October 23, 2018

Shorties (Books That Defined the 1960s, New Music by Beirut, and more)

Sylvia Plath

Literary Hub listed books that defined the 1960s.


Stream a new Beirut song.


October's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

Lost Horizon by James Hilton
Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed musician Sarah Davachi.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed Danielle Dutton and Martin Riker, publishers of the small press Dorothy.


Ad Hoc interviewed Mike Haliechuk of Fucked Up.


The Barnes and Noble Review interviewed author Nicole Chung.


Pitchfork reconsidered Talking Heads' Remain in Light album.


Vulture interviewed author Julie Doucet.


Zumi recommended women Nigerian authors.


Paste listed the top 10 albums from Mom + Pop's first ten years,


Book Riot recommended audiobooks for writers.


Rolling Stone's country podcast interviewed singer-songwriter Amanda Shires.


The Millions interviewed author Octavio Solis.


Richard Thompson visited World Cafe for a live performance and interview.


Edward Carey discussed illustrating his books at Literary Hub.


Stream a new song by Nick Zammuto (of the Books).


Book Riot recommended short story collections about race and color.



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






October 22, 2018

Ruth Danon's Playlist for Her Poetry Collection "Word Has It"

Word Has It

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

Ruth Danon's poetry collection Word Has It is dark and profound.

Stephen Massimilla wrote of the book:

"..Deep and skeptical, natural and magical, melancholic and beautiful, Danon’s oracle makes a truly compelling statement – one to be heeded, one to be savored."


In her own words, here is Ruth Danon's Book Notes music playlist for her poetry collection Word Has It:



I began work on what became Word Has It during July of 2016. Knowing I had one month to figure out a book I’d unexpectedly been asked to write, I took myself to the woods. The task seemed daunting since I’d published a book of poems just a year earlier. Leaving husband and cats to fend for themselves in the city, I set off for my little house in the country. I had random drafts of poems, yellow legal pads, and not a clue. I sat on the enclosed porch of the house while summer breezes wafted in through the screens. There were false starts. There were intimations of possibilities. And in the background on the news was the ever clearer possibility that the 2016 election might be a disaster.

Every day, I sat on the porch and looked at drafts of my poems. Every day where it didn’t rain, I drove to the nearby swimming pool and swam laps. Back and forth, slowly, all the while thinking about the book that was not yet taking form. Driving to and from the pool or the grocery store, I listened to oldies on the car radio. And in the afternoon or at night, whenever there was a Tanglewood concert, I stretched out on the living room couch, listening. At night, I’d drink a glass of wine, staring out the window until the concert was over and the trees were covered in darkness. By the end of the month, I’d figured out the structure of the book. I was writing a book about what it was like to live through an anxious time, a time just before something “not good” was going to happen. I could feel that “not good” in my bones. The election in November happened and the results were what they were. Indeed, they were not good. Some prescience guided me in my initial thinking and then the subject of prescience and augury gave me a way of completing the book, of tying the foreboding in the first section to the terrible outcomes in the last.

Back at home, in the city, I watched one of my cats get sicker and die, the country change in awful ways, and my job security become more and more questionable. I listened to music more intentionally. I chose what to listen to and it helped sustain me through the winter and spring as I struggled to meet the deadline for turning in the manuscript. Music sustained me in the spring of 2017 when I did, in fact and as I feared, lose the job I’d had for 23 years. Not until I was asked to write this playlist did I know how important music had been to the whole process of writing Word Has It.

Summer and Fall 2016

The music I listened to during the summer and fall was a constant backdrop for my experience. It rose and fell like the sun. It was there all the time without my having to choose any of it. (In saying this, I’m giving a weak paraphrase of a brilliant passage by Ann Beattie in her novel Love Always, where she describes what it’s like to listen to popular music. I refer you to the beginning of Chapter 4 of that novel.)

Here is some of what I can remember:

1) One afternoon I heard, from Tanglewood, Brahms’s Variations on a Theme from Haydn. In this piece, the theme is announced and then complicated by way of the strings. There’s something ominous in the shifts of register. Word Has It plays with variations on the way “word” is used in vernacular cliché—“word has it,” “word on the street,” and so forth. The variations become a thread throughout the first part of the book, which is followed by the idea of rumor introduced in the beginning and recurs later on. Pattern and variation shape the book, much as variation is important in Brahms or in any classical musical composition. I composed the book as much musically as narratively.

2) Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’”: That summer it seemed that every time I turned on the radio in the car I heard this song. I don’t know why but it seemed to go with me wherever I went. There’s something in the song—the letting go of the conventional life represented in the “good girl” that seemed to speak to the liberation and fear I felt about taking the whole month for myself, committing myself to making a book and not being tied to the responsibilities of domestic life. Tom Petty gave me permission.

3) Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”: This is such a good rocking song. And it has one of my favorite lines in it: “I’m sick of sitting ’round here trying to write this book.” And that was what I was doing, trying to write a book when it seemed to elude me at every turn. Bellowing out that line along with Springsteen allowed me to vent frustration.

4) Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”: I’ve always loved this song and when I heard it in the summer of 2016 it seemed to carry with it both nostalgia for my youth—when it seemed that everything was possible—and a new and ominous meaning embodied in the lines “when logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.” It was the summer the nation seemed to go mad. Some of the poems I chose and revised for the book express that loss of proportion and logic. I’m thinking of the firemen in “An Act of Faith in a Simple Time” or the man who goes batshit in “A Joke” or the terrible Pulse nightclub massacre that’s the subject of the last two poems in Word Has It.

5) Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust”: This is a sentimental favorite. They don’t play it on the oldies station that much but when they do I always tear up. I did my undergraduate work at Bard College and have had close ties to the Hudson Valley for years. So when I drive the hills near Olivebridge, where I was the summer I started on the book, I thought a lot about my youth and the many mistakes I’ve made in life. The song ends with the line “I’ve already paid.” Perhaps I was thinking of that line when I wrote “The Gates” (the poem that ends the first section of Word Has It), where duty is defined as “that which must be paid.” We pay for our choices, personal and political, and the book is very much concerned with those mistakes and those payments.

6) Girlyman’s “Postcards from Mexico”: This isn’t a song I heard on the radio but it’s a song I like. A friend introduced me to Girlyman, a now defunct band. I have the CD and play it whenever I want to be cheered up. That summer, I played it on YouTube. It’s not actually a cheerful song—it’s a rollicking four-part harmony testament to the sorrow and relief that comes when a damaging relationship comes to an end, a hymn to the complexity of human love and erotic desire. The line “you’re great on the highway” gets me because it’s another reminder of the freedom of being on the road, the pleasure of road trips, the freedom of driving alone or with a lover, the kind of joy and pain that are necessary to feeling alive. I love the exuberance of Girlyman’s singing. I don’t know that the song in any direct way feeds into the book but it fed me and gave me energy and courage when I needed it.

7) The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt’s “Desperado”: Flat out, I love this song. The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt both perform great versions. I’ve been listening to this song for years, and it’s one that makes me ache with identification. “You better let somebody love you.” I ricochet between a need to be alone as I was in the summer of 2016 and a need to be connected to someone in reciprocal love. The middle section of Word Has It and the transitional poems at the beginning of the third section attend to this split. The song advised me to return to the world of human connection—to my husband, to my cats, to my friends, to my job. By the end of July, I’d figured out the book. The central section, the one dealing with my ambivalence about domestic life, came last. That section ends with the speaker leaving domesticity behind—“burning down the house,” so to speak. But the poems can only do that if the writer does not. I had to go home to finish the book. I had to finish it in company with others. “Your pain and your hunger are driving you home.”

Winter and Spring 2016-2017

Having spent the summer figuring out the book, I spent the late fall, winter, and spring revising and ordering poems and writing some new material that needed to go in to complete the arc of the implied narrative. During that time, I was consumed with the despair I felt directly after the 2016 election.

8) Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row”: In the fall of 2016, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I was certain that at least part of what was on the Nobel Committee’s mind was the political situation in the United States. Whatever the reason, I was happy that Dylan won the prize. His music has been with me since I was a teenager. “Desolation Row” seemed to fit my mood in the fall and winter of 2016-2017. One of Dylan’s greatest songs, it lends itself to multiple interpretations. Like great poetry, it can’t be paraphrased. But so many of the lyrics seemed to speak to the moment—the quality of spectacle that became dominant before and after the election. We were either living on Desolation Row or witnessing it or both. “The Joke” and “Habitual” occupy territory similar to Dylan’s “Desolation Row.”

9) Leonard Cohen’s “The Future”: I never tire of listening to Leonard Cohen. I saw every concert he performed in New York during the last years of his life. “The Future” was apt during the winter of 2016-2017. “I’ve seen the future, baby; it is murder.” And “Things are going to slide, slide in all directions.” True enough. In Word Has It, the future hinted at in the first part is confirmed in the penultimate poem, “21 for 49,” which addresses the Pulse nightclub massacre. In that poem, I quote many words actually said by victims that night. We’ve seen things slide in all directions and prescience has no power to prevent disaster.

10) Leonard Cohen’s “Ain’t No Cure For Love”: I think of this as an antidote to “The Future” so I conclude with it. Word Has It ends with a prose poem describing a mysterious synchronicity of numbers. Forty-nine people died in the Pulse massacre and 49 birds were seen in a photograph taken in the sky over a memorial vigil held for the victims in that day’s carnage. Cohen sings “All the rocket ships are climbing through the sky.” There is no cure for love. I’d like to think that love will triumph, that community and friendship and love will prevail after all. That’s why the book ends as it does.


Ruth Danon and Word Has It 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

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October 21, 2018

Shorties (Great American Rock and Roll Novels, The 20th Anniversary of the Silver Jews' American Water Album, and more)

Silver Jews

Jeff Jackson recommended great American rock and roll novels at Electric Literature.


Stereogum reconsidered Silver Jews' American Water album 20 years after its release.


October's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for 99 cents today:

Joyland by Stephen King

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

Slade House by David Mitchell


Listen to the "music" of an Antarctic ice shelf.


Sarah Perry talked to Weekend Edition about her new novel Melmoth.


Salon interviewed singer-songwriter Kurt Vile.


Jill Soloway discussed her book She Wants It: Desire, Power and Toppling the Patriarchy with Weekend Edition.


Snail Mail covered Courtney Love's "2nd Most Beautiful Girl in the World."


The Quietus shared a thoughtful look at post-9/11 American literature.


Stream a previously unreleased Washed Out song.


Poet Danez Smith talked books and writing with the Guardian.


Paste profiled the band Mountain Man.


Literary Hub recommended books that defined the 1940s.


Pitchfork profiled the band boygenius.


Alicia Jo Rabins talked writing and songwriting with artists who do both at Literary Hub.


Stereogum reconsidered Eels' Electro-Shock Blues on its 20th anniversary.


Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah discussed his new short story collection Friday Black with Morning Edition.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Kembrew McLeod's book The Downtown Pop Underground: New York City and the Literary Punks, Renegade Artists, DIY Filmmakers, Mad Playwrights, And Rock ‘n’ Roll Glitter Queens Who Revolutionized Culture.


Literary Hub recommended works of literary horror.


Drowned in Sound reconsidered Radiohead's Kid A album.


