August 16, 2017

Shorties (Margaret Atwood on Ray Bradbury, The Best Albums of the Year So Far, and more)

Margaret Atwood examined the work and legacy of Ray Bradbury at the Paris Review.


Paste listed the best albums of the year so far.


The JDO Show interviewed author Scott McClanahan.


Pitchfork shared a playlist of anti-fascist punk songs.


The Creative Independent interviewed author Tao Lin.


Stream a new song by Makthaverskan.


The Rumpus Poetry Book Club interviewed Iris Dunkle.


Belle and Sebastian visited The Current for an interview and live performance.


Author Molly Patterson shared her recent reading with BookPage.


Perfume Genius covered Mary Margaret O'Hara's "Body's in Trouble."


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Matthew Zapruder's book Why Poetry.


The Raleigh News & Observer shared an eclipse playlist.


Fanzine interviewed author Hala Alyan.


Stream a new song by the War on Drugs.


Electric Literature is serializing a new story by Joe Meno.


Paul Heaton of the Housemartins and Beautiful South discussed his favorite albums at The Quietus.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès's novel Island of Point Nemo.


Quilt covered F.J. McMahon's "Black Night Woman."


BookPage previewed fall's nonfiction books.


Coming soon: the L7 documentary Pretend We're Dead.


The Barnes and Noble Review interviewed author Imbolo Mbue.


Stream a new Madeline Kenney song.


Ann Powers shared a playlist of songs mentioned in her book Good Booty with WAMU's 1A.


eBooks on sale for $0.99 today:

Benazir Bhutto: Favored Daughter by Brooke Allen
J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist by Thomas Beller
The Lost Tribe of Coney Island by Claire Prentice
Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open by Phoebe Hoban
Men, Women & Children by Chad Kultgen

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch
A Small Revolution by Jimin Han
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Inferno by Eileen Myles
The Sunlit Room by Rebecca Dinerstein
Visible City by Tova Mirvis


eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Lightning People by Christopher Bollen
The River Why by David James Duncan
The Theoretical Foot by M. F. K. Fisher


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

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





August 15, 2017

Book Notes - Paul Yoon "The Mountain"

The Mountain

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.

Paul Yoon's The Mountain is a stunning collection of linked stories.

The Boston Globe wrote of the book:

"Believe me: This is a genuine work of art, a shadowland of survivors that is tough and elegant and true. And beautiful."


In his own words, here is Paul Yoon's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection The Mountain:



The Mountain is a collection of six stories set around the world. It begins in the Hudson Valley of New York in the early twentieth century and moves east around the globe (and forward in time) until we circle back to New York. I write listening to music. I tend to be minimalistic and will usually put a track or an album on repeat. With this book, because of the vast geography I was dealing with, I decided that for each story I was working on I would listen to only one song, on repeat. It helped me establish, I hope, an individual identity for each story within the book as a whole. The following are the songs that kept me company.

"Cold Clear Moon" by Tomo Nakayama

With the opening story, "A Willow and the Moon," I was looking for a song that evoked a pastoral evening—more specifically, an evening with a large, empty house by a lake. Tomo Nakayama's "Cold Clear Moon" was perfect. I love the spaces in this song; there's a lot of air in the piece, and I think this helped me think of how to structure "Willow." Also, the piano chords became a kind of heartbeat that held the mini-chapters together.

"Yet Again" by Grizzly Bear

The star of this song, for me, is the percussion. It is gently ominous at first and then builds. I needed that propulsive and yet, at first, ghostly beat for a "Still a Fire," the seed of which was an image of men being forced to walk down a forest road. The incessant cymbals helped me think of the small pieces of things throughout this story: debris, shrapnel, wreckage, snow and sunlight. The song evolves toward the end, and that was helpful in terms of thinking of how I could make this story evolve from one to another.

"Fall Hard" by Shout Out Louds

"Galicia" is a kind of interlude story, which I thought was necessary after the long, dark tunnel of "Still a Fire" which was a brutal story to write. Coming out of it was not easy; I would have these recurring dreams of violence to the body. That's where Shout Out Louds comes in, as they are currently my favorite band. Dreamy, melancholic, Swedish pop goodness. "Fall Hard" has a vulnerability that lent itself well to the character, Antje, in this story. A lot of that comes from Adam Olenius's beautiful voice and whatever guitar pedals they're using. "Mistakes and mistakes" becomes a recurring chorus by the end of the song, and I couldn't help but think that Antje would be listening to this song as she cleaned the hotel rooms.

"Stubborn Love" by The Lumineers

A lot of "Vladivostok Station" deals with walking. It opens with two friends walking in the countryside in the Russian Far East, and it ends with one of them walking through the city of Vladivostok. This song has a rolling quality that seemed to capture the narrative rhythm I wanted to convey. I find this song to be terribly lonely. Perhaps it's Wesley Schultz's knife-like voice, which is a nice contrast to Adam Olenius's, but it embodied a pain (and a rage) that is really repressed in this story. So in some ways Schultz's voice became everything that my narrator couldn't voice himself.

"Homesick" by The Cure

I have a very special place in my heart for epic songs by The Cure. I grew up listening to them and I always make sure I get one in during a book project. The title story of my book is set mostly in a factory in Shanghai. I wanted to capture the mundane, repetitive gestures and movements of working in an assembly line. In its quiet relentlessness, "Homesick" seemed the perfect song. I love the slow build, the repetitions, the layers of melodies. Two characters, Faye and Tad, are the center of this book—a kind of love story, I suppose. I love that "Homesick" begins with just two instruments, the piano and guitar, and then everything else fades and we return to them at the end.

"Lucky You" by The National

The last story, "Milner Field," comes full circle, so to speak, and returns to Hudson Valley, New York for a while, though this one is set in the present day. I listened to "Luck You" by The National because in some ways this song, like the Nakayama song, has a lot of space in it. Everything seems to be a micro-beat slower than it should be. It leaves room for some interesting pauses, as though we are standing on a cliff's edge. And like "Willow," this story is structured in mini-chapters, so the song helped me think about space, white space, and how to let the reader fill in that space, if they wanted to. I also think there's a longing in this song, and the lyrics, that spoke to the tone I was trying to capture with the narrator, his history, and his world.


Paul Yoon and The Mountain links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review
Publishers Weekly review

Aspen Public Radio interview with the author
Boston Globe interview with the author
Harvard Gazette 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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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

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

Shorties (An Interview with Catherine Lacey, Reconsidering The Smiths' Strangeways Here We Come Album, and more)

Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Catherine Lacey.


The Quietus reconsidered the Smiths' last studio album, Strangeways Here We Come, released 30 years ago.


n+1 shared an excerpt from Jarett Kobek's novel The Future Won't Be Long.


Steve Earle shared some of his favorite offstage activities at Men's Journal.


Literary Hub interviewed Katie Kitamura about her novel A Separation.


Prince now has his own Pantone color.


Catapult shared a moving essay by Juliet Escoria.


Stream a new Wilco song.


This year's Hugo Award winners have been announced.


The Shreveport Times interviewed singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.


Ms. Magazine interviewed author Laurie Penny.


Stream a new Car Seat Headrest single.


The Paris Review shared an excerpt from Matthew Zapruder's book Why Poetry.


St. Vincent's Annie Clark broke down her song "New York" on the Song Exploder podcast.


Slate examined the recent wave of true crime books by literary writers.


Stream a new Chelsea Wolfe song.


Eugene Lim discussed his novel Dear Cyborgs with the Village Voice.


Soccer Mommy covered Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire."


The Creative Independent interviewed author Tamara Shopsin.


Stream a new Dodos song.


Garth Greenwell talked to the New Yorker about his story in this week's issue.


Stream a new song by Duds.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Paul Yoon’s new short story collection, The Mountain.


The Quietus previewed August's jazz albums.


VICE interviewed Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova.


eBooks on sale for $0.99 today:

Benazir Bhutto: Favored Daughter by Brooke Allen
J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist by Thomas Beller
The Lost Tribe of Coney Island by Claire Prentice
Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open by Phoebe Hoban
Men, Women & Children by Chad Kultgen

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch
A Small Revolution by Jimin Han
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Inferno by Eileen Myles
The Sunlit Room by Rebecca Dinerstein
Visible City by Tova Mirvis


eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Lightning People by Christopher Bollen
The River Why by David James Duncan
The Theoretical Foot by M. F. K. Fisher


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

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

August 14, 2017

Book Notes - Sylvia Brownrigg "Pages For Her"

Pages For Her

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.

Sylvia Brownrigg's Pages For Her compelling sequel to Pages for You is a thoughtful and lyrical depiction of two womens' lives.

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote of the book:

"[A] deeply thoughtful, absorbing fifth novel . . . Pages for Her is filled with such rich considerations―of meaning, direction, comparative ways of being―in restless, sensuous prose . . . We're glad to come to know these women, and to be taught by what happens between them."


In her own words, here is Sylvia Brownrigg's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Pages For Her:



The soundtrack for my novel Pages For Her has two parts, since this book is a sequel to Pages for You, published in 2001. You don't have to read the first book to enjoy the second, they stand independently, though they speak to one other— something like the way a cover version speaks to the original song. (Everyone has their favorites: Kurt Cobain singing Lead Belly, Prince singing Joni Mitchell, Wyclef Jean singing Pink Floyd.)

The main characters in both novels are Flannery Jansen and Anne Arden, who first met at college, when Flannery was a wide-eyed freshman, and Anne a beautiful and brilliant graduate student. They have an intense, love affair, a half year of sensual and intellectual discoveries that ends in heartbreak—as first loves nearly always do.

Pages For Her takes up the story of Flannery add Anne twenty years later, at very different points in their lives. Flannery is married to a charismatic artist named Charles, and has a sweet little girl she adores, but is trying to relocate herself after being submerged in the roles of wife and mother. Anne, in the midst of a successful academic career, is contending with her long-term partner Jasper having left her. When the two women meet again for the first time in years, they rediscover not just that there is still a connection between them, but also that each has somehow held a place within themselves for the other. In an underground way, their love has endured.

Love stories, like love songs, have to walk a careful path to avoid being sweet or cloying; though in the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik wrote a piece arguing that love songs are essential even when they are cliched: "The love song, whether from Shakespeare or his lessers, is to the currency of our feelings what the dollar bill is to our economy, the dining-room table to our family life—the necessary, inevitable thing. Exactly because everything is a love song, we sigh at another one, even as we prepare to sing it."

So: maybe really every song is a love song; and every story ultimately is a love story. In any case, these are some songs for Flannery and Anne.


Pages for You


"Every Day I Write the Book" by Elvis Costello & the Attractions

This is a song I shared with my own first college love, who was nothing like Anne, though together we had some of the great swoons and fevers of young passion (and a few specific moments that I did slide into that novel). The Prologue of Pages for You begins with the narrator promising a friend that she will write, "Each day a page, to show you that I'm finding a story, the story of how we might have been together, once." It's almost a subconscious echo of Elvis Costello's lyric: "I'm giving you a long look… every day I write the book." I like that the music is jaunty and has a snap to it, though the lyrics have an edge too, as you'd expect from Elvis: "You said you'd stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three/ But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four Five and Six."

"Stewart's Coat" by Rickie Lee Jones

I've loved Rickie Lee Jones since my brother played her for me when I was in my teens, and I've carried her into every relationship since, with varying results. My college love and I played "Walk Away Renee" together, a great unrequited love song, probably suspecting that one of us would end up leaving the other; my former husband found a way for us to listen to Rickie sing in someone's home; and during a charming, philandering poet with whom I had a misguided affair introduced me to this song of hers, Stewart's Coat. Usually RLJ is jazzy and angled, but "Stewart's Coat" is one of her straightest, sweetest songs. Still: "Hold me love; I can't sleep again… " How is anyone supposed to resist that?

"I Found a Reason" by Cat Power

Chan Marshall, in her covers, slices off pieces of the original, to keep just the core of the song she is after; so Cat Power crooning, "You'd better come come come, come come to me, better run, run run, run to me," has a purity that is completely different from Lou Reed's darker lyric in the full Velvet Underground song: he has found a reason to live, and "the reason is you". Flannery and Anne never have that kind of adolescent I'll die if I can't have you love. Theirs is much closer to Cat Power's urgent, quiet want. Even young Flannery, devastated when Anne ends their relationship in the first book, knows she will survive the heartbreak, and maybe be better for it. In Pages For Her, we learn how true that was: how many gifts Anne gave her with that love—including the gift of heartbreak.

