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October 21, 2006


Time magazine examines the difficulty Penguin faces in promoting reclusive author Thomas Pynchon's new book, Against the Day.

"The fact that he has a dedicated following makes up for him not doing The Today Show," says Michael Russo, manager of St. Marks Bookstore in New York's Greenwich Village. "The morning his last book came out, we had people outside our doors waiting for us to open. It wasn't like a line for a Rolling Stones concert, but it's the kind of interest only a few authors can generate."

I guess a Book Notes essay is out of the question, but I'll leave an offer open to Mr. Pynchon.

Japan's Daily Yomiuri reviews Haruki Murakami's short story collection, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

Despite my impatience with Murakami's predictable unpredictability, he still remains a favorite author. Like all of Murakami's works, Blind Willow is funny, warm and easy to read and contains a handful of stories that show the writer at the top of his game.

The Slashdot community discusses a recent hands-on review of Microsoft's Zune music player.

The Hold Steady's Craig Finn talks to the Minneapolis Star Tribune about the band's new album, Boys and Girls in America.

"The songs all loosely relate to each other, but there isn't one linear story," he said. "After 'Separation Sunday,' I didn't want to feel like I had to do a concept album every time. Plus, doing it this way was sort of a new challenge, with one theme but otherwise unrelated songs."

Christianity Today lists the "top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals."

The Drive-By Truckers have announced two end of the year shows December 30th and 31st at Atlanta's Variety Playhouse. Centro-matic will be supporting both dates.

The Guardian profiles the growing Palestinian creative movement.

There is now a vibrant and growing body of work that can be said to be an art "of Palestine". Created by Palestinians and non-Palestinians, it is essentially an art of resistance. This has existed for decades in the Arab world but now it's coming from the west as well. One thinks of Joe Sacco's graphic novel Palestine; graffiti artist Banksy's paintings on Israel's "security" wall; and, of course, the East-West Divan Orchestra, co-founded by Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward Said.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reviews Marjane Satrapi's new book, Chicken With Plums, along with several other graphic novels.

One of Satrapi's gifts is for writing characters who are sympathetic even though they aren't always likable. Sometimes it's the world's cruel circumstances, not the person suffering them, that make us care.

Satrapi discusses the book with the Madison Capital Times.

"This is the book that looks most like myself," she adds. "He's absolutely charming, but at the same time he's a pain in the ass. And that's how I will say I am, too. I'm charming, but I'm also a real pain in the ass."

Drowned in Sound writers list their six favorite albums since 2001.

Rust Buckle interviews poet CAConrad.

Q: Your poetry is filled with many surrealistic flights of fancy, ~what are your feelings towards illogical logic?

A: Ah, this is another question about magic, thank you. And thanks too for agreeing to interview me on this swing set at the top of this bright grassy hill overlooking the grave of Benjamin Franklin here in Philadelphia. My black shoes have pink daisy tips, which are the best shoes for kicking the sky while swinging UP, and KICK!

Surrealism is serious business: Super Real. And the only thing holding us back from making the super real Real, is our BLASTED disbelief!

CAConrad's Book Notes essay for his collection of poetry, Deviant Propulsion, will appear on LHB Tuesday.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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