June 6, 2018

Shorties (Michiko Kakutani on Her New Book, Shirley Manson's Favorite Albums, and more)

Michiko Kakutani

Michiko Kakutani discussed her book The Death of Truth with Vogue.


Shirley Manson discussed her favorite albums at The Quietus.


Porochista Khakpour discussed her memoir Sick with Pacific Standard, The Rumpus, and Tin House.


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


Lauren Groff discussed her new short story collection Florida with All Things Considered.


Stream a new Wild Nothing song.


BuzzFeed shared an essay by Tommy Orange.


Rolling Stone interviewed singer-songwriter Neko Case.


Paste interviewed cartoonist Mariko Tamaki.


Stream a new song by Arp.


Literary Hub recommended June's best books.


Stream a new Gold Stars song.


Entropy's first Under the Influence collection (curated by Kurt Baumeister), where authors write a hundred words about a master who has influenced their work.


The Quietus previewed May's metal releases.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn and NYLON interviewed author Chelsea Hodson.


OZY recommended Japanese female writers.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

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






June 5, 2018

Adrienne Celt's Playlist for Her Novel "Invitation to a Bonfire"

Invitation to a Bonfire

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Adrienne Celt's second novel Invitation to a Bonfire is a compelling literary thriller focused on obsession.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"Trembling with atmosphere, Celt's second novel follows a young Russian émigré as she becomes embroiled in a sinister love triangle with a brilliant novelist and his exceptional wife... An ominous snowball of a novel (very) loosely based on the Nabokov marriage, with a slow-burning first half and a second half that hurtles toward inevitable catastrophe... Rich and moody."


In her own words, here is Adrienne Celt's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Invitation to a Bonfire:



I was in high school a million years ago, I wrote while listening to music all the time. (If you could call it writing. It was more like a cross between frantic journaling and Tina Belcher Erotic Friend Fiction, but I digress.) At night I’d curl up in my bedroom, usually in front of a space heater, and put on some Tori Amos or Simon and Garfunkel while I tried to make stories come to life. I cringe now to think about how loud I played those gentle alt-rock CDs while the rest of the house was sleeping; occasionally my mom came upstairs and asked me to turn it down, but she was always so nice about it, so apologetic. In reply to which I was usually a brat, claiming that I needed it that loud (a position I now correctly recognize as insane).

These days I rarely listen to any music at all when I’m working—maybe a bit of classical or jazz in a pinch, but certainly nothing with lyrics. I find it distracting; I guess I got that kind of writing out of my system back when I was younger and hungry for influences, still a sponge always soaking things up. But that isn’t to say that music doesn’t influence my work, it just happens more indirectly, now. I save all my favorite songs for car rides, or for walking the dog, any time when I can sing along loudly and let the music seep into my bones.

As a result, the music I associate with my second novel Invitation to a Bonfire is a little schizophrenic in taste and type; these songs feel intimately connected to the characters and situations in the book, but mostly in the sense that they give you a window into my mind’s interior as I was composing the novel.

John Cage, "Concerto for Saxophone (Quartet Version), Movement 1" from Saxophone

Every time I hear this concerto, it throws me a little off-balance, reminding me how modern and eerie classical (or in this case, “classical”) music can be. When I was in grade school, I briefly considered playing the saxophone instead of the flute, because Bill Clinton played it—or, more accurately, because the theme song for the Animaniacs talked about Bill Clinton playing it—and that remains my resting mental image of sax music: jazzy, grounded, and familiar. Cage’s concerto, however, is otherworldly, as though the music was being played by a previously undiscovered, even alien instrument (I just mistyped the word “instrument” as “unstrument” and that might be an appropriate word for how it sounds). It’s beautiful, like a Bach composition, and peculiar, like something by Björk.

My novel, Invitation to a Bonfire, is inspired by the marriage of Vladimir and Véra Nabokov, and so it has a necessarily historical feel, placed in the early 1900s, up to 1931. But the book’s concerns are deeply contemporary—or perhaps you might say timeless. How do we construct our identities, and are they fixed at any age? What is the value of art, and can an artist exist separately from the public perception of their work? What is the cost of frustrated female ambition? What is the price of a marriage bond, made or broken? I listened to Cage’s concerto a lot in the period when I was writing this book, I can see how the mood of the piece came to bear on the story: my protagonists, Zoya, Lev, and Vera, are unsettled people who can move through the world without ever quite seeming to fit there or feeling at home. Like Cage, they use ordinary tools to make something new, and a little bit frightening.

Thao & Mirah, “Hallelujah” from Thao & Mirah

I started listening to Mirah’s music in college, when everyone I knew was obsessed with Kill Rock Stars and K Records. Her work has a fairy-tale quality, but not so much the happily-ever-after part of the story as the moment when you leave on a journey, and have a lot of beautiful struggle ahead. This song, on a collaborative album with Thao Nguyen, is both hopeful and frantic (“You wake up hungry in this world you’ve made/So much so how can you be turned away?”) and it feels suitable for Zoya’s young life, when she’s struggling to survive but wants to believe she’ll find a place in the world. She may or may not be right.

Beyoncé, “Daddy Lessons”

It is the greatest hubris in my heart that I believe I could perform a passable karaoke version of this song. As a result, I have listened to and sung along with it innumerable times in the safety and isolation of my car. It’s also a fitting tribute to Zoya’s relationship with all the father figures in her life, men who urge her to be strong and faithful, but also punish her for the way she tries to fulfill those wishes.

"My Heart's In the Highlands" – by Arvo Pärt, performed by Else Torp & Christopher Bowers

A song about the yearning for home that erupts inside you the moment you abandon that home forever. Zoya, Lev, and Vera are all émigrés, and all of them in their own ways are stuck in a past that can no longer accommodate them.

Personally, I turn to this song whenever I feel stuck and frustrated, frequently listening to it on repeat while lying on the floor of my studio. I try to accompany Else Torp sometimes, less because I want to hear my own voice layered over hers, and more because the lyrics seem to offer passage into some world she’s inhabiting that is closed to me. This, too, is relevant to my characters, Zoya in particular. She’s a striver, and a joiner, and she rarely ever feels at peace.

Joanna Newsom, “Time, As A Symptom” from Divers

At the same time that most people I know were obsessed with Hamilton (never fear, I became obsessed a couple of months later), I was listening to Divers on repeat, having caught the NPR First Listen and purchased the album immediately. All of Newsom’s music is textured and intelligent, but Divers opened up a whole universe to me, at a stressful time when I badly needed just such an escape. Listening to it now still feels like accessing a memory that came from outside my experience, something estranged but also familiar. If that sounds too heady for you, it’s also just really, really beautiful.

In Invitation to a Bonfire, Zoya begins as a young girl who has lost her whole family, as well as her framework for goodness and morality. Everything she loves has been blown to smithereens, and it doesn’t get much better from there. (Well, actually it does, but she endures subsequent smithereens-like experiences throughout the story.) Many times I’ve driven home through the desert listening to Newson sing about bravery in the face of relentless time. And many times, I have thought of Zoya as I went.

Frank Ocean, "Ivy" from Blond

Now we’re getting to the romantic bits. Invitation to a Bonfire is, in some sense, a love story, though the love is complicated, and comes in the form of a triangle. There is sex and there is yearning, both of which pull the characters in uncomfortable directions; it pushes them around in a young-love kind of way, even when they’re adults in full command of their power. All that headiness. All that hard breathing.

This song is probably my favorite on Frank Ocean’s Blond, and a big part of that lies in its ability to make romance both heady and complicated, both nostalgic and immediate. The whole album, and this song in particular, has a lot to say about how vital love can be to a person even once it’s lost, and that is part of this book’s DNA, too.

Tom Waits, “What’s He Building?” from Mule Variations

Without giving anything specific away, there are a number of moments in the book when Zoya is called upon to be sneaky, to pry and discover. As she does so, though, she always has the feeling of being watched at the same time: a Spy vs. Spy feeling, if you will. This Tom Waits song, from one of my favorite Waits albums, plays with the same sense of mutual distrust and imminent destruction. It’s almost Lynchian, in the sense that something ostensibly wholesome—a neighborhood full of children, families—is infiltrated by a malign force (What’s he building in there?), but by the end you aren’t sure if it’s the man or the neighborhood that poses the biggest threat.

"I Want You" - Elvis Costello and The Attractions, from Blood and Chocolate

I remember slinking around record stores looking for Elvis Costello B-sides, in the brief period of my life when I was old enough to be buying a lot of music but young enough that record stores were still a big thing. There is no way around the fact that this song is incredibly disturbing, one of several Elvis Costello songs I both like and mistrust for its casual association between adoration and violence. But well, when the shoe fits? It fits. Let’s just say that the relationships between Zoya and Lev, Lev and Vera, Vera and Zoya, are nothing if not hungry for blood.

"When the Chips are Down" - Anaïs Mitchell, featuring The Haden Triplets, from Hadestown

A song about what you’re willing to do when your back’s against a wall. What you’re really willing to stand for, when no one else is standing for you. Basically Zoya’s personal anthem.

Beethoven’s Quartet in A Major, OP. 132, third movement

My husband and I went to a chamber orchestra performance that included this quartet on Valentine’s Day, and afterwards, my husband told me that the third movement of this piece is something he’d like to have played at his funeral. Previously, over drinks (though not the same night), he’d made me promise that if either of us died, the survivor would get an “intense tattoo” to commemorate the death. I guess we have really macabre dates. However, I’ve listened to this quartet a number of times over the past year or two, and I see his point. The movement’s charisma is dark, but grateful: it was written after Beethoven suffered a period of terrible illness. I believe this piece would be in Lev and Vera’s repertoire of favorites, and I think that, when Lev inevitably played a recording of it for Zoya, the third movement is the one she would have identified with, the one that would’ve confirmed, for her, their connection.


Adrienne Celt and Invitation to a Bonfire links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

The Millions interview with the author
The Rumpus interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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

Raymond A. Villareal's Playlist for His Novel "A People's History of the Vampire Uprising"

A People's History of the Vampire Uprising

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Raymond A. Villareal's novel A People's History of the Vampire Uprising is a highly entertaining debut that blends politics, popular culture, and vampires.

The Washington Post wrote of the book:

"With its doggedly unglamorous investigators pitted against a cabal of narcissistic, wealth-obsessed bloodsuckers, this wild ride of a novel proves that each era gets the vampires it deserves."


In his own words, here is Raymond A. Villareal's Book Notes music playlist for his debut novel A People's History of the Vampire Uprising:



Lyrics and melody are always a component of my writing. Music always plays in the background during the entire process and I love to associate music with chapters in the book as another way to connect with the feelings that envelope us as we read words on a page. Many times it felt more like the characters preferred particular songs more than myself.

I made this playlist to correspond with the chapters of the book and give a feel to certain sections.

In conceiving this book, I wanted to write something that would scare people but also that they would find interesting in relation to how we approach those that are different from us. How do different countries approach those people who are different? Do we give in to hysteria or do we keep an open mind? And I also wanted to scare people. Do you support vampires or humans?


Prelude—offstage

Exit Music (For a Film)—Radiohead: I see this as a song to represent the re-creation process of a human into a vampire. It plays like a dirge but for me that’s only the end of the human and the beginning of the vampire—all that has happened before Chapter 1. “Today we escape, we escape…”

Ch. 1 Lauren

White Winter Hymnal—Fleet Foxes: It plays like the title states—as a hymnal. “I was following the pack…” Something has arrived but Lauren does not know what she is chasing yet.

Blue Sky—Patty Griffin: Arriving in Arizona, Lauren feels the anticipation of her new job and a new adventure.

Ch. 2 Father Reilly

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea—Neutral Milk Hotel: Father Reilly recounts his life up until then. “What a beautiful dream / That could flash on the screen / In a blink of an eye and be gone from me.”

Death with Dignity—Sufjan Stevens: Recounting his father’s troubles. “Your apparition passes through me in the willows…”

Ch. 3 Lauren

Out of Tune—Real Estate: Lauren feeling out of sorts at the prospect of her congressional testimony.

Ch. 4 Father Reilly

Listen, the Snow is Falling—Galaxy 500: Life at the Vatican and every day the same, monotony…

Blue Moon Revisited—Cowboy Junkies: The Gloamings appear like the blue moon.

And the Beat Goes On—Thavius Beck: A soundtrack to stealing the secrets of Fatima in the Vatican.

Myth—Beach House: The crime continues and then a meeting with the elusive Bishop Thomas.

Ch. 5 Congressional Testimony

Hello? Is this Thing On—!!!: Trying to make sense of this new virus.

Ch. 6 Agent Hugo Zumthor

Fade to Grey—Visage

Panic—The Smiths: FBI—Blanton robbery—Austin/Haring/Warhol/80’s pop art and graffiti. Don’t we all love 80’s music… “I wonder to myself / Could life ever be sane again?”