"Straight, No Chaser" by Thelonious Monk

One important element in Flannery and Anne's story is the relationships they each have with the men in their lives. Flannery learns that Anne had once (and will have again) a partner named Jasper, and with Jasper Anne shared things she'll never have with Flannery—such as Paris, or like Thelonious Monk. Flannery hears Anne playing Monk one evening when Anne is cooking for the two of them, and can feel Anne going elsewhere as she listens to the music. In both novels, this is part of love: knowing that there are other loves behind or ahead of you, too. "Straight No Chaser" is a great piece, even if you are frightened by jazz, as Flannery is and as I used to be.

"Help Me" by Joni Mitchell

We've got to have Joni in here, she is essential to any soundtrack of love and life (if not always writing: it depends on the book). "Help Me" is another great love song that acknowledges that two people don't always sync up precisely in their passion: "Help me, I think I'm falling in love with you," Joni sings, then has to ask, "Are you going to let me go there by myself? that's such a lonely thing to do."  Flannery and Anne fell in love with each other, but from the start Flannery knew that she was more fully inside their love than Anne was. Anne's leaving her is written into their story from the beginning, as Flannery somehow realized, by its end. Flannery didn't fall in love by herself; but she stayed longer, after Anne had left. That is one reason there had to be a sequel one day: I had to write Pages For Her so we could learn what happened to them after. People kept asking me, and I wanted to find out.


Pages For Her


"Rather Be" by Clean Bandit

OK, zillions of people have viewed the video on YouTube but I doubt that Flannery knows that—she doesn't have time yet to watch YouTube again, her kid is still too young. (Willa is just six.) When Flannery meets Anne again in Pages For Her, initially she is almost too alarmed by the feeling she still has to want to be in a room alone with Anne; but eventually, the way Jess Glynne sings is the best expression of how Flannery feels: there is no place she would rather be. This later version of their love is complicated for Flannery—after all she does have a husband, and a child she loves, across the country in her San Francisco home—("We're a thousand miles from comfort") but for the few days they are together in New Haven, this is where she wants to be. And no place else.

"At My Most Beautiful" by R E M

The coolness and sweetness of Michael Stipe come together in this song—I hate to keep using the word sweet, but that is the only way to describe a line like, "At my most beautiful I count your eyelashes secretly." There are those hidden moments in love, maybe most often while the other is sleeping but you are still too wired to—when you can silently admire your beloved, without having to feel self-conscious or even faintly sinister about your own sappiness. You can just quietly enjoy your moment of astonishment and luck. Also the recurring line in this song, "I've found a way to make you smile," seems right for Flannery, who used to find Anne intimidating, a bit fierce (she has always been so beautiful and so sure of herself). Twenty years later, herself older, more confident, sadder, more knowing: now Flannery can find that buried and vulnerable part of Anne. She can make her smile.

"Famous Blue Raincoat" by Jennifer Warnes

Leonard Cohen's songs are often so melancholy that if it is his deep resigned voice singing them, you more or less want to kill yourself. (There is a reason so many other singers cover "Hallelujah," it becomes inspiring in others' voices; Cohen's own rendition is a closer to a dirge.) Jennifer Warnes' cover of Cohen's brilliant love triangle song not only makes its story bearable, but brings out the strange consolation there can be in knowing that someone you love—here it is Jane—is loved by someone else, too. In the song, the other man somehow helpe his Jane. And thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes/ I thought it was there for good, so I never really tried. I find this true about love, and it's woven into Flannery and Anne's story: two people can't always be everything for each other. Flannery has loved how adored Anne was, by Jasper; and in Pages For Her Anne respects the love between Flannery and Charles, though she knows little of it.

An improbable side note on "Famous Blue Raincoat": it is one of the only songs, for some reason, I can actually sing start to finish, and so I used to sing it as a kind of lullaby for my son when he was a baby (and later my daughter). I figured he didn't really need to know or understand the words, the tune was pretty. Why wouldn't it be as soothing to go to sleep to as All the Pretty Horses? Or a ditty about a bough breaking, and the baby and crib coming crashing to the ground?

"The Fox (What does the Fox Say?)" by Ylvis

Brief break for some light relief, and a hit that was part of the sound track of my writing the first draft of Pages For Her. Our family was living in London, and this pretty terrible but oddly haunting song by a Norwegian comedy duo became one of the year's break out viral sensations. It was also the first pop song I listened to with my kids, 9 and 12 at the time. We all became minorly obsessed by the song and the video: we knew it was ludicrous but somehow you couldn't look away. Also, there was a fox in London who jogged boldly through back yards, marking his territory, and you had to wonder if he sang the way the song imagined him to. Pages For Her is not only about romantic love, but about maternal love, and the first moment you start sharing songs with your kids—real, adult songs—is a landmark in your relation with them. You'll be glad to know that it went up from there: Twenty One Pilots and Chance the Rapper and many perfectly respectable artists would be songs we could sing together.

"Hold You in My Arms" by Ray La Montagne
"Need the Sun to Break" by James Bay
"Lullaby" by Dixie Chicks

I did listen to some old-fashioned, honest-to-god love songs while rewriting Pages For Her. During an extended period of editing, I was having a passionate love affair my own self, so music and life and fiction twined together nicely. Mine wasn't the same story as the one in Pages For Her (of course it wasn't: this was life after all, not art), so she was not someone I had known for years but was someone I was just meeting and getting to know. We traded songs and playlists, and as we lived at some distance from each other, this music became essential to how we communicated about how much we missed each other. James Bay was big on the radio, so his lines, "I need the sun to break, you've woken up my heart, I'm shaking" seemed right for new love; and she introduced me to the soulful gravel of Ray La Montagne, whose songs we once listened to together in an LA park; and the spare, lovely adoration in the Dixie Chicks song, "They didn't have you where I come from—" can really hit you, late at night, if you are pining away for a person. These three are love songs in that vein. Listen to them and sigh. (I did.)

"Two of Us" by The Beatles

And the Beatles, finally. This song must be Paul, right? All four of them could be silly and playful, but this tune has Paul's lilt to it, and I think I read that he wrote it as a bromance love song to his mate John. I love that kind of love: the buddy kind, the going so deep you'll always be something to each other kind, even if spouses or kids intervene and claim your affections, too. The love between Anne and Flannery is a romantic one, but it has a strain of the buddy love in it, too: the two women can tease each other, they can prank each other. There is a scene, in bed, in which they pass back and forth an imaginary cigarette, and take deep, nicotine-free drags, because neither of them smokes any more, of course. ("I completely shocked Willa once," Flannery tells Anne, after faux-exhaling, "by telling her, in passing, that I had smoked in college. You should have seen her face. It was like I told her I had robbed a bank.") Flannery and Anne love each other enough that they could take a road trip, one day, together—as Flannery did with a previous girlfriend, the woman she was with after Anne. That is how you know you love someone: if you can drive with them. "You and I have memories/ Longer than the road that stretches out ahead."


