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October 15, 2014

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - October 15, 2014

In the Largehearted Word series, the staff of Brooklyn's WORD bookstore highlights several new books released this week.

WORD Bookstores are independent neighborhood bookstores in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Jersey City, New Jersey. Our primary goal is to be whatever our communities needs us to be, which currently means carrying everything from fiction to nonfiction to absurdly cute cards and stationery. In addition, we're fiends for a good event, from the classic author reading and Q&A to potlucks and a basketball league (and anything set in a bar). If a weekly dose of WORD here isn't enough for you, follow us on Twitter: @wordbookstores.


Never Say Goodbye

Never Say Goodbye
edited by Sari Botton

From the editor of Goodbye to All That, a bittersweet paean to New York writers who parted ways with the five boroughs, Never Can Say Goodbye, a collection of testimonials from those who can't walk away so easily, whether it's good for them or not.


Before After

Before After
by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui

Acorns and oak trees; a chicken and an egg; a slingshot a broken window. This illustrated guide to cause and effect charms and instructs, reminded the reader that nothing comes from nothing.


Choose Your Own Autobiography

Choose Your Own Autobiography
by Neil Patrick Harris

The man of many renaissances tells his story, or rather, invites you to tell it yourself. There's no book structured quite like this, except for the beloved children's classics of yore, which Neil Patrick Harris emulates here to great effect.


In Real Life

In Real Life
by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

A Through the Looking Glass for the internet era.


WORD Brooklyn links:

WORD website
WORD Tumblr
WORD on Twitter
WORD's Facebook page
WORD's Flickr photos


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics & graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
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)

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October 15, 2014

Atomic Books Comics Preview - October 13, 2014

In the weekly Atomic Books Comics Preview, Benn Ray highlights notable new comics and graphic novels.

Benn Ray is the owner of Atomic Books, an independent bookstore in Baltimore. The Mobtown Shank is his blog, and his comic Said What? is syndicated weekly in the Baltimore Sun's B-Paper.

Atomic Books has been named one of Bizarre Magazine's 51 geekiest places on the planet, as well as one of Flavorwire's 10 greatest comic and graphic novel stores in America.


1 Page At A Time: A Daily Creative Companion

1 Page At A Time: A Daily Creative Companion
by Adam J. Kurtz

Kurtz's fun, new book provides daily prompts to live creatively. Lists, drawings, activities and more - at the end of the year you'll essentially have a book you made yourself to show for it.


Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #1

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina #1
by Roberto Aguirre Sacasa / Robert Hack

The Archie Adult Horror universe expands with this stylish revamping of Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Sabrina lives in what some would rightfully argue is a pretty unhealthy family environment (a cousin who's a bad influence, over-protective guardians). Meanwhile, at school she struggles to fit in as the new kid. Should she use witchcraft to woo a boy she likes? While these story elements come straight from the original, kid-friendly version of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, they are far more sinister. Plus, there's a larger evil lurking on the horizon that makes you anxious as you read. Another great reboot for Team Archie Comics. What's next? Josie and The Pussycats? Please?


Pocket Pizza Journal

Pocket Pizza Journal
by Scott Wiener

If your town is anything like my town, there's so much awesome pizza going on, it's impossible to keep mental track of. Scott's Pocket Pizza Journal is just the the thing to help you keep track of the right slice for the right occasion! Plus it's fun to use. It's sort of like an analog version of Instagramming your meals.


Punks The Comic #1

Punks The Comic #1
by Joshua Hale Fialkov / Kody Chamberlain

In the spirit of underground punk comics of the '80s, Punks The Comic is an anarchistic mess of fun, complete with trading cards, an activities page and more. The characters are Lincoln, fist, dog, skull and lizard-headed. And the style is a mishmash of collage and Fumetti. Things don't make too much sense, but then, they don't have to in Punks - they're just fun. It's a little like the Young Ones TV show, except here everyone would be Vyvyan and Rick.


Wytches #1

Wytches #1
by Scott Snyder / Jock

Superstar comics team Snyder and Jock introduce a new horror series based on Wytches, and are off to a good start. Stemming out of teen angst and high school bullying in which some kind of "incident" occurs, Sailor's family moves her to a knew town in the hopes she can put what happened behind her and forget about it. But can that really work when what's happening is because of what our teen heroine is?


Questions, concerns, comments or gripes – e-mail benn@atomicbooks.com. If there’s a comic I should know about, send it my way at Atomic, c/o Atomic Books 3620 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211.


Atomic Books & Benn Ray links:

Atomic Books website
Atomic Books on Twitter
Atomic Books on Facebook
Benn Ray's blog (The Mobtown Shank)
Benn Ray's comic, Said What?


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Atomic Books Comics Preview lists (weekly new comics & graphic novel highlights)

Online "Best of 2013" Book Lists

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
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)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

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Shorties (National Book Award Finalists, Vashti Bunyan on Music That Has Inspired Her, and more)

The 2014 National Book Award finalists have been named.


Singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan discussed the music that has inspired her at Pitchfork.


Great Writers Steal interviewed author Jac Jemc.


Granta hosted a discussion between authors Sam Lipsyte and Diane Cook.


The Guardian noted the success of modern British songwriters.


Bustle recommended contemporary novels every feminist should read.


Chapter 16 interviewed Scott B. Bomar about his book, Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock.


The Pixies visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Richard Flanagan has been awarded the Man Booker Prize for his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.


Drowned in Sound interviewed the musical duo First Aid Kit.


Flavorwire listed 50 of the greatest debut novels since 1950.


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 (Steve Gunn, The Blackbird Revue, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

The Blackbird Revue: The Whaler and Other Stories album [mp3]

Colma: Weight of the World EP [mp3]

Josh Gilligan: Christmas EP [mp3]

Kyle Cox: The Nashville Sessions single [mp3]

Nikki Lane: Right Time single [mp3]

Rachel Ries: Live on WFMU with Irene Trudel - September 15, 2014 [mp3]

Tyler Sjostrom: "Red River" [mp3] from We Are What We Say We Are

Various Artists: several Lost Ark Studio compilation albums [mp3]

Winkie: Live on WFMU's Dark Night of the Soul with Julie: Sep 25, 2014 [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Steve Gunn: 2014-10-12, 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 14, 2014

Book Notes - Darcey Steinke "Sister Golden Hair"

Sister Golden Hair

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.

Darcey Steinke's novel Sister Golden Hair is a dazzling coming-of-age novel that evokes the early 1970s in both spirit and characters.

Jenny Offill wrote of the book:

"A daring and arrestingly beautiful novel about what it’s like to walk through the world, wide awake, taking in radiant and terrifying messages about everything around you."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Darcey Steinke's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Sister Golden Hair:


I came of age in Roanoke, Virginia in the 1970's, a small city in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I lived for a few years in a duplex complex, much like the one I write about in my new novel Sister Golden Hair. Music to me then was a conduit, an escape hatch to another life. There was not much access to culture, pop or otherwise in my small town. The radio was my link to the larger world, a dream machine that spread the message of honest desire, openness and art. The first time I heard David Bowie, I think it was "Life on Mars," I walked directly through the subdivisions all the way to the strip mall to Woolworths. There the hit 45's were suspended by hooks on the wall, I can still see Bowie's name printed in black on the white paper around the record's center. I ran home, slammed my bedroom door, put the record on and threw myself down on the bed. It sounded as if a piece of the moon were playing on my little turntable.

1. "Sister Golden Hair" - America
Long before I decided to use this song as the books title, it was my go-to Karaoke song. The first line "Well I tried so hard to make it Sunday, but I got so damned depressed, so I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed" is like a line from a Jean Rhys short story. The conventional relationships I saw around me were tense and fraught and I identified with the songs speaker who wanted to meet his lover "in the middle, in the air."