Wall of Death—REM (Richard Thompson cover): A disaster appears.

Ch. 7 Kenneth Holm

Sensation (Rrose Remix)—Daniel Avery, Rrose: Gloaming legal rights cases and lovers.

This chapter deals with prejudice and how some people are treated differently from others. I’m not singling out one country—this is all countries.

We are confronted by these issues as people constantly. And in this book, people are confronted by a new species that appears to them to be threatening. Are they to be accommodated or destroyed.

I want people to read this book and decide for themselves who they support: the vampires or the humans.

Ch. 8 Marcy Noll

Good Fortune—PJ Harvey: Marcy Noll and the Gloaming Rights Act.

Ch.9 Agent Hugo Zumthor

Chasing gold and Cian Clery with Agent Calvin James in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is Burning—Bad Religion

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings—Father John Misty

Ch. 10 Joseph Barrera

Runaway—Kanye West:“You been putting up with my shit just way too long…” This song seems to define a political operative with wavering morality.

Miss Murder—AFI: Leslie Bindon Claremont. A straight-up killer in her own right.

Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole—Martha Wainwright: Wade Ashley & Nick Bindon Claremont.

Ch. 12 Joseph Barrera

Election Day.

Mask Off—Future

Ch. 13 Lauren Scott

God Only Knows—The Beach Boys

Ruby Soho—Rancid. There is nothing like a punk rock love song.

Ch. 15 The Seeker

Into Dust—Mazzy Star. This one evokes a feeling of drifting and fading into the night.

Ch. 17 Sara Mesley

The baddest vampire hunter ever deserves some ass-kicking songs. Probably my favorite character in the book.

Your Best American Girl—Mitski

Drain the Blood—The Distillers

Closer to Fine—Indigo Girls

The House that Heaven Built—Japandroids: The Order of Bruder Klaus

Ch. 19 The Seeker

In the Shape of Longing—Hammock

Ch. 20 Lauren Scott

A sister missing and a body found.

Bird Stealing Bread—Iron & Wine

Yellow Flicker Beat—Lorde

Innocent When You Dream (Barroom)—Tom Waits

Ch. 21/22 Agent Hugo Zumthor

Search of Atwater Institute.

Silver and Cold—AFI

Ch. 23 Joseph Barrera

Aftermath of an election. I love the sadness that pervades both of these songs.

5 On a Joyride—Cody Chesnutt

Moon River—Frank Ocean

Ch. 24 Agent Hugo Zumthor

Neighborhood #1—Arcade Fire

Ch. 25 Sara Mesley

In China seeking Herjólfur.

Breaking into the Vatican to kill Cardinals. But what was accomplished?

I’ve Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth—Fall Out Boy

Helplessness Blues—Fleet Foxes

Ch. 26 Father Reilly

Belong—The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Two-Headed Boy—Neutral Milk Hotel

Ch. 28 Lauren Scott

The interrogation.

Tear Stained Eye—Son Volt

You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go—Mary Lou Lord

Ch. 29 Lauren Scott

New Year’s Eve.

Life after gloamings—everything is different.

Stay Alive—José González

Love Like a Sunset Part II—Phoenix

Epilogue

Nightswimming—REM


Raymond A. Villareal and A People's History of the Vampire Uprising links:

the author's website
video trailer for the book

Kirkus review
Washington Post review


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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

Shorties (Recommended Underrated Writers, An Interview with Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan, and more)

Snail Mail

Literary Hub recommended underrated writers.


The Spinoff interviewed Snail Mail's Lindsey Jordan.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author William Boyle.


Paste previewed June's new album releases.


eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living by Paul Collins
Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison


Field Report visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Porochista Khakpour discussed her new memoir Sick with Electric Literature.

Slate reviewed the book.


Drowned in Sound recapped the year (so far) in reverb, delay, distortion and drone.


A.M. Holmes discussed her new novel with Publishers Weekly.

Signature shared a primer to Homes' books.


Stream a new Body/Head (Kim Gordon's noise project) song.


Catapult shared Laura van den Berg's story from the anthology Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder.


Stream a new song by Rosali.


Between the Covers interviewed author Sheila Heti.


NPR Music is streaming a recent M. Ward live performance.


The Oxford American shared an excerpt from Silas House's new novel Southernmost.


Stream a new Warm Thoughts song.


Bill Clinton and James Patterson discussed their novel The President Is Missing with All Things Considered.


Rolling Stone listed the best songs of 1998.


The San Francisco Chronicle profiled cartoonist Jules Feiffer.


Stream a new Suede song.


Tommy Orange discussed his debut novel There There with Entertainment Weekly.


Preview two new Grimes songs.


The Creative Independent interviewed author Shea Serrano.


The Spinoff profiled singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett,


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author Jonathan Evison.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Debra Jo Immergut's novel The Captives.


The Millions previewed June's must-read poetry collections.


Lauren Groff discussed her short story collection Florida with Hazlitt.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

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

June 4, 2018

Chase Berggrun's Playlist for Their Poetry Collection "R E D"

R E D

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Chase Berggrun transforms the text of Bram Stoker's Dracula into a powerful and mesmerizing work of erasure poetry.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"In Berggrun's striking debut, a book-length erasure of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, that text becomes fertile soil for cultivating complex story of sexual awakening, domestic abuse, and liberation."


In their own words, here is Chase Berggrun's Book Notes music playlist for their poetry collection R E D:



My debut poetry collection, R E D is a book-length poem in 27 chapters, & is an erasure of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Using a rigorous & painstaking system of constraint, text was erased while preserving the original word order of the source; no words were altered or added. From Stoker's book—the wildly popular & essentially very misogynistic vampire novel that became the crux of an entire genre­—a new narrative is excavated, a story of sexual & domestic violence, feminine rage, gender transition, & reclaimed agency.

I wrote R E D while an MFA candidate at NYU: on the one hand, finally in my element, surrounded & invigorated by brilliant professors & a talented community of poets; on the other, full of anger & confusion & struggling with gender dysphoria & alcoholism. I listened to so much music while working on this project—unusual for me, since I generally require silence when writing. These songs I came to again & again for guidance & direction & support.


Walk Through the Fire by Joss Whedon

I am obsessively, unabashedly in love with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's a complicated, flawed work of art, & it probably saved my life in a number of ways. I've watched the whole series about seven times. "Walk Through the Fire" is a song from the musical episode, Once More with Feeling, & it communicates a lot of the uncertainty, the attempt to overcome miles-deep, painful trauma, & the self-destructive urges that both myself, while writing the book, & the narrator of R E D over the course of the story, experienced.


Warm Blood by Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen is a Queen of Joy & I'm grateful for her every day. "Warm Blood" is so fucking vampy. I always sing the chorus of this incredible song as "Warm blood / tastes good" instead of "feels good." Uncontrollable, whole-body desire. The opening lyrics—"I've got a cavern of secrets / None of them are for you"—strongly feels like something the narrator of R E D would say.


Damn These Vampires by The Mountain Goats

I'm also a truly devoted Mountain Goats fan—I think John Darnielle is honestly one of the greatest lyricists, & the song "Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1" literally saved my life. "Damn These Vampires" is my favorite song off my favorite TMG album, & I listened to it when I would get frustrated with the project, either with Dracula itself, or the monumental amount of time & effort that the process of writing R E D turned out to be.


Kill V. Maim by Grimes

Though I am intensely disturbed by the news that Grimes is now dating Elon Musk (?????), I love "Kill V. Maim." It's kind of a maddening, violent, badass song. According to Grimes, the song "is written from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather Pt. II. Except he's a vampire who can switch gender & travel through space." Absolutely the sort of relevant batshit that I needed in my ear to write these poems.


Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus

I listened to this song on repeat a lot as I was doing some of the more quotidian work of erasure: reading & rereading & rereading a chapter, trying to suss out themes or ideas within the chapter that could lead me toward a poem, circling & underlining interesting or potentially useful words. It's really very good. It's enchanted me ever since I first saw The Hunger, the first scene of which features Catherine Deneuve & David Bowie looking hot & broody & seducing a victim as this song plays in the background.


Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Ray

Lana's entire aesthetic is very much in line with this book. "I've got my red dress on tonight / Dancing in the dark in the pale moonlight." The song has an alcoholic, desperate abandon—to me, it feels like a chasing of pleasure & oblivion in a vain endeavor to drown out the sound of suffering, a sometimes-dull & sometimes-screeching itching drone at the back of the mind.


The Carpet Crawlers by Genesis

The poet Matthew Rohrer, who was my NYU thesis advisor & played a huge part in helping me chisel down the rough, raw manuscript of R E D (Matt is a brilliant poet & teacher & is extremely well-versed in the erasure form), strangely & vehemently suggested I listen to Genesis's long concept album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, which to me felt very much in conversation with Alice Notley's The Descent of Alette, a major inspiration for the project of R E D. I listened to this album, & especially "The Carpet Crawlers" over & over again while erasing Chapter XXVII, the last poem in the book.


Transylvanian Concubine by Rasputina

This song is sexy & scary & bloody & femme & so fun. Pretty self explanatory.


Do You Like Me by Fugazi

There are a lot of Fugazi songs I could have chosen for this playlist, but I listened to Red Medicine often while writing R E D (before I ever dreamed of the title!) "Do You Like Me" is a beautiful song to me: its jarring, discordant intro, & the repeated lyric, "I've got a question," gives me shivers.


Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna

Rihanna is a constant source of inspiration—her music, yes, God yes, but also as a gorgeously self-determined feminine force to be fucking reckoned with. Rihanna is a human being who experienced some awful, traumatic abuse, & took that power right back. She reclaimed her agency. Nobody tells Rihanna what to do. Her songs can be dancy, they can be exquisitely tender, or, in the case of "Bitch Better Have My Money," so perfectly aggressive & confident. Tiana Clark expresses this much more eloquently than I ever could in her poem "BBHMM": "I am forever in the wettest red."


Chase Berggrun and R E D links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Publishers Weekly review

Barrelhouse interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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

Shorties (Writers' Favorite Short Story Collections, Angélique Kidjo on Covering Talking Heads' Remain in Light Album, and more)

Flannery O'Connor

Short story writers recommended their favorite short story collections at Literary Hub.


Angélique Kidjo discussed her cover album of the Talking Head's Remain in Light with Weekend Edition.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn features new short fiction by Dolan Morgan.


Bandcamp profiled harpist Mary Lattimore.


eBook on sale for 99 cents today:

Carry Yourself Back to Me by Deborah Reed

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond

eBook on sale for $3.99 today:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


Stephen Malkmus visited The Current studio for a live performance and interview.


The Creative Independent interviewed author Barbara Browning.


Drowned in Sound interviewed L7's Donita Sparks.


FSG Originals shared new Maryse Meijer short fiction.


Beth Orton and The Chemical Brothers covered Tim Buckley's "I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain."


BBC Culture, The A.V.Club, Entertainment Weekly, and Town & Country recommended June's best books.


NME interviewed Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos.


The New York Times profiled independent bookstores in New York city.


NPR Music shared a recent live performance by Neko Case.


KQED interviewed author Rita Bullwinkel.


Zyzzyva interviewed author Paul Beatty.


The Rumpus recommended summer reading.


Gorilla Vs. Bear shared a playlist of May's best songs.


The Millions interviewed Adrienne Celt about her novel Invitation to a Bonfire.


The Quietus reconsidered Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town album 40 years after its release.


The Guardian interviewed author Roxane Gay.


The Quietus interviewed Eartheater's Mollie Zhang.


Vanity Fair profiled critic and author Michiko Kakutani.


SSENSE profiled author Lynne Tillman.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

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June 1, 2018

Martin Ott's Playlist for His Poetry Collection "Lessons in Camouflage"

Lessons in Camouflage

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Martin Ott's collection Lessons in Camouflage is filled with poems that brilliantly explore everyday life.

Sonia Greenfield wrote of the book:

"Martin Ott’s Lessons in Camouflage examines the place where masculinity and its expectations intersect. There is a lushness and musicality to Ott’s poems, which belies the idea that poems about manhood should be spartan. Moreover, Ott has a gift for pulling stories from everyday objects and for making newer, more useful objects out of them, which are these well-crafted poems."


In his own words, here is Martin Ott's Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection Lessons in Camouflage:



Music has heavily influenced my fiction and poetry over the years—I listen to music while I write and I even inserted snippets of lyrics into several of the poems in my book Underdays (Notre Dame Press, 2015).

For my music playlist for Lessons in Camouflage, I decided to pair songs with individual poems in the order in which they appear in the book. Sometimes the songs align with the subject matter of the poems and sometimes with my real (or emotional) life. I’m hoping some people might consider listening to the playlist while reading the book.

