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August 14, 2014

Book Notes - Rene Steinke "Friendswood"

Friendswood

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.

Rene Steinke's Friendswood is a suspenseful and lyrical novel set in a town beset by a environmental contamination, the rare book as readable as it is compelling and smart.

Kirkus Reviews wrote of the book:

"A sharp, observant novel about the hard realities of challenging the status quo."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Rene Steinke's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Friendswood:


My new novel, Friendswood is set in the small Texas town where I grew up, and nearly all the music in this novel is country music. There's a theory that the music of your teen years marks you for life (something to do with the chemistry in a teenager's brain), and my teen years were spent mostly listening to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, Crystal Gayle, Tammy Wynette, Larry Gatlin, and Johnny Cash. As I was writing Friendswood, I was listening very much for the Texas idiom, and remembering what it felt like to live there, with songs like these playing in the background. My East Coast friends tease me a lot about my attachment this music, but I don't think I hear the songs the same way they do.


"Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings

The first time I heard this song, I was thirteen, sitting in the back of a carpool van, on the way home from softball practice. One of the mothers put the tape into the deck, and she and the other mother started singing along at the top of their lungs with their throaty, cigarette-rough voices. My mother only listened to classical music, and my parents' first date was a Dizzy Gillespie show, so I didn't know much country music, and I'd never heard any women sing like this before. Those two moms hooked on to the outlaw personas so naturally and joyfully, slapping their knees. It made a huge impression on me. It was the first time I became aware of this strain of toughness in Texas women, some DNA of cowboy spirit in the female culture. There's a moment in Friendswood when the main character, Lee, and her best friend sing like those women in the carpool van.


"He Stopped Loving Her Today," George Jones

This song is really sentimental, but it's so operatically sentimental, it becomes something else entirely, too. It has a grand cycle in its story, and a high passion at its center. Whenever I get off the plane and step back into Texas, I'm surprised by the elaborate flourishes in, for instance, hand-tooled, snakeskin cowboy boots, or silver, turquoise studded belt buckles, or snap shirts with pearl buttons. This song reminds me of that unabashed, earnest peacock love of display. I like the way this George Jones song transforms dejected, longstanding heartbreak into a point of honor. And honestly, I just love George Jones's magnificent voice.


"The Green River Below" (from High Ground), Tomi Lunsford

In the seven years I was at work on the novel, I became friends with the writer, Warren Denney, and his wife, Tomi Lunsford, who is the grand-niece of Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and part of a great dynasty of blue-grass/ old-time country musicians. In numerous late night conversations with Tomi and Warren, they told me dozens of stories about country music characters, (and Warren also taught me about football). But the times when I heard Tomi Lunsford sing live were the most inspirational for writing—her phrasing, the shades and gradations in her tone, her singular voice, "both hopeful and hard."


"Blue is My Heart," Holly Williams

The first play I ever saw was about the life story of Hank Williams Sr., who died at the age of 29, and in my high school years, Hank Williams, Jr. was always on the radio, so that dynasty looms large in my imagination. Holly Williams is the granddaughter of Hank Williams, and this song is from an album called The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, with this unbelievable origin: In 2006, a janitor working for a publishing company in Nashville found in a dumpster, an old notebook with unfinished lyrics by Hank Williams, Sr. The publishing company gave the material to Bob Dylan, who, along with other artists, recorded some of these songs. I especially love this one, which Holly Williams sings perfectly. It takes the image of a blue sky (a wide, endless sky) and makes it full of despair.


"Waltz Across Texas," Ernest Tubb

The two-step (or the Texas waltz) was the first formal dance I ever learned, and, especially in the midst of the Texas shopping malls, billboards, and highways, it felt like something ancient passed down the generations. It was especially fun to two-step as a teenager at the all-ages dance halls, when most of the boys were too awkward to do any other kind of dancing. It took the pressure off. In Friendswood, teenaged Dex, becomes an expert, which makes him popular with the older ladies.


"There Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold my Body Down," Brother Claude Ely; "Ain't No Grave," Johnny Cash

When I grew up in Friendswood, my dad was a left-leaning Lutheran minister. The Lutheran hymns, while quite beautiful, tend to be reserved and stately, about as far away from "Ain't No Grave" as you can get. Brother Claude Ely was given this song, as the story goes, after he miraculously recovered from a deathly childhood illness, picked up the guitar and automatically knew how to play. Afterward, he became a Pentecostal evangelist, traveling the country. He was called "The Gospel Ranger." I find the joy in this song both heart lifting and a little bit scary, especially the image, "Well, meet me Jesus, meet me/ Meet me in the middle of the air." Johnny Cash's version is even darker and more frightening. Writing this novel, I was very interested in tracing the emotional lives of people who'd got (as they say in Texas) "old time religion," and I listened to both versions of this song again and again.


"Squalls," Matthew Steinke

My brother, Matt Steinke, has a one-man band called Octant. He has built by hand several robotic musical instruments (which look like something Duchamp might have made), and he orchestrates the instruments to play along with him and his guitar. "Squalls" was inspired by Friendswood, the town, and there's a plaintiveness in the harmonica and toy piano sound that reminds me of music from my youth. We lived in a subdivision that was very "Texas," built next to the oil fields, with a creek running through it that flooded every time there was a hurricane. I love the phrase in this song, "fish fly in a breath of sky."


"This World Can't Stand Long," Roy Acuff; "This World Can't Stand Long," Bob Dylan

When I first began writing Friendswood, I was obsessed with the idea that most people in America seem to believe that we are living in the "end times." As I started to write about a traumatized teenaged girl, Willa, I realized that she might actually wish for the end of the world as much as she feared it. When Roy Acuff sings this song, it's pretty cheerful—saying farewell to trouble and hate, hello to heaven. But when Dylan sings it, especially when he performed it just after 9/11, the song is a war protest, turning around those phrases and images, Dylan's dark, scratchy voice slowing the tempo to a creep. It's more of a prophetic warning than a wish. In Friendswood, I wanted to imagine feeling as if the Rapture is about to arrive, but at the same time I wanted the book to argue for the world, rather than against it. That tension, for me, is in these two versions of the song. For a while I considered "This World Can't Stand Long" as the title for the novel.


Rene Steinke and Friendswood links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
the author's Tumblr

Kirkus review
Los Angeles Times review
Publishers Weekly review

Interview Magazine interview with the author
Pif Magazine 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

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August 14, 2014

Book Notes - William Todd Seabrook "The Imagination of Lewis Carroll"

The Imagination of Lewis Carroll

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 Rose Metal Press Short Short Contest, William Todd Seabrook's novella The Imagination of Lewis Carroll is an imaginative and richly told retelling of the author's life.

Michael Martone wrote of the book:

"The Imagination of Lewis Carroll is a work of stunning and sudden science fiction, a book not about an alien world or other dimension or alternate time but a book from such a world, dimension, and time. This is a gutsy book as it confronts the exhilaratingly convoluted quagmire of high Victorian nonsense with a minute poacher’s spade shaped from a sterling coffee spoon. In this book, William Todd Seabrook has codified a new code of dots and dashes, of gesture and innuendo, that makes strange again the received strangeness of Carroll and his cohorts and records, in brilliant shorthand, the long game of the culture of the cultured cathedral of wordy words."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is William Todd Seabrook's Book Notes music playlist for his novella The Imagination of Lewis Carroll:


The defining of terms:

There are two lists.

The list titled Of Method is music that reflects my writing process.

It is a loose interpretation of "writing process."

The list titled Of Madness is music to accompany my book The Imagination of Lewis Carroll.

There are twenty-four sections in the book and I paired two-thirds of them with songs.

It is a loose interpretation of the word "song."

It is also a loose interpretation of the word "two-thirds."

Loose interpretation of the word "book" while we're at it.

Just, loose interpretations all around.


Of Method: The soundtrack for a lowly writer

"Toccata and Fugue in D minor" – Bach
The writing has not started and I am already filled with dread.


"March of the Slaves" – Tchaikovsky
After an hour of typing-then-furiously-deleting the same two words (Lo! Forsooth!), I resign myself to this terrible fate of being a writer. As I weep for my children, I start writing sentences.