2. "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" - Cher
Cher was my dark haired Goddess, a friendlier version of the Hindu Goddess Shiva. As a blonde I felt transparent, a screen to be projected on to. But Cher gathered meaning around her like an aura. To see her, shinning and other-worldly in a Bob Mackie gown, shot me, as it does my narrator Jesse, up into outer space. The Cher mash up of American girl next door/wise ass/dark goddess was strongest in this song, which is frank about the sexual double standard for women. It was not unusual for me to lay with a Cher album on my lap staring deeply into her brown eyes trying desperately to make contact.

3. "Melissa" - Allman Brother's Band
Greg Allman's hair was just as powerful as Cher's and when they got together I thought my head would explode. Allman also sang with palpable urgency, if not, to my mind, as passionately as Cher. The guitar solo in Melissa, sweet and weepy, was the last Duane Allman played before his motorcycle crash in October 1971. After his death Greg Allman, the lost little brother, stumbled around inside the 70's in a way I found moving and relatable.

4. "Morning Has Broken" - Cat Stevens
In Sister G, the main character, Jesse, practices a dance routine to this song in a white leotard and matching white headband. The song was a pop hymn, so it made sense to me when, in 1976, Stevens gave up music for Islam. After his retreat into the Godhead, his songs sounded even more ethereal.

5. "Angie Baby" - Helen Reddy
This is one of the many songs of the period about spooky, sexy girls. Feminism in the 70's had finally trickled down to suburbia and women's changing roles and honesty about their desire were frankly freaking a lot of people out. In this song Reddy evokes Angie's desires, her fascination with the radio, her oddness (read sexuality) which got her kicked out of school. "Living in a world of make believe, well maybe." This song scares Jesse, as it did me, but the idea also thrills her, that the magic radio could shrink the neighbor boy so that Angie can use him as her "dance partner" whenever she desires.

6. "Jackie Blue" - Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Another song about a spooky girl stuck inside her room. Jackie likes to live "in a free form style" and she "lives a dream that can never come true." To me that dream was to give her desires free expression. The singer seems to be encouraging her to do this but this song reminds me of a typical male approach, which seems at first to be about accepting female complexity but in reality is all about trying to get laid.

7. "Starman" - David Bowie
In the novel Jesse can't admit her love for Bowie to her friends. When he comes up in conversation she has to work hard to keep her expression neutral. "You couldn't like anything that was too weird because that weirdness jumped onto you." Bowie's message of radical self-acceptance was too powerful for 70's Roanoke, Virginia. Like God, Bowie was best savored in the privacy of one's own bedroom. "Starman," which is a song about God, about the force that triggers forth life, that "hazy cosmic jive." Each night after I said my regular prayers I'd whisper what I thought of as The Bowie Prayer. "Let the children lose it. Let the children use it. Let all the children boogie."

8. "Sweet Home Alabama" - Lynyrd Skynyrd
I never went to a high school assembly where someone did not shout out "Freebird." "Freebird" was yelled at football games and at the end of movies. When cars of teenage boys passed by on the highway, they shouted "Freebird." In Sister Golden Hair, Skynyrd is on constant rotation on the radio. Jesse points out that it was not unusual, when waiting at a red light, to have Skynyrd on your own radio as well as all the radios in the cars surrounding. In the novel Dwayne is a Skynyrd enthusiast, a rough, unsophisticated but ultimately sweet boy, emasculated by the loss of the Civil War and angry about the way the south was depicted during the civil rights movement.

9. "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" - Elton John
Elton sings about his fear of being trapped in a conventional heterosexual relationship. Thank goddess for Sugarbear who sweeps in to save him from the "princess in her electric chair." Like the song Sister Golden Hair, I identified not with the jilted girl but with Elton wanting a truer relationship based on his real desires. I loved Elton, who was like Bowie, if Bowie were less fantastic and a whole lot chubbier. "You couldn't worship Elton like you could Bowie," Jessie says in the novel, "but what he lacked in star power he made up for in desperation."

10. "Stairway to Heaven" - Led Zeppelin
When I was a teenager there was a rumor that if you played this song backwards you'd hear a satanic prayer. As a minster's daughter this scared and thrilled me. I loved the idea that, like the Bible itself, a pop song could carry a message from the spirit world. As my novel comes to an end, Jesse goes to Jill's new duplex, in a shabbier complex close to the airport. Jill plays the song for Jesse, insisting it's about Jesus, that "building a stairway to heaven" means that the woman is tithing rather than communicating with the devil. Jill's theological interest in the song touches me. It's reminiscent of both Jesse's, and my own teenage self, searching for answers to religious and relationship questions in each and every pop song.


Darcey Steinke and Sister Golden Hair links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

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

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This Week's Interesting Music Releases - October 14, 2014

Stars

Stars' No One Is Lost is my favorite new music release this week.

Foxygen's ...And Star Power, Frazey Ford's Indian Ocean, and Kindness's Otherness are also new albums I can recommend.

Being a sucker for holiday albums, An Americana Christmas, with songs by Buddy Miller, Luther Dickinson and others, is on my shopping list.


What new releases are you picking up this week? What can you recommend? Have I left anything noteworthy off the list?


This week's interesting music releases:

Angaleena Presley: American Middle Class
Bing and Ruth: Tomorrow Was The Golden Age
Bob Seger: Ride Out
Favorite Weapon: Sixty Saragossa
Fit For A King: Slave To Nothing
Florida Georgia Line: Anything Goes
For All I Am: No Home
Foxygen: ...And Star Power
Frazey Ford: Indian Ocean
The Game: Year Of The Wolf
Idina Menzel: Holiday Wishes
Itasca: Unmoored By The Wind
Jessie J: Sweet Talker
Kele Okereke: Trick
Kevin Morby: Still Life
Kindness: Otherness
The Kinks: The Essential Kinks
Last Ex: Last Ex
Maggie Björklund: Shaken
Mark Rogers and Mary Byrne: I Line My Days Along Your Weight
Mary Lambert: Heart On My Sleeve
Meatbodies: Meatbodies
Melvins: Hold It In
Nico and Vinz: Black Star Elephant
Obliterations: Poison Everything
OK Go: Hungry Ghosts
Pharmakon: Bestial Burden
Sanctuary: The Year the Sun Died
Stars: No One Is Lost
Today Is The Day: Animal Mother
U2: Songs of Innocence (Deluxe Edition)
UB40: Silhouette
Various Artists: An Americana Christmas
We Were Promised Jetpacks: Unravelling
You+Me: Rose Ave.


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)

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

Shorties (Recommended Plague Novels, An In-Studio Afghan Whigs Set, and more)

Flavorwire recommended plague novels.


The Afghan Whigs visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Litro interviewed author Jeff VanderMeer.


PopMatters interviewed Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke about his new solo album, Trick.


The Millions recommended October's best new books.


SPIN interviewed singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens.


The Quietus interviewed author Lars Iyer.


Conrad Keely of ...Trail of Dead breaks down the band's new album IX at Drowned in Sound.


Salon shared Adelle Waldman's essay from the anthology Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York.


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 (Death Rattle, Frances Luke Accord, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Bear's Den: Above the Clouds of Pompeii EP [mp3]

Death Rattle: "Weak Joints" [mp3] from In Shade

Frances Luke Accord: "Veronica" [mp3]

Grammar: "Summer Skin" [mp3] from Grammar EP
Grammar: "New World" [mp3] from

Joel Willoughby: Indian Summer Sky album [mp3]

Korby Lenker: Soft Teeth EP [mp3]

The Rebel Light: "Strangers" [mp3]

Sean McConnell: Mementos & Fortunes: A NoiseTrade Collection EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

The Gradients: 2014-09-05, 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 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

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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)

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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

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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

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