I’d also like to give a big thanks to Largehearted Boy—in the process of putting my playlist together I learned a few things about this book and my writing in general.

Song: “Viva la Vida,” Coldplay / Poem Pairing: “The King of Camouflage”
I almost never remember where I was when I wrote a poem but The King of Camouflage is strange for me in a number of ways. It was influenced by a song I was listening to— Coldplay’s "Viva la Vida"—while I was driving to the Google office in Santa Monica to meet with my advertising team for the entertainment company I was working for at the time. The first few lines of the poem came to me while I barely moved in traffic. I parked several blocks away from my meeting and began writing at a furious pace. Influenced by song lyrics, I wrote lines that rhyme, something I rarely do, and it was penned in a single draft in a short period of time, another anomaly.

Song: “Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen / Poem Pairing: “Mile Post”
When I joined the Army at seventeen, I was already racing from my demons (alcohol abuse, fears of disappearing in my factory hometown with no money), from unrequited love with one of my best friends. In basic training, I first discovered I was talented at long-distance running. Every day, I ran as though I was chasing the wind and every day I became faster, it seemed. We had two-mile races in the Army, and my strategy was to go strong out of the gate and hold the lead by force of will. It was painful but empowering, and I found the process freed my mind to think of the past and present. Running informed my imagination and, later, my writing process. The raw emotion in “Born to Run” brings me back to my younger days, my running days, every time I hear it.

Song: “Paranoia,” A Day to Remember / Poem Pairing: “Why My Father Carries 3 Guns”
The frustration in “Why My Father Carries 3 Guns” is purposefully controlled by its ghazal form and heady syntax. All the while, boiling underneath, is rage, like in this song by Paranoia, mine at the stupidity of my father and his at a society he’s trying to control, erroneously believing that everyone is out to get him.

Song: “Beautiful Day,” U2 / Poem Pairing: “Prayer for Morning Commute”
I’ve lived in Los Angeles for twenty years and have nearly always had horrible work commutes. By my best estimation, I’ve spent three years in the car—that’s plenty of time to try to become Zen with the best and worst of human nature on the road. This mediation is on full display in both U2’s “Beautiful Day” and my poem “Prayer for Morning Commute.”

Song: “Where the Twain Shall Meet,” Screaming Trees / Poem Pairing: “I Lost the Robot in the Divorce”
“Which one stays?” is a refrain in this song from my favorite dysfunctional grunge rock band. Screaming Trees fought with each other while crafting some of the best songs of the era. This tune is a perfect accompaniment to the sonnet I wrote about the two homes my kids live in and “where the twain shall meet.”

Song: “Impossible Germany,” Wilco / Poem Pairing: “Shelter”
Home is not a place. This is the thesis of both the song “Impossible Germany,” by Wilco, and my poem “Shelter.” Finding home is a process, ongoing, mysterious, and discovered in strange places. The line “Impossible Germany, unlikely Japan” in this song also makes me think of the miracle of finding my current wife and our relationship in general: a difficult German American writer paired with a Japanese Brazilian woman who became his wife under the most unlikely of circumstances.

Song: “Get Off Your Ass and Jam,” Funkadelic / Poem Pairing: “To the Guy Who Drew the Penis on the Elevator”
Sometimes it’s OK to entertain and not think too hard, to let it fly and just jam. Both this song and poem provide notes of comic relief and crassness among darker, deeper work.

Song: “Starman,” David Bowie / Poem Pairing: “Stranger”
David Bowie has left us on this earth but his music persists and influences artists of all kinds. This song imagining a visitor from another planet is the perfect pairing for a stranger wandering through an office park out of place, and out of time.

Song: “Angel,” Jimi Hendrix / Poem Pairing: “The Mystery of Three Things”
The poem “The Mystery of Three Things” is filled with the reverie we all experience when objects trigger feelings and emotions. A poster of Jimi Hendrix is one of the objects in my poem, and the song “Angel” appears in Bad Boys Play Nice, a mixtape compilation I loved when I still rocked cassettes, and another object that appears in my poem.

Song: “The Sea,” Morcheeba / Poem Pairing: “Bodies of Water”
I could see Lake Huron from my bedroom window growing up in Alpena, Michigan, and it’s still a part of me. “The Sea,” kicking off the album Big Calm by Morcheeba, tells us, “I lost my soul there,” much the same sentiment as in my poem “Bodies of Water.” Some things can be far away from us and yet always near.

Song: “Circle Sky,” Tiny Lights / Poem Pairing: “The End of the World Did Not Happen…”
Yes, warnings of the apocalypse are everywhere, and as artists, sometimes we like to make light of the things that scare us most. “Let me go on living this way and I’ll meet you at the end of the world,” from “Circle Sky,” seems to be playing a similar tune as my poem “The End of the World Did Not Happen…”

Song: “No One,” Minutemen / Poem Pairing: “Anonymous”
After a string of more sedate songs, LA punk rockers Minutemen rev up the playlist with “No One,” a tune that explores the purgatory of life just as my poem “Anonymous” explores the purgatory of death.

Song: “Way Down Now,” World Party / Poem Pairing: “Return to Mermaid”
Some loves are difficult and lasting, like my relationship with my first wife. In the song “Way Down Now,” by World Party, we almost revel in this pain with upbeat pop-rock hooks and devastating lyrics: “She took me by the hand. Hell was the promised land.” My poem “Return to Mermaid” follows a soldier returning home to unfinished business, the siren call of his landlocked mermaid, a relationship unsteady in land, sea, and air.

Song: “The Garden,” Cut Chemist / Poem Pairing: “You Can’t Kiss an Astronaut on a Spacewalk”
When I met my future second wife, Lilian, in São Paulo, I played her the song “The Garden,” by Cut Chemist, with lyrics in Portuguese and an intoxicating beat. At the time, I must have known it was a love song—how could it not have been? Our subconscious is funny that way. My poem “You Can’t Kiss an Astronaut on a Spacewalk” is a love poem for Lilian, but using the image of an astronaut to explain the distance between us during our intense long-distance relationship. “The Garden” also offers its message of love in a second language in this playlist.

Song: “Flowers,” Camper Van Beethoven / Poem Pairing: “Unclaimed Baggage Center”
Hidden in the crevices of my poem “Unclaimed Baggage Center” are objects imbued with meaning, each with a life of its own like the “flowers growing out of bones” in this accompanying song by Camper Van Beethoven. The tone in both is sentimental but spiced with irreverence to fight against the sadness of loss.