"Sorcerer's Apprentice" – Dukas
Let me assure you, magic is not what is happening. But I am floundering around in a whirlpool of my own blood and tears.


"In the Hall of the Mountain King" – Grieg
I write a line that doesn't sound like it was written by an illiterate kitchen appliance.


"Ride of the Valkyries" – Wagner
Hark! A second line!—also slightly better than what a toaster could do.


"William Tell Overture" – Rossini
Three lines in a row! That's a goddamn paragraph! This is surely a feat that few, if any, writers have ever accomplished.


"Bolero" – Ravel
I realize that my characters have been repeating the same three lines of dialogue for fifteen pages.


"Adagio for Strings" – Barber
The unyielding depression hits—my old friend.


"The Aquarium" – Saint-Saens
I wonder if a hobgoblin motif is too subtle.


"Brindisi" ("Libiamo ne' lieti calici") – Verdi
A drink? Why certainly. Surprised I lasted this long.


"Entry of the Gladiators" – Fucik
I watch Vines for 45 minutes.


"Dires Ira" – Mozart
I close my laptop and make my apologies to God. I do not ask for forgiveness. I know there is none to be had.


Of Madness: Music that rather accurately or extremely poorly accompanies my book The Imagination of Lewis Carroll

All in the Golden Afternoon
"The Senses Song" – Animaniacs

You try telling a story off the top of your head to three preteen girls while rowing a boat in a three-piece tuxedo on a blazing summer day. I bet that story won't make a lick of goddamned sense either.


Why Is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?
"Riddlebox" – Insane Clown Posse

I present to you this evidence that Lewis Carroll was one of the earliest Juggalos:
- He had the soul of a clown.
- He was Christian.
- His rhymes don't make sense, either.

Q.E.D.


Lewis Carroll's Adventures Underground
"Land Down Under" – Men at Work

1) Carroll's original handwritten manuscript was titled Alice's Adventures Underground.
2) Australia became a British penal colony in 1788.
These two facts have never before had anything to do with one another until this song was chosen to accompany this section of this book. You are welcome.


The Tea Party of Lewis Carroll
"Gin and Juice" – Snoop Doggy Dogg

Contrary to popular belief, Lewis Carroll was not high when he wrote Alice in Wonderland. (Like most self-respecting people in the 19th century, it wasn't until late in his life that he became addicted to opium.) But Carroll and Snoop Dogg do share a remarkable affinity for doubling letters in their pseudonyms.


Lewis Carroll's Illustrations
"Everything in Its Right Place" – Radiohead

This section involves Lewis Carroll sending his illustrator, John Tenniel, increasingly precise specifications for all the drawings in Alice in Wonderland. I like to imagine their letters being written in forlorn synthesizer tones with every line repeating itself until even the most banal sentiments seem terrifyingly profound.


The Sermon of Lewis Carroll
"Let Me Clear My Throat" – DJ Kool

Lewis Carroll had a terrible stutter.


The Pseudonym of Charles Dodgson
"My Name Is" – Eminem

The name Lewis Carroll comes from translating his name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson into Latin—Carolus Ludovicus— and then anglicizing it into Carroll and Lewis. It is strange to think that everyone who knew him in his life, knew him as Charles Dodgson, but the rest of the human race will forever remember him by a made-up name.


The Duel of Lewis Carroll
"You're a Jerk" – New Boyz

When he taught at Oxford, Carroll managed to get into a fight with a 19-year-old kid named Francis Needham who wanted to host a ball at the college. To Carroll this was a rather egregious proposal, especially since Alice Liddell would be in attendance, and so Carroll—as a contributing member of the university—rejected Needham's proposal. Kind of a dick move if you ask me.


The Illustrious Lewis Carroll
"Mondegreen" – Yeasayer

A "mondegreen" is the mishearing of a word due to of pseudo-homophony, and this section of the book is fraught with homophony and sad misunderstandings. This section is better read aloud. By someone else. Or not read at all.


The Solutions of Lewis Carroll
Secret Pictures" – Poirer

It has been widely speculated that Lewis Carroll had an inappropriate relationship with young girls, evidenced mainly in the nude photographs he took of them. Of course, in the 19th century "nude" meant your ankles were showing and you were only wearing four petticoats. Carroll, of course, was always dressed in the standard 45-piece suit.


When Lewis Carroll Faced the Jabberwocky
"The Mob Song" – Beauty and the Beast

Carroll's "Jabberwocky" poem is often mistaken as being a part of Alice in Wonderland, when, point in fact, it is in the sequel Through the Looking-Glass. This myth is similar to the common misconception that the "Mob Song" from Beauty and the Beast isn't the greatest song ever composed by humans. Point in fact: it is.


Lewis Carroll as a Contributing Member of the University
"Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangster" – Geto Boys

It is well documented that whenever Lewis Carroll walked across the Oxford campus "Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangster" boomed from the Heavens.


The Pseudonym of Lewis Carroll
"I Think I'm a Clone Now" – Weird Al Yankovic

Lewis Carroll was the stuttering, introverted Weird Al of the 1860s. All of the poems in Alice in Wonderland are parodies of popular children rhymes written by such famous people as Jane Taylor and Isaac Watts. I know, I've never heard of them either. Just like in century no one will know who Coolio and Men Without Hats are, and Weird Al will be considered our century's greatest musician.


An Agony in Eight Fits
"Dead Puppies" – Ogden Edsl

If there was a single opportunity, however the Gods may will it, to play a particular piece of music—a piece of music from any time, both past and future—at any particular funeral—of any human, dead or alive or yet to live—it would be an opportunity wasted if the song was anything other than "Dead Puppies" and the funeral was any other than Lewis Carroll's.


William Todd Seabrook and The Imagination of Lewis Carroll links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book (PDF)
video trailer for the book


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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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - August 14, 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.


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
by Haruki Murakami

The English translation of Murakami’s latest novel has been fervently anticipated since its Japanese release last year (which sold 1 million copies within the first month, incidentally!) While maintaining Murakami’s distinctive voice and themes, the narrative follows “Colorless” Tsukuru Tazaki through his youth and adulthood. In his sophomore year of university, Tazaki becomes suicidal after being rejected (for reasons unknown) by his tight-knit group of four best friends from high school, who all have last names that correspond to colours (hence Tazaki's status as “colorless.”) At age 36, his new girlfriend Sara convinces him that he can only reach emotional maturity if he confronts this traumatic incident in his past, so they track down Aka (Red), White (Shiro), Blue (Ao), and Black (Kuro) to get to the bottom of the mystery. Beautifully written and intertextually rich with musical reference, this suspenseful read will appeal to Murakami’s seasoned fans as well as newcomers.


Your Face in Mine

Your Face in Mine
by Jess Row

The central conceit of Your Face in Mine is “racial reassignment surgery,” which is a combination of medical procedures and therapies which enable people to alter their appearance so far as to “pass” as a member of another ethnic group than the one into which they were born. When the narrator moves back to his childhood hometown as an adult, he discovers that one of his dearest high school friends, whom he remembers from boyhood as being white and Jewish, has since transitioned and now identifies as an African American man, integrated in the black community. This premise provides ample fodder for Rowe to explore themes of race, culture, identity, belonging and the commodification of self-reinvention in the 21st century in this modern, somewhat dystopian take on the passing narrative.


Something You Were, Might Have Been, or Have Come to Represent

Something You Were, Might Have Been, or Have Come to Represent
by Jay Winston Ritchie

Montreal author Jay Winston Ritchie’s book of poems How to Appear Perfectly Indifferent While Crying on the Inside (published by Metatron Press) has been very well received since its launch earlier this year, so we’re extra excited about his debut collection of short stories out now from Insomniac Press. The nine stories therein focus on the lives of young, striving musicians as they navigate the challenges of contemporary life in the city. Guaranteed to resonate with creatives everywhere, and to hit especially close to home for musically inclined Montreal anglos in particular! If you’re in Montreal on September 10th at 7:00 pm, be sure to join us for Ritchie’s launch here at Librairie D&Q, hosted by store friend and renowned local author, Jon Paul Fiorentino.


