new Eyelids song (featuring current or former Decemberists, Guided By Voices, and Drive-By Truckers members).


Conversational Reading interviewed Charlotte Mandell about translating Mathias Enard's novel Compass.


PopMatters profiled composer Max Richter.



also at Largehearted Boy:

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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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


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