Song: “Brain Damage,” Flaming Lips and Star Death and White Dwarfs, with Henry Rollins and Peaches / Poem Pairing: “33 Lessons in Camouflage”
Repetition in music and poetry is the engine that helps move art from our heads to our hearts. “33 Lessons in Camouflage” ends my book with a poem that draws from the other poems before it, utilizing a string of aphorisms. This cover of the Pink Floyd song “Brain Damage,” by the Flaming Lips (and friends), also repeats familiar ground but recasts it in a new direction. What more can we ask for in a finale?


Martin Ott and Lessons in Camouflage links:

the author's website


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - June 1, 2018

Neko Case

Neko Case's Hell-On is one of the strongest albums of her career.

Joan of Arc's 1984, LUMP's debut, and Natalie Prass's The Future And The Past are other worthwhile releases.


This week's interesting music releases:


American Aquarium: Things Change
Ben Howard: Noonday Dream
Cheap Trick: The Epic Archive Vol. 2 1980-1983
Damien Rice: O [vinyl]
Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Downey to Lubbock
Dave Matthews Band: Under the Table and Dreaming (reissue) [vinyl]
Def Leppard: The Collection: Volume One (7-CD box set)
Emmylou Harris: The Ballad Of Sally Rose Expanded Edition [vinyl]
Esquivel: Complete 1954-1962 Recordings (5-CD box set)
Father John Misty: God's Favorite Customer
Flaming Lips: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 (3-disc box set)
Ghost: Prequelle
Grateful Dead: Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 2 - April Fools' '88
Jerry Garcia: Run for the Roses
Jet: Get Born: Live At The Forum
Jethro Tull: 50 for 50 (3-CD box set)
Joan of Arc: 1984
Kanye West: Ye
Living Colour: Stain
Luke Combs: This One's for You Too
LUMP: LUMP
Maps & Atlases: Lightlessness Is Nothing New
Mazzy Star: Still
Morcheeba: Blaze Away
Natalie Prass: The Future And The Past
Neko Case: Hell-On
Nicki Bluhm: To Rise You Gotta Fall
Now, Now: Saved
Oneohtrix Point Never: Age of
Paul Simon: Graceland - The Remixes
Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson: Apart
Phil Cook: People Are My Drug
Richard Edwards: Verdugo
Roger Daltrey: As Long As I Have You
Sons Of An Illustrious Father: Deus Sex Machina: Or, Moving Slowly Beyond Nikola Tesla
Vance Joy: Nation of Two [vinyl]
Various Artists: 13 Reasons Why Season 2 (soundtrack)
Various Artists: Chebran Volume 2: French Boogie
Various Artists: The Royal Wedding - The Official Album
Various Artists: Voices of Mississippi
ZZ Top: Cinco No. 2: The Second (5-disc box set) [vinyl]


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily book and music news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)

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

Shorties (Essential Offbeat Science Fiction Novels, The Best Concert Films of All Time, and more)

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Publishers Weekly recommended offbeat science fiction novels.


Paste listed the best concert films of all time.


May's best eBook deals.


Drowned in Sound profiled Dutch singer-songwriter Pitou.


eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd


Parquet Courts visited The Current for an interview and live performance.


BuzzFeed recommended new novels about mental illness.


Stream new music from St. Vincent.


Signature, The Millions, and the Chicago Review of Books previewed June's new books.


Stream a new song by The Innocence Mission.


Michael Pollan talked psychedelics with Boulder Weekly.


Paste recapped May's best albums.


Andre Aciman recommended books about first love at the Guardian.


Stream a new song by Hana Vu.


Tommy Orange discussed his novel There, There with the New York Times.


SPIN shared a conversation between Stephen Malkmus and Tim Heidecker.


The Guardian profiled author Meg Wolitzer.


BrooklynVegan recapped May's best songs.


The Rumpus interviewed cartoonist Aline Kominsky-Crumb.


Stream a new Lilith song.


Porochista Khakpour discussed her new memoir Sick with Bookforum.


Middle Kids visited World Cafe for a live performance and interview.


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author Michelle Dean.


Tim KInsella ranked Joan of Arc's discography at Noisey.


The Rumpus interviewed author Melissa Broder.


Karl Taro Greenfeld recommended books for sports fanatics at Electric Literature.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

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

May 31, 2018

Cutter Wood's Playlist for His Book "Love and Death in the Sunshine State"

Love and Death in the Sunshine State

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Cutter Wood's Love and Death in the Sunshine State is an impressive work of creative nonfiction, a captivating mixture of true crime and memoir.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote of the book:

"Wood's mixture of fact and art yields a tale both gritty and introspective, with a real murder providing an entree to an examination of the nature of love. Wood’s prose is detailed yet deft... This is a fine true-crime mystery and a touching journey into the human heart."


In his own words, here is Cutter Wood's Book Notes music playlist for his book Love and Death in the Sunshine State:



Music is such an integral part of my writing (I construct a playlist as I write, and I’m continually tweaking it throughout the process, adding songs here, replacing others there, moving some up, some down, wondering what the hell I ever saw in this or that song) so it’s a slightly surreal experience to publish this playlist and to have to explain for the first time what had previously been largely unconscious decisions on my own part. It’s especially strange with a book of reportage and memoir that’s really a book essentially about the difficulties of being in love. The songs below reflect my own work researching and writing the story and my own part in that story, but since a playlist for me has always been part of the currency of a relationship, I also feel a little like I’m divulging some sort of love letter written to the people in this book.

Santigold – Chasing Shadows

Why do I feel guilty about admitting that I listened to this song all the time as I was working on Love and Death? This was sort of my writing version of the club’s get-hyped song. I’d get my coffee, sit at the desk, look out the window and press play. I have a hard time explaining why this seemed to me to fit so well with the story. It’s both morose and triumphant, and it also captures the experience of walking listlessly around an island in Florida in the heat trying to figure out why one night a woman named Sabine Musil-Buehler simply disappeared.

DYAN – Looking for Knives

One night I went down to the neighborhood where they found Musil-Buehler’s car after her disappearance. It’s the part of Florida most people like to pretend doesn’t exist. Liquor stores, pawn shops, people loitering on street corners, and police sitting in cruisers looking distinctly nervous, and inexplicably, a motel named after an obscure 18th century painting by Thomas Gainsborough: The Blue Boy. It was one of those humid nights when the lights from the cars seem to blur down the street, and I could see so perfectly the moment when the police found Musil-Buehler’s car and realized there was blood all over the inside. On that night in my memory, this song plays endlessly.

