Quantcast



October 13, 2014

Book Notes - Amina Gautier "Now We Will Be Happy"

Now We Will Be Happy

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, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Amina Gautier's short story collection Now We Will Be Happy is a vivid examination of Puerto Rican identity.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Gautier's linked stories deftly capture her characters' internal struggles for identity and home."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Amina Gautier's Book Notes music playlist for her short story collection Now We Will Be Happy:


There are many who view songs as poems that have simply been set to music. While I don't dispute that viewpoint, when I listen to a song, what I hear is not a poem, but a short story. In music and in song, I hear narrative; I hear plot; I hear dramatic action, conflict, and resolution. That is to say, I hear story. If there were no such thing as music, I could not exist as a writer. Music is vital to my life as a writer and to the material I create. With my diction and syntax choices, I build my sentences and paragraphs to have lyrical components and rhythmic aspects so that there is music to them when they are read aloud. Just as cigarettes were used in post-World War II Germany as an alternate form of currency when the Reichsmark was devalued, so too did music serve as something like an alternate form of currency in my world (Reagan Era New York City) when I was a young girl. As a young girl growing up in predominantly black neighborhoods in Brooklyn during the eighties and nineties, music was the key to enter the world of grown-ups and be taken seriously. All of the adults I knew delighted in making children sing, dance and perform the crowd's favorite songs when company would come over. Learning, knowing and appreciating the songs the adults knew and revered would take a child who was meant to be seen and not heard and give that child an audience. Of course there were other ways of getting attention such as throwing tantrums, acting out, getting into trouble etc., but displaying one's musical knowledge garnered attention for the right reasons. In my world, music was frequently the bridge that allowed children to cross over into adult company, and when the soul songs of the seventies became remixed into the hip hop songs of the eighties and nineties, music became a translatable language, one dexterous and flexible enough to speak across generations. Given this background, it can be no wonder that I so frequently write about characters in relation to the music they hear and/or love and the songs that define them. This is true of many of my stories, but especially true of my newest collection Now We Will Be Happy, a short story collection whose very title is derived from a song. Songs are prominently featured in many of the stories in this collection. Just as the content of Now We Will Be Happy describes the experiences of native Puerto Ricans, Nuyoricans and Afro-Puerto Ricans, the music alluded to in the various stories also reflect this combination. Within the collection I make references to African American soul music group Earth Wind and Fire, African American R&B/pop group Destiny's Child, old school hip hop artists Run DMC and Big Daddy Kane, as well as iconic Puerto Rican singers, composers and musicians such as Rafael Hernandez, Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Eddie Palmieri, Ruben Blades, Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Tito Nieves, Marc Anthony, and La India. Now We Will Be Happy depicts moments of diegetic sound, where characters turn on stereos, play records, or listen to bands and dee-jays and the music becomes part of the narrative world. Here is what the characters and I are listening to:

The playlist:

"Now We Will Be Happy" by Rafael Hernandez (El Jibarito)
The title story takes its name from Rafael Hernandez's song"Ahora seremos felices," which translates into English as"now we will be happy." Hernandez was an important Puerto Rican composer, who is deeply revered in Puerto Rican culture. This song is a lovely bolero of his; to my ears it is a hopeful song. There aren't too many lyrics and verses, but there is hope in each word. To me, the song has a fanciful quality, whose essence I tried to capture in the content of my story. In the title story"Now We Will Be Happy," we see a couple comprised of two complete opposites—a young married woman with an abusive husband, and an older bachelor and retired veteran who is the most gentle person she's ever met. Despite the danger their relationship invites, they are each hopeful about the other and in the story they use their hopefulness to transform simple moments into significant ones.

“Nadie Como Ella" by Marc Anthony
This is one of my favorite salsas. It's a beautiful song about a woman who is unique. In the song, the singer states that there is"nadie como ella," nobody like her. The singer says he will give his life for her and that she has made him believe in love again. In my story"The Luckiest Man in the World," the adults are playing this song in the living room, while two kids are playing"doctor" in a back bedroom (don't worry, they keep their clothes on and don't actually have sex). The song mirrors the narrator's feelings for Yali, a girl who he has adored all of his young life and who he secretly thinks is one of a kind.

“Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell
In 1984, Berry Gordy's son Rockwell released this song on his father's Motown label. It's famous for Michael Jackson's hard-to-ignore voice on the chorus singing"I always feel like somebody's watching me." The song had a creepy video full with lots of floating heads, and stuffed animal heads watching a paranoid Rockwell. In"Muñeca," Rosa's husband Pedro's paranoia at constantly being under the surveillance of his wife's parents makes it hard for him to breathe in his in-law's home (where he and his wife are forced to live) and eventually fuels his growing abusiveness.

“Real American" by the World Wide Wrestling Federation
In 1985 the WWWF produced a Wrestling Album. There is of course, no more WWWF. It morphed into the WWF and then the WWE. But back when it was the WWWF, the wrestlers took time out from their busy schedules of suplexes, body-slams, pile-drivers, and figure four leglocks to make videos. The song"Real American" appears on the album and later aired as Hulk Hogan's theme song. All the young Hulk-a-maniacs (of which I was one) knew the song and its accompanying video featuring Hulk Hogan playing an American flag guitar while iconic American images, such as pictures of JFK, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Native Americans, cowboys, astronauts landing on the moon, Martin Luther King, Coney Island, the St. Louis Arch, Mount Rushmore, and the Washington Monument all appear in succession."Real American" depicted Hulk Hogan in all types of ‘real American' poses and is the song I was thinking of when I described Nelida Torres watching WWWF wrestling with her young grandson in my story"Bodega." It is unthinkable that they would not have encountered this song and video during one of their many viewings. I also had"Real American" in mind because Puerto Ricans are not immigrants, but US citizens and Americans at birth, since Puerto Rico is a US territory and commonwealth, which makes a Puerto Rican as much of a"Real American" as any other natural born American.

“Aguanile" by Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon (later covered by Marc Anthony in El Cantante)
I simply, purely, love this song. Obviously, right? I wrote about it. There was a period of time when I was in graduate school earning my Ph.D. in literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where fellow grad school friends and I would go salsa dancing several nights per week in Philadelphia. For about five years—from 1999-2004—I went salsa dancing some four nights a week (Wednesday through Sunday). Despite the various clubs, certain songs never escaped rotation. Every week I heard Celia Cruz's"Carnaval" and Elvis Crespo's"Suavemente." Every night, I heard"Aguanile." Each evening, it was inevitable that some dee-jay would feel the need to play this song before the night could end. The clubs I went to were mostly populated by Puerto Ricans with a few Dominicans and Colombians thrown in, so the dee-jays knew which musicians to play to please the crowd. It was the same whenever I went home to New York; I couldn't go salsa dancing one single night without hearing the dee-jay play"Aguanile." heard this song for so many years every time I went salsa dancing in Philadelphia or New York with friends or relative that it became part of me, haunted me with its Santeria chants, transported me to jungles and plains; its Yoruba words flew me back to Africa and the root of all things. Whenever the song is played in a club, it becomes clear without fail who the real salseros are in the room. It has a faster beat than the typical salsa and you have to keep up in order to dance it. It's a fast song, meant for spins and whirls, and dizziness. It's hard for some; many trip, cross their feet over themselves and stumble. In"Aguanile," you move from the slow call of nature in the beginning (Elephants! Birds!) to this awesome frenzy that comes from a place you don't know that then lodges itself in your chest and sweats itself out through your pores. Every time I hear that song, I love it more. I love both the Hector Lavoe and Marc Anthony versions. I don't know how a song can be so serene and frenzied at the same time.


Amina Gautier and Now We Will Be Happy links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Cedar Rapids Gazette review
Publishers Weekly review


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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





October 13, 2014

Shorties (New Short Fiction from NYC Writers, Neil Young on His New Memoir, and more)

Time Out New York features new short stories from several NYC authors, including Marie-Helene Bertino and Alexander Chee.


Neil Young talked to Weekend Edition about his new memoir Special Delux.


NPR Music is streaming the Arthur Russell tribute album Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell.


The Quietus features an excerpt from Nicholas Rombes' forthcoming novel The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing.


NPR Music is streaming the new Horse Feathers album So It Is With Us.


NPR Music is streaming Thurston Moore's new album, The Best Day.


Stay Thirsty interviewed poet David Lehman.


Clash listed September's best albums.


Author Darcey Steinke recounted her correspondence with Barry Hannah at The Millions.


Stream a new David Bowie song.


A list of the 50 "most fabulous books for children of all ages living in multiracial, multicultural UK today."


Shovels and Rope visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Author Emily St. John Mandel discussed her favorite books at The Week.


Drowned in Sound listed the UK's top music pubs.


Ms. recommended must-read books for young feminists.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
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)

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

Daily Downloads (Joel Willoughby, Grace London, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers 10 free and legal mp3 downloads.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Bell Deep: Return single [mp3]

Carlin Tripp: "Reelin'" [mp3] from Back to the Soil (out November 1st)

Chasing Lights: The Awakening EP [mp3]

Devil's Holler: Croatoa album [mp3]

Grace London: Brains album [mp3]
Grace London: Rocketship Girl EP [mp3]

Joel Willoughby: Stay With Me Sampler album [mp3]

Quiet Quiet Band: "Hunter's Moon" [mp3]

Various Artists: Lost Ark Studio Compilation - Vol. 08 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Wussy: 2014-10-10, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create 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 music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists

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

October 12, 2014

Daily Downloads (The Week's Best Free and Legal Music Including Lily and Madeline, Young Rebel Set, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers 10 free and legal mp3 downloads.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Emily Wolfe: Roulette EP [mp3]

Germany Germany: "Substance" [mp3] from Germany Germany (out October 25th)

Lily and Madeline: Run for It EP [mp3]

Monogold: "Under Daisies" [mp3] from This Bloom (out November 11th)

Robyn Cage: Burning Now Sampler EP [mp3]

The Suitcase Junket: Knock It Down EP [mp3]

Various Artists: Asthmatic Kitty Digital Sampler, Autumn 2014 album [mp3]

Various Artists: The Best of Americana Music Festival 2014 album [mp3]

Young Rebel Set: Curse Our Love album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

J Mascis: 2014-10-04, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create 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 music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists

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

October 10, 2014

Book Notes - Gina B. Nahai "The Luminous Heart of Jonah S."

The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.

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, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Gina B. Nahais novel The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. is a bold and lyrical epic that spans generations of Iranian Jews from Tehran to Los Angeles.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"It's a riveting tale, requiring full concentration. Readers will be well rewarded."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Gina B. Nahai's Book Notes music playlist for her novel The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.:


The stories were there before the music, it is true, but the songs became pathways to a past I had to recreate in narrative form. I had written about distant history--my own and others’--often, but this was the first time I was writing about life in LA ten, twenty, even thirty years ago. It’s always more difficult to sift through the more recent memories in search of the most significant, or telling, parts. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to render a compelling enough picture of Los Angeles without the benefit of great distance, or that I wouldn’t see the dramatic potential in events without the benefit of a longer hindsight. With my previous novels, I had used the voices I had heard in my childhood, the words and inflections and the weight of emotions they carried, to tell the story. With this book, I used the songs I had heard in each era to summon the most poignant details that, together, amounted to a retelling.


"Billy, Don’t be a Hero," Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods

I left Iran in 1974, to go to boarding school in Switzerland with my sister. The summer before school started, my parents took us to New York. My mother had some family living in Queens, and they would take us around morning to night, to all the tourist sites and the department stores. Someone--a cousin, I think--owned a cherry-red Oldsmobile we’d squeeze into. It was hot and muggy and smokey and loud in the car, even more so outside, and all the radio stations in the country seemed to know only this one song.


"Margaritaville," Jimmy Buffet

My family moved to Los Angeles in 1977--two years before the revolution when you could count on two hands the number of Iranian families on the West Side. We landed at LAX the night Elvis died. My uncle Ray, who lived in Pasadena, picked us up at the airport and drove us to the Holiday Inn on Sunset and the 405. This is the song that played on the car radio. In retrospect, it encapsulates all the sunny optimism of a young family on the cusp of a new beginning.


"She’s Out of my Life," Michael Jackson

I was a student at UCLA and for the first time ever, I had real friends and an (albeit very limited) social life. One afternoon I was studying at a table in the North Campus dining hall when a frenzy broke out. People started running toward the back door as if from a fire, rushing back in to call their friends to “get up and come see, it’s him, it’s really him.” I’ve never been one to follow the crowd so I stayed put. Later, when the storm settled, someone told me there had been a sighting--a silver stretch limo, tinted windows, a pair of burly bouncer types in expensive suits bursting at the seams from the force of ever-expanding muscles, and a rumor, started by God knows whom, that it was Michael Jackson in the limo.


"Fire and Rain," James Taylor

Later, when my parents had lost the house with the floor-to-ceiling windows in the hills, when the life they had believed they could create in America didn’t materialize and the possibilities they had thought would be ever-expanding began to shrink, I’d listen to this song and think of those magical first years--the late ‘70s and early ’80’s--in LA, how hopeful they had been. How bold. How very brave to leave Iran when they didn’t have to.


"Mossabbeb," Elaaheh

My favorite Persian song is a plea to God by a subject who has complete faith in His powers and who begs him not to “take, from me, the one piece of joy” still left. It’s a very old song, covered many times by different artists, but the original, sung by a woman, is still the most affecting. In my twenties, the lyrics sounded positive to me: here was a person with faith so deep, she prayed as if expecting to be heard. As I grew older, I heard the futility of faith. Finally, toward the end of writing this book, I listened to the song dozens of times a day and each time, came away with the understanding that this wasn’t about faith so much as about hope.