Amulet Book Six: Escape from Lucien

Amulet Book Six: Escape from Lucien
by Kazu Kibuishi

The sixth volume of Kibuishi’s epic fantasy adventure series of graphic novels is sure to delight younger readers. The story which began with protagonists Emily and Navin discovering a portal in their great-grandfather’s house which opened up an alternate realm inhabited by magical creatures has come a long way in six volumes. In Escape from Lucien, Em and Navin’s ongoing battle against the Elf King’s dark forces takes Navin to the war-torn city of Lucien to find a special beacon, while Em returns to The Void with the Elf King’s loyal follower, Max, in search of secrets to aid them in their quest. This series just keeps getting more exciting. Bring on volume seven!


Strange Plants

Strange Plants
edited by Zio Baritaux

From Folch Studio the Barcelona design studio behind the always-on-point arts and interiors magazine Apartamento, comes the breathtakingly beautiful new book, Strange Plants. Celebrating plants in contemporary art, Strange Plants features the work of eight artists in various mediums (photography, painting, collage, tattooing, etc.) The artists who were selected come from different stylistic backgrounds; the first group consists of those who often explore the natural world in their work, whereas the second group generally does not and therefore were asked to create new work representative of their own aesthetic. Alongside the artists creations are accompanying interviews where they discuss their work, as well as the role that plants play in their personal lives. Bonus: the cover is blank, but there are stickers provided inside so that readers can decorate it as they see fit!


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)

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Shorties (A Guide To Haruki Murakami's Books, Ranking All Phish Songs, , and more)

Vol. 1 Brooklyn shared a guide to the works of author Haruki Murakami.


SPIN ranked all 333 Phish songs.


The Brooklyn Rail interviewed author Sean Madigan Hoen.


The Rumpus interviewed author Dani Shapiro.


Granta interviewed author Etgar Keret.


Bookworm wrapped up its interview with author William T. Vollmann.


Steel for Brains interviewed musician Mike Watt.


Jess Row discussed James Baldwin's novel Another Country at Guernica.


Willamette Week profiled Girl Talk's Gregg Gillis.


The A.V. Club suggested entry points into the books of author China Mieville.


The Guardian listed the best books about Sudan.


Drowned in Sound interviewed singer-songwriter Richard Thompson.


Brevity interviewed Wendy C. Ortiz about her new memoir Excavation.


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 (Delta Spirit, Like Swimming, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

the Collection: Ars Moriendi album [mp3]

Delta Spirit: Lost and Found album [mp3]

Ian McGlynn: Christmas Past and Present EP [mp3]
Ian McGlynn: A Map To Get Away: The Collection album [mp3]

Like Swimming: Like Swimming Album Preview EP [mp3]

The Lovers Key: "Bright Eyes, Black Soul" [mp3]

Sinnet: Year of the Whale EP [mp3]
Sinnet: Pink Flamingo Hotels single [mp3]

Thad Kopec: Noble Neighbor EP [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Deerhunter: 2013-11-16, Athens [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

August 13, 2014

WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - August 13, 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.


Art Inc.

Art Inc.
by Lisa Congdon

So, you make art -- what a gift! What a terrific pursuit! But what happens after? How do you develop the infrastructure to support your work? This guide can help you with the details that are seemingly tangential but that are essential for doing what you truly want to do: work on your art!


MaddAddam

MaddAddam
by Margaret Atwood

Like all truly good series books, this newest installment will make you want to read The Flood novels over again from start to finish.


The Humans

The Humans
by Matt Haig

This was my beach read of the summer. A mathematician makes a huge discovery, and it causes concern among distant aliens who fear humans will rise above their station in the universe.


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
by Holly Black

Molly says: "Did you think you were totally over teen vampire novels? ME. TOO. But Holly Black knows what she's doing, and this one is creepy-smart, bloody-clever. and deliciously dark.


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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Atomic Books Comics Preview - August 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.


