August 5, 2019

Tammy Lynne Stoner's Playlist for Her Novel "Sugar Land"

Sugar Land

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.

Tammy Lynne Stoner's impressive novel Sugar Land is an entertaining and assured debut.

The Houston Chronicle wrote of the book:

"[Sugar Land] is about improbable kindnesses stubbornly taking root in harsh environments; the resourcefulness of people who feel they’ve been cursed not just by society but their own desires; and how the toughest prisons are often the ones we create for ourselves."


In her own words, here is Tammy Lynne Stoner's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Sugar Land:



To me, music is light and sound and energy and, ultimately, union. It helped me learn how to feel and process emotion—something that seemed to come so easily to other people. I’ve been formed, saved, and obsessed with music since I was a little girl with my ear to my hidden bedroom radio, sneaking out to watch MTV’s 120 Minutes after everyone had gone to sleep and writing songs about dandelions and car crashes.

From bootlegs of the Smiths live to white vinyl Let’s Active LPs and pre-orders of Cure 45s through the Aretha Franklin’s Live in Paris album I found at Goodwill (and thankfully found again later on CD at the dead hero, Tower Records), Wes Montgomery—which I tuned in to while I lived in Busan, South Korea with its fabulous jazz scene, to local Austin bands who were so varied and amazing you never needed to go outside the City Limits: the Recliners, The Naughty Ones, 8-1/2 Souvenirs, Meg Hentges, etc etc., I—like many of you, have soundtracks for every stage of life.

Given that Sugar Land took eight years to write then quietly endured a three-year production timeline, it’s tricky to narrow down the musical highlights for this soundtrack, but here goes. Here are 16 songs that both directly relate to Sugar Land—ditties I listened to before editing (I never listen while I write) or songs that reflect characters—and music that inspired my writing. The Sugar Land soundtrack:


1. “Someday Soon” by Firefall
At the start of Sugar Land, nineteen-year-old country girl, Dara, falls in love with her best friend, Rhodie. It’s a sweet and passionate love, but it’s in the early 1920s in a small town in Texas, so it’s damned—quite literally—from the start. This song carries the early hope that their love can conquer anything. Plus, who doesn’t love Firefall? Be honest now.

2. “Ain’t Even Done with the Night” by John Cougar Mellancamp
First love. This is it. No other song makes me feel nineteen again like this one.

3. “The Charleston” by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra
Dara runs away from Rhodie and takes a job in the kitchen at the Imperial State Prison Farm for men, where she works alongside Beauregard, who sold his car so he could get the best radio money could buy. As a dapper dancing man in 1923, he would have listened to music like “The Charleston”—the song for the dance, which was inspired by watching dockworkers in South Carolina (much the same way the Balls inspired Madonna’s “Vogue”).

4. “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler
Beauregard has swag-ger, like “Groovy Situation”—which, as a side note, has way more swagger than Chandler’s best-known hit (and the song that spurned his unfortunate nickname, “The Duke”), “The Duke of Earl.” Check out his super Old School website for more on The Duke, or maybe avoid all that and let him live as he is here: groovy.

5. “I idolize You” by the Charmaines
Not only do I adore that this ‘60s girl group calls the boy they idolize “pretty baby” and tell him they want to “make you my pet,” they scream their feelings—something I love when a character does. Also, this song has a farfisa solo—this huge keyboard I played for a hot second before switching to guitar, which was easier to carry on the subway. The other girl in the band took the farfisa keyboard; she had a car.

6. “Midnight Special” by Lead Belly
Lead Belly, the blues singer, is a character in SUGAR LAND. He meets my fiction characters at the Imperial State Prison Farm (where he served time in real life) and befriends Dara before he sings for a pardon from the governor of Texas, and gets it (again, true story). “Midnight Special” was written about the train of the same name that would pull into the prison. It was said that if the train shined its light on you, you’d be getting out soon, Like Lead Belly.

7. “Good Night” by Babybird
I first heard this song on some college radio station—and they didn’t say who sung it. This was pre-Shazam and they didn’t bother to put a playlist on their radio website. Argh! Then, miraculously, I heard it again on Pandora, but it wasn’t available to buy. Double argh! A year later, it popped up for purchase and now I own the song that has been my favorite morning-writing song for years and years now. The line that hooks me every time: “Run me a bath then plug me in / I’m like a TV learning to swim.”

8. “Flower” by Amos Lee
This song positively reeks of soul-gospel as Amos Lee prays that the Lord deliver him to love—and it feels southern, which I can’t get enough of.

9. “Waiting for That Day” by George Michael
After working at the Imperial State Prison Farm for a decade, Dara leaves the prison as the Warden’s wife, but all the while the memories of Rhodie keep a secret part of her hidden away from him (and everyone else). As George Michael says, “Oh, my memory serves me far too well. Years will come and go…”

10. “Weekend in New England” by Barry Manilow
I love Barry Manilow’s unapologetic heartbreak-drama and the reminder that timbre can makes or break the words. Plus, I got engage to at a Barry Manilow concert. My lady cried when he sang this song—and a lady like that only comes around once in a lifetime.

11. “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N” by Noah & The Whale
When I first heard this, I dubbed it this generation’s “88 Lines about 44 Women.” Like its predecessor, this song lists folks doing things their own way. Listening to this reminds me to relax about the looming issue writers often face—Will it sell?—and just do my own thing. Plus it has this line: “But to a writer, the truth is no big deal.”

12. “Hey Good Lookin’” by Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty
Fast-forward in Sugar Land


Tammy Lynne Stoner and Sugar Land links:

the author's website

Booklist review
BookPage review
Foreword Reviews review
Houston Chronicle review
Kirkus review


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

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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us





August 5, 2019

Jean Kwok's Playlist for Her Novel "Searching for Sylvie Lee"

Searching for Sylvie Lee

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.

Jean Kwok's novel Searching for Sylvie Lee is both literary and a thrille, a family drama filled with unforgettable characters and timely themes.

The Washington Post wrote of the book:

"A moving tale that, while billed as a mystery, transcends the genre….. This is a beautifully written story in which the author evokes the hard reality of being an immigrant and a woman in today’s world."


In her own words, here is Jean Kwok's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Searching for Sylvie Lee:



In Searching for Sylvie Lee, Chinese American younger sister Amy, who has always been timid and shy, needs to step up to the plate after her brilliant, dazzling sister Sylvie disappears while on a trip to the Netherlands. Slowly, Amy comes to understand that Sylvie wasn’t nearly as perfect as she seemed.

Compiling this playlist made me realize how universal Sylvie’s story is, because there are so many songs about the pressure of that need to keep up appearances. Since the novel is a suspenseful family drama, an immigrant story and a romance, here are some songs about lost hopes, longing for unconditional acceptance, searching for your true home, beauty, ambition and most of all, love.


It Ain’t Me (with Selena Gomez): Kygo

For me, this is a song about being in love when you’re young and realizing later on that it’s so hard to make that love last.

Who's gonna walk you through the dark side of the morning?
Who's gonna rock you when the sun won't let you sleep?
Who's waking up to drive you home when you're drunk and all alone?
Who's gonna walk you through the dark side of the morning?

The answer, “It ain’t me” is both courageous and sad, which is how Sylvie must have felt when her love hit hard times.


Havana (featuring Young Thug): Camila Cabello

He took me back to East Atlanta
Oh, but my heart is in Havana

This song always makes me think of longing for your true homeland, wherever that might be. For Ma, that’s China. For Sylvie, it’s the Netherlands, where Ma and Pa sent her to be raised by Grandma when they were too poor to keep her with them in NYC. As we grow older, we form attachments to people in different countries and sometimes, that love can pull us in different directions at the same time.


Natural: Imagine Dragons

A beating heart of stone
You gotta be so cold
To make it in this world
Yeah, you're a natural

This song somehow always breaks my heart. It makes me think of all the sacrifices Sylvie makes to try to keep up the perfect front. She is a natural, filled with talent, and she maintains a façade of cool excellence because she still feels like a homely, unwanted little girl inside.


Stressed Out: Twenty One Pilots

Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out

Inside, Sylvie wishes for an unconditional love that she never had. She wants so much to be accepted and loved as she is but the sad thing is that she feels like she never had that innocent time when her ma sang her to sleep. To Sylvie, her parents never wanted her, since she was given away to Grandma as a baby.


Als Het Avond Is: Suzan & Freek

Since so much of Searching for Sylvie Lee is set in the Netherlands, I wanted to add a Dutch love song. This song is about a two people who have separated but yet love each other still. She sings about how when it’s the evening, she still misses him and she wants to know if they might still have a future together. I think that Sylvie must also feel the same way.