Sylvia Brownrigg and Pages For Her links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book

Kirkus review
New Republic review
San Francisco Chronicle review
ZYZZYVA review

San Jose Mercury News 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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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

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

Shorties (An Excerpt from Chris Kraus's Kathy Acker Biography, The Best Books About David Bowie, and more)

The New Yorker shared an excerpt from Chris Kraus's book After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography.


The Guardian listed the best books about David Bowie.


The Paris Review shared a new Gabrielle Bell comic.


Beck discussed his forthcoming album Colors with Rolling Stone.


The Guardian previewed fall's new books.


Drowned in Sound interviewed Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.


Entropy interviewed author Steve Erickson.


Stream a new Grizzly Bear song.


The JDO Show interviewed author Monica Drake.


Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos talked music and mental health with Weekend Edition.


Literary Hub interviewed author Marlon James.


Sinkane's Ahmed Gallab shared a Sudanese mixtape at Aquarium Drunkard.


Actress and poet Amber Tamblyn discussed her favorite books with Vulture.


Salon made a case for 1987 as the most impotant year for alternative rock.


The Guardian interviewed author Ned Beauman.


Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer covered Nirvana's "Lithium."


The New Yorker interviewed Garth Greenwell about his short story in this week's issue.


MusicRadar profiled singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.


Vanity Fair recommended August's best new books.


Stream a new Washer song.


Book Riot recommended August's best small press books.


EMA's Erika Michelle Anderson discussed her music with PopMatters.


The New York Times interviewed Lindsay Hunter about her new short story collection Eat Only When You're Hungry.


Rob Sheffield talked to the Los Angeles Review of Books about his book Dreaming the Beatles.


The Guardian profiled author Maggie O'Farrell.


American Songwriter profiled Jay Som's Melina Duterte.


eBooks on sale for $0.99 today:

Benazir Bhutto: Favored Daughter by Brooke Allen
J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist by Thomas Beller
The Lost Tribe of Coney Island by Claire Prentice
Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open by Phoebe Hoban
Men, Women & Children by Chad Kultgen

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch
A Small Revolution by Jimin Han
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Inferno by Eileen Myles
The Sunlit Room by Rebecca Dinerstein
Visible City by Tova Mirvis


eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Lightning People by Christopher Bollen
The River Why by David James Duncan
The Theoretical Foot by M. F. K. Fisher


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

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

August 11, 2017

Book Notes - Suzanne Burns "The Veneration of Monsters"

The Veneration of Monsters

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.

Suzanne Burns' The Veneration of Monstersis a stellar short fiction collection featuring unforgettable characters.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Burns is an unmissable heir to writers of the peculiar, from Shirley Jackson to Roald Dahl."


In her own words, here is Suzanne Burns' Book Notes music playlist for her short story collection The Veneration of Monsters:



As I began shaping the stories that became The Veneration of Monsters, the follow-up to my debut collection, Misfits and Other Heroes, both published by Dzanc Books, I started to see the characters in the book as real people. This is a cliché that I've heard writers say from small town critique groups to that time, in the mid-nineties, when I participated in Ken Kesey's last writing workshop and the class sat in rapt enchantment when he told the story of an anonymous person who sent letters to his house years after One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest came out. I am Big Chief, the letters proclaimed. I am in Denver waiting for an airplane eating an omelet. Do you know they put ham in their omelets out west? I am in Paris. I am in Rome. I am watching you outside your bathroom window while you shower and shave.

I think the reason these characters, more than any other characters, felt real is because the process of writing and rewriting coincided with a tumultuous few years in my life, through breakups and death and European travel and more breakups and more death. It was a time of reflection and headphones, pastry and tears.

I do write in complete silence. I can't have a television on in the next room, a stereo in a far corner of the house. I can't even hear the quiet sounds of someone sleeping close to me, so I've never listened to music while I work. Maybe sometimes if I'm typing a long section of a piece, since I handwrite all first drafts, I might sneak on Pandora and let Beethoven or a very quiet Nina Simone help get me by, but this playlist is not a playlist to read by, necessarily, as much as it is a playlist dedicated to the characters in this collection. These are the songs I imagine they listen to in their dark times, in their bright times, and in those times in between.


First Movement: "On the Street Where You Live" by Vic Damone

A song for an eternal optimist. A song for someone as much in love with love as they are in love with the person who lives on the only street in town where lilac trees bloom. Cherise listens to Vic's version on her long walks through the city as she plots the beginnings of her new life, new shoes wearing in, pack of violet mints in her purse. Nat King Cole's version is too syrupy for her taste, a little too slow, borderline maudlin. Dean Martin doesn't take the song seriously enough. On lonely Saturday evenings Cherise plays this song on repeat and memorizes facts about Vic Damone from Wikipedia, which she believes to always be true. Rocco and Mamie, his parents, came to America from Italy, he an electrician, she, a piano teacher.


Selfie: "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths

Violet doesn't believe in downloading music. She hasn't even accepted the near obsolete CD yet. It's vinyl for her or nothing at all, Louder Than Bombs in permanent rotation, this song topping the list of her favorite mope rock dirges. In between boyfriends, both alive and undead, she listens to this album while sitting cross-legged in a candlelit room trying to find all the lines Morrissey pilfered from author Elizabeth Smart's prose poetry novel By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. Violet loves memorizing anapaests while dipping the dregs of broken Pirouette cookies in warm Nutella.


Happy Anniversary: "World Keeps Turning" by Tom Waits

This song makes Thomas cry. It also used to make his wife, Emma, cry before she became Rose, which is a long, complicated story. Emma cut the fat off pork tenderloin before cooking the meat with baby red potatoes in a very expensive round Dutch oven from Le Creuset in the oceanic blue color they call Caribbean. Now Rose listens to Bikini Kill. She likes to say the phrase "old bootlegs." The Dutch oven is collecting dust on a shelf much too high for either of them to reach.