Demon #1

Demon #1
by Jason Shiga

The first installment in a promised 21-issue series finds Shiga's protagonist in a sort of Groundhog Day-esque purgatory in a shitty motel in Oakland, CA. The smooth linework and muted colors reveal a character desperate to, but somehow supernaturally incapable of, killing himself - via hanging, wrist-cutting, shooting, pill-taking, etc. After each attempt our protagonist finds himself awake back in the motel, disappointingly alive with slight hints of evidence as to what transpired. Shiga's stuff is always smart and this promises to be a fun and weird (if not depraved) story.


Heroes of the Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comic Books

Heroes of the Comics: Portraits of the Legends of Comic Books
by Drew Friedman

The famous photo in the front of this book of Al Jaffee and Will Elder says it all! Friedman's Heroes of the Comics could also be accurately titled History of the Comics. The book offers page after page of important, significant, lesser-known and cult comics creators and publishers - with a one page history and stunning portraits in Friedman's amazing realistic style. Simply fascinating and utterly beautiful.


Jim

Jim
by Jim Woodring

Jim collects the psychedelic wanderings of Woodring's self-titled comic alter-ego. While no less awesomely strange than Woodring's Frank or other books, Jim is much more narrative.


Monsters Of The Deep

Monsters Of The Deep
by Jon Marchione

The silk-screened cover and the fold-out- flip book construction of this mini is impressive enough, but then one side focuses on an anthology of art about fictitious water monsters, and the other focuses on real monsters. It’s the perfect component for Shark Week!


A Very Brief History of Buttons #1

A Very Brief History of Buttons #1
by Christen Carter / Joel Carter

Look down at your jacket - or over at your bag. The odds are you have a button attached to something. This over-sized, gorgeous full-color zine takes a look at a number of buttons - from one made for George Washington all the way through Obama. With The Beatles, Guided By Voices, The White Stripes, The Coneheads, Elvis and The Yellow Kid in between. It's a fascinating history, and I'm hoping the Busy Beaver Button Co. continues to mine and print more historical button zines.


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 (Italo Calvino's Short Stories, Michael Cera's New Folk Album, and more)

The Guardian examined the short stories of Italo Calvino.


MIchael Cera has released a folk album.


Marie Helene-Bertino discussed her current reading at BookPage.


A Spotify playlist of music mentioned in Haruki Murakami's new novel.


The Guardian listed the top 10 hotel novels.


NPR Music is streaming the new Bishop Allen album.


Colin Dale interviewed Justin Taylor about his new short story collection Flings.


Aquarium Drunkard shared a couple of early Patti Smith demos.


Biographile interviewed author and book designer Peter Mendelsund.


Chris Walla explained why he is leaving Death Cab for Cutie.


BuzzFeed listed short stories you should read in your twenties.


The Baseball Project visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Romeo Stodart of The Magic Numbers discussed collaborating with Spiritualized and Jimmy Webb at Drowned in Sound.


The Telegraph listed the best young adult books of 2014 (so far).


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 (Cross Record, Lilah Rose, and more)

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


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Alien Whale: Live on WFMU's Airborne Event with Dan Bodah - July 21, 2014 [mp3]

*Chi: "LA Sugar" [mp3] from

Chord: Life Hold On EP [mp3]

Gamble Gamble Die: Lemonade EP [mp3]

The Harvey Girls: Live in a Basement EP [mp3]

Lilah Rose: "To Feel" [mp3]

Northern Wonder: "Why Don't We Do This More Often" [mp3]

Ok Enough: Bones of a Willow Tree album [mp3]

Strahan: Posters album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Cross record: 2014-03-14, Austin [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

August 12, 2014

Book Notes - David Connerley Nahm "Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky"

Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky

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.

David Connerley Nahm's Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky is a quietly profound and lyrical novel, one of the year's strongest debuts.

