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December 8, 2018

"Best Books of 2018" Lists Update - December 8th

For the eleventh straight year, I am aggregating every online year-end book list I find in this post. As the lists appear online, I will add them to the master list, updating daily.

Previous updates to the master list of online "best books of 2018" lists.

Please consider making a donation or leaving a tip to Largehearted Boy to support posts like these.


Today's Updates to the Online "Best of 2018" Book Lists:


American Indians in Children's Literature (best books)
Andrew Kissling (top books)
Atlanta Journal Constitution (best Southern books)
Beverly Public Library (favorite books)
Bon Appetit (cookbooks and books)
Book Geeks Anonymous (favorite books)
BookMarks (best reviewed nonfiction)
BookReviewsByBetsy (best books)
BuzzFeed (best fiction)
CounterPunch (essential journalism books)
Country Life (best books)
Daily Trust (best books)
The Duckbill Blog (favorite children's books)
Entertainment Weekly (best YA books)
Fallen Star Stories (best books)
FanFest News (must-have books)
Fatherly (best children's books)
Great British Chefs (best cookbooks)
Irish Independent (best books)
Irish Times (best sports books)
Johnson County Library (notable books)
KinderComics (favorite books)
LitReactor (best books)
MutualArt (best arty books)
ofselfandshelf (favourite non-fiction)
Open Letters Review (best romance books)
People (best books)
Politics in Theory and Practice (favorite books)
Remezcla (best books by Latino and Latin American authors)
Rhett Acelar (top audiobooks)
Saveur (cookbooks)
Seattle Times (best fiction books)
Seattle Times (best nonfiction books)
Seattle Times (top books)
Smithsonian (best children's books)
Snapshots of the Mind (top books)
Southern Living (best Southern cookbooks)
Tammy's Reading/Writing Life (best books)
Wall Street Journal (best science fiction)
The Writer (the best writing books)


also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "Best Books of 2018" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2017" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2016" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2015" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2014" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2013" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2012" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2010" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2009" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2008" Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Online Book Lists

2017 Year-End Online Music Lists
2016 Year-End Online Music Lists
2015 Year-End Online Music Lists
2014 Year-End Online Music Lists
2013 Year-End Online Music Lists
2012 Year-End Online Music Lists
2011 Year-End Online Music Lists
2010 Year-End Online Music Lists
2009 Year-End Online Music Lists
2008 Year-End Online Music Lists
2007 Year-End Online Music Lists
2006 Year-End Online Music Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Music Lists

other lists at Largehearted Boy
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
musician/author interviews






December 7, 2018

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - December 7th, 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.


The Ritualities

The Ritualities by Michael Nardone

Michael Nardone is a local poet, scholar, and friend of the store, and The Ritualites is his literary debut, from Toronto’s Book*hug. It’s a book-length poem – the first in a series of planned works – on the sonic topography of North America. Incorporating aspects of Nardone’s academic research into poetics and sound cultures, the book was composed at sites all across the continent and shifts through forms and genres, documenting the poet’s listening amid our public exchanges, mediated ambiances, and itinerant intimacies. Our launch event is Tuesday, December 11th!


Fluorescent Mud

Fluorescent Mud by Eli Howey

Hand painted in watercolour and gouache, Toronto artist Eli Howey’s latest comic (via 2dcloud) is a disorienting, haunting work of art in an eerie nocturnal palette. Following a dissociative route through punk houses, riverside drinking spots, chainlink fences, cemeteries, and surreal dungeons, Howey captures turbulent mental states with atmospheric aplomb.


Fade into You

Fade into You by Nikki Darling

Fade Into You is the debut novel from Nikki Darling, a music correspondent for LA Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. A portrait of a young Mexican-American girl in the glorious wasteland of 1990s Los Angeles, Fade Into You is written like a punk zine, summoning both the battle-cry of riot-grrl rage and the hormonal haze and urgency of adolescence. As high school junior Nikki Darling alternates between cutting class and getting high, flirting with drugs, crushes, and counterculture to figure out how she fits into the world, she pushes herself to the edge only to find herself trapped in the cyclical violence of growing up female.


Bicycle / Race: Transportation, Culture & Resistance

Bicycle / Race: Transportation, Culture & Resistance by Adonia E. Lugo

Far more than a book about the politics of cycling, Bicycle/Race paints an unforgettable portrait of Los Angeles from a two-wheeled perspective. Adonia Lugo weaves the colonial history of Southern California through her own story of growing up Chicana in Orange County, becoming a bucycle anthropologist, and co-funding LA’s landmak open streets cycling event, CicLAvia. The book also recounts how Lugo finds her voice while taking on racism in the world of cycling advocacy in Washington, D.C. before heading back to LA to organize the movement for climate justice in transportation.