Best of Show: "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera

Tiny Ron's wife plays this song while she secretly works out to old Tae Bo VHS tapes. Sometimes after her workout, if her husband is still filming a commercial or running more lines with a costar anywhere but close to where she sits and sweats, she sips off a bottle of Mike's Hard Pink Lemonade. She throws the cap on the ground and never recycles the bottle. She sees both of these small gestures as steps forward.


Reducing: "I Started a Joke" by the Bee Gees

Veronica and her mother listen to this song on the CD player in her mother's SUV on the way to Starbucks to buy one birthday flavored cake pop to share. When she was pregnant, Veronica's mom listened to this song while she smoked cigarettes and responded to chain letters in hopes of warding off any bad luck to her coming daughter. In high school Veronica's first boyfriend felt her up in the backseat of his car while this song played on an oldies radio station. She cried when she got home that night.


The Line of Fate: "It Ain't What You Do It's the Way That You Do It" by Fun Boy Three featuring Bananarama

After every doll in the house is arranged on Tabitha's kitchen table each morning after her husband goes to work, she plays this song and dances in front of her miniature audience. Each time she checks her pulse, heart rate right in the precise target zone, Tabitha bows to her silent companions. She never gives up hope because dolls never give up hope.


The Unfortunate Act of Falling: "Ladder of Success" by Skeeter Davis

Sometimes is gets lonely in Joan's gourmet kitchen, late at night when Harry and the twins are asleep upstairs and maybe she misses someone she used to know, or even someone she thought she knew. She kills little summer bugs between her manicured fingers while listening to this song on nights like this. It brings a brief respite from middle age creeping up on her, the destiny of such a tiny creature destroyed on Congress Street, though the act of killing something so innocent always leads to other ideas.


Unwound: "Ribbons and Detours" by Silversun Pickups

Lara and her ribbons. Of course she listens to this song on her phone while she picks out ribbons at the fabric store. Most of the time she calls her ribbons "notions," intoxicated by the prospect of a new idea springing up each time she ties one tight around her neck.


The Compromise: "You've Really Got a Hold On Me" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

Once, on a dare, Claire and Jack went dancing. Claire loved the way the mirror ball at the Elk's Lodge lit the room in rainbow stars. Jack complained about the price of well drinks. Jack loved the tray of complimentary caprese skewers. Claire wished the event organizer took lactose intolerance into consideration. But the couple danced to this song like no one has ever danced to this song, even on TV. A dance for the ages between two people who don't even know how to dance. Not really, anyway. So this song became their song, to dance to on occasion, to travel with, to plot what to do as they spy on another couple on vacation, so in love they almost don't know what to do with themselves.


The Borrower: "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by The Rolling Stones

Each time Sheba moves into the cul-de-sac of a new neighborhood in a new town, she blasts this song while watching the movers unload her possessions. She likes it when people notice her listening to music almost too loud to hear herself think. She likes it when they marvel at her velvet cape, her seemingly never ending collection of claw-footed furniture, the way her eyes change color every few minutes, and her hair, too, in the course of one afternoon going from black to red to blonde, having nothing to do with highlights or lowlights or the way the sun hits.


Just the Right Kind of Stranger: "When You Wish Upon a Star" by Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket

This short story collection opens and closes with what I consider to be two of my most optimistic characters, Cherise at the beginning and Irene, with her love of this song, and all things Disney, at the end. This is the song of dreamers, and Irene dreams bigger dreams that maybe all of my other characters combined. Though maybe a lot of you out there reading this list, and my book, might view her dreams as nightmares. So please, as always, proceed with caution.


Suzanne Burns and The Veneration of Monsters links:

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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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

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

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - August 11, 2017

David Rawlings

David Rawlings' Poor David's Almanack and
\Frankie Rose's Cage Tropical are albums I can wholeheartedly recommend this week.

Guided By Voices's How Do You Spell Heaven is also available to stream and in stores.

Reissues include remastered editions of three Peter Gabriel albums (Birdy, Long Walk Home, Passion).

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


This week's interesting music releases:

5 Billion In Diamonds: 5 Billion In Diamonds
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: Source Tags & Codes (reissue) [vinyl]
Ben Sollee and Kentucky Native: Ben Sollee and Kentucky Native
The Cribs: 24-7 Rock Star Shit
Cypress Hill: Black Sunday (reissue) [vinyl]
David Rawlings: Poor David's Almanack
Def Leppard: Hysteria: 30th Anniversary (7-disc box set)
The Districts: Popular Manipulations
Downtown Boys: Cost Of Living
Foster the People: Sacred Hearts Club [vinyl]
Frankie Rose: Cage Tropical
Guided By Voices: How Do You Spell Heaven
Hamell on Trial: Tackle Box
Keane: Hopes and Fears (reissue) [vinyl]
Kesha: Rainbow
Mark Bryan: Songs Of The Fortnight
matt pond PA: Still Summer
Oneohtrix Point Never: The Good Time (soundtrack)
Paul Kelly: Life Is Fine
Peter Gabriel: Birdy - 45 RPM Half Speed Edition (2-LPs) (remastered)
Peter Gabriel: Long Walk Home - 45 RPM Half Speed Edition (2-LPs) (remastered)
Peter Gabriel: Passion - 45 RPM Half Speed Edition (3-LPs) (remastered)
Portugal. The Man: Woodstock [vinyl]
Prince: Partyman [vinyl]
Prince: Pop Life [vinyl]
Prince: Transmission Impossible
Richard Thompson: Rumor & Sigh (reissue) [vinyl]
Sheer Mag: Need To Feel Your Love
The Slits: Return of the Giant Slits (remastered)
So Much Light: Oh, Yuck
Steve Howe: Anthology 2: Groups & Collaborations (3-CD box set)
Sun Ra: My Brother The Wind, Vol. I Expanded Edition
Various Artists: 13 Reasons Why - A Netflix Original Series Soundtrack [vinyl]
Various Artists: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2: Awesome Mix Vol. 2 [vinyl]
Various Artists: The Music of Nashville Season 5, Vol 3
Washed Out: Mister Mellow [vinyl]
Will Hoge: Anchors


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

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)
Shorties (daily book and music news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)

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

Shorties (Dennis Cooper on Filmmaking, Matt Sweeney on Glen Campbell, and more)

Dennis Cooper talked to Vulture about his foray into filmmaking.


Guitarist Matt Sweeney discussed Glen Campbell's influence on his career at The Record.


Mimi Pond talked to The Muse about her graphic novel The Customer Is Always Wrong.


The Oxford American shared an essay by singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.


The White Review interviewed author Ottessa Moshfegh.


Stream a new Chain and the Gang song.


NY Tyrant shared an unpublished chapter from Annie DeWitt's novel White Nights in Split Town City.


Stream Julia Jacklin's Newport Folk Festival performance.


Electric Literature interviewed author Lidia Yucnavitch.


Tristen visited World Cafe for a live performance and interview.


The Quietus recommended August's best comics.


The Blow covered Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All."


Southwest Journal profiled author Peter Geye.


Stream a new Lo Moon song.


Literary Hub examined the rise of Scandinavian crime fiction.


Stream a new Alice Glass song.


Danya Kukafka discussed writing and pickles at Literary Hub.


Stream a new Exit Someone song.


The Rumpus interviewed author Blake Nelson.


Stream a new King Khan song.


eBooks on sale for $0.99 today:

Benazir Bhutto: Favored Daughter by Brooke Allen
J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist by Thomas Beller
The Lost Tribe of Coney Island by Claire Prentice
Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open by Phoebe Hoban
Men, Women & Children by Chad Kultgen

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch
A Small Revolution by Jimin Han
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Inferno by Eileen Myles
The Sunlit Room by Rebecca Dinerstein
Visible City by Tova Mirvis


eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Lightning People by Christopher Bollen
The River Why by David James Duncan
The Theoretical Foot by M. F. K. Fisher


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

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

August 10, 2017

Book Notes - Jonathan Ashley "South of Cincinnati"

South of Cincinnati

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.

Jonathan Ashley's South of Cincinnati is a dark and gritty crime novel.


In his own words, here is Jonathan Ashley's Book Notes music playlist for his novel South of Cincinnati:



Several people, during the editing process of the second Catlett novel, remarked that I’d written a southern Greek tragedy masquerading as a dope book/crime novel. I couldn’t remove the smile from my face every time this was pointed out because, inherently, any plot involving heroin has to tent toward tragedy because, from personal experience, I promise that any knowledgeable story involving smack must include a heavy dose of devastation and sorrow. Then, perhaps, in the third act of the entire piece – this is the second of a trilogy – rebuilding may be possible. With the stage in mind, and dreams of my prose somehow, someday translating to screen, music played an integral part in the escalating chaos my precious broken antagonists and anti-heroes must face. For every important moment of the book, I had a song in mind and, in a perfect world, if the Coen Brothers or Vince Gilligan were to approach me, I’d maybe have a say in what they chose for the soundtrack.

Yeah. I’ll dictate a Hollywood soundtrack the same day love finally triumphs over money and the new season of “Twin Peaks” makes sense even to those currently unconfined to psych wards.

But, I can dream, can’t I?

The Volebeats -"Sky and the Ocean"

Prologue - En media res - we start toward the middle of the novel and the strange David Lynch-esque minor scales of this unappreciated garage band gem perfectly compliment the intrigue and profundity of perhaps my best twenty pages of writing.

Bobby “Blue” Bland – "Ain’t No Love (In the Heart of the City)"

Road trip from Appalachians - narrator returning home to answer for his crimes. Perfect song filled with guilt and remorse as he enters the big city.

Steve Harley – "Make Me Smile"

First meeting with crew after detectives have been dealt with, a bittersweet song that bespeaks the resentment and unaddressed issues between the characters:

Freakwater – "War Pigs"

Chicago shootout and build-up by a Chicago/Louisville based band:

Graham Parker – "Cheap Chipped Black Nails"

Jon's search for his godson throughout the bohemian, drug infused Highlands of Louisville. Anyone who has lived on the strip will understand this song choice, especially since our embittered narrator now feels alienated from all these ne'er do well, hypocritical cause promoters.:

Sean Garrison and the Five Finger Discount – "The Weak and the Strong"

Discovery of rival "unscrupulous" dealer and the crew's violent response. An eerie, evil song from another great Louisville songwriter:

Mickey Newbury - "Sunshine"

Lovebird road trip with Catherine and Jon. Also, since they sing a part of this song together... and since this amazing song has never been in a movie that I know of, I am compelled to include it here.

George Harrison – "Absolutely Sweet Marie"

Nashville shootout near the Parthenon. Great juxtaposition between the violence and the upbeat song (but one that has lyrics about criminality, love, friendship, and betrayal).... this will also be the song once the curtains drop and we are left with the ambiguous/ cliff hanger ending.

The Stooges – "Gimme Danger"

When crew meets at record store to decide response to attacks. Danger is coming. Hence the song. Plays until we discover Thomas' master plan for the corrupt DEA agent and his gang banging dope slingers:

Waylon Jennings – "Dreaming My Dreams with You"

Godfather-esque montage of killings. Perfect contrast - sad country waltz over violence. Plus, this is the true death of Jon Catlett's dreams. Song will be replayed once the real twist is revealed on Jon's farmland.


Jonathan Ashley and South of Cincinnati links:

The Big Thrill 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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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

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

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - August 10, 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.


Art Comic #5

Art Comic #5
by Matthew Thurber

The final installment of Matthew Thurber’s Art Comic is here! The exploits in volume #5 include, but are not limited to, a pig brawl (“Ever heard of a Molotov Pigtail?”), a meowing crocodile, and toilet-bowl tubing.


Lyric Sexology Vol. 1

Lyric Sexology Vol. 1
by Trish Salah

A groundbreaking work from Halifax-born writer/intellectual Trish Salah exploring trans identity. This new edition of Salah’s seminal book, featuring new poems, is from Montreal publisher Metonymy Press.


Sour Heart

Sour Heart
by Jenny Zhang

The elusive Jenny Zhang (bio reading simply: “A poet and writer living in New York City.”) is a fresh face in American letters—her new collection of short stories proves her to be an unabashed seer of the immigrant experience in America.


Geoffrey Farmer: A Way Out of the Mirror

Geoffrey Farmer: A Way Out of the Mirror

Titled after an Allen Ginsberg line, this deeply personal book from Vancouver-based artist Geoffrey Farmer—renowned for arduously crafted works of epic proportion—draws on his personal history to show how pain drips down generations.