Gina B. Nahai and The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. links:

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

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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

Book Notes - Hannah Pittard "Reunion"

Reunion

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, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Hannah Pittard's impressive new novel has been called "a dreamlike cross between The Virgin Suicides and The Lovely Bones," and features one of the most unforgettable unreliable narrators I have ever encountered.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"A warm and witty look at an unusual dysfunctional family... Truly engaging."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Hannah Pittard's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Reunion:


What I love about this exercise is that it asks me to do what I'm almost always doing in my head at any given moment of the day. As I kid, I was such a romantic. I desperately wanted to live my life inside a John Hughes movie. I didn't just want the happy ending. I wanted the heartache that led up to the happy ending. The closest I could come to living inside a movie was through music. Even when it wasn't playing, I pretended it was. And often — this is embarrassing, but… — often I'd even pretend there was a camera on me. So while my parents might have been minding their own business – sitting in the front seat on a drive across town to eat Chinese, say – I was probably in the back seat, imagining what I looked like on screen to all of my viewers and imagining also what mournful (always mournful) song they might be listening to as I went on with my listless life. In many ways, I've been waiting to be asked for this playlist since the day I hit puberty.

"The Only Living Boy in New York" – Simon & Garfunkel

This might seem like an obvious pick because the song is about a plane ride, and my book begins on a plane, but it's also the perfect opener 1) because of the tone (a magical combination of hope and despair) and 2) because it's the song I've listened to the most number of times in my life, on planes and off them. It's a song that feels both like the beginning and the end. And because http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0989360466/ref=nosim/largeheartedb-20">Reunion is my most autobiographical novel (side note: I have never cheated on my husband, but I have been in epic credit card debt), I am giving this song to Kate, my narrator, who, as the novel begins, is sitting on an airplane with news that her father has just committed suicide.

"Common People" – Pulp

Kate's a mess. She's also in debt. She and her husband have a wicked fight early on in the novel. "Common People" is my go-to song when I need to run a 7-minute mile. Kate doesn't need to run a 7-minute mile, but after the argument, she's filled with a similar sort of energetic rage. Since she and her husband are in public (at the airport) when the fight goes down, Kate can't scream. But I can totally see her finding a bathroom stall, putting in her earphones, and dancing the shit out of this song afterwards.

"The Nights Too Long" – Lucinda Williams

I'm a Lucinda Williams nut, but somehow I only recently discovered this song and, as a result, it's been on heavy rotation in my home. It's the story of Sylvia, who says, "I'm moving away, I'm gonna get what I want… I won't be needing these silly dresses and nylon hose ‘cause when I get to where I'm going, I'm going to buy me all new clothes." Sylvia is both optimistic and doleful. She is aching for life, for experience, for something bigger and better than what she has. So is Kate. (So are we all? Sometimes? Most of the time?)

"On Saturday Night" – Lyle Lovett

It's a song about getting high with your family, which happens – in life and in this book.

"Rewrite" – Paul Simon

This song is playing as Kate drunkenly sets the table for dinner. It's apt since she's a failed screenwriter who might very soon be looking for work at a carwash.

"Corpus Christi Bay" – Robert Earle Keen

This is a lugubrious, earnest snapshot of brotherhood and drunkenness. If it's a love story, it's a love story between two brothers: "We were bad for one another, but we were good at having fun." http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0989360466/ref=nosim/largeheartedb-20">Reunion is, in its way, a love story between siblings. But what makes this song so perfect is that Kate, the narrator, is pining for a time that no longer exists. Her siblings have moved on; they've grown up. But there's also a clarity towards the end of the novel that Kate is moving towards. Alcohol is the least of her troubles (maybe not least?), but this song certainly hints at her nearing epiphany: "If I could live my life all over, it wouldn't matter anyway because I never could stay sober…"

"Most of the Time" – Bob Dylan

It's morning, the day of the funeral, and Kate gets a phone call from her husband that she's been both expecting and dreading. The sound of the song fits the mood of the moment beautifully, but so do the lyrics. "Most of the time she ain't even in my mind… I don't pretend. I don't even care if I ever see her again. Most of the time." Kate's a liar who's been trying to come clean about her feelings, but that's a hard thing to do when you disagree with your own heart.

"Keep Me in Your Heart" – Warren Zevon

This is non-negotiable. This is the song you should play as you read the final chapter. It's a song I can't listen to without crying. It's a song I can barely think of without crying. I think first – because you have to – of Warren Zevon himself. It's his song and it's his plea: "I'm running out of breath. Keep me in your hearts for while. If I leave you, it doesn't mean I love you any less…" It's so sincere, so simple, so honest. So the words are his, yes, but they're also the words of anyone who has ever been left or who's ever leaving or about to leave. This song captures everything Kate can't articulate.

"Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" – Arcade Fire

Finally, because this is a book about childhood and about family and, most of all, siblings, the song that you should listen to after you finish and – if I've done my job – while you're still imagining Kate, imagining those next few minutes and maybe those next few hours, especially if you stay with the idea of her long enough to envision her on the flight home, this is the song. This is definitely the song that's playing as the plane takes off.


Hannah Pittard and Reunion links:

the author's website

Booklist review
BookPage review
Bustle review
Chicago Tribune review
Harvard Crimson review
Publishers Weekly review

Gapers Block interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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

Book Notes - Liz Crain "Food Lover's Guide to Portland"

Food Lover's Guide to Portland

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, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Liz Crain's Food Lover's Guide to Portland is an exhaustive and celebratory exploration of Portland's food scene, from restaurants to producers to farmers markets.