Library Journal wrote of the book:

"It's the prose that makes this suspenseful first novel unforgettable. Like a pointillist painting, Nahm's writing daubs image upon image to construct an impressionistic view of life in a small town. A powerful first novel, the kind that makes you want to stop people in the street to tell them about it."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is David Connerley Nahm's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky:


During the last five years of work on Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky, I went to the mall to write. Our mall is old and small and mostly empty and I enjoy being able to get out of the house and spend hours sitting somewhere with other people, somewhere I can listen to their conversations or see the slump of their shoulders as they look at cell phone cases at a kiosk. I have a regular seat where I lurk with my laptop and listen to music as I watch everyone and occasionally delete words I don't like from a Word Document that sometimes sits untouched for hours. I need to listen to music while I write—to help me focus or to foster a certain mood—but only certain kinds of music work. Here are some of the things that I listen to, over and over, for hours at a time while I write:

Donald Rubenstein, "Theme from Tales from the Darkside": In the small town where I grew up, after a certain hour, the world is empty. In middle school, when I was old enough to stay up late by myself, it would send a shiver down my spine to slip out into the dark yard, to look down the empty street and to listen to a silence disturbed only by the faint saw of crickets. Everyone feels alone at that age, but it was frightening to see the whole town turned into a reflection of that feeling.

I would stay up late and watch television. My father introduced me at an early age to the pleasure of being scared. The Twilight Zone and Psycho were early family favorites. Even though I was one of six people living in our house, being the only one awake in such an empty world made me even more aware of my loneliness. It was during this time that I was also experiencing my first serious crisis of religious faith. Not only was this world empty of people and cars and light, but of the very foundation of creation and meaning as well.

On those nights, I found companionship in television shows like Tales from the Darkside. It was creepy and strange, but rather than making me feel worse, it gave me hope. The very premise of the show, as with all horror and supernatural stories, is that there is something more to life than we realize. As the narrator ominously intones over the theme's synth-chord clusters, there is another world out there, only one not as brightly lit as ours. We are not so alone.

The Ornette Coleman Quartet, "Beauty Is a Rare Thing": In high school, when I began writing seriously, I envied music's ability to create feeling without necessarily always creating meaning. With music, we are more open to being in the moment, to enjoying the beauty of a harmony or rhythm, and not wondering where it is all leading or if something is important or not. Of course, this is a bit naïve—most of us still expect at least melody, a harmonic progression that adheres to some system, that triggers some recognition in us, even if we know nothing about music. But still, it seemed to me at the time that music had more opportunity for spontaneous beauty without reason.

Coleman was the first jazz musician I loved. Having spent my youth in basements playing in bands, frittering boring weekend nights away with my friends by turning every amplifier on and up as loud as it would go and seeing what would happen, his music made sense to me. That joyous riot of sound. Haden's bass and Blackwell's drums sounds like the Earth waking up after a long wet, winter; Coleman and Cherry, beams of morning sun.

Writing should seek to exceed the boundaries we place on it. Sometimes that exceeding is obvious—a strange parade of words without respect for grammar and style. Sometimes that exceeding is more subtle—a sharper edge to a character or a prose-style stripped bare. But we should always try to shake off the old ice.

Neneh Cherry, "Buffalo Stance": That there is something in music that is beyond the ability of words is proven by the fact that I am incapable of explaining the deep emotional reaction I have every time I hear "Buffalo Stance." There is something about the plinky, ultra-compressed and chorused guitar on the pre-chorus and the cadence of Cherry's vocals on the chorus that strums something strange and sad in me.

The summer I first heard the song, I went to London, England, on a school trip. One afternoon, we were waiting for a bus to take us to a theater for a play and I overheard two of the other students on the trip talking about a girl who'd not been able to come with us. It was a girl I'd known from church when I was very younger, but hadn't seen for years because she went to the Kentucky School for the Deaf and my family started going to a different church after my parents divorced.

"You know why she didn't come," a boy said. "She didn't come because her parents just found out she's going blind. Soon, she won't be able to hear or see anything." Then the bus came and we got on it, everyone laughing and screaming. We started singing "Buffalo Stance" because it was everyone's new favorite song and the teachers couldn't get us to quiet down.

But I don't think this memory has anything to do with how I feel about the song.

Sunn O))), "Alice": I sit in the mall and I edit what I've written. Several full pages reduced down to a few lines I like, a few phrases worth keeping, returning most of the page to a blank again. I delete a character complete and then a pause for a few minutes to watch the languid flutter of folks back and forth, slowly swinging plastic bags of new goods, and I listen to Sunn O))), over and over and over.