Parallel Lives

Parallel Lives by O. Schrauwen

Now out in English from Fantagraphics, Parallel Lives is a collection of six wild and weird short stories from Berlin-based Belgian artist Olivier Schrauwen, hailed by none other than Art Spiegelman as “extraordinary...He’s the most original cartoonist I’ve fallen onto since Chris Ware or Ben Katchor.” Each of these stories is a volume in Schrauwen’s “speculative memoir,” a sci-fi, surrealist recounting of his present and future lives (and progeny), in which he is variously abducted by extraterrestrials, able to dialogue with agents from the future, and receives coded messages in envelopes at breakfast. A truly strange and unique work, Parallel Lives is a veritable portal to another dimension.


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)


"Best Books of 2018" Lists Update - December 7th

For the eleventh straight year, I am aggregating every online year-end book list I find in this post. As the lists appear online, I will add them to the master list, updating daily.

Previous updates to the master list of online "best books of 2018" lists.

Please consider making a donation or leaving a tip to Largehearted Boy to support posts like these.


Today's Updates to the Online "Best of 2018" Book Lists:


Albertine (favorite children's books)
Autostraddle (best witchy, astrological, or otherwise woo books)
The Babylon Bee (top books)
Berkeleyside (best books by Berkeley authors)
The [Blank] Garden (essay collections and memoirs)
BookMarks (best reviewed graphic literature)
BookMarks (best reviewed books in translation)
BookMarks (best reviewed mystery, crime, and thriller books)
BookMarks (best reviewed poetry books)
Boston Globe (best kids books)
Business Insider (best books)
Chicago Tribune (favorite cookbooks)
Christian Science Monitor (best fiction)
Crosswalk (best books)
Cyclocross (best books on cyclocross, cycling, and bikes)
The Daily Cardinal (best books)
Darius Foroux (best books)
Den of Geek (best books)
The Dish (cookbooks)
Econogal (favorite books)
Eleonore Schönmaier (best books)
ELLE (best feminist books)
Entertainment Weekly (best debut novels)
Entropy (best nonfiction)
Epicurious (best cookbooks)
Escaping Plato's Cave (best nonfiction books)
Evening Standard (best books for film fans)
Evening Standard (best cookbooks)
Evening Standard (best tech books)
Fatherly (best books about sex and marriage)
First Things (best books)
History in Five (best history books)
History Today (best history books)
HuffPost (best fiction)
Hungry for Good Books? (books)
It's A Hill, Get Over It (best running books)
Joe 2.0 (best books)
The John Adams Institute (best books)
Kathleen Jowitt (best books)
The Lineup (best true crime books)
The Listener (best books for kids)
The Listener (best cookbooks)
The Listener (best poetry books)
Literary Vice (top books)
Live and Deadly (top books)
The Maine Edge (favorite books)
Marginal Revolution (best fiction)
Melissa Schlies (favorite books)
Men of Hezekiah (top books)
Mental Floss (best books)
Mike Casey (favorite books)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (cookbooks)
More Enigma Than Dogma (books)
NBC News (best cookbooks)
New Statesman (best children's books)
No Depression (notable books)
Off the Beaten Path and Bud Werner Memorial Library (best books)
Papercuts J.P. (top books)
Paste (best book covers)
Paste (best comic books)
Phoenix Public Library (best books)
Phoenix Public Library (best kids books)
Phoenix Public Library (best teen books)
Pitchfork (best music books)
Playbill (must-read theatre books)
The Progressive (favorite books)
Public Radio Tulsa (best books)
Puget Sound Business Journal (best aerospace and aviation books)
The Quill To Live (best books)
Readings (short story collections)
The Reasonable Scripturalist (best books)
Sarah Bessey (favourite books)
Sarah's Book Shelves (best debuts)
Science Friday (best science books)
Scots Whay Hae! (best books)
Scott Ault (top books)
Smithsonian (best science books)
Southern Living (independent bookstores' best books)
Sydney Morning Herald (best books)
Tayari Jones (favorite books)
Texas Observer (favorite Texas books)
Wall Street Journal (best fiction and nonfiction)
Wall Street Journal (best interior design books)
Washington Post - Carlos Lozada (books)
We Need Diverse Books (must-read books)
What She Reads (best YA books)
WhatCulture (best comic books)
A Word and a Whisper (favorite books)


also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "Best Books of 2018" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2017" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2016" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2015" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2014" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2013" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2012" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2010" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2009" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2008" Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Online Book Lists

2017 Year-End Online Music Lists
2016 Year-End Online Music Lists
2015 Year-End Online Music Lists
2014 Year-End Online Music Lists
2013 Year-End Online Music Lists
2012 Year-End Online Music Lists
2011 Year-End Online Music Lists
2010 Year-End Online Music Lists
2009 Year-End Online Music Lists
2008 Year-End Online Music Lists
2007 Year-End Online Music Lists
2006 Year-End Online Music Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Music Lists

other lists at Largehearted Boy
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
musician/author interviews


Shorties (An Interview with Barbara Kingsolver, New Music from Xiu Xiu, and more)

Barbara Kingsolver

Bookworm interviewed author Barbara Kingsolver.