Metropolis Japan recommended Japanese women you should be reading.


Book Riot recommended contemporary memoirs by women of color.


The Creative Independent interviewed author Ada Limon.


BookMarks recommended cli-fi novels.


Autostraddle recommended books about voting, elections, and government.



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

October 19, 2018

Brian Laidlaw's Playlist for His Poetry Collection "The Mirrormaker"

The Mirrormaker

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

Brian Laidlaw's impressive poetry collection The Mirrormaker is both moving and lyrical, and comes with a companion song suite written and performed by the author.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Poet, songwriter, and musician Laidlaw follows The Stuntman with more work that superimposes the myth of Echo and Narcissus on the Minnesota landscape through the story of Bob Dylan and Echo Helstrom."


In his own words, here is Brian Laidlaw's Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection The Mirrormaker:



“The Girl From the North Country” by Bob Dylan

In a way, this tune is the origin point for The Mirrormaker. The collection is based, in part, on the now-mythic relationship between Bob Dylan and his high-school girlfriend Echo Helstrom – a.k.a. the girl from the north country – and on the even-more-mythic relationship between a different Echo and a different Narcissus.

I was staying in Bob and Echo’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, a few years ago, sleeping in the basement at a musical collaborator’s house, and I had a kind of poem-vision where Echo climbed through the garden-level window; I hadn’t intended to start writing about that particular figure, it wasn’t a premeditated project, but the whole book and song suite spiraled out from that one moment.

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

I had been writing poems for a while already when Neutral Milk Hotel’s album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea came out, and I had been playing guitar in bands before that, too, but somehow I had never really considered the possibility of being a songwriter until I heard this record. Jeff Mangum’s fragmentary, image-driven, half-dream-half-narrative sensibility as a lyricist exerts a profound influence on my writing (both of poems and of songs), and was particularly present in the construction of this book.

When Mangum sings in this tune about “how the notes all bend and reach above the trees,” it feels presciently post-pastoral; it gestures toward the way that songs, histories and landscapes haunt one another.

“Sleeping Dogs Lie” by Brian Laidlaw

This is a slightly unusual (but perhaps appropriately Narcissistic?) Book Notes in that I’m including a couple of my own songs on the playlist! “Sleeping Dogs Lie” is part of the suite of original songs that accompanies The Mirrormaker, and it’s the tune that most explicitly interfaces with the book’s text – the poem “Anechoic” and the lyrics of this track are in direct conversation with one another. This is also an especially Dylanish song in its form: eight or nine verses, high syllable counts, and a braided rhyme scheme similar to the one that Dylan uses in many of his near-novella-length songs.

“Ballad in Plain D” by Bob Dylan

One of my favorite (long) songs of Dylan’s is “Ballad in Plain D;” while much of his work seems to operate on a kind of larger-than-life, persona-reliant scale, this song stands out as a remarkably vulnerable and intimate portrayal of a relationship gone wrong. Maybe the most powerful part of this tune (for me, at least) is that the verses seem perfectly structured set up to deliver a crashing, resounding rhyme at the end of each stanza, but many of them end instead with an absolutely heartbreaking non-rhyme – as though the singer were too crestfallen and distraught to deal with such trivialities as rhyme.

“Scarlet Town” by Gillian Welch

The other through-line for The Mirrormaker has to do with resource extraction, both in terms of iron mining on Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range from whence Dylan hails, and in terms of the way that songwriters may “mine” their relationships and experiences for “material.” This song, written by one of my favorite contemporary songwriters, isn’t about Hibbing, but as soon as I heard it, I thought of this area. When Welch writes “Look at that deep well / look at that dark grave / ringing that iron bell / in Scarlet Town today” it makes me think of the Hull-Rust Mahoning mine, the largest open-pit iron mine on the continent, which sprawls off like a man-made Grand Canyon just a few blocks away from Hibbing’s downtown.

“Bad Luck” by Neko Case

In the poem “The Golden Rule of Copyright” in The Mirrormaker, I wrote the quatrain

the first time I saw the moon
I thought it was my own idea
damn plagiarists
I said—or I thought

and when I heard Neko Case’s new album Hell-On, I was struck by the faint echo of a similar sentiment in the lines:

Love, the most contrary asset of them all
Dragging in on nature’s coattails
Acting like it wrote the moon
Trying to pass riddles as poetry
Embargo is love’s waiting room.

Especially since both Case and I are talking about lunar plagiarism, I think it’s awesome how these images seem to draw on one another. I wish she had stolen that idea from me – it would be the honor of a lifetime! – but I’m quite confident that she didn’t.

“Cherry Bomb” by Spoon

Cherries are sweet and innocent; bombs are not. Their cohabitation in the phrase “cherry bomb” is a poem in itself; it gave the title for one of the poems in The Mirrormaker, and also provides the hook for one of my favorite tracks by Spoon. This song was playing (anachronistically) on the radio in the mental poem-version of my dad’s story in which he’s driving in his dad’s – my grandfather’s – convertible. He lights a cherry bomb and tosses it back behind his head, only to realize that the top of the convertible is up – so the bomb lands in the backseat and blows it to pieces. All of that is true, except the part about Spoon playing on the radio; that one detail is true only in my mind, but not possible in reality, because this story took place in the 1960s.

“Dark Sides” by Brian Laidlaw

I inhabited the landscape of The Mirrormaker for several years, and amassed a giant stockpile of interrelated material, both poetic and musical, during that stretch of time. In addition to the companion book The Stuntman (Milkweed, 2015), I also released a little EP called “Echolalia” as a kind of “B-sides” from Echo-and-Narcissus-world. This song “Dark Sides” is a musical echo of a poem – also called “Dark Sides” but containing different text – in The Mirrormaker. We recorded the tune at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Studio, an all-analog-tape facility in San Francisco. The tape-delays and tape-loops here are, to my ear, the perfect soundscape for the Echo myth.

“Sawdust & Diamonds” by Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom is a master of navigating the balance between text and melody. Her song “Sawdust and Diamonds” from the album Ys is one of many shining examples from her body of work. This song is on my playlist because of the way it blurs the realms of the “natural” and the “mechanical;” the birds in her song seem simultaneously to be both living creatures and automata. That image and sentiment resonates with a poem of mine called “The Sparrows” in this collection; it also relates, more broadly, to the fact that a landscape like a pit mine is a kind of collaboration between natural and human forces; the red iron cliffs and the red iron soil are surely “natural”, but the hole that exposes them is a human creation.

“From a Buick 6” by Bob Dylan

There are almost no direct references to Dylan lyrics in The Mirrormaker – the bigger stylistic inspiration was his crazy prose-poetry book Tarantula – but the one exception is in the very last poem of the collection, called “If Earth.” It includes the parenthetical line “(I need a dumptruck, baby)”, which comes out of the song “From a Buick 6” off >Highway 61 Revisited. Dylan’s couplet sings:

Well, you know I need a steam shovel mama to keep away the dead
I need a dump truck mama to unload my head


That line came into my mind at one point when I stood on the viewing platform that overlooks the Hull-Rust Mahoning mine. I was watching dump-trucks the size of small buildings carrying loads of material across the crazy Martian landscape of the enormous pit… It made me think of Dylan’s own mind as a mine, a location of endlessly rich material, of constant digging, and – as the lyric suggests – a certain amount of weary raggedness as well.


Brian Laidlaw and The Mirrormaker links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book

Midwestern Gothic 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

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - October 19, 2018

R.E.M.

R.E.M.: Best Of R.E.M. At The BBC is a 9-disc ( (8-CD & 1-DVD) box set.

Farao's prog-pop masterpiece Pure-O, How to Dress Well's The Anteroom, and Will Oldham's Songs Of Love And Horror are the new albums I have heard and can recommend.

Vinyl reissues include Low's The Great Destroyer and The Soundtrack of Our Lives' Behind the Music.


This week's interesting music releases:

Ace Frehley: Spaceman
Alkaline Trio: Is This Thing Cursed? [vinyl]
Arkells: Rally Cry
Beta Band: The Three EPs (reissue) [vinyl]
Big Black: Songs About Fucking (reissue) [vinyl]
Broncho: Bad Behavior [vinyl]
Cloud Nothings: Last Building Burning
Cocteau Twins: Treasure Hiding: The Fontana Years (4-CD box set)
Cranberries: Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We (reissue) [vinyl]
Cranberries: Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? (4-CD box set) (remastered and expanded)
Disturbed: Evolution
Elle King: em>Shake
Empress Of: Us
Farao: Pure-O
Glasvegas: Glasvegas (reissue) [vinyl]
Grateful Dead: Mountain View 1994
Grateful Dead: Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 1--Big Rock Pow-Wow '69 (3-CD box set) (reissue)
Greta Van Fleet: Anthem Of The Peaceful Army
Hamell on Trial: The Night Guy at The Apocalypse Profiles of a Rushing Midnight [vinyl]
How to Dress Well: The Anteroom
Jason Isbell: Live from the Ryman
Jimmy Urine: EURINGER
Johan Johansson: Mandy (soundtrack)
John Carpenter: Halloween (original soundtrack)
Los Straightjackets: Complete Christmas Songbook
Low: The Great Destroyer (reissue) [vinyl]
Minus the Bear: Fair Enough [vinyl]
MØ: Forever Neverland
Neil Young: Toronto 1973 [vinyl]
Neneh Cherry: Broken Politics
Papercuts: Parallel Universe Blues
Peter Bjorn and John: Darker Days
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody
R.E.M.: Best Of R.E.M. At The BBC (8-CD, 1-DVD box set)
The residents: Intruders
Richard Ashcroft: Natural Rebel
Soulfly: Ritual
The Soundtrack of Our Lives: Behind the Music (reissue) [vinyl]
Staple Singers: For What It's Worth: Complete Epic Recordings 1964-1968 (3-CD box set)
Tangerine Dream: The Pink Years Albums 1970-1973
Various Artists: Stax '68: A Memphis Story (5-CD box set)
Voivoid: The Wake [vinyl]
White Stripes: The Complete Peel Sessions
Will Oldham: Songs Of Love And Horror
Yoko Ono: Warzone


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)

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Shorties (An Interview with Irvine Welsh, Julia Holter Profiled, and more)

TITLE

The South China Morning Post profiled author Irvine Welsh.

The Florida sun clearly agrees with him as, rather than slowing down and taking stock, the author is a hive of creativity: his next novel – “an intergenerational meditation on post-traumatic stress disorder in America triggered by gun violence” – is almost complete, while he also has a handful of film and television projects in the pipeline, and is working on tracks for an album of acid-house techno.


Rolling Stone profiled singer-songwriter Julia Holter.

There’s a lot of text in her work, but it doesn’t demand to be understood semantically and responded to on the spot. The music asks little of its listeners save for the patience to ride it out, and a willingness to linger between modes. Pop songs form in the nebulous space of her albums, but they’re not the rule and neither is die-hard abstraction. A Julia Holter record is familiar but not too familiar, comforting and unsettling in turn, frustrating at points and then, when the surprising, joyful melodies crest, profoundly satisfying.


October's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

eBook on sale for $2.99 today:

Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck


John Carpenter talked to Morning Edition about his soundtrack to the new Halloween film.


Hazlitt interviewed author Nicole Chung.


Paste profiled singer-songwriter Miya Folick.


Vulture shared an excerpt from Hanif Abdurraqib's forthcoming book, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest.


Stream a new song by Rose Droll.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author German Sierra.


Patterson Hood discussed his former band Adam's House Cat with The Boot.


The Oxford American features a new essay by Leesa Cross-Smith.


Stream a new song by My Brightest Diamond.


The New York Times visited best-selling authors' websites.


NPR Music shared a recent Natalie Prass live performance.


The Rumpus interviewed author Catherine Lacey.


Stereogum interviewed Empress Of's Lorely Rodriguez.


Bookworm interviewed author Tommy Orange.


Stream a new Tiny Ruins song.


The Guardian interviewed author Mohammed Hanif.


Book Riot recommended 2018's best post-apocalyptic books.


Signature recommended books with magical realism.



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

October 18, 2018

Jeff Jackson's Playlist for His Novel "Destroy All Monsters"

Destroy All Monsters

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

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

Jeff Jackson's Destroy All Monsters is not only one of my favorite books of the year, it is my favorite rock novel ever. Jackson vividly captures the connection to music for both performer and listener in this engaging and smart read.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"[Jeff] Jackson builds an anxious, deeply felt narrative probing a nationwide epidemic of murders of musicians . . . Infected with this eerie conceit, and expressed through gritty, sharp prose, [Destroy All Monsters] provides both deep character exploration and a nuanced commentary on music, creativity, and violence."


In his own words, here is Jeff Jackson's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Destroy All Monsters:



Destroy All Monsters is a dark valentine to rock and roll. It’s my attempt to harness the blissful hours spent losing my hearing in clubs, obsessively listening to albums like they were life rafts, and talking about bands with friends as if they were codes to unlock our personalities. I tried to put that energy into a novel that would capture my feelings about music so I could repay my debts and move on. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.

It’s a novel about an epidemic of violence that sweeps through small town music scenes, bands struggling to make a mark in a culture where it’s hard to tell the signal from the noise, and fans who worry music doesn’t mean what it used to.

Like a cassette or classic single, Destroy All Monsters has a Side A and Side B—you read one side and flip the book over and upside-down to read the other. As much as the novel is about rock, it’s also trying to embody it.

Here are some songs and moods embedded in the book, which serve as skeleton keys to some of its secrets.


The book’s title:
Destroy All Monsters as a phrase feels increasingly resonant for our current moment. It started as a 1968 Godzilla flick, a creature feature battle royal. A few years later in Detroit, an art-damaged punk band featuring visual artists Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, Carey Loren, and Niagra bestowed the name upon themselves. They recorded a host of incredible songs and sound experiments as part of concocting their own high art trash universe. This song is especially close to the novel’s heart:
Destroy All Monsters “You Can’t Kill Kill”


The A Side:
This early single by Pere Ubu, one of their most plaintive love songs, provides the title for Side A. David Thomas warbles “I don’t get around, I don’t fall in love much,” and that’s the tip of the iceberg. In the novel, whose dark ages exactly?
Pere Ubu “My Dark Ages”



The B Side:
Another Detroit connection, but Iggy Pop finds himself far from home in a sun-stunned city that’s plotting his demise. He’s checked himself into a mental health facility and leaves on day passes to record with Stooges guitarist James Williamson. Each night he returns to a narrow white room and tries to imagine his way back to some form of defiance. The lead track of this lost years record supplies the title for Side B. In the novel, it becomes a password, a rumor, cryptic graffiti.
Iggy Pop “Kill City”


The Ghost:
Some songs are haunted. Bad things happen to people who cover Johnny Ace’s ghostly ballad, just as bad things happened to Ace himself when he sat down to play Russian Roulette shortly after he recorded it. But it soon went to number one - as the saying goes - with a bullet. In the novel, the characters take the song as a dare, not knowing whether it’s fully loaded.
Johnny Ace “Pledging My Love”


The Fire:
In the novel, this isn’t a haunted song so much as a haunting. There are many versions, but let’s stick with the original for its mix of apocalyptic imagery and mariachi horns, a version so familiar that it’s easy to forget it’s so strange. Sometimes I also forget that it’s a love song.
Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire”


That Humming in Your Ears:
It’s a sound, not a song. A thickening of the environment that subtly shades the air. If you squint your eyes, you’ll spot it throughout the novel in key moments. Eliane Radigue is the queen of drone, an electronic composer whose shimmering music is meant to prepare us for death—gently, gently.
Eliane Radigue “Kyema (Intermediate States)”


The Monsters:
In one of the greatest rock songs ever, Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney sings it both ways: “I’m your monster / I’m not like you.” And then: “I’m no monster / I’m just like you.” And back again.
Sleater-Kinney “Call the Doctor”


The Music:
Chan Marshall sits at the piano to play the same repetitive riff and report on the local scene. “It must just be the colors and the kids,” she sighs, “because the music is boring me to death.” But her insistent repetitions slowly open a portal to an imagined realm where singing to yourself at a piano at 3 a.m. still means something.
Cat Power “The Colors and the Kids”


The Last Rock Novel:
Ever feel like you’ve been cheated? “No more rock and roll for you!” Vic Goddard sneers at the euphoric height of punk’s Year Zero. You can almost feel the slate being wiped clean, but he’ll soon take it all back. They always do.
Subway Sect “We Oppose All Rock and Roll/Sister Ray (live)”


Jeff Jackson and Destroy All Monsters links:

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

Booklist review
The Millions review
PANK review
Publishers Weekly review

Charlotte Magazine profile of the author
Charlotte Observer profile of the author
Creative Loafing profile of the author
Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for Mira Corpora
Los Angeles Review of Books interview with the author
Tin House 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

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Donald Quist's Playlist for His Short Story Collection "For Other Ghosts"

For Other Ghosts

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

Donald Quist's impressive story collection For Other Ghosts features a diverse and three-dimensional cast of characters.

Jamel Brinkley wrote of the book:

"The words gathered into a book of fiction are often said to conjure up a world. Usually this is an exaggeration, but what Donald Quist has accomplished in For Other Ghosts is to truly give us what feels like an entire world's breadth and depth. The range, sensitivity, and brilliance of these stories are astounding. His readers are in for a mind-expanding experience."


In his own words, here is Donald Quist's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection For Other Ghosts:



I write to music. Often when working on a piece, I’ll inevitably choose a song that inspires me and listen to that track on repeat throughout the process. My linked short story collection, For Other Ghosts, was composed the same way. Below is a list of tracks, one for every story in the book, that ultimately helped me better shape and define the direction of these narratives. In addition to the playlist on Spotify, there are links to each song on YouTube. Enjoy!

“Cast No Shadow” by Oasis for “They Would Be Waiting”
When his grandmother’s funeral procession is halted by a band of desperate soldiers, a young American boy reflects on ancestry, his immigrant father, and a changing West Africa. Oasis mirrors the narrator’s meditations on inherited oppression and how the lingering effects of colonialism can make a person feel less visible: “Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say / Chained to all the places that he never wished to stay / Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say / As he faced the sun he cast no shadow.”

“Far Away“ by Sleater-Kinney for “Memorials”
When a local tragedy becomes national news, two vastly different strangers are bound together by fear and devotion. Wailing against slow pounding drums and atonal guitar, Corin Tucker encapsulates the theme of this narrative: “And the heart is hit / in a city far away / but it feels so close.”

“1901” by Birdy for “Lalita Rattapong’s New Microwave”
Lalita Rattapong discovers her new microwave is capable of creating space-time anomalies, and now the author of her life is unsure what comes next. Originally recorded by the band Phoenix, this cover by Birdy best reflects the mood of Lalita’s adventure through Thai history, “Counting all different ideas drifting away / Past and present they don’t matter / Now the future’s sorted out / Watch her moving in elliptical patterns.”

“Giants” by Now, Now for “Preface to Tales of River”
“Like an animal burying its bones / but leaving fingerprints on the walls inside my home.”
Maybe it’s a song about teen angst, or a breakup, or the 2008 market crash and subsequent housing crisis, but its lyrics can be used to articulate the voice of indigenous populations suffering in the shadow of capitalist transnational border policies. As Cacie Dalager sings, “You take our homes but your framework doesn’t hold / against the feet of us giants,” her tone is somber, confident, and a bit ominous. It’s not a threat; it’s a promise not to be disappeared, to continue a culture, a legacy, a mythology. It’s a tone that could come from the story’s central figure, Coventina, who haunts an ESL teacher from a neighboring wealthy nation.

“A Long Walk” by Jill Scott for “She Is a Cosmos”
Alma awakens after a one-night stand, but there’s more to it than that, and so many possibilities.
“...After dark / Find a spot for us to spark / Conversation, verbal elation, stimulation / Share our situations, temptations, education, relaxations…”

“Holy Roller” by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down for “Takeaway”
Nahm is finally attending the annual Chinese New Year dinner with her partner’s upper-class family. It’s an event tense with subtext, made all the more anxiety-inducing by the mobs of protesters roaming the streets outside. As Thao suggests, everyone in this narrative has “minds to ease and thoughts to think through.” They’ve all “got words to keep and lies to make true.”

“Modern Girl” by Sleater-Kinney for “(No Subject)”
There is a sense of irony as Carrie Brownstein croons, “my whole life / was like a picture of a sunny day” against rising distortion; an uneasiness when she suggests that “TV brings me / closer to world.” There is a similar dissonance in this narrative email written by an unnamed protagonist processing how sick they are “of this brave new world.”

“Binary Sea” by Death Cab for Cutie for “#COOKIEMONSTER”
Xiaoting “Rosa” Chen faces manslaughter charges after sixteen-year-old James Hurtado chokes to death on a cookie. But can she receive a fair trial when real life events are so often filtered, edited, or reshaped by the Internet? Is there space for complexity or nuance, for justice, for anyone, in a sea of binary?

“Joyful Girl” by Ani DiFranco for “Twin Pilgrims”
“Everything I do is judged / And they mostly get it wrong / But oh well / 'Cause / the bathroom mirror has not budged / And the woman who lives there can tell / The truth from the stuff that they say / And she looks me in the eye / And says, ‘would you prefer the easy way? / No? Well, okay, then …’” Geri isn’t joyful, but she wants to be so desperately. And she wants to watch the historic landing of the first manned mission to Mars, but her sister, Livy, won’t stop making noise.

“Recover” by CHVRCHES for “Testaments”
What better track for a reluctant mother/daughter road trip at the end of the world? If they recover, could they be each other’s comfort?

“Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette for “A Selfish Invention”
It is a late, cold night at a fine arts college in New England, and DaYana is outside her dorm thinking about a short story she’s working on involving a Chinese factory worker. Famed novelist and visiting faculty member Phillip Dawkins is awake too, roaming the campus in search of his missing muse. Maybe DaYana and Dawkins can help one another, since “no one's really got it figured out just yet.”

“Andromeda” by Hopesfall for “The Ghosts of Takahiro Okyo”
Daisuke is a forest worker in Aokigahara, the Sea of Trees bordering Mt. Fuji. It is a popular destination for people to commit suicide, and Daisuke has displayed a gift for discovering the corpses tormented souls leave behind. But on his first patrol with a new coworker, Daisuke learns that his ability to locate the dead might have greater implications.


