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July 3, 2015

Book Notes - Sarah McCoy "The Mapmaker's Children"

The Mapmaker's Children

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, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Sarah McCoy thoughtfully links the past with the present in her compelling novel The Mapmaker's Children.

The Washington Post wrote of the book:

"McCoy deftly intertwines a historical tale with a modern one… lovingly constructed… passionately told… The Mapmaker's Children not only honors the accomplishments of a little-known woman but artfully demonstrates how fate carries us in unexpected directions, no matter how we might try to map out our lives."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Sarah McCoy's Book Notes music playlist for her novel The Mapmaker's Children:


"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"— Wallis Willis

During the writing of The Mapmaker's Children, I had a habit of unconsciously breaking into this at random: while skillet-frying chicken for dinner, pumping gas into my car, walking my dog to the postbox, vacuuming the living room. It started to freak my husband out. "You're doing it again," he'd say, and I'd not even notice that I was— so lost in my own thoughts. When I finally Googled the song's history, I learned it was written by a Choctaw freedman in Oklahoma before 1862. I am 1/16th Choctaw. My father's kin are from Inola, Oklahoma. As my husband put it, "That's creepy."

"Follow the Drinking Gourd"

I learned this song in elementary school music class. It stuck with me over whatever else we might've sung because I was assigned the wooden block to play. The vibrations of the rhythmic plunking made me imagine the slaves' footsteps as they raced through darkness, eyes to the Big Dipper constellation. It scared me, to be truthful, and I remember being relieved when the song was over. I'm not sure if that's something to be ashamed of now or to be glad that I recognized the significance. I was singing something that had been chanted to the heavens by our country's ancestors. A sacred hymn of the Underground Railroad.

"John Brown's Body"
This song is prominently featured in The Mapmaker's Children. The daughters of John Brown are introduced to it on a visit to Virginia. I spent a good amount of time listening to it and thinking about what it would be like for that song to be about your father. Give it a try: substitute your own father's name for John Brown.

_____ body lies a-moldering in the grave.
_____ body lies a-moldering in the grave.
_____ body lies a-moldering in the grave.
His soul's marching on!

It's a wallop to the gut, right? I imagine it was similar for Sarah Brown. No matter how she might've supported it. Every time it was sung for all of her life, wallop-wallop-wallop.

"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" —Julia Ward Howe

Interesting trivia: Howe used the sheet music of "John Brown's Body" and changed the lyrics. It was published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1862 and became a signature tune for the Civil War.

"Yellow Rose of Texas"—Edwin Pearce Christy

I live in West Texas and the only flowers I've been able to cultivate are roses—yellow, in fact. So this song is consistently hummed whenever I'm out pruning or bringing in a vase of them. It was written as part of Christy's Plantation Melodies, a songbook for Christy's blackface minstrel show. During the Civil War, it was a popular marching song for Confederate soldiers in the Texas Brigade.

"Pain Killer"—Little Big Town

This album and group embody much of what I love about my homeland Virginia. Some songs are so playful that they make you want to run around chasing summer lightning bugs. Then, in a track change, a song so mournful, hot tears ebb. Their music is empowering, soulful, and story full. I listened to this CD (yes, I'm old-school like that) in my car whenever I run errands. I haven't changed the disc in six months. That's how much I love their music and miss my southern roots.

**Confession: I enlisted my husband (Doc B) for the following two songs. He's a music devotee. So here are his picks and reasons why. He played these for me, and I have to say, he's spot on.

"Barton Hollow"—Civil Wars

Doc B: This is a good ballad for John Brown at the opening of The Mapmaker's Children—jailed and waiting to be hung on the gallows. The guy knew he was going to die the next day, but that was the least of his fears—his children and what would become of his abolitionist cause were what he cared about most.

I'm a dead man walking here
But that's the least of all my fears

"Skinny Love"—Birdy, originally by Bon Iver

Doc B: This would be Freddy and Jack's theme as sung, theoretically, by Sarah Brown or Eden. Bon Iver's indie folk song in Birdy's haunting voice makes your chest cinch up in a way a man won't admit. But yeah, I'm saying it.