See You Again (featuring Charlie Puth): Wiz Khalifa

It's been a long day without you, my friend
And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again
We've come a long way from where we began

This song always makes me think of Sylvie and her childhood friend and cousin, Lukas, whom she finally sees again when she returns to the Netherlands. They shared so much together and he knew and loved her before she turned herself into the successful, dazzling woman she’s become.


Scars To Your Beautiful: Alessia Cara

But there's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark
You should know you're beautiful just the way you are
And you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we're stars and we're beautiful

I love the lyrics to this song and feel like it’s being sung to Sylvie, that Sylvie should know she’s enough, just the way she is.


Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major: Bach, Yo-Yo Ma

Amy listens to a handsome musician play this while she’s in the Netherlands searching for Sylvie and starts to fall in love with him.


Rusalka, Op. 114, B. 203/Act 1, O Silver Moon: Dvorak, Renee Fleming

Amy listens to this song and thinks about how much Sylvie loved the Moon Festival in the novel. As an immigrant, Sylvie often looked at the moon and thought about how it was one of the few things that accompanied her on her travels across the world.

Jean Kwok and Searching for Sylvie Lee links:

the author's website

Booklist review
Kirkus review
Los Angeles Review of Books review
Washington Post review

Entertainment Weekly profile of the author
Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Mambo in Chinatown


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

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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

August 4, 2019

Shorties (Recommended Canadian Comics, 50 Years of The Stooges, and more)

Woman World

CBC Books recommended Canadian comics to read this winter.


BrooklynVegan looked back on The Stooges' debut album, released 50 years ago.


August's best eBook deals.


Paste previewed August's best new albums.


The New York Daily News listed this week's best new books.


Stream a new song by The Fur.


The Highwomen covered Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain."


Weekend Edition interviewed Sarah Elaine Smith about her debut novel Marilou Is Everywhere.


Stream a new Red Hearse song.


VICE profiled author Jia Tolentino.


Stream a new song by the New Pornographers.


Book Riot recommended books told from the first person perspective from the last 20 years.


Japanese Breakfast covered Wilco's "Jesus, Etc.."


The A.V. Club listed the most underheard hits of 1999.


Stream a new Bat for Lashes song.


Zola Jesus covered Black Sabbath's "Changes."


The Creative Independent interviewed musician (and death doula) Emily Cross.



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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

August 2, 2019

Note Books - Charming Disaster

The Note Books series features musicians discussing their literary side. Previous contributors have included John Darnielle, John Vanderslice, Mark Olson, Mac McCaughan, and others.

Charming Disaster is a Brooklyn band inspired by Gothic literature and film. The band, consisting of Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris, recently released its third album SPELLS + RITUALS.


In their own words, here is the Note Books entry from Charming Disaster:


Charming Disaster is a band influenced at least as much by books as by other music. We’ve always both been omnivorous readers with a taste for the dark, but since starting this project in 2012 we’ve been reading a lot of the same books, which has led to a shared universe of ideas we can both inhabit. These are a few of the books that helped inspire the songs on our third album, SPELLS + RITUALS.


Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock’n’Roll Group by Ian Svenonius

This book of interviews conducted with dead rock musicians via seance influenced our approach to the whole album, especially the concepts of rock group as gang/cult and performance as occult ritual.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Dark bargains, ambition run amok, witches with weird powers, indelible bloodstains...there’s a lot to draw from in the Scottish play. We quote from it in “Blacksnake,” and we really channel it in “Wishing Well,” which involves lust for power and a deal gone very wrong.


The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum

This thrilling history of forensic medicine in Prohibition-era NYC includes a detail that captured our imaginations: during a certain era, everything from medicine to household cleaners to rat poison came in a glass bottle, which sometimes led to fatal mixups; eventually manufacturers started making poison bottles out of textured blue glass to reduce the possibility of confusion. “Blue Bottle Blues” playfully explores these opportunities for carelessness, accidents, and foul play.


“Lull” by Kelly Link

Everyone should definitely go out and read everything by Kelly Link, because she’s a genius and her spooky, strange stories are so weird and good and utterly unique, but this one in particular is a favorite--not just because it contains multiple nested story-within-a-stories, some of which take place backwards, but because there’s this really great Devil character in it, playing spin the bottle in a closet with a cheerleader. Our sympathetic devil in “Devil May Care” is partly inspired by Kelly Link’s Devil.


Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales by Sibelan Forrester

This collection of fairy tales and essays about the Russian witch Baba Yaga was an invaluable resource when we decided to expand beyond the Greek, Norse, and Egyptian mythologies we’ve drawn from in other songs. The character who inspired “Baba Yaga” is fascinatingly ambiguous, usually menacing but occasionally helping the heroes in these stories. She’s so fierce we thought she deserved a song of her own.


Sherlock Holmes (The Five Orange Pips, The Valley of Fear, etc.) by Arthur Conan Doyle

Conan Doyle’s world of secret societies, purloined letters, false allegiances, and plot twists provided inspiration when we were writing “Belladonna Melodrama,” a (doomed) love story set over a backdrop of Victorian espionage, dark and stormy nights, poisoned daggers, and other over-the-top gothic literary tropes.


Locke & Key by Joe Hill

In this horror graphic novel series, an evil spirit trapped in a well uses her powers of persuasion and beauty to trick the person who finds her into freeing her, an idea we borrowed for “Wishing Well.”


Tintin (any of them) by Hergé; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne; The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

In “Heart of Brass” we wanted to create a cinematic, highly visual, Tintin-esque landscape in which to place a couple of steampunk adventurers (and every trope of that genre we could think of, from dirigibles to the Nautilus). Hugo Cabret’s automaton makes a special appearance, along with a monogrammed handkerchief that flutters from verse to verse.



Charming Disaster links

the band's website
the band on Bandcamp


also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Note Books submissions (musicians discuss literature)

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (highlights of the week's comics & graphic novel releases)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
Soundtracked (directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Shorties (Jia Tolentino on Her Essay Collection, Juliana Hatfield Covered the Police, and more)

Trick Mirror

Jia Tolentino discussed her essay collection Trick Mirror with The Creative Independent.


Juliana Hatfield covered the Police's "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da."


August's best eBook deals.


Stream a playlist of cover songs curated by David Byrne.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn. Literary Hub, and Hello Giggles recommended August's best books.


Inara George discussed the new Bird and the Bee Van Halen covers album with PopMatters.


Rolling Stone recommended the best books about the Manson family murders.


Gorilla Vs. Bear shared a playlist of July's best song.


The New York Times recommended the week's best new books.


Stream a new song by Esther Rose.


Parade listed fall's most anticipated books.


Stream a new song by Parsnip.


The European Sting listed key Swiss authors.


Stream a new Lillie Mae song.


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author J. Ryan Stradal.


Stream a new song by Elbow.


Valeria Luiselli talked books and reading with the Guardian.


Stream a new Blushh song.


The Guardian profiled author Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.


Stream a new song by Snarls.


Jia Tolentino talked books and reading with the New York Times.



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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

August 1, 2019

August's Best eBook Deals

eBooks on sale for $1.99 this month:


The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing Orlando by Virginia Woolf


Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
The Amateurs by David Halberstam
Bacchae by Euripedes
Bad Girls Throughout History by Ann Shen
Black Boy by Richard Wright
The Bread Bible by Beth Henperger
The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman
The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida
Everyone Loves You When You're Dead by Neil Strauss
The From-Aways by CJ Hauser
Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
The Good Rat by Jimmy Breslin
The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style by Nelson George
The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna
How To Be Black by Baratunde Thurtson
Lucky Girls by Nell Freudenberger
A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie
October 1964 by David Halberstam
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Paul Simon by Robert Hilburn
Playing for Keeps by David Halberstam
Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay
Speak by Louisa Hall
The Tattooed Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
The Underground Is Massive by Michaelangelo Matos
The Westies by T. J. English


eBooks on sale for $2.99 this month:


Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag The Country Girls: Three Novels and an Epilogue by Edna O'Brien


Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag
Another Side of Bob Dylan by Victor Maymudes
Belichick by Ian O'Connor
The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin
The Country Girls: Three Novels and an Epilogue by Edna O'Brien
Dannemora by Charles A. Gardner
Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams, and Drugs with the Grateful Dead by Bill Kreutzman
Dylan Goes Electric! by Elijah Wals
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Jackie Under My Skin by Wayne Koestenbaum
Just a Shot Away: Peace, Love, and Tragedy with the Rolling Stones at Altamont by Saul Austerlitz
Laurel Canyon by Michael Walker
Positively 4th Street by David Hajdu
Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
The Sixties by Jenny Diski
Stonewall by David Carter
Sympathy by Olivia Sudjic
Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo


eBooks on sale for $3.99 this month:


The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson


Angel Baby by Richard Lange
Black Elk by Joe Jackson
The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer
Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela
A Great Improvisation by Stacy Schiff
Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
Lush Life by Richard Price
Primo Levi by Ian Thomson
Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin by Alice Echols
Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design by Michael Bierut


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)

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Shorties (An Excerpt from Sarah Rose Etter's Debut Novel, Ben Folds on His Autobiography, and more)

The Book of X

Electric Literature shared an excerpt from Sarah Rose Etter's mesmerizing debut novel, The Book of X.