Stream a new song by Xiu Xiu.


71 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation Wednesday (bringing the total to 581), including the New York Times critics' favorite books, the New Yorker’s best books, and Food 52’s favorite cookbooks .


December's best eBook deals

eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty
The Fifties by David Halberstam


R.I.P., Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks.


Literary Hub and Paste profiled author Nuruddin Farah.


Stream a new Steve Gunn song.


Tin House interviewed author Enrique Vila-Matas.


Stream a new Neyla Pekarek song.


Book Riot interviewed author Gabino Iglesias.


Entertainment Weekly profiled Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy.


Kate Lebo and Sam Ligon discussed their anthology Pie and Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze with Montana Public Radio.


Stream a new Deerhunter song.


The Millions recommended December's best new poetry books.


Doe Paoro visited World Cafe for a live performance and interview.


Stream a new Tullycraft song.


Hana Vu covered Fleetwood Mac's "Gypsy."


Stream a new Teen Daze song.


Stream a new song by Swervedriver.


Skyway Man shared four cover songs at Aquarium Drunkard.



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


December 6, 2018

Shorties (2019's Most Anticipated Books, Reconsidering the Vince Guaraldi Trio's "A Charlie Brown Christmas," and more)

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Oprah Magazine previewed 2019's most anticipated books.


Aquarium Drunkard reconsidered the Vince Guaraldi Trio's album A Charlie Brown Christmas.


71 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation yesterday (bringing the total to 581), including the New York Times critics' favorite books, the New Yorker’s best books, and Food 52’s favorite cookbooks .


December's best eBook deals

eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

The Complete Plays of T. S. Eliot


JD McPherson visited The Current studio for a live performance and interview.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed author Jennifer Baker.


Stream two new Ra Ra Riot songs.


Publishers Weekly interviewed author Christopher Castellani.


PopMatters interviewed My Brightest Diamond's Shara Nova.


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author John Wray.


Stream a new Jessica Pratt song.


A Public Space is starting a book publishing imprint.


The Kansas City Pitch interviewed Matt Flagel of the post-punk band Preoccupations.


Electric Literature shared a reading list about being a black man in contemporary America.


Vulture recommended the best holiday albums of the year.


MCDxFSG's newsletter Electric Eel interviewed me about Largehearted Boy.


Phoebe Bridgers covered the Cure's "Friday I'm in Love."


BookPage interviewed author Tom Barbash.


Stream a new song by Autechre.


Electric Literature recommended literary party games.


Christine and the Queens covered Sade's "No Ordinary Love."


BookPage interviewed author Oyinkan Braithwaite.


Stream a new holiday song by the Staves.


Stream the first new song in 21 years by Britpop band Sleeper.



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


December 5, 2018

Susan Bernhard's Playlist for Her Novel "Winter Loon"

Winter Loon

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.

Susan Bernhard's novel Winter Loon is an impressive debut.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Wes’s struggles are convincing; the Midwestern setting is well realized…Bernhard’s coming-of-age tale is a strong debut."


In her own words, here is Susan Bernhard's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel Winter Loon:



My debut novel Winter Loon is the story of a boy abandoned by his father after his mother drowns in an icy lake. The narrator, Wes Ballot, is in his late 20s as he tells the story of this particular year in his life. And while this is Wes’ story, it’s a story that also belongs to the women who shaped his life, for good and maybe not so good. Winter Loon is set in Minnesota and Montana in the late 1970s, but the songs on this playlist don’t necessarily reflect the time period as much as they capture the changing seasons and the moods and movements of characters navigating treacherous waters.

1. California Dreamin' by The Mamas and The Papas
This song has that well-known beach sound but the lyrics tell a different story. It’s about being trapped, trying to wish your way out of a bleak situation, looking for greener pastures. “If I didn’t tell her, I could leave today…” What a thought! I think this captures Wes’ father Moss perfectly.

2. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore by Linda Ronstadt

I always pictured Wes’ mother Valerie like a young Linda Ronstadt—the black bangs brushing her eyelashes, that sultry vulnerability. Valerie is more damaged than this song lets on but I love the ice-clear sound of Ronstadt’s voice and wish Valerie had had this strength.

3. Love You Once Made by Valerie June

I don’t believe in fate but I think about inevitability sometimes—how paths we choose can only lead to certain destinations. This song speaks to that and maybe the limitations of love. That sounds so cynical! I do think we put too much pressure on love to be endless and all-encompassing so that, when it ebbs in the cycle of things, it feels like it’s fading. This song reminds me of the end of the Robert Frost poem “Reluctance.”

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?