The Cooking Gene

The Cooking Gene
by Michael W. Twitty

This illuminating portrait of Southern cuisine comes from culinary historian Michael Twitty, who explores the provocative and racially-tense subject of who "owns" the food culture and tradition in the American South.


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)

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

Shorties (Claire Messud Profiled, Stream the New Rainer Maria Album, and more)

The New York Times profiled author Claire Messud.


NPR Music is streaming Rainer Maria's self-titled album.


Men's Journal listed August's best books.


Bruce Springsteen is coming to Broadway.


Bookworm interviewed actor and author Wallace Shawn.


Stream a new JD McPherson song.


Remezcla recommended books on immigration, youth, and Latinx identity.


The Brunswick News profiled Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers.


The New York Daily News recommended books about books.


Stream a new Tori Amos song.


The Creative Independent interviewed author Chris Kraus.


SPIN interviewed Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear.


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author Jarett Kobek.


NPR Music is streaming the Accidentals' new album Odyssey.


The Guardian profiled author Zinzi Clemmons.


SF Weekly profiled the surf rock band The She's.


Signature interviewed author Teju Cole.


NPR Music is streaming Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer's new album Not Dark Yet.


Granta shared a conversation between authors Sarah Hall and Tessa Hadley.


Stream a new Alice Glass song.


The Nation explored the fiction of Deborah Levy.


Songhoy Blues visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author Fiona Helmsley.


The War on Drugs covered Warren Zevon's "Accidentally Like a Martyr."


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed author Jessie Chaffee.


Stream a new Maneka song.


The New York Times profiled author Rebecca Solnit.


Stream a new Mogwai song.


eBooks on sale for $0.99 today:

Benazir Bhutto: Favored Daughter by Brooke Allen
J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist by Thomas Beller
The Lost Tribe of Coney Island by Claire Prentice
Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open by Phoebe Hoban
Men, Women & Children by Chad Kultgen

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer
Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach
Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch
A Small Revolution by Jimin Han
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Inferno by Eileen Myles
The Sunlit Room by Rebecca Dinerstein
Visible City by Tova Mirvis


eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Lightning People by Christopher Bollen
The River Why by David James Duncan
The Theoretical Foot by M. F. K. Fisher


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

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

August 9, 2017

Book Notes - Jardine Libaire "White Fur"

White Fur

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.

Jardine Libaire's novel White Fur is a compelling literary thriller convincingly set in the New York City of the mid-1980s.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Writing with all the senses, Libaire demonstrates an ability to evoke vivid moods and places, drawing a stark and realistic depiction of ’80s Manhattan. She also succeeds at giving equal weight and attention to both her protagonists, elegantly toggling between their perspectives. The most lively, memorable, and convincing character in the novel is the setting itself.Writing with all the senses, Libaire demonstrates an ability to evoke vivid moods and places, drawing a stark and realistic depiction of '80s Manhattan. She also succeeds at giving equal weight and attention to both her protagonists, elegantly toggling between their perspectives. The most lively, memorable, and convincing character in the novel is the setting itself."


In her own words, here is Jardine Libaire's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel White Fur:



White Fur is tucked right into the time period of 1986 and 1987—the ultimate pawn shop for music, full of illicit, used, glittering, irresistible stuff.

The story unfolds in New Haven, CT and then mostly in New York City, bouncing from SoHo to the Upper East Side to Alphabet City. The stars are Elise—who grew up in Bridgeport public housing without a dad, didn't finish high school, and who has the drive and power of a seeker, and Jamey—the "child king" of a New York banking family, a virgin in a sense, with ideas of revolt "fermenting" in him. They meet as neighbors—she's practically squatting in one building and he's a Yale junior living next door.

White Fur is a subversion of Romeo and Juliet, a dark and hopeful tale about two lovers transcending their assigned roles in society, and battling family expectations; it's a story about who we're allowed to love, and what it looks like to break those rules. But it's not a roses-and-rainbows romance, as has been noted in many a review (sometimes bitterly, if the reader was looking for roses and rainbows), but rather a raw, psychedelic, ecstatic, quasi-pornographic fable—not unlike Siddhartha redone by Bret Easton Ellis, or a punk version of Pretty Woman where he ends up going home with her, not the other way around.

All of which invites a schizophrenic soundtrack! White Fur just landed in development as an Amazon Studios TV series, too, so I've been thinking about its musical DNA a lot lately, and rifling through what I was listening to and revering and ruminating on when I was writing the book. I adore the playlists on this site, and love the various ways other writers have organized songs. I tried to figure out a method to structure mine but I'm afraid it works best like a junk store, treasures jammed in with trash, no distinction between high and low, pretty stuff on the shelf next to ugly stuff—perhaps like the book itself.

"Girls and Boys" by Prince
Prince is Elise's guardian angel. We learn on page 2 of the book what's above her bed: "Taped to her wall, where someone else might hang a crucifix, is a page torn from Rolling Stone: Prince in a misty lavender paradise." "Girls and Boys" is quintessential Prince, goofy and raunchy and groovy and wickedly perfect—with the gold sparkly chimes as punctuation and the French proposal for exotica. But the main reason the song is important to the book is this line: "Meet me in another world."

"I Against I" by Bad Brains
Jamey is a mess. He just is. In his psychology class, the students try the exercise of not thinking about a white bear for five minutes, and he of course is haunted by the white bear, unable to avoid thinking about the yellow-toothed killer for a second, and even bringing him home in his mind where the bear will stay for weeks. Jamey is living an "I Against I" life, he's a portrait of "I Against I".

"Fascinated" by Company B
It's masochistic to listen to this one, like sticking a golden pin into your eye over and over. Those high synths, good god—like holy acupuncture. And it goes on and on. Never ending. Like the line to the ladies room at a nightclub circa 1986, everyone emerging with white rings around their nostrils. The book is about obsession, and this relentless, measured, ghostly voice wanting to play with you tonight definitely doesn't sound like she's gonna give up anytime soon.

"We've Got a Bigger Problem Now" by Dead Kennedys
The book is largely about class in America, and it seemed like a good way to look at that topic was by writing about Reagan-era Manhattan and its diamonds at Tiffany's and burning buildings in Bed-Stuy and martinis at Odeon and welfare cuts and families living in their cars. This song is a cathartic and angry diatribe against the hypocritical denial of disparity during these years. The deranged bartender drawls along to lounge-guitar music, calmly saying: "last call for freedom of speech", and it's halfway into the song that all hell breaks loose.