Ben Folds discussed his autobiography, A Dream About Lightning Bugs, with Paste.


The Advocate recommended Pride-themed books to keep the Stonewall spirit alive.


Baroness visited World Cafe for an in-studio session and interview.


Entertainment Weekly recommended August's best new books.


Ty Segall discussed his new album with Paste.


CarolineLeavittville interviewed author Daphne Kalotay.


Stream a new Pom Pom Squad song.


CrimeReads shared a guide to Korean noir.


Stream a new Mikal Cronin song.


Saskia Vogel recommended seven books on the power dynamics of sex at Electric Literature.


NPR Music and Paste recapped July's best albums.


NPR Music and BrooklynVegan recapped July's best songs.


Stream a new song by Elvis Depressedly.


Stream a new Sleater-Kinney song.


Stream a new song by Bonny Light Horseman (Anaïs Mitchell, Eric Johnson, and Josh Kaufman).



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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

July 31, 2019

Shorties (August's Best Books, New Music from Angel Olsen, and more)

A Door in the Earth by Amy Waldman

The New York Times previewed August's best books.


Stream a new Angel Olsen song.


July's best eBook deals.


PopMatters interviewed members of the band Imperial Teen.


TIME recommended August's best new books.


Stream a new Death Cab for Cutie song.


The Rumpus poetry book club interviewed xt’ai freedom ford.


Stream a new Long Beard song.


BookMarks recommended essential Cuban novels.


The Millions shared a conversation between authors Jeff Jackson and Juliet Escoria.


Big Other interviewed author Norman Lock.


The Spokesman-Review shared new fiction by Sharma Shields.



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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

July 30, 2019

Joel Mowdy's Playlist for His Story Collection "Floyd Harbor"

Floyd Harbor

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.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"In form and substance, this closely resembles Denis Johnson's classic linked collection Jesus’ Son. Mowdy’s sharp eye and melodic prose shine a strange light into these otherwise dark stories about the unique . . . A strong new voice in fiction."


In his own words, here is Joel Mowdy's Book Notes music playlist for his story collection Floyd Harbor:



I never write to music, but once a story is done, I like to imagine a soundtrack for it. Not long ago I had the opportunity to do this for Floyd Harbor in a purposeful way. For one of my book launch events, I conceived a Tour of Floyd Harbor in which I read sections of the book, taking the audience to different parts of its fictional neighborhood, with two songs as live music interludes to accompany the storytelling. These songs are the first two on this playlist. Others are songs I had cut from scenes in early drafts, only keeping the moods they suggested, and a few of the songs I’ve considered just now, given this opportunity to indulge in this process once again. Fun!

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

This one song could be enough for the whole playlist. It’s the song that refused to be cut. In fact “Hotel California” keeps popping up so often in the collection that I’ve lost count how many times it’s mentioned. It’s Grady’s favorite song, and probably in Dan’s top five. In Floyd Harbor, you will hear it played whether you like it or not, and, like any song, it gains significance when listened to repeatedly.

“Where is My Mind” by The Pixies

Around the time in my life when I found myself more often waiting around in parking lots for someone to show up or a plan to evolve, one of my brothers got heavily into The Pixies. This period was also when dropping blotter acid became the default plan when nothing else was going on. I’m pretty sure I spent an entire trip listening to Surfer Rosa on repeat. The stories “Far-Off Places” and “Battery” come out of those years, and this song from the very late 80s captures that trippy loss of control and mind expansion perfectly. The imagery in the song also pairs well with “Fatta Morgada”.

“The Unknown Soldier” by The Doors

“Breakfast where the news is read / Television, children fed / unborn living, living dead / bullet strikes the helmet’s head.” See “The Shaft” and “Battle of Floyd Harbor”, the two stories about Vietnam veterans and their families. If “The Shaft” were a series of images rather than a story, it might make a good video for this song.