4. Laundry Room by The Avett Brothers

When I was a kid, we used to play a game called “Crack The Whip” where everyone held hands in a long line and the leader pulled the line in a snaking zig-zag, trying to throw the kid at the end. There’s a line in this song, “Keep your clothes on/I’ve got all that I can take”—that so captures young love, the way it surges, how you can barely hang on to it. Love playing crack the whip.

5. Shadow on the Wall by Ruby Emanfu

The first time I heard this song was after all the revisions were done on Winter Loon. It absolutely blew me away how it captured the thing inside Wes’ grandmother Ruby that wants to know truth but not be held accountable, how she wants to be seen but also disappear. I have great sympathy for Ruby and her broken, broken self.

6. Something in the Night by Bruce Springsteen (Wes, Jolene, Lester)

I had a crappy Camaro when I was 18 or 19 and I so loved driving that car fast and cranking up Bruce Springsteen. Something about his urgent voice, the pulsing drum, that piano, the sax—just made my foot heavy. I imagine Wes driving around with Lester and Jolene, cranking the music, drinking beers, searching for salvation, wishing the night would never end.

7. Seasons by Chris Cornell

This road that Wes is on is so busted up by potholes and this song to me is Wes’ low point. He’s so desperate to figure out where he fits in. The line, “Now I want to fly above the storm/ But you can't grow feathers in the rain/And the naked floor is cold as hell” speaks to how much he wants to break the grip of his past but keeps getting pulled down.

8. The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert

Aveline was a character from a short story I wrote a long time ago, about a girl who falls for the wrong guy, how she gives up everything to be with him, but loses him, too. I loved that character’s inherent goodness even though she was naïve. I was so happy to find a place for her in Winter Loon. The idea of not being able to go home again—or that you can’t step in the same river twice—is all about not living in the past and not living with regret. But the idea of “home” is such a powerful touchstone. Maybe I’d cast Miranda Lambert in the role of Aveline…

9. Tender Is The Man by Rose Cousins

I know who sings this song for Wes but don’t want to give it away here. We forget sometimes what tender means. We think of it as an outward gesture but it’s also a gentleness of spirit, a way we feel injury, loss, and love. I once held a bullfrog tadpole in my hand and I would say that’s what tenderness feels like—willing, fragile, full of potential.

10. I Know You By Heart by Eva Cassidy

I’ve always tortured myself by tugging on memories which makes even difficult things in my past seem more present. I think Wes is a bit like that. Though he’s telling us the story in Winter Loon from a distance of about a dozen years, he can recall the details because he’s likely been turning them over and over in his mind so they’re etched there. This song is about what we commit to memory and what we don’t allow ourselves to forget.

11. Without You by Eddie Vedder

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love Eddie Vedder. His solo album Ukulele Songs could be a soundtrack for this whole novel but I especially love this song for Wes. Don’t we all know people who have endured so much yet somehow they go on, share themselves and their stories, open themselves up to goodness even if it means risking more hurt? Some people may find Winter Loon to be a bleak story but I see it as a story of resilience.

12. Bookends by Simon and Garfunkel

There’s a reference to a single song on a cassette tape and this is it. Again, it’s that reflection, that melancholy seeping in with a sigh. What a time it was!

13. Traveling Alone by Jason Isbell

I can hear exhaustion and vulnerability in the pleading rise of Jason Isbell’s voice when he sings the word “tired,” a pitch reminiscent of Roy Orbison or Chris Isaak. Sometimes I would imagine Wes as someone like Jason Isbell, not in the way he looks but in the bruised confidence Isbell has on stage and shares in his music. My hope for Wes is that he becomes a person who is finally able to own his past but not be slayed by it.

14. Gentle On My Mind by Joe Henry and Billy Bragg

Because some people just don’t have it in them to stay.


Susan Bernhard and Winter Loon links:


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Largehearted Boy List of Online "Best Books of 2018" Lists

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


"Best Books of 2018" Lists Update - December 5th

For the eleventh straight year, I am aggregating every online year-end book list I find in this post. As the lists appear online, I will add them to the master list, updating daily.

Previous updates to the master list of online "best books of 2018" lists.

Please consider making a donation or leaving a tip to Largehearted Boy to support posts like these.


Today's Updates to the Online "Best of 2018" Book Lists:


52 Insights (favourite non-fiction books)
The A. V. Club (favorite books)
Amazon Book Review (celebrities' favorite book lists)
The ARTery (best books that ask what it means to be free)
Auburn Avenue (best books)
Autostraddle (best LGBT books)
Bill Gates (books)
Book Riot (best book covers)
Book Riot (best queer books)
Bookbrowse (top books)
BookMarks (best-reviewed science fiction and fantasy)
BookMarks (best-reviewed essay collections)
BookMarks (best-reviewed memoir and biography)
BookMarks (best-reviewed short story collections)
BookPage (best children's books)
BookPage (best romance books)
BookPage (best science fiction and fantasy)
BookPage (best young adult books)
Brontë Babe Blog (best Brontë books)
Bustle (editors' best books)
Bustle (YA authors' favorite YA books)
CCBC (favourite books)
Chatelaine (best books)
The Conversation (best books)
CrimeReads (best book covers)
CrimeReads (favorite crime books)
CSMCL (best books)
Delicious (top food books)
Dollhouse Park Conservatory & Imaginarium (best books)
Entertainment Weekly (best books)
Entropy (favorite poems published online)
Entropy (best poetry books and collections)
Five Weeks (best science books)
Folio (best books for print lovers)
Food52 (favorite cookbooks)
Francesco D'Alessio (best non-fiction books)
GooglePlay (books)
The Gospel Coalition (top books)
Houston Chronicle (best cookbooks)
HuffPost (best cookbooks and food books)
James Schannep (best books)
June Kearns (top books)
Katy's Life Story (favorite books)
Largehearted Boy (favorite novels)
Litchfield Public Library (best books)
Literary Hub (favorite books)
Long Room (favorite books)
MamaMia (best non-fiction books)
A Mind for Madness (best books)
New York Times (best baking cookbooks)
New York Times (critics' favorite books)
New York Times - Janet Maslin (favorite books)
New Yorker (best books)
NOW Toronto (best books)
PopSugar (incredible books)
Powell's (best kids' and young adult books)
Put It in Writing (top books)
Quill & Quire (books)
Quill & Quire (kidlit aficionados' favorite books)
Quill & Quire (kids' books)
Readings (books in translation)
Readings (graphic novels and comics)
The Real Book Spy (best thrillers)
Republic World (best books)
Rock, Paper, Write (best books)
Russell Moore (favorite books)
Small Joys (best books)
Think (books)
Unabridged Books (favorite books)
Vulture - Christian Lorentzen (best books)
WIRED UK (best books in tech, science, business, and ideas)


also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "Best Books of 2018" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2017" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2016" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2015" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2014" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2013" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2012" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2010" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2009" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2008" Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Online Book Lists

2017 Year-End Online Music Lists
2016 Year-End Online Music Lists
2015 Year-End Online Music Lists
2014 Year-End Online Music Lists
2013 Year-End Online Music Lists
2012 Year-End Online Music Lists
2011 Year-End Online Music Lists
2010 Year-End Online Music Lists
2009 Year-End Online Music Lists
2008 Year-End Online Music Lists
2007 Year-End Online Music Lists
2006 Year-End Online Music Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Music Lists

other lists at Largehearted Boy
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
musician/author interviews


Shorties (December's Best Books, The Dirty Projectors' Tiny Desk Concert, and more)

Revolution Sunday

Vulture and Literary Hub previewed December's best books.


The Dirty Projectors played a Tiny Desk Concert.


26 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation Monday (bringing the total to 481), including including The Globe and Mail’s best books, The Times and The Sunday Times’ best fiction, & Book Riot’s best audiobooks.


December's best eBook deals


Drowned in Sound interviewed Dumb Angel's Shaun Mason.


The New Yorker examined the ethics of literary hoaxes.


Paste shared a downloadable holiday music sampler.


Tor.com examined the writing of Madeline L' Engle.


Stream a new song by Sofia Bolt.


GQ interviewed author N.K. Jemisin.


Stream a new song by Toro y Moi.


Cultured Vultures reviewed November's best books.


Wu-Tang Clan played a Tiny Desk Concert.


Nuruddin Farah discussed his novel North of Dawn with Morning Edition.


Stream a new Pedro the Lion song.


Jonathan Lethem on writing a narrator of another gender than himself.


Anna St. Louis visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.



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


December 4, 2018

Shorties (An Interview with Poet Tracy K. Smith, a New Guided By Voices Song, and more)

Tracy K. Smith

The Believer interviewed poet Tracy K. Smith.


Stream a new Guided By Voices song.


26 "best books of 2018" lists were added to Largehearted Boy's master aggregation yesterday (bringing the total to 481), including including The Globe and Mail’s best books, The Times and The Sunday Times’ best fiction, & Book Riot’s best audiobooks.


eBook on sale for $1.99 today:

Darkness Visible by William Styron
Our Man in the Havana by Graham Greene
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene


All Songs Considered recapped 2018 in music.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn previewed December's best books.


The Rumpus interviewed poet Heid E. Erdrich.


Cat Power covered "What the World Needs Now."


Vulture previewed December's best new comics.


Electric Eel interviewed me about Largehearted Boy.


The Boston Review shared a Veterans Day reading list.



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


December 3, 2018

Favorite Novels of 2018

Largehearted Boy's Favorite Novels of 2018


2018 was another great year for the novel.