Sarah McCoy and The Mapmaker's Children links:

the author's website

BookPage review
Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review
Washington Post review

CarolineLeavittville interview with the author
Huffington Post interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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
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
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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July 2, 2015

Book Notes - Rebecca Makkai "Music for Wartime"

Hollywood Notebook

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, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Rebecca Makkai's short story collection Music for Wartime covers a broad range of eras and topics, but always impresses.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the collection:

"Though these stories alternate in time between WWII and the present day, they all are set, as described in the story "Exposition," within "the borders of the human heart"—a terrain that their author maps uncommonly well."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Rebecca Makkai's Book Notes music playlist for her short story collection Music for Wartime:


I've always thought of Music for Wartime as an album—an old-fashioned one, with liner notes and a B side and everything. In part because it's very much about music, but also because albums were some of the best models I had for assembling a collection. (I like it when story collections do what an album like Abbey Road or Blood on the Tracks does, controlling your experience and adding up to more than the sum of the parts.)

That said, when I try to make the album literal here, I end up with a bizarre and wildly uncool playlist. (Bartók meets New Wave!) Some of these are actually part of the stories, and others are thematically related. I'm going one song per story here.

Istváan Márta's "Doom. A sigh": For "The Singing Women"—the recording that inspired the story. Márta traveled into Ceauşescu's Romania to record these women and their lamentations. I heard a story (apocryphal, as far as I can tell) that as a result of the recording, Ceauşescu learned that the women's village was still in existence, and wiped it out. My story follows that one. (This is not easy listening.)

The Fourth Movement of Schubert's Trout Quintet: For "The Worst You Ever Feel." Again, I have to go literal. The story is about a young boy, his mother, and an old master trying to cover all five parts of The Trout. The Amadeus Quartet's recording with Clifford Curzon is rich and warm.

Radiohead, "Fake Plastic Trees": For "The November Story," about a producer on a reality TV show. By the end, she's literally spray-painting leaves on the trees so it will look like November when it's really summer. I loved this song in college, long before you could Google lyrics. I only learned the words quite recently.

REM, "Losing My Religion": for "The Miracle Years of Little Fork," about a small-town pastor questioning his faith after the elephant of a visiting traveling circus dies in the town and must be buried there. I listened to this song a lot in high school when I was, literally, losing my religion. I couldn't believe someone had written a song about it.

Steven Sondheim's "I'm Still Here": For "Other Brands of Poison," the first of three "legends" about my father's family in the book. Like the singer, my grandmother was an actress (though she later became a novelist), and like the singer she survived more shit than most of us ever will. Who rhymes better than Sondheim? "Then you career from career to career / I'm almost through my memoirs / and I'm here."

The Decemberists, "Calamity Song": For "The Briefcase." A strange, apocalyptic song for a strange, apocalyptic story.

Brett Dennen, "Sydney": For "Peter Torrelli, Falling Apart." The story's about a man in his thirties trying like hell to save his best friend from high school. "Sydney" seems to be about standing by a friend through some kind of sex crimes trial, which sketches me out a bit, but hey, maybe the guy was really innocent. And it's a great song.

Fats Waller's "What Did I Do… To Be So Black and Blue," as sung by Louis Armstrong: For "Couple of Lovers on a Red Background," which is a story about a woman who coughs up J. S. Bach in her apartment, and then lives with him and has an affair with him and introduces him to Jazz, and J. S. goes around singing the Satchmo version of the song, but with a German accent. So, you know, domestic realism.

Springsteen's "Brilliant Disguise": For "Acolyte," the second family legend. This one, like many others in the collection, is about disguise and transformation – more literally than some.

Andrew Bird, "Tenuousness": for "Everything We Know About the Bomber," which is about someone not unlike Tamerlan Tsarniev. The song isn't violent, but it's complicated and mixed up, the ramblings of someone trapped in his own brain. (I think?)

The Fixx, "One Thing Leads to Another": for "Painted Ocean, Painted Ship." Please forgive the New Wave. Everything in this story follows from a professor accidentally shooting an albatross; from this, her career and engagement and sanity fall apart. I loved stringing together that cause and effect.

Freddie Mercury's charming butchering of the Hungarian folk song "Tavaszi Szél Vizet Áraszt" ("The Spring Wind Blows the Waters"): For "A Bird in the House," the third legend about my Hungarian family. You have to watch the YouTube clip for the full effect. He's reading the lyrics off his hand, mangling the pronunciation, and then he just gives up and makes the crowd sing it, but they love it. I grew up with this song, and mangle it every night for my own children. And in these stories, I'm quite openly grappling with my cultural divide, my inability to understand my own family's background and culture.

Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit, Scarbo movement: for "Exposition." This is the kind of music I had in mind for the secret and doomed concert in which a pianist gives her last performance, and of a nearly impossible work. The Valentina Lisitsa recording is excellent.

The 4th movement of Bartok's 4th Quartet: for "Cross," in which a string quartet is playing just this. The entire movement is Pizzicato, weird and sublime.

Billie Holiday, "They Can't Take That Away from Me": for "Good St. Anthony Come Around." This is a story about AIDS, and thus it's a story about loss. And love. And the things that can't really be lost.

Alphaville's "Forever Young": For "Suspension: April 20, 1984." A companion to the legend pieces, this is about me as a young child, and it's also about bombs, of both the Cold War and WWII varieties. And the emotional variety, for that matter. I've always felt this song, which (hey!) came out in 1984 encapsulates the strangeness of a Cold War childhood – "hoping for the best but expecting the worst / are you gonna drop the bomb or not?"

"Sally Gardens": for "The Museum of the Dearly Departed." And back to the literal. The collection ends with an old Hungarian couple singing this song. The John McCormack recording from 1941 feels appropriate.


Rebecca Makkai and Music for Wartime links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Boston Globe review
Guardian review
Publishers Weekly review

Chicago Tribune profile of the author
Deborah Kalb interview with the author
KMUW interview with the author
Michigan Quarterly Review interview with the author
San Diego Union-Tribune interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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
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
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week - July 2, 2015

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.


Grip

Grip
by Gilbert Hernandez

Love and Rockets artist Gilbert Hernandez has just come out with this genre bending mashup that mixes 1950s crime, horror, and sci-fi into one. A man finds himself on the streets with a lipstick smudge, someone else's suit and ID, and no memory of who he is. But this is not like the movie Momento or any other amnesia rooted story. The world created by Hernandez is strange and unsettling in all the best ways.


BFF

BFF
by Sarah Gerard

Behold, a short text on friendship - specifically on best friendship. Gerard writes to her past BFF, wrenchingly honest about the conflicting love and resentment felt towards her. This is a book on the emotional relationships that we carry with those who we were once, but no longer, so close to.


Fool 6 magazine

Fool 6 magazine

The latest issue of this Swedish food magazine is in. In it you will find a profile on Michelin starred chef Inaki Aizpitarte of French restaurant Le Chateaubriand, an article on how a new generation of Japanese chefs are finding their inspiration, and a look into the fascinating food culture of Anatolia, Turkey.


Soft

Soft
by Jane Mai

What a beautiful treasure this book is. What begins as a story of a sweet building friendship turns to one of vampires and murder. Artist Jane Mai creates a piercing world where acts of desire, rebellion, dependency, and, ultimately, refusal unfold in unexpected ways.


Black Glass

Black Glass
by Karen Joy Fowler

First published to great acclaim in 1998, this reissued hardcover edition of short stories includes a new introductory essay. Included are fifteen tales of satire, wit, and imagination that are sure to win you over in these humid days of summer.


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:

other Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week

52 Books, 52 Weeks
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly new comics and graphic novel highlights)
Largehearted Word (weekly new book 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 (An Interview with Vendela Vida, Stream the New Veruca Salt Album, and more)

Bookworm interviewed Vendela Vida about her new novel The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty.


NPR Music is streaming the new Veruca Salt album Ghost Notes.


Salon interviewed Jonathan Galassi about his debut novel and the state of publishing.


Mary Bonney discussed her experiences being a female music journalist at LA Music Blog.


Claire Fuller has been awarded the Desmond Elliott Prize for her novel Our Endless Numbered Days.


Noisey listed its favorite albums of 2015 so far.


The Independent reviewed AL Kennedy's new Dr. Who novel.


Flavorwire previewed July's music releases.


The New York Times interviewed author Anthony Doerr about reading.


World Cafe interviewed David Browne about his new book So Many Roads: The Life And Times Of The Grateful Dead.


The Independent interviewed author Emma Healey.


NPR Music recommended June's best new world music.


Stream a new song by Alela Diane and Ryan Francesconi.


Bustle recommended speedy reads for quick flights.


Stream a new Beach House song.


Paste interviewed Etgar Keret about his new memoir The Seven Good Years.


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


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 and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


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Daily Downloads (Ty Segall, Frugal Father, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Anda Volley: Are You Armed? album [mp3]

Birdstriking: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Cave Needles: Cave Needles album [mp3]

Eartheater: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Frugal Father: "Silver" [mp3] from Held (out August 4th)

Mexico City Is Sinking: The Queen of Monster Island EP [mp3]

Noah Smith: Live at The Southgate House Revival album [mp3]

The Sparrow and the Fall: "All Undone" [mp3]

Various Artists: Mason Jar Music: Decoration Day, Volume 4 album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Ty Segall: 2015-06-26, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create 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 music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


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July 1, 2015

Book Notes - Joshua Mehigan "Accepting the Disaster"

Accepting the Disaster

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, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Joshua Mehigan's Accepting the Disaster is a finely wrought and dark poetry collection, a modern classic that has earned the author numerous comparisons to Philip Larkin.

The National Post wrote of the book:

"Accepting the Disaster is the closest thing to a masterpiece a reader of contemporary poetry is likely to encounter."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Joshua Mehigan's Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection Accepting the Disaster:


"Into the Void," by Black Sabbath
I got the idea for my poem "The Forecast" while visiting Iowa in 1998. It's likely that the poem will conjure Black Sabbath for no one but me, but I can't help thinking of them in connection with it. Arriving in Iowa from New York City, I was excited by the novelty of a rented car and, in the airport, bought a cassette tape of Master of Reality for personal soundtrack. I blasted it in the white Honda Civic I'd rented, feeling transformed, as I had in high school, from whatever I actually am into (what else?) a Master of Reality—virile, ugly, and awesome—till I began to understand that I'd somehow passed from highway to road, to dirt road, and then to the conclusion of the dirt road, which stopped dead in a dense cornfield. "Into the Void" was playing, until I turned it off.

"Birmingham Jail" (also called "Down in the Valley"), traditional
Lead Belly's version is my favorite. But the first one I got in my head was sung by Erland van Lidth de Jeude. Van Lidth de Juede was a massively large opera singer who played an ax murderer in the comedy Stir Crazy, which I watched 75 times on HBO when I was 11. I enjoyed the irony of a killer who could sing tenderly and sorrowfully. This is also the irony of the song itself, which is addressed by a condemned prisoner to his love outside. I have a poem called "Down in the Valley," about a terrible crime that takes place in a valley. My poem follows the victim and omits the killer and his beloved, but the song still seemed apt.

"Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," performed by Janis Joplin and the Kozmic Blues Band, written by Chip Taylor and Jerry Ragovoy
My wife and I were near the end of a long night drive, once, when one of Janis Joplin's versions of "Summertime" came on. I hardly noticed the introductory guitar noodling. Before I could place the song, her voice was filling our eerily-lit car with the one word, "Summertime," and all the hair went up on my arms and I felt like a child waked up by an airhorn. My first attempt to write about this was really about my aesthetic experience and was therefore bad. So I started thinking about Janis Joplin. Two-thirds of the finished poem describes "Ball and Chain" at Monterey and could've been called that. But "Try" is a great song, and so I called my poem "Try." It is also an important sentiment.

"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," by Michael Jackson
This song's title serves as an epigraph for my poem "Sad Stories." My wife suggested it to me after I showed her the poem, which directly addresses Michael Jackson at times and references his roll as the scarecrow in the movie The Wiz. The poem is about distorted self-image, especially the kind that leads people into eccentricity, plastic surgery addiction, careers as dictators, and so on.

"Subterranean Homesick Blues," by Bob Dylan
In 2010, I participated in an event organized by Roddy Lumsden, who asked numerous poets to write poems based on lines from the above-named song. Then, of course, we got together and read them in a bar. I was assigned "Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters." I ended up producing a bad, short blank-verse poem about a schizophrenic man with paranoid delusions involving parking meters. After the event I put the poem away for a year but later reworked it and put it in my current book as "The Orange Bottle," a heavily-rhymed, 17-page poem with no parking meters in it. Roddy's Dylan assignment also helped generate George Green's fantastic poem "Bangladesh," from his collection Lord Byron's Foot.