The Oregonian wrote of the book:

"Indispensable…Crain's book celebrates the local food scene through hundreds of listings and profiles of Portland producers, purveyors, distillers, bakers, food carts, CSAs, farmers markets and beyond."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Liz Crain's Book Notes music playlist for her book Food Lover's Guide to Portland:


Portland has more than two dozen kick-ass record stores and I wish that someone would put together a book similar to my Food Lover's Guide to Portland for them. Get readers up close and personal with PDX record shop owners – offer up the backstories. We're so lucky to have such great access to quality vinyl in this town. Music is important to me. One of my favorite things to in the world is to go on weekend walkabouts with friends around the city and visit my favorite record shops. There might be a Bloody Mary stop or two. I mean, there probably will be.

I had a long-term relationship die a couple years ago and one of the best parts of that RIP was getting my music jam back. I think that that often happens in relationships -- one person tends to dominate the music diet and my ex did ours. I, as you might imagine, dominated our literal diet so there's no blame. It's just how it goes -- in relationships you wear the pants on some things and you get spanked with others. Anyway, I really love playing whatever I want whenever I want now. And as a result, I've bought more records in the past two years than I have in my entire life.

These songs have all been good to me in one way or another over the past two years encompassing the research/writing/launching of the second edition of this book and I hope you dig it.

"Strawberry Letter 23" The Brothers Johnson
The book launch party on Labor Day night at my friend Nat West's Reverend Nat's Hard Cidery was crazy fun. Cider production came to a close in the late afternoon and then we swept in and filled the space with tasty foods and drinks donated from folks featured in the book. My friend Jim Sandberg -- DJ Jimbo -- who's operations director at Portland's newest and one of its best radio stations XRAY. FM DJ'd the event and played all kinds of great songs.

I asked Jim to pick a few of his favorites that he played at the party and this song and the next are his top two. Sweet, sweet sounds of summer. At one point during the party looking around I realized that the vast majority of folks in the cidery laughing, drinking and having an all-around great time were friends from various parts of my life -- professional, personal, old friends, new friends. It wasn't too far from an out of body experience, I must say, and I didn't even do any drugs. Promise. The overwhelming feeling in that moment as I looked around was gratitude. I'll never forget that or this sweet song.

"Inspiration Information" Shuggie Otis
Another DJ Jimbo pick from the party. Let the good times roll.

"Modern Love" David Bowie
I wrote this edition in two stages -- the first with the original publishing house and the second with the current publishing house, Hawthorne Books, where I've worked as editor and publicity director for the past five years. I came back to this song over and over while working on it because I love the music and the lyrics were ringing true to me then on so many different levels.

Noah Baumbach's film Frances Ha also came out while I was researching the book and this song features prominently in the film which is set at my alma mater. Baumbach also went to Vassar. The lead character played by Greta Gerwig works an event at the Vassar Alumnae House in the second part of the film where I too worked. I worked at the Vassar Quarterly in the basement for two years while drinking copious amounts of shitty coffee from my beat up thermos and typing up handwritten, mailed in notes from various Vassar alum. Then I filed the original personal notes from folks such as Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Mike D etc. by myself for hours. I actually really loved that job. This song means a lot to me for all those various reasons, but most importantly, it's always put an added spring in my step. It makes me happy.

"Emotional Rescue" The Rolling Stones
My friend Faulkner Short -- DJ Folklore -- has two radio shows in Portland and both are called Chauncy Pops. At some point during a show he'll often make a dedication to my dog at my request -- something to the tune of, "This one goes out to Rubin the White Wolf." Pretend I'm saying that right now with "Emotional Rescue." Rubin's favorites are The Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Townes Van Zandt. How does any of this pertain to the book? Well, Rubin is in it -- on page 27. For his cameo he's staring longingly at me as I take a photo of a big box of super tasty Nuvrei pastries featured in the bakery chapter.

"Sexx Laws" Beck
At the end of August right before the book launched I went to see Beck for the first time at The Edgefield -- a smallish outdoor venue just outside of Portland.  I don't know how musicians muster the physical energy and emotional generosity and thoughtfulness to tour with that kind of engagement with audiences night after night but I'm sure fucking glad that they do. It was a transformative show. I dug the focus on Guero which is one of my favorite Beck albums.

Highlights: I love that it was early and all-ages and that I danced my ass off with an older woman in granny shorts who was so fun and funny and a high school Hesher in a sleeves cut off black t-shirt with a mullet-fro who basically just had variations on one move -- jumping with his fists in the air to the beat; there was a very thick cloud of the sort that I haven't been in at a show in a looong time and that people were generous in making; the visuals that Beck conjured when talking to the audience -- Willie Nelson in the backseat of Beck's Hyundai in the sky, Stevie Nicks floating in the clouds were fantastic; the crime scene tape and drama enacted for this song; Beck's son and daughter were onstage the entire show and at the end and they danced with him and the band during Billie Jean which was strange and beautiful just like Beck; the band scuffled off the stage together at the end in one big circle hug. The show felt like my last hurrah before the book's launch and proceeding media and events. This song was one of the most memorable of the night.

"I Wanna Do It" Sonny and the Sunsets
Rachel Smith my editorial assistant extraordinaire went to Switzerland after we wrapped up the last bits of the book revision project and shortly after she returned to Portland from that trip she began working for a company called Clone-A-Willy. I shit you not. Google it. This song wraps that up nicely -- dive in and do it! Wink, wink. Sonny Smith is one of my favorites. Check out his 100 Records project.

"I Believe in You" Neil Young
While I was coming up with this playlist I had drinks with my friend Rich and told him all the songs on it and he said it sounded great but there was one musician missing regardless of any book connection -- Neil Young. He's right, I can't have a playlist without Neil. I won't tell you why I didn't include him at first because what's most important is he's here now. Neil has always been there for me. He's one of my best music friends. This song resonates with me a lot at the moment. Relationships don't get easier as you get older as I once naively thought. In fact, they typically get more and more complicated and heartbreaking. And...they're absolutely worth it. I believe in you.

"Bam Bam" Toots and the Maytals
I listened to Toots A LOT while researching and writing the book. I can't get enough of his vitality. I put on a Toots album and everything immediately gets better -- my bagel is tastier, the clouds are prettier, my water tastes like wine. Oh, wait, that actually is wine!!

There's music for all different times, places and moods, of course, and Toots, the way I feel him and his music, is all about taking life less seriously and enjoying the moment. It's good to remind yourself of that when in the thick of working through a big, burly manuscript with a seemingly interminable to-do list. Oh, and this Bam Bam fellow, well, he happens to be my ideal man. "Soon you will find out the man I'm supposed to be." I sure fucking hope so.

"Hungry Like the Wolf" Duran Duran
The original impetus for a new edition bulldozed in when I was busier than I'd ever been and could barely see straight. I found out that a woman in Portland was set to publish a book of the exact same title as mine. She went ahead and did just that. No matter that I'd been researching, writing and branding the first edition of my book at that point for nearly five years. The title of my book isn't copyrighted -- most book titles aren't -- so I had no viable legal recourse. In a black humor way -- the woman's last name is Wolf and well you know mine -- I imagined that I was a crane flying high in order to escape a vicious, predatorial wolf. This song makes me think of that, even though the actual drive of the song is obviously much different. Cry two tears in a bucket, fuck it.

"Reunited" Wu-Tang Clan
One of my favorite quotes in the second edition comes from a Q&A with Eli Cairo, co-owner and head salumist at charcuterie shining star Olympic Provisions. I asked Eli whether salame was raw and this was his answer: "As raw as a pickle that is fermented is raw. Or as raw as a Wu-Tang song." So Eli wins the best musical reference in my book award. Hands down. This double album came out in 1998 as a follow up to Wu-Tang's debut just like this edition is the follow up to my debut. "Wu-Tang, motherfucker" aaaaand "Liz Crain, motherfucker."

"Suit and Tie" Justin Timberlake
You can put on your suit and tie and visit any of the 600 or so fine Portland establishments featured in my book. Go ahead, make it special. Make a night of it. JT is one of my imaginary husbands and I'm going to be real honest here for a second. I had to put a ban on his The 20/20 Experience album while working on the book because it was too -- how should I say it -- distracting. You know, the way that short shorts, to-do lists (you'd have to read my Powell's Books essay to understand that one) and pummel horse gymnasts can be. Yeah, you know what I mean. JT's back though! I'm now allowed to listen to him while in the car with other people. Boundaries.

"Goodbye Girl" Squeeze
I just want to include this song. There's really no good connection to the book. I got squeezed by the Squeeze when he was last in Portland for a show at Mississippi Studios -- one of my favorite music venues. Glenn Tilbrook was walking through the bar next-door before the show and I stopped him and sweeetly, almost apologetically, asked if I could get a hug. And he said, "Well, of course, I'd be charmed. The pleasure is obviously all mine." Swoon. And that is the story of how I got squeezed by THE Squeeze! This has been one of my favorite bands and songs since high school. And it's my first goodbye to you.
 
"Traveler's Paradise" The Cactus Blossoms
This is my second goodbye. There's this sweet spot in between when books are printed and review copies and sales kits go out and when the title launches that's the calm before the storm. I'm a firm believer in maximizing play time so I rode the summer wave hard and in the midst of that I had a big house party/show for these fine fellows -- The Cactus Blossoms -- who were passing through Portland from Minneapolis that I'd seen at Pickathon in Portland the year before and really dug.

They played a set in my backyard until it rained and then an indoor set in my living room. After everyone left the three of us stayed up until three around the fire in the backyard doing all sorts of things that I will not tell you about until we put on head lamps and unscrewed the plywood covering my backyard "stage." No dead bodies. It was very, very important to narrow that out at that point. Of course. I love summer. And I love you. Thank you for listening to my playlist and reading through to the very, very end. Always remember that The Cactus Blossoms and so can you.


Liz Crain and Food Lover's Guide to Portland links:

the author's website

Booklist review
Portland Mercury review

Carl in the Morning interview with the author
KBOO Food Show interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Toro Bravo
Portland Radio Project interview with the author
Portland Tribune profile of the author
Zester Daily interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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 (Patrick Modiano Profiled, The Best Albums of the 2000s, and more)

The New Yorker and the Telegraph profiled Nobel Prize-winning author Patrick Modiano.

Slate recommended entry points into the author's work.


PopMatters wrapped up its 100 best albums of the 2000s list.


Josh Ritter talked to Westword about literature's influence on his songwriting.


Elle excerpted an essay by Grimes' Claire Boucher from Rookie Yearbook Three.


3:AM features an excerpt from Nicholas Rombes' new novel The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing.


Treble listed essential UK post-punk albums.


Female cartoonists talked to Morning Edition about misogyny in comics.


Drowned in Sound interviewed members of Slowdive about the band's reunion


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
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)

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

Daily Downloads (Robyn Cage, Mr Twin Sister, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers 10 free and legal mp3 downloads.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Dave McPherson: "Nothing Is Enough" [mp3] from Journal Of A Journey Buoy (out November 3rd)

Germany Germany: "Substance" [mp3] from Germany Germany (out October 25th)

Isaac Joel: Until I Find You EP [mp3]

Mark Slawson: 2024 EP [mp3]

Pauline Andres: All the Way Home EP [mp3]

Robyn Cage: Burning Now Sampler EP [mp3]

The Suitcase Junket: Knock It Down EP [mp3]

Team*: NoiseTrade Mixtape album [mp3]

Various Artists: The Best of Americana Music Festival 2014 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Mr Twin Sister: 2014-10-04, Brooklyn [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other daily free and legal mp3 downloads
covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create 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 music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists

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

October 9, 2014

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - October 9, 2014

In the weekly Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week, the Montreal bookstore recommends several new works of fiction, art books, periodicals, and comics.

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is one of Montreal's premiere independent bookstores.


The Best American Comics 2014

The Best American Comics 2014
by Scott McCloud (ed.)

A spotlight on the best and brightest of this year, the new addition to the Best American Comics series features comics veterans like Chris Ware, Charles Burns, and the Hernandez brothers rubbing shoulders with recent buzz-creators Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan (of Saga fame), Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Sisters), and many more. Whether your tastes tend more toward Robert Crumb or Miriam Katin, there's something for everyone in this beautiful, comprehensive volume with a star-studded lineup.


S! 18 (Poetry)

S! 18 (Poetry)

A pocket-sized anthology of international comics, the Baltic Comics Magazine features work from around the world, this time with a focus on poetry. With a few familiar names (among them Julie Doucet and Sam Alden), there is a truly intriguing collection of comic adaptations of poems, collaborations between poet and comic artist, or simply comics that function as poems themselves.


Little Failure

Little Failure
by Gary Shteyngart

When little Igor Shteyngart gets off a plane at New York's JFK airport, he doesn't yet know that the pull between Soviet roots and American future will estrange him to both his family and his homeland. This change elicits his eponymous nickname, Little Failure, in an endlessly-entertaining memoir that gives a well-told immigrant childhood tale a fresh, polished, (and New York Times bestselling) sheen.


Edgewise

Edgewise
by Chloé Griffin

How does one remember an actress, writer, mother, friend, and cult icon? In her eight-year undertaking, Griffin collects the stories of those closest to Cookie Mueller, best known for her roles in early John Waters films and her effortless glamour. The book recounts her life, her death, and the mythology that seemed to follow her wherever she went. As an added bonus, Drawn & Quarterly will be hosting a launch for Edgewise tonight in Montreal!


Adult magazine #2

A "magazine of new erotics," the long-awaited second issue of Adult is once again full of photos, illustrations, and writing exploring all things, well, adult. From the paintings of Sam McKinniss to journalist Katie Baker's reporting on satanism in the city, all aspects of the erotic are well represented, giving the publication a confident, satisfied air.


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:

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Largehearted Word (weekly new book 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

Book Notes - Simmone Howell "Girl Defective"

Girl Defective

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, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Simmone Howell's Girl Defective is a strikingly original, haunting young adult novel with music at its heart.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Sky is original, thoroughly authentic and great company, decorating her astute, irreverent commentary with vivid Aussie references; chasing these down should provide foreign readers with hours of online fun."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Simmone Howell's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Girl Defective:


When I was writing Girl Defective one of the quotes above my desk was from Television: Do I, Do I belong to the night, only, only, only tonight. It seemed the perfect emotional banner for a book about a teenage girl trying to figure out the skin she's in. I wanted to write a detective story and a record store romance and I wanted it to be full of music. When I started writing the novel I was living in a small country town and making frequent long drives to Melbourne with a toddler and a tapedeck. I played mixtapes made by my husband and certain songs worked their way into book. The tapes were all over the place - driving I would imagine scenes led by Jacques Dutronc or Jan & Dean or The Seeds or Jimmie Rodgers. Due to the cyclical nature of my husband's tape-making, certain songs kept coming back and these are some of the ones that stuck.

Wishing Well by The Millionaires
Joe Meek is the patron saint of outsiders. According to Sky's Dad, he had one foot in the past and one foot in the future and no one could hold a pose like that. ( A song can, though.) I came to this song through my husband who always asked for the single for Christmas. It came up on Ebay once or twice, but never when we had money. It is one of the weirdest records I've ever heard, and I think there's something sad and frantic and dark about it too.

Little Omie by Doc Watson
There is a girl in the water. Let me tell you how she got there. An early title for Girl Defective was Girl on the Water. I was listening to a lot of murder ballads and this one - the version I love is on Doc & Merle Watson's Treasures Untold album - always gives me the shivers and makes me think of teenage girls in crisis.

Fancy by Bobbie Gentry
No one can tell a song like a story like Bobbie Gentry. I discovered her because of Ode to Billie Jo and may have watched the Robbie Benson movie when I was a tad too young. I kind of want Fancy to be autobiographical. How else would Bobbie have got those details so perfect: the roaches crawling over her high heels? In my novel this song is wayward Nancy's theme song. She's the bright/dark myth-maker who'll lead Sky to autonomy ...

Neon Lights by Kraftwerk
For Sky in the novel this song is “so long and glittery-sad, it made me feel like I was falling off the face of the earth.” For me it just makes me think of driving and dreaming, clocking k's, knowing where to find the roadside graves on the Calder Highway between Castlemaine and Melbourne.

It'll Never Happen Again by Tim Hardin
I can forgive Tim Hardin his overuse of the term 'lady' in so many of his recordings because of Green Rocky Road and this song. It'll Never Happen Again. It's sad and beautiful. It has a slowed-down, narcotic quality, as if he's sinking as he sings and soon his brow will meet the bar and it will all be over. I found Hardin 1 in a record shop, worried for a moment that it might be a religious record but bought it anyway and was very glad I did.

Orange Skies by Love
This song appears in Girl Defective when Sky's father is mooning over his new relationship. Even though I was a sixties freak throughout my eighties girlhood I didn't encounter Love until I lived in the UK and worked in a record store there. I started with Da Capo and became obsessed with Forever Changes for the duration of my stay. For a long time every letter I wrote started with, “I'm in the kitchen listening to Love ...” I can't decide whose songs I prefer between Bryan Maclean and Arthur Lee. I suspect it's the former's because they describe the dream before it turns.

Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers
When I was sixteen I discovered independent radio station 3RRR. I used to skip school to listen to their sixties show called Some Kinda Fun. I have the Johnny Rivers song on a very old mixtape. It's sandwiched by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition's I Just Checked in to See What Condition my Condition was in, and the Downliners Sect doing Be a Sect Maniac. This song was for Gully, the boy in the snout, the other defective detective. I like to imagine him dancing through the credits in the movie of my mind.


Simmone Howell and Girl Defective links:

the author's website

The Book Smugglers review
First Impressions review
Kirkus review
Novel Novice review
Readings review
The White Unicorn review
Wordchasing review

Sydney Morning Herald interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
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 (Patrick Modiano Was Awarded the Nobel Prize For Literature, Replacements Bootlegs Reconsidered, and more)

French author Patrick Modiano was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature.


Pitchfork reconsidered Replacements bootleg recordings from the 1980s.


Lena Dunham's favorite books.


Musician Mary Timony shared her musical history with Pitchfork.


Dame interviewed author Caitlin Moran.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed singer-songwriter Will Oldham.


The Rumpus interviewed author Sean Michaels.


The Oregonian listed 2004 album releases that deserve anniversary celebrations.


The Guardian listed the top 10 unfinishable novels.


Physicist Stephen Hawking has provided vocals for Pink Floyd's new album.


Bookworm interviewed cartoonist Charles Burns.


Flavorwire interviewed singer-songwriter Zola Jesus.


The New York Times reports that lost stories by Truman Capote are being published in German, with English editions to come.


Drowned in Sound interviewed guitarist Johnny Marr.


Author Jodi Picoult talked books and reading with the New York Times.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
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)

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

Google
  Web largeheartedboy.com