These are the 11 novels I have most recommended to friends, family, and anyone else who has crossed my path this year (my personal metric for "favorite").

What was your favorite novel of 2018? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook.


Freshwater

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi's novel Freshwater is one of the strongest debuts I have read in years, an innovatively told and engrossing book.


Call Me Zebra

Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi's novel Call Me Zebra is my favorite book of the year so far, a smart and compelling look at exile, love, and literature.


Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng's powerful novel Little Fires Everywhere is a nuanced portrait of motherhood, community, and identity.


Those Who Knew

Those Who Knew by Idra Novey

Idra Novey's brilliant novel Those Who Knew is timeless and haunting, and one of my favorite books of the year.


Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All Monsters by Jeff Jackson

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.


Gun Love

Gun Love by Jennifer Clement

Jennifer Clement's timely novel Gun Love excels at both poetic storytelling and social commentary.


The Third Hotel

The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg's The Third Hotel is a haunting and innovative novel, easily one of my favorite books of the year.


Severance

Severance by Ling Ma

Ling Ma's novel Severance is an astute combination of workplace novel and apocalyptic tale. Smart and filled with humanity, this debut is one of the year's best books.


The Golden State

The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling

Lydia Kiesling's novel The Golden State is one of the year's strongest debuts, a profound examination of motherhood and love.


The Incendiaries

The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

Propulsive yet spare in its prose, R. O. Kwon's timely The Incendiaries is one of the most rewarding debut novels I have read in years, and one of the best books of the year.


Lost Empress

Lost Empress by Sergio De La Pava

Sergio De La Pava brilliantly takes on privilege, class, and race in his maximalist epic Lost Empress.


also at Largehearted Boy:

list of online "best of 2018" book lists

Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2017
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2016
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2015
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2014
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2013
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2012
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2011
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2010
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2009
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2008
Largehearted Boy favorite novels of 2007

other lists at Largehearted Boy
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews


Gillian Cummings's Playlist for Her Poetry Collection "The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter"

The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter

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.

Winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry, Gillian Cummings's The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter is an imaginative and impressive collection.

Maggie Smith wrote of the book:

"The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter begins with ‘meanwhile,’ en media res, and immediately we find ourselves deep inside the world of these poems—a world both herbarium and aviary, both meadow and sea; a world lush with loosestrife and moss, honey bees and seahorses, and ‘the shut eyes of rocks’; a world haunted by the spirit of Shakespeare’s Ophelia. The hallmarks of Gillian Cummings’s work are here: the integrity of each line, a poem itself, and her ear for music. The poems, mothlike, ‘lift, / lift lightly, spiral-whirl. They flicker and fleck, weaving a world’—one that is imaginative, complex, and original."


In her own words, here is Gillian Cummings's Book Notes music playlist for her poetry collection The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter:



Philip Glass, “Evening Song” from Satyagraha

The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter begins: “She wants to die and does / not know…” This is my speaking about a period in my life in which I was deeply depressed. During this time, when I woke in the mornings, I would often listen to pieces of music that I could envision as the soundtrack to my death—don’t ask why—and this piece by Philip Glass was always foremost. Not because I am grandiose enough to think my death could or should ever compare to the deaths of Mahatma Gandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (subjects of Glass’s opera), but because I have never heard anything else this sad and at once this quietly hopeful, as if the end of a life, its “evening,” could be something to savor, a bliss. The fading out of the chorus of winds, after their crescendo towards the end, their plaintive ceasing, says as much. And though I have never known the meaning of the Sanskrit lyrics, I could hear repeated the word “Amitabha,” which is the name for the Buddha of light, who is said to be born in the Pure Land of lotuses. In The Owl, the sutras and texts of Buddhism are like little threads I wove throughout this book, the first poem of which ends with a reference to The Diamond Sutra (“this fleeting world…”).

Joanna Newsom, “Sadie” from The Milk-Eyed Mender

There is a poem in The Owl called “Flowers for the Executioner,” which quotes from Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you.” In this poem, an unnamed woman—who stands in for myself, because it was too hard to speak of myself—tells of her desire to see flowers wilt or “close their copper pages,” her unspoken reason being that she really wants to die because a person has harmed her. I pair this poem with Newsom’s “Sadie” because I often listened to this song when someone came into my life and caused a rift in my relationship with my mother. This is one of the unspoken traumas at the heart of this book, a thing I have never felt brave enough to tell people about and, largely, still don’t. Hearing Newsom’s painfully real and achingly innocent voice sing, “And all that we spilt, or pulled up like weeds, / is piled up in back; / and it burns irrevocably,” after which she adds, “we spoke up in turns / ‘till the silence crept over me,” was like hearing the voice of my own heart speaking to my mother, whom I still loved and still do love, but in a way that couldn’t help becoming changed, like the shifting cascade of harp notes as Newsom plucks and sings.