"These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)," performed by Ella Fitzgerald with Oscar Peterson, written by Eric Maschwitz and Jack Strachey
This song provided me with the title for a poem, "How Strange, How Sweet," which has to do with gentrification and nostalgia. The poem also incorporates the song's title. I didn't have a particular singer in my head when I wrote it, and I surely don't want my poor poem to compete with Ella Fitzgerald, but she recorded a live version with Oscar Peterson in 1957 that's perfect.

"Real Cool Time," by The Stooges
My poem "Cold Turkey" got started with some lines from The Bacchae that worriedly ponder the advisability of dancing after some crazed devotees of Bacchus get carried away and behead someone. I quit drinking in 1999 and, apparently, with drinking, quit dancing, too. My poem won't make anyone think of The Stooges, but I can't remember dancing without thinking of intentionally-sleazy clubs like Coney Island High that, unlike most clubs, sometimes played music I listened to at home—"Real Cool Time" or "1970," by The Stooges, or "People Who Died," by the Jim Carroll Band. "Real Cool Time," especially the sordid guitar at the end, still fills me with the same happy sense of self-destructive oblivion.

"O Death," performed by Berzilla Wallin, traditional
The current lack of interest in ballads means that when I publish short-lined poems in rhymed quatrains someone always mentions Auden. I love Auden, but I also love other ballads, from "Edward" in the fourteenth century to James Fenton's in the twenty-first. Musical ballads, especially in Appalachian folk music, have also had a lot of influence on me. Like a lot of them, "O Death" shares its conceit with a verse ballad or two—in this case, for example, "A Dialogue between Death and Youth" (pub. 1564) or "Death's Uncontrollable Summons" (pub. 1685). And there's another fantastic musical version, "Conversation with Death," by Dock Boggs. The Wallin version is a 1964 field recording made by Peter Gott and John Cohen in North Carolina. Berzilla Wallin was a mother of twelve and seventy years old when she recorded the song. Her performance wrings out whatever sugar might be let into the song by a more refined style. It's a little bit punishing. I often aspire to this state of affairs in my poems.


Joshua Mehigan and Accepting the Disaster links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
annotated excerpt from the book

Commonweal review
National Post review
New Republic review
Quarterly Conversation review


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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
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
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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WORD Bookstores Books of the Week - July 1, 2015

In the Largehearted Word series, the staff of Brooklyn's WORD bookstore highlights several new books released this week.

WORD Bookstores are independent neighborhood bookstores in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Jersey City, New Jersey. Our primary goal is to be whatever our communities needs us to be, which currently means carrying everything from fiction to nonfiction to absurdly cute cards and stationery. In addition, we're fiends for a good event, from the classic author reading and Q&A to potlucks and a basketball league (and anything set in a bar). If a weekly dose of WORD here isn't enough for you, follow us on Twitter: @wordbookstores.


The Star Side of Bird Hill

The Star Side of Bird Hill
by Naomi Jackson

A Brooklyn-to-Barbados story of family and sacrifice, full of lyricism and traces of mystery.


Wondering Who You Are

Wondering Who You Are
by Sonya Lea

The author's husband wakes from surgery with near-total amnesia, especially about his marriage and home life, which was often not entirely harmonious. An uncanny story!


Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper
by Daniel Jose Older

Emily says: In a Caribbean immigrant community in the heart of Brooklyn, our heroine Sierra has just learned of a long-hidden familial and cultural history of Shadowshaper magic. Something is amiss, her grandfather's friends keep disappearing, and tapping into the talent that her own mother shunned may be Sierra's only hope of helping. It's fun to walk around Brooklyn after living in Older's world -- each painted wall has the possibility of spirit and breath.


The Princess and the Pony

The Princess and the Pony
by Kate Beaton

The creator of the Hark, a Vagrant comic series applies her gifts to an allegorical tale for kids.


WORD Brooklyn links:

WORD website
WORD Facebook page
WORD on Instagram
WORD Tumblr
WORD Twitter


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)

Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics & graphic novel highlights)
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
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)


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Shorties (The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, The Best 33 1/3 Books, and more)

An impressive longlist for the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.


Pitchfork listed the best 33 1/3 books on seminal albums.


Author Anna North interviewed herself at The Nervous Breakdown.


Stream a new Prince song.


LitReactor interviewed Joshua Mohr about his new novel All This Life.


The Margins interviewed Viet Thanh Nguyen about his novel The Sympathizer.


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


Vol. 1 Brooklyn previewed July's best new books.


Courtney Barnett and Kim Deal interviewed each other at The Talkhouse podcast.


VICE interviewed author Nell Zink.


The Wall Street Journal profiled singer-songwriter John Moreland.


Paste recommended June's best books.


Monkey See profiled comics publisher Drawn and Quarterly.


The Detroit Free Press recommended a playlist for the 4th of July.


Fresh Air interviewed Vendela Vida about her new novel The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty.


The 405 listed the best albums of 2015's second quarter.


Esquire listed 21 books from the 21st century every man should read.


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


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 and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


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Daily Downloads (La Luz, Mikal Cronin, and more)

Every day, Daily Downloads offers free and legal music and/or stream.


Today's free and legal mp3 downloads:

Cold Beat: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Furnace Creek: Let Me Know album [mp3]

La Luz: "Don't Wanna Be Anywhere" [mp3] from Weirdo Shrine (out August 7th)
La Luz: "You Disappear" [mp3] from Weirdo Shrine (out August 7th)

Mikal Cronin: Live on WFMU [mp3]

Near Northeast: Curios album [mp3]

Small Vices: Wedding EP [mp3]

Various Artists: C(ontinental) R(ecord) S(ingles) Summer 2015 album [mp3]

The Winebox Inquiry: The Winebox Inquiry album [mp3]


Free and legal live performances at other websites:

Ryley Walker: 2015-06-26, New York [mp3]


search for more free and legal music downloads at Largehearted Boy


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Daily Downloads

covers collections
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads

Book Notes (authors create 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 music, books, and pop culture news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtrack)
weekly new album lists


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June 30, 2015

Book Notes - Bill Hillmann "Mozos"

Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain

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, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Bill Hillman's Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain masterfully chronicles the years of his life spent running with the bulls at Pamplona.

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In his own words, here is Bill Hillmann's Book Notes music playlist for his memoir Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain:


"San Fermin Pedimos"
This is the prayer Mozos (bull-runners) sing before the beginning of the encierro (bull-run). It is a prayer to San Fermin, the patron saint of Fiesta in Pamplona. Runners gather at the beginning of the course and sing the song while waving their newspapers. The lyrics ask San Fermin to protect them. I don't regularly walk down for the prayer; maybe I should start—it could have kept a bull from goring me on July 9, 2014.

"Come a Little Closer" Cage The Elephant
After the infamous goring I stayed in Pamplona for about a month, living in iconic American bull runner Joe Distler's apartment. The place is like an encierro museum. I wrote every day for hours while listening to Cage The Elephant on repeat. Come a little closer really struck a chord with me. It seemed like it was written from the bull's perspective, talking to me.

Brevito (the bull who gored me) knew he would see me on the street that morning. It was our destiny to meet that way. I knew it too but still I thought I could change it. "Want to see if you can change it. Still I know I'll see you there." I've seen many things on the streets of Pamplona, The bulls have visited me in my dreams.

"Do you understand the things that you've been seeing? Do you understand the things that you've been dreaming? Come a little closer then you'll see." I got a little closer to Brevito and he showed me everything.

"El Rey" Jose Alfredo
My wife Enid's favorite Mexican folk singer is Jose Alfredo. His masterpiece is "El Rey." The song is so popular—it is a major hit to this day in Pamplona; it's one of the songs they always play at the closing ceremony. The song also is dear to me because I've spent much of my life poor but I've always done what I wanted and lived the life I chose and so, "With or without money. I'll always do what I want. And my words are the law. I don't have neither a throne nor a queen. Nor anyone who understands me. But I'm still the king."

"Take It to the Limit" The Eagles
One of my great maestros was the late Bomber. This man was the greatest traveler I've ever met. He summited Everest and also did some work for the CIA. Bomber was like a bull-run sorcerer. He was an incredible bull runner for decades and the way he talked about bull running gave me shivers and inspired the hell out of me. Bomber will always be close to my heart when I'm in Pamplona, and when I take it to the limit on the street, it's for him.

"Sunny" Boney M
Much of this memoir is the story of my wife's and my love. This song, "Sunny," really sums up what she has done for my life. "Sunny, thank you for the truth you let me see." There's plenty of great lines in it. But my wife is definitely my Sunny.

