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February 4, 2014

Book Notes - Kyle Minor "Praying Drunk"

Praying Drunk

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Kyle Minor's new collection Praying Drunk brilliantly explores themes of faith, family, and friendship in its linked stories filled with desperate characters.

Vol. 1 Brooklyn wrote of the book:

"Kyle Minor’s new collection, Praying Drunk, has already made its claim for being one of the year's best books. The stories contained within it recount wrenching stories of families in turmoil, faith challenged, and nations in upheaval. Structurally inventive and equally adept at realism and the surreal, Minor's new book is a stunning work of literature."

In his own words, here is Kyle Minor's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection, Praying Drunk:

While writing Praying Drunk, my mind was on the afterlife, the one that follows the Great White Throne Judgment, where, as the traveling preachers of my childhood used to say, everyone's misdeeds are projected on 16mm for all the assembled living and dead to see. (I imagine this takes a long time, given how many living and dead there are.)

I came to understand that all the stories in my book were written out of boredom and frustration, from a literally realized Baptist heaven, where there is nothing to do but grind on the stories from the good bad old days, when death was still in play, but so was choice, so was fun, so was living. Up here, "nobody needs to sleep or make money, so nobody has to work or make a home. Big G makes us crowns, but all we're supposed to do is throw them at His feet. All the songs are triumphant and resolve to a minor key." It's terrible.

If I got to remake heaven, I'd put Beck in charge of the music, and the flagship tune would be "I've Seen The Land Beyond," from the homespun lo-fi album One Foot in the Grave.

But I'd do him one better, throw over the angel choir, and bring in my dead granddad, my dead swim coach, dead me, make everything bad and better.

Last night I held a seance. Band practice. Dead Julia pressed record. Here's what it sounded like:

Kyle Minor and Praying Drunk links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Bookslut review
Boston Globe review
Harvard Crimson review
Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review
Smile Politely interview with the author

Hobart interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for In the Devil's Territory
The Rumpus interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Online "Best of 2013" Book Lists
2013 Year-End Online Music Lists

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists