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November 4, 2012

Shorties (A Reggae Album Cover Book, Daniel Handler on the Lemony Snicket Books as Noir, and more)

The Independent reviews the book Reggae Soundsystem: Original Reggae Album Cover Art: A Visual History of Jamaican Music From Mento to Dancehall by Steve Barrow and Stuart Baker.

The book is also a reflection of Jamaican history, from its British colonial years on through its fight for national identity, taking in social and political issues and the presence in the culture of drugs and firearms. All these subjects are vividly depicted in reggae sleeve art.

The San Francisco Chronicle profiles author Daniel Handler.

"Part of the theme of all the Snicket books is that a story's always more complicated than you think it is, which dovetails pretty neatly into noir," Handler says over tea at the Upper Haight Victorian home overlooking Sutro Forest that he shares with his wife, author, illustrator and graphic designer Lisa Brown, and their son, 8-year-old Otto. (Brown and Handler fell in love as students at Wesleyan and have been together ever since.)

"A noir detective encounters deceit and corruption across the board - usually in the people who are hiring him and the people he's investigating - and then he finds his own moral course in that shadowy world. That to me felt like childhood and adolescence: You take the word of some adults for a while, and gradually the whole world becomes fallible and you kind of make your own path."

Courtney Love tells the Observer she is not planning a Kurt Cobain musical.

Suggestions that a Nirvana musical could be in the works – masterminded by Love's sometime co-manager, Sam Lufti, and going ahead with her blessing – have led the singer-actress to come out swinging. "There will be no musical," she told the Observer. "Sometimes it's best just to leave things alone."

KIrkus Reviews interviews Mark Z. Danielewski about his book The Fifty Year Sword and its stage adaptation.

The Guardian lists the 10 most difficult books to finish.

Cover Me Songs shares five good covers of "I Want a New Drug" by Huey Lewis and the News.

The Telegraph shares an excerpt from Tom Wolfe's new novel, Back to Blood.

Stereogum lists Bob Mould, Husker Du, and Sugar albums from worst to best.

The Guardian lists the top 10 reimagined works of literature.

Cover Me Songs shares a collection of Glen Campbell cover songs, including his version of Guided By Voices' "Hold on Hope."

The Guardian examines the convergence of Twitter and literature.

The Independent notes the reticence of U.S. pop stars to speak out in favor of presidential candidates this election.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel profiles author Jami Attenberg.

The Telegraph argues that the Mercury Music Prize has outlived its purpose.

The victory of Alt J should be another nail in the coffin of the monumentally irrelevant Barclaycard Mercury Prize, which has, after 20 years of lukewarm controversy and pitiful prize money surely outlived its inscrutable purpose. The obscure Leeds quartet were the bookies favourites from the very start, which tells you all you need to know not just about how peculiarly predictable the Mercury has become but how utterly disconnected from the throbbing heart of popular music culture.

Publishers Weekly has named its best books of 2012.

The BBC Music Blog recaps the best albums of October.

Tablet profiles author Mitch Albom.

Amazon MP3 offers 100 albums on sale for $5 each.

Amazon MP3 offers 100 digital holiday albums on sale for $5 each.

Amazon MP3 offers over 500 albums for sale for $2.99.

Amazon MP3 offers over 400 jazz albums on sale for $1.78.
Amazon MP3 offers over 33,000 free and legal mp3s.

Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

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