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October 28, 2012

Shorties (Beth Orton on Songwriting, A New Bruce Springsteen Biography, and more)

All Things Considered interviews singer-songwriter Beth Orton.

On how songwriting is like maple syrup

"Sugaring season is the season when you tap the trees for sugar that turns into maple syrup. I've married someone from Vermont, so it's an expression I kept hearing, and I'm like, 'What is that? That's just so beautiful.' I like the idea it's the very, very first murmurings of spring. And I liked also the idea that sometimes you can smell that spring in the air even though it's the dead of winter; you just get that vague glimpse of it, and there's that sense of hope that it brings. I just thought, all in all, it just creates this wonderful imagery of writing songs: For me, it takes a lot of experience to make a little bit of sugar. These songs are my little bit of sugar, I think."

Peter Ames Carlin talks to the Newark Star-Ledger about his new Bruce Springsteen biography, Bruce.

Weekend Edition interviews legendary singer-songwriter Pete Seeger.

In a spoken-word track on his new Guthrie tribute album, Pete Remembers Woody, Seeger tells the story of Guthrie's famous slogan.

"He went through WWII with a piece of cardboard pasted to the top of his guitar: 'This machine kills fascists,' " Seeger says on the recording. "He really wanted his guitar to help win the war against Hitler. When Woody went into a hospital in 1952 ... I put something similar on my banjo: 'This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.' "

The Observer profiles the "pay what you want" bundling of e-books model.

Allowing consumers to set the price tends to benefit established writers. More curatorial than editorial, the bundle model is not yet a way of providing a leg-up to lesser-known writers, but if readers get accustomed to it, it might yet become so.

The Observer profiles the Glasgow band Chvrches.

...there will always be mystery in that one-in-a-million pop song that gets you straight in the neck. Chvrches' The Mother We Share (released as a single on National Anthem in November) is a warm electropop wonder with the kind of tune Barry Gibb would've woken in the night to scribble down, and a lyric so touching and humane you want to take its birdlike but formidable singer out and buy her a hot chocolate. Over the Gary Numan-style synths and slick sound collage, Mayberry's high voice rings out with a rare untrained quality – that's why she sounds so Scottish, she explains, but naturally, "not like the Proclaimers".

Hilary Mantel talks to the Wall Street Journal about winning the Booker Prize again and finishing her trilogy.

"While on the one hand the story is the center-ground of English history, on the other hand there are some universal aspects to the story that every culture will recognize," Ms. Mantel says. "Every culture that has warlords will recognize Thomas Cromwell; every country that has had a capricious, despotic ruler will recognize Henry VIII; and every man and woman will recognize the personal part of the story—the grief for lost children, the man's desire for a son, the fraud and antagonistic marital relationships, the wish to get it right next time, the hope that one's true love must be out there somewhere."

Paul McCartney discusses the breakup of the Beatles with the Observer.

The Guardian offers an overview of European detective fiction over the years.

Pitchfork shares a guide to Paris for those attending its music festival in the city next week.

The Los Angeles Review of Books interviews Chris Ware about his new comics collection, Building Stories.

CB: Many of your characters are trapped in self-doubt, the world indifferent to their plight. To what extent is this idea an autobiographical one?

CW: 101%, I suppose. At 44, it's pretty clear I'm not going to suddenly become remorselessly confident unless I suffer some head trauma. Though I think this cautiousness does have its advantages as it lets me see what I'm doing with perhaps a little more clarity than someone who can impress him- or herself with a flashy ink line. I like to imagine that self-doubt is also maybe a symptom of empathy, though I'm probably fooling myself.

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also at Largehearted Boy:

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

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics & graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists