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February 9, 2013

Shorties (David Mitchell on the Cloud Atlas Film Adaptation, Grammy Predictions, and more)

David Mitchell talks to the Guardian about the film adaptation of his novel Cloud Atlas.

Why did you entrust your book to film-makers you had scarcely heard of to do something you believed impossible? "Even if it turned out to be a failure, I thought then, it would be a valiant failure, full of successes." Couldn't you have written the screenplay? "I'm too much of a novel nerd to spend time and energy learning screenwriting – if I could. There's also a degree of megalomania you may have noticed with novelists. I want to describe the storm. I don't want to write: 'Night. Ext. Storm' and somebody else goes off and designs the storm."

The Guardian Music blog lists 10 things to expect at this year's Grammy awards.

Paste makes Grammy predictions.

Author Hilary Mantel shares her admiration for the books of Oliver Sacks at the Guardian.

The A.V. Club staff names albums with impressive first two songs.

The Chicago Tribune remembers author and professor Richard Stern.

Stereogum lists Sleater-Kinney albums from worst to best.

At the Guardian, writers and poets reflect on what Sylvia Plath's work means to them.

The Telegraph profiles singer-songwriter John Prine.

Prine's songs have been covered by legions of performers and he says: "You are always initially pleased when someone covers a song you have written, and it's nice when someone acknowledges a debt, but the thing about my songs is that if they are not done right then they can sound a bit wordy. When I perform, I am almost in a situation where I am abbreviating my own lyrics."

Amazon has acquired a patent for reselling and lending ebooks.

Sam Lipsyte discusses writing about sex in The New Republic.

The Guardian profiles R&B singer Miguel.

Yet if Miguel's music recalls anything, it's not so much a sound as an era – notably the late-60s and early-70s, when soul musicians were breaking out from what was expected of them (think Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, Stevie Wonder's Talking Book, Shuggie Otis's Inspiration Information). Like those artists, Miguel refuses to be pigeonholed. One minute he'll serve up glitzy stadium pop (Don't Look Back), the next a subtle, seductive number such as Adorn. Lyrically, too, he's trying to stretch himself beyond the parameters of what he calls "your typical R&B dude".

I recommended three books at the Picador Book Room.

The Guardian profiles indie pop duo Adam Green and Binki Shapiro.

Adam Green's studio looks like a day centre for small children. Every surface is covered in primary-coloured splodgy paintings, there are giant papier-mache objects leaning against walls and a small spiral staircase leads to a beanbag-covered mezzanine whose function I can only guess to be "nap time". Best known as one half of the Moldy Peaches – the band he formed with Kimya Dawson whose lo-fi antifolk songs and juvenile spirit won them cultish acclaim – Green is now 31. His latest project sees him teaming up with Binki Shapiro, singer in the Brazilian-inflected pop trio Little Joy. Any Moldy Peach diehards balking at the idea of Green duetting with someone other than Dawson are missing out, though: this record sounds as though he and Shapiro have known each other for ever.

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Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

also at Largehearted Boy:

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

The list of online "best of 2012" book lists
The list of online "best of 2012" music lists

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics & graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists

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