"Try Me" Dej Loaf
A lot of strange things happened after my goring. People I didn't know chimed in by the thousands from around the world to say they wished I'd died and various other nasty things. A lot of people who I thought were my friends took the opportunity to back stab me. So this song goes out to all of those people who kicked me while I was down. If you see me around, you better not come anywhere near me and sure as hell better not try me, because, "Let a nigga try me, try me, I'm a kill his whole mafuckin family, and I ain't play'n with nobody, fuck around and I'ma catch a body."

"Bad Blood" Bastille
After I vent, imagining punching several people as hard as I possibly can in the face, I start to look at things like the Buddhist that I am. I realize that any negativity I inflict will be returned onto me a thousand fold and so I decide to just let it go. "All this bad blood here won't you let it dry. It's been cold for years won't you let it lie."

"Pobre de Mi" and "Ya Falta Menos" songs
Fiesta de San Fermin's closing ceremony happens at Pamplona's Town Hall. Thousands gather just before midnight with lit candles to sing "Pobre de Mi--poor me, poor me, San Fermin is over." It's an incredibly sad time for me but then the song turns and twists into the "Ya Falta Menos," a peppy song which is a countdown to next year's festival. "Ya Falta Menos" means "Fiesta is almost here!" Ya Falta Menos is a mantra that keeps me going throughout the year as I struggle with bipolar disorder. And as I write this, I can't help but smile and think, Ya Falta Menos!


Bill Hillmann and Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain links:

excerpt from the book

Publishers Weekly review

Chicago Reader interview with the author
Chicago Tonight interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The Old Neighborhood
The Nervous Breakdown self-interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

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

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
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
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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This Week's Interesting Music Releases - June 30, 2015

Neil Young

New music I can recommend this week includes Neil Young's The Monsanto Years and The Velvet Teen's All Is Illusory.

The Civil Wars' Joy Williams' Venus and Matt Pond PA's The State Of Gold are also in stores today.

Reissues include vinyl editions of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' The Boatman's Call and No More Shall We Part.

What new releases are you picking up this week? What can you recommend? Have I left anything noteworthy off the list?


This week's interesting music releases:

Alden Penner: Canada in Space EP
Amara Toure: 1973-1980
Failure: The Heart Is A Monster
Fraser A. Gorman: Slow Gum
Future Islands: The Chase [vinyl]
Good Old War: Broken Into Better Shape
The Hussy: Galore
Jaill: Brain Cream
Joy Williams: Venus
LA PRIEST: Inji
Matt Pond PA: The State Of Gold
Miguel: Wildheart
Neil Young: The Monsanto Years
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: The Boatman's Call (reissue) [vinyl]
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: No More Shall We Part (reissue) [vinyl]
Of Monsters and Men: Beneath the Skin [vinyl]
Pete Townshend: Truancy: The Very Best Of Pete Townshend
Refused: Freedom
Various Artists: Bottom Line Archive Series: In Their Own Words: Volume 1
Various Artists: Bottom Line Archive Series: In Their Own Words: Volume 2
Various Artists: Ex Machina (soundtrack)
The Velvet Teen: All Is Illusory
Vince Staples: Summertime '06


also at Largehearted Boy:

weekly music release lists

100 online sources for free and legal music downloads
Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)


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Shorties (Recommended Songs for Book Lovers, The Best Songs of 2015 So Far, and more)

Paste recommended songs for book lovers.


NPR Music listed its favorite songs of 2015 so far.


AbeBooks listed essential science fiction books.


Heavy Blog Is Heavy listed the top albums of 2015 so far.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn interviewed authors Wendy C. Ortiz and Sean H. Doyle.


AC/DC's music is now available on most streaming services.


The Guardian profiled poet Claudia Rankine.


Heartless Bastards visited The Current studio for an interview and live performance.


Lit Hub shared the introduction to Haruki Murakami's Wind/Pinball: Two Novels.


The New York Times is streaming the new Sea of Bees album Build A Boat To The Sun.


BlogHer recommended graphic novels for your summer reading list.


Stream a new Mynabirds song.


Fresh Air interviewed Mat Johnson about his new novel Loving Day.


Stream a new Frog Eyes song.


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


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 and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
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
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)


Posted by david | Permalink | Comments (View)

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