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September 25, 2006


The Guardian reports that author Haruki Murakami has won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.

They praised the "terrific sense of magic" of his "truly accomplished voice", his "contemporary ability to create extended monologues of fear" and the way his stories push "deeper and deeper through layers of meaning". "Long after reading his stories, the images and situations he constructs remain unforgettable ... His writing reminds us, ultimately, that the reader comes to published work in search of magic."

My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden talks to Upstage.

Much of the drama in Worden's music is derived from her incredible voice.

"I have a degree in vocal performance, which is classical," explains Worden, who began her singing career with opera music. "I still study opera currently. I have a voice teacher and we do classical music, and so it definitely influences me. I think that the music is certainly influenced by classical, and perhaps I use a little bit broader range," she goes on.

Banned Books Week starts today.

Cracked lists the 5 "most ridiculous celebrity cameos in Japanese ads, complete with YouTube clips.

As part of its Found genres series, Popmatters offers a soundtrack to Satan's life.

Here are 13 albums that make up the backbone of Beelzebub’s own party mix. The next time you want to clear out a kegger or just want to get your swerve on Lord of the Flies-style, grab this baneful baker’s dozen and prepare to meet your unmaker. He’ll be waiting, highballs of Hate in hand.

Digital Spy offers a Pulp retrospective.

The Independent reviews Ryan Adams' recent London show.

The lachrymose balladry does pall. "More sad-bastard songs," Adams quips. He's joking, but the self-satire isn't off the mark. When fellow members of his band, the Cardinals, join him, the chitchat gets equally wearing. "When you're ready!", someone shouts, as Adams and the guitarist Neal Casal sap any sense of momentum by debating the set-list among themselves.

Australia's Daily Telegraph speaks out on the new crop of protest songs.

The anti-war song may be back on the march but most of contemporary music's loudest voices of protest have changed tack. Instead of screaming blame and demonising politicians, songwriters are making sure their message makes you want to dance or play air guitar too.

Calexico's Joey Burns talks to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the band's latest album, Garden Ruin.

Calexico imbues its perspective on current events with a deeper understanding of history, myth and general human behavior.

"We looked to great writers like Dylan, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits," Burns said.

"I've always preferred songs that are more on an abstract plane, not so blatantly trying to champion a cause. We wanted something that wouldn't be dated, nor be sloganeering."

Author Julian Barnes talks about his writing with the Telegraph.

"Even writers say that fiction is the higher autobiography, and I don't buy that at all. I think that what most of us do is more complicated. Everyone thinks, 'I had a difficult childhood, then I grew up, and then I had lots of affairs, and then some resolution happened to my life: that's a novel.' Oh no it isn't. It wouldn't even be a very good autobiography. It sort of vaguely irritates me."

The Daily Show's John Hodgman talks to the Boston Globe about his book, The Areas of My Expertise.

``Being honest as a writer to me is the most important thing, even when you're writing a book of lies," he says. Parts of his book, such as the section called ``Diversions for the Asthmatic Child Who Cannot Play in the Snow" (see inhaler whittling, page 61), are even autobiographical. Hodgman was an asthmatic child, the only son of a business executive and a nurse administrator. His mother died of lung cancer in 2000; his father still has a note on which a 6- or 7-year-old John wrote: ``Writer at work: Do not disturb."

The San Diego Tribune reports that a local library is endorsing e-books and digital audiobooks.

Library card holders have free access to 467 eBooks and 1,377 eAudiobooks, which can be downloaded to a computer or an MP3 player as full text or digital audio.

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reviews the Mountain Goats new album, Get Lonely.

If one moniker were to be applied to The Mountain Goats, “lit rock” would fit. John Darnielle, singer and songwriter for The Mountain Goats, has long been known for lyrics that are part William Faulkner and part Raymond Carver.

The I Love Music community lists "perfectly fine albums you only need to hear once."

Hamell on Trial has some interesting tour shirts available, especially for critics of Ann Coulter.


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