David Gelfand, “A Round in Every Bar,” originally an untitled piece under the heading “Songs of Languor”

David Gelfand is a close friend of my husband’s. His music is largely unknown to people as of yet, but he is one of the contemporary composers whose work I most admire. He always sends my husband his latest compositions for feedback. This one was and still is a favorite of mine. When I first encountered it, he had sent a CD in the mail titled, “Songs of Languor,” and this piece was just called “1.” That’s why I wrote the poem I did with the title “Song of Languor.” I had not known of Dave’s intended title, with its pun on the fact that a round is both imitative counterpoint (in his piece, there is a new “round” in every measure), and also the common term for a serving of drinks in a gathering place. So my poem “Song of Languor” is a little bit off, as a tribute to Dave’s music. When I first heard his piece, it was autumn, the last of flowers were dying off. I heard in the delicate, tender notes of his music a melancholy akin to what I had been feeling then, and imagined a woman alone in the woods, sensing in herself the toll too much loss had taken on her body. I heard the music as a kind of calling out, as a bird calls out for an answer. I attempted to write a poem in which the number and quality of syllables in each segment would equal the number and quality of the notes in his work’s most salient motif. “She slept lightly there, but meant it,” is one such attempt at proper measure from my poem—only, and this is important to his music—I accidentally got the last three syllables of each unit wrong, because there really should be only two notes / syllables after the pause. I apologize to Dave for that. Now, too, when I hear his music, I think I hear more clearly the sense of relaxation, of soothingness, that he must have intended. He told me that he meant for this particular piece to have a Brian Eno-influenced sound. I think I missed that interpretation with my poem, which ends with “a last lost cry” and not a gentle fade-out.

Fleetwood Mac, “Landslide (Live)” from The Dance

It’s a strange thing. I never understood this song. All my life, hearing it since I was a kid, I never could tell what the lyrics meant. Then, when the trauma with my mother happened—I was forty—I suddenly woke up to “Landslide.” I got it. I chose the live version, because to me this recording is more emotional than the studio recording. Stevie Nicks begins by saying, “This is for you, Daddy.” “Death’s Secrets like a Box,” the poem that closes the first section of The Owl, was for me a poem of aftermath. It was meant as a child’s plea and a woman’s desperation, at once. Nicks sings, “Can the child within my heart rise above? / Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? / Can I handle the seasons of my life? / Mmmm Mmmm I don’t know…” Her voice almost always near breaking. And then at the end, when the refrain comes, “And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills, / well, a landslide will bring it down,” I realized in those lyrics how much I wanted my mother to feel again the love she had felt for me when I was younger, only posthumously, her only child now gone. Because I believed that my death was the only way. The poem “Death’s Secrets like a Box” closes with: “She saw. Saw / her mind like ravens over a battlefield. / And that was enough.” My death would have been the landslide.

Arvo Pärt, “Spiegel im Spiegel” from Alina

Arvo Pärt is at once a minimalist composer and a composer heavily influenced by Medieval choral music. Here, in this quiet meditation on time, he captures a world delicate as the tiniest flower, maybe a bluebell, or a blue bell softly ringing the song of sky against the song of earth. I would choose this piece as the backdrop to the second section of The Owl, the section in which I speak in the persona of Ophelia as she begins to see her mind unwind (“I lose my thinking as a cat its ball of yarn”), always allying herself with flowers and the fragile, soft things of this world. Her longing for life and her longing for death are like the piano and violin Pärt sets against each other and, at once, unites, the piano sounding hopeful as its notes tick off evenly in ascension the passing minutes of time, and the violin so melancholy, with a tone of placid resignation, as it moves flowingly, unquestioningly, towards a space of timelessness. As Ophelia moves forward into her madness, into that moment when she is as the moon, “enter[ing] the hall quietly slippered, [her] body gossamered white.”

Joanna Newsom, “Sawdust & Diamonds” from Ys

Newsom’s “Sawdust & Diamonds” is a song of the death of a dove, of a bell dropped and drowned in the sea, yet a song that pleads for us not to wear a “long face” knowing that “our bodies [will] recoil from the grip of the soil.” It is a song in which a sense of hurry in the repeated harp harmonies echoes the singer’s bravery as she envisions her own end, not wanting it to come but resigned to our common human fate. I would pair this song with the penultimate poem from my book, “If Wings Neither Waxed nor Waned,” a poem in which the speaker is aware, as she talks to her “bathtub… full of captured pigeons,” that “the more you abide in your body, / the more your body is not.” In “Sawdust & Diamonds,” Newsom cries out, “It is that damnable bell! / And it tolls—well, I believe that it tolls—for me. / It tolls for me,” adding a pained, emotional rendering to John Donne’s famous “No man is an island” sermon, and thus making one death of all our deaths, or something greater. The speaker of my poem “If Wings Neither Waxed nor Waned” cannot make something greater out of death, but she can hope, as the poem closes with both question and answer, “My doves, what are we? Cloak of the moon and bone- / winds of stars. And light—we know not from aught.”

Nico, “Ari’s Song” from The Marble Index

In "Ari’s Song," Nico sings to her son, “Sail away, sail away, my little boy. / Let the wind fill your heart with light and joy. / Sail away, my little boy,” her contralto voice steady but heavy with sorrow and resignation, as the harmonium she plays rings out in shrill tones as if the sea and the winds that move across it are calling back a warning, equal in power to her soothing words. For me, this is a song to couple with the last poem of The Owl, titled “All my joy.” This poem tells a story of Ophelia’s last day, as I imagined it, of her drowning and not wanting to drown. Her ambivalence even in death. Her regret. And though Shakespeare’s Ophelia is a character without a known mother, Nico’s song still seems fitting to the tone of this final poem. There is nothing sadder than suicide. There is also nothing sadder than a mother saying goodbye to her only child, not knowing what will happen hereafter. Nico sings, “And later, as you go again, / you will agree / that it was all a dream.” Shakespeare writes, not in Hamlet but in The Tempest: “We are such stuff / as dreams are made on, and our little life / is rounded with a sleep.” In Ophelia’s death, I found my own almost-death, in those years when I felt suicidal every day, those six years when I attempted to kill myself twice and was hospitalized for coma once. In “Ari’s Song,” I heard the voice of my own mother, wishing me well, a safe journey, as I went out, over and into and under the treacherous depths of the sea.

Rich Panish, “Burning Boat” from Aurora Song (to be released in late winter, 2019)

[To get a music track for “Burning Boat,” someone would need to wait a few months. I can probably get a mixed and mastered version by the end of January, but the album Aurora Song won’t be released to the public until sometime around March. I’d be happy to send an MP3 as soon as I am able.]

I include “Burning Boat” because I co-composed the vocal melodies during the time in which I wrote The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter. Rich Panish is my husband. He started composing music, after a long hiatus from it, just eight years ago, and Aurora Song is to be his first album. If you could have heard how these melodies started—as a crying out born of sobbing that was my voice in the depths of pain and desperation—you would know the true emotion behind this piece, behind my book. On my husband’s album, those desperate cries are tempered and softened, set against contrasting arpeggios on guitar. I place this piece at the end for obvious reasons (because it is partly mine), but I also include it here as the follow-up to “Ari’s Song” and Ari’s sailing away. It is death by water. It is life by fire. Or something new born out of flames.


Gillian Cummings and The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter links:

the author's website

On Denver interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Largehearted Boy List of Online "Best Books of 2018" Lists

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


"Best Books of 2018" Lists Update - December 3rd

For the eleventh straight year, I am aggregating every online year-end book list I find in this post. As the lists appear online, I will add them to the master list, updating daily.

Previous updates to the master list of online "best books of 2018" lists.

Please consider making a donation or leaving a tip to Largehearted Boy to support posts like these.


Today's Updates to the Online "Best of 2018" Book Lists:


Air & Space (best children's books)
BookPage (best fiction & nonfiction books)
Bookshelf (best books about books)
Credible Target (books)
The Day (best children's books)
Entrepreneur (best books for entrepreneurs)
The Fictional Chef (best books)
Guardian (authors' favourite books)
Guardian (best books)
Independent (best cookbooks)
Irish Independent (author's favourite books)
Irish Times (writers' favorite books)
Kirkus (best young adult books)
The Listener (best books)
Lost Between the Pages (best books)
The Millions (authors' favorite books)
New Yorker (poetry books)
Newsday (best books)
Open Letters Review (best reprints)
Parade (best cookbooks)
Raleigh News & Observer (best children's books)
Sci-fi Fantasy Lit Chick (favorite books)
Sunday Times (best children's books)
Sunday Times (best gardening books)
Sunday Times (best literature books)
Sunday Times (best poetry books)
Sunday Times (best pop books)
Sunday Times (best stage & screen books)
Sunday Times (best thought books)
Telegraph (best gardening books)


also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "Best Books of 2018" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2017" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2016" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2015" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2014" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2013" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2012" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2010" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2009" Lists
Online "Best Books of 2008" Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Online Book Lists

2017 Year-End Online Music Lists
2016 Year-End Online Music Lists
2015 Year-End Online Music Lists
2014 Year-End Online Music Lists
2013 Year-End Online Music Lists
2012 Year-End Online Music Lists
2011 Year-End Online Music Lists
2010 Year-End Online Music Lists
2009 Year-End Online Music Lists
2008 Year-End Online Music Lists
2007 Year-End Online Music Lists
2006 Year-End Online Music Lists
Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Music Lists

other lists at Largehearted Boy
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
musician/author interviews


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