When I was a young man and first began listening to music in the late 1980s, I didn't much care for heavy metal. The metal of that era holds a certain charm for me now, but at the time it was what the older boys who liked to ask me nasty questions to make me feel embarrassed listened to. Not having any older siblings, or many friends, I didn't really know what metal even sounded like, but I drew detailed conclusions about it from the patches on their jean jackets and the doodles in the margins of their notebooks. When I grew a little older, and was able to listen to whatever I wanted, I found that the music which seemed so terrifying in my imagination was often thin and surprisingly weak sounding, so I never investigated further.

Around the time I finished law school, and my wife and I moved from North Carolina to the mountains of Virginia, I grew deeply tired of all of the music I listened to, and music in general, and on a whim, possibly after seeing a picture of their impossible wall of amplifiers, shrouded in fog and shadow, I decided to listen to Sunn O))) for the first time, and everything changed. Such strange frequencies. The physical nature of sound suddenly obvious and understandable. Is this what it sounded like when G-d drew itself aside long enough to let the universe flicker into existence? When the Tower of Babel fell? When the Red Sea closed up again?

In the final years of the composition of Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky, Sunn O)))'s work was the star by which I guided my tiny, battered craft. Their work is gorgeous music even though it is so often not gorgeous and not necessarily music. They create something that is at first cold and impenetrable, but which gives way, suddenly, to surprising warmth, like children stumbling upon the mouth of a cave under a bush at the far end of a field in the winter. Beautiful and terrible, serious and silly, endless and the end itself all at once.

I sit in the mall and write and watch the crowd as, smiling, they talk and tarry, and I worry less about writing a novel and let myself be drawn aside and in that void, just try to love everything I see.


David Connerley Nahm and Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky links:

the author's website
video trailer for the book

Chasing Ray review
Library Journal review
Publishers Weekly review
Minneapolis Star Tribune 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 - August 12, 2014

Mirel Wagner

In a slow summer week for new music, Mirel Wagner's When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day is the only album I have heard and can wholeheartedly recommend.

Sinead O'Connor also has a new album, I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss.

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:

Black Wine: Yell Boss
Brian Setzer: Rockabilly Riot: All Original
Bunji Garlin: Differentology
Chris Staples: American Soft
Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas (reissue) [vinyl]
Dama / Libra: Claw
Dark Blue: Just Another Night with the Boys [vinyl]
Dilated Peoples: Directors of Photography
FaltyDL: In the Wild
FKA Twigs: LP1
The Gaslight Anthem: Get Hurt
Joe Glazer: Garbage and Other Songs of Our Time (reissue) [vinyl]
Joe Glazer: Old Folks Ain't All the Same (reissue) [vinyl]
Jorge Elbrecht: Coral Cross
Lucero: Live from Atlanta
Mirel Wagner: When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day
Nozinja: Tsekeleke
Peter Escott: The Long O
The Pharmacy: Spells
Porter Robinson: Worlds
Prawn: Kingfisher
Rivergazer: Random Nostalgia
Saint Pepsi: Fiona Coyne / Fall Harder
Sinead O'Connor: I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss
Suzanne Vega: Close-Up Series (6-CD box set)
The Underachievers: Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium
Tre Mission: Stigmata
Wheat: Medeiros (reissue)


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)

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Shorties (Read an Excerpt from Jules Feiffer's New Graphic Novel, Stereogum Ranks Afghan Whigs Albums, and more)

NPR Books features an excerpt from Jules Feiffer's new graphic novel.


Stereogum ranked Afghan Whigs albums from worst to best.


SPIN interviewed Wayne Coyne about his Sgt. Peppers tribute album.


Newcity Lit interviewed author Megan Stielstra.


Flavorwire listed the best album closing tracks in history.


The Christian Science Monitor reviewed the new Haruki Murakami novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.


Stream the new DJ Shadow release, The Liquid Amber EP.


The Rumpus offered an examination of the dialogue novel.


The New Pornographers visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


The New York Times profiled author Jess Row.


Drowned in Sound interviewed Spoon frontman Britt Daniel.


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

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