Frankie Cosmos – Young

Sabine had started seeing William Cumber not long before she disappeared, and their relationship was so much about the recapturing of youth. He was ten years younger, and I think largely because of this, she had devoted herself to regaining her former figure. She worked out all the time during the two months she and William lived together, and just before she disappeared, she’d been bragging to friends that she now had the same body as when she was eighteen.

Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Gebrou – Homesickness

Those brief moments of happiness and perfection, they visit us all, even in the worst of circumstances. When the detectives searched Sabine’s apartment, they found a few scorecards from board games, some sand dollars collected on the beach, and a photo from a ride at Busch Gardens, one of those ones where two people are screaming on their way down the roller coaster with their hair flying wildly behind them.

O – I Admit I’m Scared

Love is bewildering, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been in in it. This song captures everything about that feeling of not having any idea what you’ve gotten into.

Empress Of – Woman is a Word

And this song is the quick swing, so common in relationships, to the exact opposite emotion. Who hasn’t experienced this feeling: “I’m only an image of what you see.” Sure, we can be in love, but fuck you, my life is still always my own. Sabine always struck me as someone who wasn’t afraid to be herself, and what better song for a person like that. This song to me isn’t even a break up song, it’s more badass than that. It’s a we-can-stay-together-but-we-might-as-well-have-broken-up-because-there’s-a-part-of-me-you’ll-never-have-access-to song.

Spectral Display – It Takes a Muscle to Fall in Love

See title.

Nina Simone – Stars

Have I ever made a playlist that didn’t have a spot on it just asking for Nina Simone to break out in song? “But anyway that isn’t what I meant to say, I meant to tell a story that I live from day to day… always all you see is glory.” God, she’s so great. And this live version, so scratchy, you can almost see the smoke in the room. The feeling here, that everything is slipping away, and yet, and yet… I have to feel it’s essentially a song about getting closer and closer to death.

Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle – Don’t Kiss Me Goodbye

I love the way the French singer mangles the English in this song: “The world looks better into the dark.” Do I need to say anything else?

Hank Williams – My Love For You (Has Turned to Hate)

After Sabine disappeared, a lot of people on the island thought William had killed her. Late one night, he’d had enough of everyone acting like he was a murderer, and he decided to leave Florida. He had no car and no license, but he took off that night in a pickup truck whose owner was too drunk to drive, never realizing that the car’s registration had expired. When I imagine that midnight drive, the owner asleep in the passenger seat, William staring hard over the arc of the steering wheel, I imagine this song coming on the radio. It’s not until the final refrain that the sirens come on and he’s pulled over by the police.

Gillian Welch – Everything is Free

I’d been listening to (and loving) this song for years before I realized it was about Napster, and although it seems silly to include a song about an early music-sharing software in a story about love and murder, the song so captures the feeling of the world slipping out from under your fingers. When the murderer finally confessed, and led the detectives out to where he’d buried the body, he told me that the thing that struck him most as he stepped out of the squad car was how much the area had been developed since he buried her there. The world had changed so much, it was so built up, he said, he wasn’t even sure there was a place for him in it anymore.

Charley Crockett – I Am Not Afraid

Isn’t this the strangest concept for a song? To insist that you’re not afraid to be in love. Especially a song that has this funny kind of island vibe to it. And yet, this is how it ends.


Cutter Wood and Love and Death in the Sunshine State links:

the author's website

Minneapolis Star Tribune review
Publishers Weekly review

Salon interview with the author
Sarasota Herald Tribune interview with the author
Tampa Bay Times interview with the author
WAMC interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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

Shorties (Bill Clinton on Books and Reading, New Kamasi Washington Music, and more)

A River of Stars

Bill Clinton talked books and reading with the New York Times.


Stream a new song by Kamasi Washington.


May's best eBook deals.


Stream a new Seasonal Beast song.


eBook on sale for $2.99 today:

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck


NPR Music is streaming Angelique Kidjo's album-length Afrobeat cover of Talking Heads' Remain in Light.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn recommended June's best books.


I Heart Noise interviewed Oneida's Kid Millions.


The New York Times profiled author and rapper Gaël Faye.


Stream a new song by Blushh.


Slice interviewed author Maris Kreizman.


Folk legend Shirley Collins discussed her memoir All in the Downs with Drowned in Sound.


Hobart interviewed author Ben Loory.


Belly visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


Vogue recommended summer reading.


Stream a new Parting Lines song.


Bookworm interviewed author Linda Spaulding.


Stream a new Bella Boo song.


The Chicago Reader recommended literary biopics.


Stream a new song by LUMP.


The Barnes and Noble podcast interviewed author Rumaan Alam.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

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

May 30, 2018

P. William Grimm's Playlist for His Novel "Jex Blackwell Saves the World"

Jex Blackwell Saves the World

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

P. William Grimm's Jex Blackwell Saves the World is a dazzling whirlwind of a young adult novel.

Minna Choi, founder of Magik*Magik Orchestra, wrote of the book:

"A fun, punk and brisk read. Grimm's love and genuine appreciation for music and gritty heroines paving their own way shines through each story."


In his own words, here is P. William Grimm's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Jex Blackwell Saves the World:



A Mixtape by Jex


Every book deserves a soundtrack and the soundtrack for Jex Blackwell Saves the World is built right into pages.

Jex Blackwell is a sixteen-year old punk with a secret genius for medicine and an equal passion for music; but life in her native Los Angeles home - filled with dark, gritty city streets and strange, sometimes desperate characters - is not easy.


Emancipated from her abusive parents at fourteen and graduating high school early the following year, Jex lives alone and can’t quite convince herself to go to college. Instead, she spends her days quietly tending to her job as a librarian’s assistant, and her nights tagging walls and running from cops. In between, she uses her photographic memory and encyclopedic knowledge of medicine to help ease the pain of the disenfranchised dwellers of L.A.’s dark nights, daring to venture where even some trauma doctors fear to go.
 
Trying to cope as a not-quite-adult in a massively adult world, Jex may not be able to save herself, but she is determined to at least save the world.

Jex Blackwell Saves the World is a Dadaesque homage to Donald Sobol’s Encyclopedia Brown series, or perhaps a Sobolesque homage to the Dada movement. However one characterizes it, it wouldn’t be the same without its soundtrack.

All of the song on this playlist are an important part of Jex Blackwell Saves the World, and each artist is referenced on the book’s pages in one way or another.


