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October 4, 2006


NPR is streaming Regina Spektor's Washington performance from last night, and will soon have an mp3 download of the show posted.

The Long Winters Music shares guitar tabs for several songs from the band, as well as five live lossless shows.

The Guardian interviews author Salman Rushdie.

The first drafts of his novels are written straight on to the computer, from which he then takes a print-out for cold-eyed revision. "I can't really see it unless it's in type." His new novel, though it may be mediated by these technological miracles, is set at a distance from them. "I've invented a story which unites the India of the Mughal Empire with the Italy of the High Renaissance. It's a fantasia, set at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries called The Enchantress of Florence. And I must say that, given how horrible the world is, it's really quite nice to spend some time in the 16th century."

The Los Angeles Times delves into the Nobel Prize for literature selection process.

Isn't this a sobering and lovely thought in these days of greed? The Nobel Prize in literature, one of the most lucrative prizes a writer can win, goes, more often than not, to the least commercial work in the world. Surely Alfred Nobel, whose lifelong tinkering with nitroglycerin produced some of the most destructive materials and deadliest weapons in the world, and whose name is now synonymous with world peace, would appreciate that small, triumphant irony.

Author Chuck Palahniuk is answering every letter sent his way for a short period of time.

TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe talks to Harp about music and politics.

“It’s astounding to me that the Dixie Chicks suffered the backlash they did,” he says. “If I’m listening to a record and someone mentions something about their politics, it doesn’t affect my decision about whether to listen to them. Maybe the better question to ask is why people take what a musician says more seriously than their neighbor who works at the pet store.”

Not long after Banned Books Week ended, Missouri's Marshall Democrat-News reports that a local library is holding hearings to remove two of my avorite graphic novels due to questionable content.

Louise Mills of Marshall is requesting that two graphic novels -- "Fun Home," by Alison Bechdel and "Blankets," by Craig Thompson -- be removed from the library because she feels that the books are inappropriate. Mills has filed forms with the library to request the removal of the books. Mills could not be reached for comment Tuesday, Oct. 3.

Young adult and children's book author Shannon Hale talks to the Detroit Metro Times.

Her books are lushly written and perceptive, and her characters have rich emotional lives not always found in children's literature. Because of this, Hale connects with readers of all ages.

"The greatest picture book writers I know are 6 or 7 on the inside, and they really are just writing to their internal reader," she says. "That's why they're successful. It's certainly how I work."

Good Hodgkins wonders if mp3 blog aggregators and the Hype Machine are good for music blogs and record labels.

I’m not trying to suggest that MP3 blogs and what they do are somehow all subsequently legal or ethical—that’s really a case by case thing—I’m trying to suggest that despite their questionable legality, MP3 blogs are still, theoretically, viable sales tools and more than just free internet clearinghouses. Music is a visceral experience: Ultimately, we listen to it so we can feel. But it’s when we think that we actually go out and make a purchase. Presently, aggregators do not encourage thought.

Philadelphia Weekly reviews the Mountain Goats album, Get Lonely.

If you’ve always admired John Darnielle’s songwriting but couldn’t get past the thin, bristling bark that’s his trademark, Get Lonely could make a Mountain Goats fan of you yet. The man’s stage whisper is no more polished or rehearsed than usual, but it’s likely more palatable to newcomers. Longtime devotees will have to get used to the hushed tone and stop waiting for a big breathless rant. There’s typically a deathly quiet song or two on every Mountain Goats record, but this may be the first time Darnielle has been so restrained through an entire outing.

The Guardian examines the effects of social networking sites on breaking music artists.

The Arizona Republic interviews my favorite author, Michael Chabon, about his forthcoming novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union.

Q: Where did you get the idea for The Yiddish Policemen's Union?

A: Sandusky, Ohio. There's the big Idea Mart, and you just send away. (Actually) I had this phrasebook called Say It in Yiddish, and it was a phrasebook for travelers; it's so advertised on the cover. And I was kind of entranced by this idea of a phrasebook for travelers in a language where there was no country to which you might travel and employ (it). And so I wrote this essay ruminating on possible countries that there might be or have been where you could have taken this phrasebook with you, and in the course of writing that recalled this proposal to allow Jews to settle in Alaska during World War II.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel readers quiz Jeopardy record-holder Ken Jennings.

Q: Melchizedek of Milwaukee - Are you a Mormon? If so (or if not), how has your faith influenced your thirst for knowledge?

A: Ken Jennings - I am Mormon, yes. I often hear people express surprise that anyone religious could excel at something fact-based like Jeopardy!, which usually makes me roll my eyes. Despite what TV may tell you, not all religious people are complete idiots. My LDS upbringing was actually pretty important to my Jeopardy! success, I think. Knowledge and education tend to privileged in Mormon culture--there's the idea that pretty much the only thing you can take with you out of this life is knowledge, so you might as well stock up while you're here.

Drowned in Sound readers discuss their favorite music videos of the past six years.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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