“Cursed Female” and “Cursed Male” by Porno for Pyros

“Cursed to be born / Beautiful, poor and female / There’s none that suffer more.”

And

“All the guys / that really have the money / are too old / to have a good time with it.”

This solidly '90s alt rock band is mentioned in the story “Golden”. These two songs sit well with this and two other stories, “Salty’s” and “Chubba Chuck”. All three stories involve sex for sale, love, money, and heartbreak.

“(I’ve Invented a) Maneuver” by The Morning Sea

From this New York City rock band’s third album Destruction Songs, “Maneuver” is based on a joke by Eddie Izzard, but the lyrics somehow take it beyond a joke into something sad and a little desperate without the music ever losing its chipper edge. Or maybe the song is just a joke and I’m reading too much into it. It’s the kind of song the character John in the story “Chubba Chuck” might compose. He was in a New York City rock band once. They had five songs and a demo. But that’s all over now.

And

“How’s your Heart?” by The Morning Sea

“Sometimes at night you walk the streets / Like you’re a character on some old movie screen / You say ‘How come every one I see / Seems like they have it figured out except for me?’” This one is for Jared, the narrator of “Golden”, specifically in the Penn Station scenes.

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

Years ago, this guy I knew—call him Silas—attempted to rob a migrant Mexican worker of his hoarded cash at gunpoint, in the man’s own home, and the man stabbed Silas to death with a kitchen knife in self-defense. Back when we were in high school, Silas used to drive slowly around the neighborhood in a dark blue low-rider sedan with tinted windows. You knew when he was coming because the car announced itself with a bass that rattled your teeth in your skull. Always the same menacing bass line: Boom-BOOM! A pause. Boom-BOOM! Repeat. He came from a somewhat privileged background, but had adopted all these things that announced his badness to the world, like owning that car, dealing drugs, and hanging out with all the proud young criminals. My brother Adriel, who was the most notorious kid in high school for reasons I won’t get into, became best friends with Silas for a while, which is why one time I found myself squeezed in the back seat of Silas’s car between a pair of young thugs while Adriel rode shotgun. It was only then that I heard the song beneath the one-two thunder clap exploding from the subwoofer in the trunk. It was this sweet melancholy jam that belied a sensitive, sappy heart under Silas’s tough boy exterior. I wrote a story based on this unfortunate misguided soul once, but I lost that story. Later, I wrote “Far-Off Places”, and the characters Jeff and Rob are somewhat inspired by Silas. In an earlier version of that story, Jeff, too, had a subwoofer in the trunk and blasted “I Will Always Love You” on repeat everywhere he went after his girlfriend dumped him. I had to cut that part, though. There’s no way a guy who tapes the bumper to his car could afford a subwoofer.

“Like a Virgin” by Madonna

This is another song cut from a story through revision. In the breakfast scene in “Battery” you can imagine this playing on the kitchen radio. It’s from the good old days of the narrator’s mother’s late teen years, and it speaks to her in this delusional moment of optimism.

“Pomp and Circumstance” by Sir Edward Elgar

This one is for “The Luz”, a story about a defeated teacher. It’s the only real song besides “Hotel California” that appears in the book.

“Lost in the Harbor” by Tom Waits

The line “And the sheep are all lost in the harbor” was almost the book’s epigraph, but the mood didn’t quite capture the whole collection. I went without an epigraph in the end. But this could be a song for “Battle of Floyd Harbor”, a story about a Vietnam veteran with a wife and ten children who decides to leave them and go back to the war, even though the war had ended years ago.

And

“Eggs and Sausage” by Tom Waits

There’s a late night diner scene at the end of the last story, “Stacked Mattresses”. In the last lines of this song, Tom Waits might be singing the thoughts of the narrator, Michael. Michael’s had a rough weekend, and he hadn’t planned on drinking coffee at a diner booth in a crowd of strangers close to midnight on a Sunday.

“I've been 86ed from your scheme / I'm in a melodramatic nocturnal scene / I'm a refugee from a disconcerted affair / As the lead pipe morning falls / And the waitress calls…”

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

“You can check out any time you like / but you can never leave.” This song plays twice a day in the summer on Rockin’ Radio, the station that comes in clearest on the Mastic Beach peninsula. Go ahead, give it another listen.