Donald Quist and For Other Ghosts links:

the author's website

AGNI interview with the author
Fiction Writers Review 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

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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - October 18th, 2018

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.


Bad Friends

Bad Friends by Ancco

Bad Friends is set in the 1990s in South Korea in the bleak world of cycles of abuse. But at it’s centre is a story about friendship, and what it means to endure despite the hardship. The illustration style is beautiful, all in black and white, and the expressions on everyone’s faces are humorous and so descriptive. It’s a hard read that’s definitely worth it!


Brat

Brat by Michael Deforge

Deforge’s style is unlike any other artist. Colourful and bizarre, his work is absurdly smart and funny. Brat follows the struggles of an aged-out delinquent, looking back at her career and wondering: “My actions were originally politically motivated, but I guess the whole thing got away from me.” Brat is relevant for any artist or activist wondering where their life went, and how they’ve moved from the radical to the mainstream, wondering what it means to be an artist and political.


Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Following Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s memoir Dirty River, which talks about their experience as a queer mixed race + disabled person, comes Care Work, a book about a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, although the book packs care information for all. Piepzna-Samarasinha’s work centers radical love and community, and this book is a how-to (start) for anyone trying to build intentional community and what it means to create access for all, a radical idea that is not so radical at it’s foundation.


Heavy

Heavy by Kiese Laymon

“Wow, just wow” is Roxane Gay’s reaction, so we’re already sold. An exciting and timely memoir, Kiese Laymon talks about weight, race, and being a black in America. In his essay, Green, Laymon’s grandmother is in the hospital with an infection in her scalp, the doctor ignoring her cries of pain as he operates, and Laymon contemplates the ways in which “folk always assumed black women would recover but never really cared if black women recovered”. Looking outside of just his own experiences, Heavy is contemplative and compassionate.


Passing by Nella Larsen

A reissue from the Harlem Renaissance, and yet still so relevant. Passing tells the story of two white-passing black women that choose different experiences, one woman deciding to marry a bigoted white man, and live in the word as a white woman, while her friend only chooses to pass when it suits her needs, shocked by her friend’s choices. Meditating on race, anti-blackness, and the ways we choose and don’t choose to be seen, Passing is a classic that everyone should read!


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly links:

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's blog
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Facebook page
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Tumblr
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly on Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

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Shorties (October's Best Books in Translation, An Excerpt from the Forthcoming Beastie Boys Book, and more)

Heavy

Words Without Borders recommended October's best books in translation.


Vulture shared an excerpt from the forthcoming Beastie Boys Book.


October's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler


Stream a new Thom Yorke song.


Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore discussed her novel Sketchtasy with the Los Angeles Times.

One thing in setting the book in the ’90s and being really meticulous about all the specifics, both in terms of the music, in terms of the landscape of Boston, in terms of the experiences, in terms of the language, one thing I really wanted to work against was nostalgia. Because I think right now there is this really intense nostalgia for the ’90s but it's only kind of surface, like, Nirvana T-shirts and nothing much beyond that. For me, that kind of nostalgia creates its own violence, because it camouflages the actual lived experiences and the depth of feeling and emotion and intensity.


Paste profiled singer-songwriter Anna St. Louis.

After hearing St. Louis’ polished voice, which seems to blend the crispy, country croons of Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton with the warm, husky folk of Joni Mitchell, you might assume she’s had formal vocal training. However, she’s never had a lesson, unless you count mirroring her country and pop idols. She cites Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger and several Mazzy Star albums as being on heavy rotation during her recording process.


The Christian Science Monitor listed October's best books.


Rolling Stone interviewed Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires.


Paste recommended underrated books by famous authors.


Stream a new song by Empress Of.


Literary Hub listed the books that defined the 1920s.


John Carpenter talked to Rolling Stone about composing the score for the film, Halloween.

In some ways, it’s the more sophisticated score Carpenter wished he had the time and resources to make for the original. “It’s better sonically in every way I could think of,” he says. “I wish I had this kind of technology back in the old days but when you’re a low-budget filmmaker, you have to go in there and get it done.”


The Chicago Tribune profiled biographer Ron Chernow.

Clearly, the historian has embraced the sweetness of his uncommon celebrity. He has numerous stories about the famous people who came backstage in his presence at “Hamilton.” He clearly got a kick out of meeting Jack Lew, the former secretary of the U.S. Treasury who first said he would kick the face of Alexander Hamilton off the ten-spot, only to reverse course after “Hamilton” revealed to Americans the historical weight and import of its subject. Chernow likes to talk of being approached by young people, fascinated that he wrote the book upon which their favorite musical was based.


NPR Music is streaming Laura Gibson's new album, Goners.


Jeff Lemire shared the influences behind his comics series Gideon Falls with Paste.


SPIN profiled How To Dress Well's Tom Krell.


The Millions shared a conversation between authors Kathleen Kent and Laird Hunt.


Stream a new song by Hideout.


Full Stop interviewed author Dan Callahan.

I think a novel is the very best creative form for showing what the passage of time can be like. You can’t really do that in film.


NPR Music is streaming Oh Pep!'s new album, I Wasn't Only Thinking About You.


Literary Hub listed books that defined the 1930s.


Tina Turner talked books and reading with the New York Times.


Electric Literature interviewed author Nico Walker.


Stream a new Bad Religion song.


Authors Idra Novey and Esmé Wang discussed mental health and writing at Literary Hub.



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

October 17, 2018

B. A. Shapiro's Playlist for Her Novel "The Collector’s Apprentice"

The Collector’s Apprentice

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

B. A. Shapiro's novel The Collector’s Apprentice is a compelling and rewarding look at the American and Eurpean art worlds of the Jazz Age.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Shapiro delivers a clever and complex tale of art fraud, theft, scandal, murder, and revenge. [Her] portrayal of the 1920s art scene in Paris and Philadelphia is vibrant, and is populated by figures like Alice B. Toklas and Thornton Wilder; readers will be swept away by this thoroughly rewarding novel."


In her own words, here is B. A. Shapiro's Book Notes music playlist for her novel The Collector’s Apprentice:



The Collector’s Apprentice takes place in Paris and Philadelphia between 1918 and 1930, and thus covers “The Roaring '20s”, also known as “The Jazz Age.” Jazz originated in the US, but also really took hold in Paris in the '20s. The music spread through clubs, speakeasies and dance halls – as well as through the burgeoning recording industry. Broadway show tunes, blues and classical music were also popular during this period, and these too were often influenced by jazz.


Rhapsody in Blue (written by George Gershwin)
Written in 1924, this Gershwin song combined elements of the two most predominant musical genres of the era, jazz and classical, making it one of the most iconic songs of its time. I could certainly imagine Vivienne and other characters in the book—both in Paris and Philadelphia—listening to the tune on one of the new Victrolas (made by the Victor Talking Machine Co., which was founded in the Philadelphia area).

Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (written by Jimmy Cox, performed by Bessie Smith and many others)
Blues and jazz singer Bessie Smith was born in Tennessee, but began living in Philadelphia in the early '20s. This blues song wasn’t released until 1929, but could certainly have described the status of young Paulien Mertens at the beginning of the book, when she fled to Paris after the revelation of George’s misdeeds.

Black and Tan Fantasy (written by Duke Ellington and Bubber Miley, performed by Duke Ellington and his Washingtonians)
Duke Ellington was one of the jazz performers who regularly played at the famous Fay’s Theater in Philadelphia in the '20s. Perhaps Vivienne Gregsby or other Philadelphia-based characters heard this 1927 tune at the club or on record.

Bolero (written by Maurice Ravel)
In the '20s and '30s, Ravel was widely regarded as the France’s greatest living classical composer. Bolero, released in 1927 and his best-known work, revealed a jazz influence. I could certainly imagine a recording being played at Gertrude Stein’s salon and enjoyed by her guests such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Matisse and Picasso.

La Creation du Monde (written by Darius Milhaud)
Like his classical compatriot Ravel, Milhaud was also influenced by the new jazz music. This influence can be heard in the 1923 composition La Creation du Monde (The Creation of the World). Again, Gertrude Stein and her band of famous American and European friends probably listened to Milhaud recordings such as this.

Dinah (written by Harry Akst, Sam Lewis and Joe Young, performed by Ethel Waters and many others)
Ethel Waters was another 1920’s-era blues and jazz singer with Philadelphia roots. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she became a star via her recordings on the New York City-based Columbia label. Vivienne and others may well have listened to songs such as the 1925 recording Dinah.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ (written by Fats Waller, Harry Brooks and Andy Razaf, performed by Louis Armstrong and many others)
This 1929 jazz standard could well have been a favorite of the Parisians in the '20s. But it could also represent Vivienne’s attitude toward her affair with Henri Matisse. “. . . Ain’t misbehaving, I’m savin’ my love for you. . .” Moreover, Waller claims that the song was written while he was in prison (for alimony violations), so it also resonates with the fact that Vivienne was in jail around this time.

The Man I Love (written by George and Ira Gershwin, performed by Marion Harris and others)
This 1928 Gershwin composition, recorded by Marion Harris and others, is another song that speaks to Vivienne’s feelings toward the great artist Matisse. The lyrics include: “Some day he’ll come along, the man I love. . . And when he comes my way, I’ll do my best to make him stay.”


B. A. Shapiro and The Collector’s Apprentice links:

the author's website

Publishers Weekly review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for The Art Forger


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

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Shorties (Kiese Laymon on His New Book, Nico Muhly on Composing Music, and more)

Heavy

Kiese Laymon discussed his new book Heavy with BuzzFeed.


Composer Nico Muhly described his music writing process at the London Review of Books.


October's best eBook deals.

eBook on sale for $2.99 today:

White Oleander by Janet Fitch


Florence + the Machine played a Tiny Desk Concert.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Kris Saknussem.


Turning the Tables profiled soul legend Sharon Jones.


Kathleen Hanna has launched a t-shirt line, Tees4Togo, which will benefit girls going to school in Togo.


Stream a new song by SOAK.


Fiction Writers Review interviewed author Donald Quist.


Ms. Magazine interviewed Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova.


The Chicago Review of Books interviewed author Nicole Chung.


Stream a new Oh Pep! song.


John Wray talked about his new novel Godsend with The Spine.


Paste listed the best album title tracks of all time.


Esi Edugyan talked to Morning Edition about his novel Washington Black.


Stream a new Thom Yorke song.


Anna Burns' novel Milkman has been awarded the 2018 Man Booker prize.


Stream a new J Mascis song.


New England Public Radio interviewed author Kelly Link.


Stream a new song by How To Dress Well.


Signature recommended poetry collections that celebrate the voices of black poets.


Stream a new Julia Holter song.


Book Riot recommended Clarice Lispector books.


CHVRCHES covered the Blue Nile's "The Downtown Lights."


Literary Hub features an excerpt from one pf my favorite novels of the year. Jeff Jackson's Destroy All Monsters.

Entropy interviewed Jackson about the book.


Ty Segall covered the Dils' "Class War."


Literary Hub listed books that defined the 1920s.


Stream a new Esperanza Spalding song.



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

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