Mischief Brew - “Gimme Coffee, or Death”

This song is a good introduction to Jex’s philosophy. Fast-paced and furious inside, it is filled with thoughts of revolution and pain. It is old-school folk punk and its edge is unmistakable; a tip of the hate to a prior age, written and performed by Eric Peterson, who is no longer with us. As one gets to know Jex over the pages of the book, her choice to include this song on her mix tape would be obvious.

High Dive – “These Are Days”

High Dive is a band that arose from the punk scene in Bloomington, Indiana, a collective of musicians, artists and activists that was as flawed as it was beautiful. A determined dreamer like Jex would have fit well into the scene, though her roaming, rebellious spirt would likely have made her eventually flee from its inevitable constraints. But there is little doubt this song would have been playing on her car stereo as she made her escape.

Bernays Propaganda – “Yuppie Dream”

A song by Macedonian punk band Bernays Propaganda and sung in Macedonian, this band toured the U.S. with punk bands High Dive and, earlier, Ghost Mice, instantly finding an audience with its raw but bouncy vibe. A lot of the lyrics are in Macedonian, but the music is so emotional and real, it compels the reader to fight through Google Translate to gain a better understanding of the sound they hear. Bernays Propaganda opened for bands in the U.S. but are headliners in their home country; and it is not a show Jex would have mixed, hoping in her heart that this was one of the songs they would play.

AJJ - “People II: The Reckoning”

While the song gets the science wrong – the narrator stating that the parasympathetic system causes a “fight or flight” reaction, while it is actually the sympathetic nervous system that does – Jex would be attracted to any song that references either system would have found her sympathies and exuberance. The songs themes about illness and inner conflict would also resonate deep in her soul, and would stay in heavy rotation.

Mazzy Star – “Fade Into You"

A sad song with which Jex finds a way to dance.

Mastodon – “I Am Ahab”

Jex would be the first to say that Mastodon is not her favorite band. But she takes her width and breadth of music knowledge seriously, just like she learned at very young age, one of the things that flamed her love of medicine, you take the patient as you find them. So if a metal head needs medical attention and you need to speak like a metal head speaks, a little Mastodon goes a long way.

Max Levine Ensemble – “Big Problems, USA”

A D.C. based band that features David Comb of Spoonboy, juxtaposes Jex’s love for the ocean with her disdain for how humanity treats it. The surfy, pop punk tune is aggressive and melodic at once, and would be found on any mix made by Jex.

Ke$ha – “Die Young”

Jex is at heart an existentialist and a fatalist, but there is a juxtaposition of hope in her words and deeds that is undeniable. She is willing to give all of her energy to helping vulnerable people living on the fringes obtain a higher quality of life, her optimism, however reluctant, is unmistakable. A song like Ke$ha’s, sung to the poppiest of melodies but urging the listener to live like they’re going to die young would resonate with her as much as the Nietzsche or Camus she reads.

Taylor Swift – “Style”

Because its Style. By Taylor Swift.

The Jam – “Down In the Tube Station at Midnight”

Sometimes, you just need some good mod punk rock on your mix tape, at least that’s Jex’s philosophy, as young in years as she may be. This one would be particularly meaningful, a mind-numbed observation of a mugging, capturing the base vulnerability of the victim. Jex would understand the feeling of the vulnerable, but songs like this one serve her as reminder to never accept being a victim.

Descendents – “I’m Not a Punk”

Every scene can be claustrophobic, particularly to loners like Jex. Jex is the kind of person who goes to show alone for the music, and has no tolerance for people bothering her at shows, and talking during a song is a cardinal sin. Though her thirst for medicine is unrelenting, the irony of not liking people very much at the same time is not lost on Jex. Though a tremendous thinker, she hadn’t quite figured out how to make those two realities co-exist. As a result, if Jex had to write her own epitaph, “I’m just a square going nowhere” would be in there somewhere.

Pat the Bunny – “Song for a Chicken Named Jenny”

A song about not really giving a shit but still hanging on to some kind of morality in the reality of existence, Pat the Bunny’s “Song for a Chicken Named Jenny” would ring true to Jex. She lives somewhere between burning down the city and fighting to help to care for those the city is burning down.

Johnny Hobo – “Whiskey is My Kind of Lullaby”

To Jex, this is the soundtrack to relapse. Recovery is for tomorrow. Recovery is for a different song.

Thao & the Get Down – “Nobody Dies”

Any song that has the word “dies” in it would be appealing to Jex, and any song by Thao & the Get Down goes to the front of the line in Jex’s mind. When the two things go together, it can’t help but be a favorite of Jex’s. This is a song Jex can dance to, even if people might think she looks quite odd when she does so. She doesn’t mind.

The Sex Pistols – “Anarchy in the UK”

Because at sixteen, this song isn’t boring to Jex yet.

Neutral Milk Hotel - “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”

Neutral Milk Hotel accidentally made a classic, timeless album when they recorded In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. The lead singer, Jeff Mangum, seemed to regret it almost instantly, but it was too late to turn around and change anything. He could only hide from it. Jex is at a stage of her life where she realizes she is spiraling into a path that will require her focus and attention the rest of her life – the life of a doctor. But she knows in her gut somewhere it is too late to change anything; it is all inevitable. Just like it was probably inevitable for Mangum to write and record this song and album. But Jex won’t run and won’t hide. She’s already in the aeroplane and she will either fly or crash, and try to enjoy it whichever way it turns out.

Advance Base – “Frank Capra”

A sad song played sparsely on keyboards, with no lyrics. Because that’s sometimes all there is space for in the soul. And that’s enough.

Spoonboy – “Great Mistake Maker”

A song that Jex likes to dance to, and to remind her that the future is coming, and if she’s not running towards it, she’s running away from it. And Jex doesn’t run away from anything.

Elvis Depressedly – “Crazier With You”

A song with few lyrics and few notes, but filled with emotion and confusion, teetering between survival and total loss. It is a space in which Jex often finds herself, and this song always brings an escape back into herself when she awakens into that darkened place.

The Mountain Goats - “The Recognition Scene”

A recognition scene is a sudden pivot in a literary story in which a character has a revelation and gains immediate understanding of the situation in which they have found themselves; that not only will nothing ever be the same again, but that things were never as the character thought they were. This song is not specifically referenced in the book, but the appropriate chapter for it is easy to find if you just dig a little.


P. William Grimm and Jex Blackwell Saves the World links:

the author's website
the book's website

Not Another Book Review review


also at Largehearted Boy:

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Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
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