Joel Mowdy and Floyd Harbor links:

Atticus Review review
New York Journal of Books review
ZYZZYVA review

GreaterMoriches profile of the author
Long Island Press profile of the author
Newsday interview with the author
The Rumpus 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

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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Shorties (Two Interviews with Kate Zambreno, The History of Bossa Nova, and more)

Appendix Project by Kate Zambreno

Interview magazine and Longreads interviewed author Kate Zambreno.


Noisey explored the history of bossa nova.


July's best eBook deals.

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft
Tinkers by Paul Harding


The Quietus recapped July's cassette releases.


Electric Literature ranked Sherlock Holmes adaptations.


Lizzo played a Tiny Desk Concert.


Bustle profiled author Eileen Myles.


Paste listed Spoon's best songs.


Electric Literature interviewed author Helen Phillips.


PopMatters interviewed Cindy Wilson about the B-52s' career.


William Wegman shared his favorite books at Vulture.


Stream a new Joseph Arthur song.


Chris Ware shared a previously unpublished comic at the New Yorker.


Stream a new Cross Record song.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Jordan A. Rothacker.


The Ringer reconsidered Wilco's Summerteeth album on its 20th anniversary.


The New York Times recommended books to read if you enjoyed Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.


Stream a new Iggy Pop song.


Craig Davidson recommended paranormal books at Literary Hub.


The Guardian Books podcast interviewed author Lisa Taddeo.


InsideHook interviewed author J. Ryan Stradal.


Quartzy listed recently translated books from China.


The Guardian examined the thriving state of Irish publishing.



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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

July 28, 2019

Shorties (Ocean Vuong on His Debut Novel, The 20th Anniversary of Sigutr Ros' Ágætis byrjun Album, and more)

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong talked to Bookworm about his debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (one of the year's most stunning books).


Kjartan Sveinsson, Sigur Rós’ former keyboardist, discussed the band's Ágætis byrjun album 20 years after its initial release with Paste.


July's best eBook deals.


Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne discussed his favorite albums at The Quietus.


Slate recommended books for ambitious teenage readers.


Pitchfork profiled Florist's Emily Sprague.


J. Ryan Stradal talked to All Things Considered and The Millions about his new novel, The Lager Queen of Minnesota.


Paste recommended the week's best new albums.


The New York Times recommended a true crime book for every state.


The Quietus interviewed author and musician Vivien Goldman.


Paste recommended July's best books.


Stream a new song by Loving.


Laura Lippman recommended books about Baltimore at the Guardian.

All Things Considered interviewed Lippman.


PopMatters interviewed poet/musician Kate Tempest.


Author Lisa Taddeo discussed her favorite books with Refinery29.


Stream a new Hold Steady song.


Javier Marias talked books and reading with the New York Times.


SPIN listed 1999's best alternative rock songs.


Tor.com shared an excerpt from Jeff VanderMeer’s forthcoming novel, Dead Astronauts.


Stream a new Tegan and Sara song.


The Creative Independent interviewed author Halle Butler.


Stream a new Ty Segall song.


Bustle interviewed author Sarah Rose Etter.


Stream a new Sheer Mag song.


Stream a new song by the Mark Lanegan Band.



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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

July 22, 2019

Shorties (Garth Greenwell on His Forthcoming Book, Noisey's Reconsideration of Neil Young's On the Beach Album, and more)

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

Garth Greenwell discussed his forthcoming book with Work in Progress.


Noisey reconsidered Neil Young's On the Beach album.


July's best eBook deals.


A Stranger Things-inspired playlist.


Paste recommended the year's best nonfiction books so far.


Pitchfork profiled Vagabon's Laetitia Tamko.


Forbes listed the best fantasy novels of all time.


The Current shared a recent live performance by the National.


Jeanette Winterson recommended the best books about the moon at the Guardian.


The Paste Podcast interviewed singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett.


Bookworm and the Los Angeles Review of Books podcast interviewed poet Ariana Reines.


The band Priests played a Tiny Desk Concert.


The Guardian interviewed author Colm Toibin.


Stream a new sing by the Highwomen (Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, & Natalie Hemby).


The Guardian profiled author Colson Whitehead.


Steve Gunn covered Neil Young's "Motion Pictures (for Carrie)."


Words Without Borders recommended six of July's books in translation.


Snail Mail And Soccer Mommy covered Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris.”


Ploughshares interviewed poet Carolyn Forche.


The Daily Progress profiled Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle.



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

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

Google
  Web largeheartedboy.com