"I Can't Wait" by Nu Shooz
This song equals a white mesh shirt. It's like a TV jingle for sex itself. It stands for the parts of the book that are terribly beautiful, dirty, sticky.

"Sex and Dying in High Society" by X
Oh, escalating and jubilant disaster!...this could be the subtitle to White Fur. I love hearing equal power between John Doe and Exene when they play, and hopefully that balance is true of the lovers in White Fur. But I always imagine this as Jamey's theme song, and it plays while he walks out of his family's life, coming down some staircase. Not even sure what staircase, but it's a coming-down-a-staircase-for-the-last-time song.

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by Elton John (1974 cover)
This cut is so dopey and clang-y, so shirt-on-backwards! I don't want to give everything away, but there might be an acid trip that might take place in Trump Tower, and this song—with its kaleidoscope eyes and cellophane flowers—is a good track for that scene.

"Starfish and Coffee" by Prince
If you set your mind free, baby, maybe you'll understand. I was thirteen, obsessing over "Starfish and Coffee", in the year this book takes place, and Prince's lifelong effect on me makes him the patron saint of the entire book, not just of Elise. A song like this one, innocent and fantastical, was a continuation of my favorite storybooks and poems, and the fact that it was wedged into an album that hit a bunch of other notes—from dark to sexual to mystical—pushed forward this notion that maybe just maybe I'm allowed to do whatever I want as a writer. From the book: "Elise was raised on the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, the Isley Brothers—[her mom] Denise played records, night and day. Prince is the son of Motown, born early and underweight, an over-incubated child raised in a bedroom with a white grand piano. / Anemic genius. / He summons Haitian spirits, Pentecostal virgins, drowned witches. If James Brown and Baudelaire had a hermaphroditic bastard, babysat by Mister Rogers, who grew up to wear lilac matador pants—it would be Prince."

"Spooky" by Lydia Lunch
The original by Classic IV is about a spooky little girl, of course, and the gender switch in this version matches the shifting power dynamic between Elise and Jamey—and between men and women in the 80s. I also think this song is a celebration of relishing the freak, the shy one, the weirdo. In the Broadway musical version of White Fur, Elise would sing this to Jamey, starting with this one's for you, and channeling all of Lydia's exquisite downtown energy.

"Modern Dance" by Pere Ubu
There's a subliminal Peter-Pan spirit to this song; I feel like I'm being called into a new world—coaxed—following even as the floor tilts under my feet. Jamey and Elise are headed to an unknown place, and this song represents that stage of their journey. It's the sound of punk being turned into something finer, with a razor's edge that cuts open a beautiful measure of disobedience.

"Love is the Drug" by Grace Jones
This song represents the vein of desperation that runs through the whole story. Diabolical plinks start fifteen seconds into the track and then run rampant. Her voice is mellifluous, and so definite, leaving no room for doubt. To say she has authority is to downplay things, but she also sounds far away, like the drug of love can be.

"All This and More" by the Dead Boys
I'm just a dead boy… I can't resist including this song because it belongs to the book in an almost ridiculous way. The grind-and-clap setup is so perfect for the proposition: I'll die for you if you want me to. It's the ultimate pickup line.

"The Good Life" by Frank Sinatra
This is the country-club war chant of Bats and Binkie, Jamey's grandparents, who use power like other people use food and liquor and sex. They were born to rule. Binkie is an Astor, a debutante, a gravelly-voiced Palm Beach hostess who remembers you like your Manhattan stirred. Even now, in his mid-60s, hands covered with sunspots, Bats is the object of longing looks from Sacred Heart girls on the subway. As a couple, they represent the establishment, in all its charm, glamour, and corruption. Who better than Frank to speak for them, to claim, in mellow bitterness: You won't really fall in love / Because you can't take the chance?

Love theme from "Romeo and Juliet" by Henry Mancini
This is the pastel-silk version of Romeo and Juliet's affair, the marzipan version, the chandelier hanging in the story, the sad lullaby, the elegant and polite version. That original structure is in White Fur, like antique gold chairs set up in neat rows in a ballroom, and it does come to use.

"Romeo" by The Wipers
But this song is more the heart of the book. It's a stealthy narrative, hormonal to be sure, and truer to what really happens between two kids in crazy love. Roam, Romeo…Romeo, roam! This song is an incitement to and endorsement of infatuation, and it's conducted so methodically, it always makes me smile. With its puppy yelps of lust and all.

"Boom I Got your Boyfriend" by MC Luscious
The early hip-hop women—like MC Luscious and MC Lyte and Roxanne Shanté—were deadpan, brave, rude, and funny as hell when they wanted to be—like Elise, whose sexuality doesn't rely on pleasing men as much as on being real. These ladies didn't get naked onstage, but looked badass in tight tomboy jeans and sneakers and bucket hats. I imagine Elise addressing this song to all the madras-skirt gin-and-tonic Camel-Lights girls at Dorrian's uptown.

"Dirty Mind" by Prince
I'll end with Prince, since two-thirds into White Fur, Jamey buys Elise tickets to his Madison Square Garden show. An excerpt from that scene: "Madison Square Garden is ready too. The city (and Jersey and Long Island) launches an army of pilgrims to meet their lord, him with the rolled curls and beauty mark and white dance shoes. / Everyone surges to the stage, pushing. Dark hearts, kids ready to sing their brains out. / Girls with shirts smaller than bras, pouts, and violent stars in their eyes; guys with combs in pocket and little street spats and minty gum. All eyes are tilted up, waiting for the moon to rise into the black sky. / Like a unicorn on a rampage, he emerges. He slumps into every cherry-red note and electric piano chord and lightning streak of guitar. / 'I'm in heaven!' she yells at Jamey. / She dances like a demon took hold. / She signs with her fingers: You…I would die for you…" Music here opens things up between them, at the concert, in a way that will seriously impact the story. But when they leave, pushing through Penn Station with the crowd, getting onto the train, everyone closes back up, because we can't stay as open as music makes us. "She's blind and happy as they make their way with other dazed boys and girls out the doors, and they're part of the mob of vulnerable freaks. On the subway, kids—whose silk shirts are drying—light one more joint. That was a dope show. Slowly, their snakeskins grow back, and everyone is strangers again."


Jardine Libaire and White Fur links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia page

Kirkus review
NPR Books review
Publishers Weekly 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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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

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

Google
  Web largeheartedboy.com