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October 31, 2006


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wonders about the literary legacy of author Stephen King.

The Evening Standard attends a book signing by former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.

Her book is described by the publishers as a "revealing and practical" guide to "fashion, beauty and style". In it she "shares her secrets" on dressing for special occasions, accessorising and making the most of your wardrobe.

It is described by the critics in entirely different terms, but then if Mrs Beckham - or indeed Lady Beckham, as she has just revealed she would like to be called - worried about the critics she probably would not get out of bed in the morning.

Singer-songwriter (and Crooked Finger) Eric Bachmann puts his iPod on shuffle for the Onion A.V. Club.

AVC: As a songwriter, do you compare yourself to Dylan at all, or think about Dylan when you write?

EB: Me? No way. I don't think anybody could do that and be taken seriously, because he was such an anomaly in his timing and the way he marketed himself. People don't realize he was so aware of that. His songwriting was stellar. He did so many things, it wouldn't be reasonable to put yourself on that level. That's not to say I don't believe 100 percent in what I'm doing. I think that it's good. But nobody's Bob Dylan.

In its review of Rhino's A Life Less Lived: The Gothic Box out, Popmatters rethinks goth music.

The songs selected here are hereditarily Goth, even if some of the artists aren’t necessarily associated with the movement. And, really, Goth as a genre has to be the most openly disdained label in the history of music categorization. Artists have rejected and outright denounced the Goth label. Even Bauhaus’ Daniel Ash is quoted in the set’s book as saying “Goth in England meant too much makeup and no talent.” And this is the beauty of A Life Less Lived: It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still acknowledges the importance of the music collected.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer interviews actress/author Amy Sedaris about her new book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence.

What are three tips for good guest behavior?

Show up on time or 15 minutes late. If you said you're going to bring something, bring it. And third, come in full spirit. "You don't want to walk in the door complaining, or you don't want to walk in the door saying, "Oh I've got to show you this really quick." Anything that's going to take the hostess out of circulation is a bad idea. A good guest will just come, and if I hired you because I know you're funny and outgoing, then you were probably cast for a reason. Hopefully you'll bring that energy to the party.

Actress/author Meg Tilly talks to Minnesota Public Radio about her second novel, Gemma.

NPR is streaming last night's Decemberists Washington performance.

Harp lists the "five most gifted weirdos."

Stream the new Sufjan Stevens holiday box set, Songs for Christmas.

Authors Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng talk to Time magazine about the novel they co-authored, What Is the What.

In places What Is the What is surprisingly funny. Eggers explains that he didn't want the book to read like "a human-rights report." "We were trying to reflect the whole life, the complete life," he says, "not just disaster after disaster." After all, Deng spent 13 years in refugee camps. He grew up in them. He joked around with friends. He flirted with girls. "The horror was so overwhelming that for many years I never thought that I had this fun," he says. "But there are moments when I no longer recall missing my family. That was the time when I had fun."

In the Wall Street Journal, Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret approve of the new iTunes social networking plugin, iLike.

It studies your entire music library and your listening -- not buying -- habits before suggesting related songs. It shows you what your friends are currently listening to and sets up a Web site where your music tastes are organized for others to see, encouraging social networking according to your music compatibility with other users.

The New York Daily News reviews Aimee Mann's holiday album, One More Drifter in the Snow.

Remarkably, "Drifter" exudes no obvious Grinch-like attitude, though it does include a cover of a song from that very musical. Unsurprisingly, Mann delivers the vicious lyrics to "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" with relish. Elsewhere, she presents a well-balanced view of this emotionally dicey season. There are equal measures of warmth, disappointment, longing and belief in her versions of the holiday classics.

The Associated Press reports that MySpace will begin using "music fingerprint" software to block copyrighted music from being uploaded to the service.

Daytrotter has Of Montreal in the studio for an interview and performance.

Worldchanging is trying to "hack the publishing system" by having people buy the book, Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century, today at

But we don't have the blockbuster machine working for us. We have no marketing budget at all. Our publisher, Abrams, is terrific, but they are not a big company. They have a comparatively tiny promotions budget and don't have the kind of clout with booksellers to manufacture bestsellers.

Here's what we do have: you.

You're smart. You get it about systems and how they work and the importance of moving new ideas into the mainstream. You like a good hack.

Like this one: we have the capacity, if we work together, to put the Worldchanging book on the top of the Amazon bestseller list.

CMJ's staff blog interviews Boris drummer/vocalist Atsuo about his band's collaboration with SunnO)), the album Altar.

Did you have a clearly defined goal of how you wanted the recording to sound?

We didn’t have at all. As the earlier speaking, each other, the music is born from the improvisation. There is not a feeling “controlling” music. We play as music want to be born.

see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases


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