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February 5, 2007

Shorties

Popmatters offers a primer on the life (and albums) of Prince.


The Raleigh News & Observer interviews singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan.

Q - Why is your style of folk music popular today?

A - I've thought about it an awful lot, and why it should be now, and I think it's a generation thing. I think there's a generation of people who inherently know that violence isn't the way to go, and their music expresses this.


Singer-songwriter Bobby Conn talks to Popmatters.


The Cherry Hill Courier-Post profiles the University of Pennsylvania's Kelly Writers House.

"Any given week, we'll have a famous author visit and speak, as well as have a lecture series and a reading by a local poet. It's really quite varied," said Jessica Lowenthal, director of the Kelly Writers House.


The Buffalo News reviews Marjane Satrapi's most recent graphic novel, Chicken with Plums.

Satrapi's keen sense of humor, incisive wit, and purposely simplistic drawings keep the story from drowning in its own despair. In fact, at Nasser Ali's funeral, the reader finally gets a more thorough understanding of the fated musician, the reason for his suicide, and the effect it will have on those around him. Multiple readings or a keen eye for detail will unearth some simple charms built into the artwork and backgrounds.


Harp interviews singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche.

HARP: You’ve refined the great duality of your music—that Burt Bacharach/Cole Porter thing, and the rock.

Yeah! I hope so. I’m not gonna wait to start challenging [my listeners]; you’ve got to set the standard now. I’m very flattered to have an audience who follow what I do, and I’m just desperately happy that I have been able to do exactly what I want. I also believe that today people listen to so much different music. I listen to so much different music. There’s not really a contradiction between listening to Cole Porter and Burt Bacharach or My Bloody Valentine and Pavement, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be reflected in my music.


Drowned in Sound offers two more reviews of the Arcade Fire's London shows.


The Bat Segundo Show literary podcast has three new episodes available, featuring authors Christopher Moore, Nick Mamatas & Stephen Graham Jones.


This week, Five Chapters is serializing Rachel Sherman's story, "Land Between Two Brush Shaped Hills."


An editorial writer in the Guardian prefers PCs over Macs (I just laughed at the Dr. Who reference).

PCs are the ramshackle computers of the people. You can build your own from scratch, then customise it into oblivion. Sometimes you have to slap it to make it work properly, just like the Tardis (Doctor Who, incidentally, would definitely use a PC).


The Eugene Register-Guard attends the Midwinter Mystery Weekend in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

A few blocks away, Los Angeles mystery writers Jack Remick and Robert Ray taught a writing workshop, "The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery."

"Always start with your killer. Go as deep into the killer as you can - he drives the story," Remick told the dozen participants before assigning them a timed writing exercise: They were to begin with "I am the killer" and include "I made my first kill."


The Times Online profiles author EB White.

That White is remembered best for his 1952 story of a pig named Wilbur, saved from the butcher’s block by a spider’s gnomic message proclaiming Wilbur’s genius, would have made him smile wryly. He was never altogether comfortable with its success. He saw himself primarily as a commentator. “My foray in the field of children’s literature was an accident,” he said in 1969. “It was fun. It also became rewarding in other ways — and that was a surprise, as I am not essentially a storyteller and was taking a holiday from my regular work.”


The Atlanta Journal Constitution posts memorable excerpts from he columns of Molly Ivins.

April 7, 1999 on then Texas governor George W. Bush:

This is not a person of great depth or complexity or intelligence; he does not have many ideas. I don't think he knows or cares a great deal about governance. Nevertheless, he is a perfectly adequate governor of Texas, where we so famously have the weak-governor system.


USA Today profiles author James Patterson, specifically his relationship with his co-authors.

Patterson says he wrote a 30-page outline, "chapter by chapter," for what would become Step on a Crack, which opens with the mysterious death of a former first lady and leads to a mass kidnapping at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Thrust into the situation is homicide detective Michael Bennett, whose wife is dying, and who has 10 adopted kids.

It has all the ingredients of a Patterson page-turner: drama, emotions and short chapters (116 in 383 pages). Patterson calls it "a delicious stew" while acknowledging that the ending "is over-the-top." But, he says, "never let reality get in the way of a good story."

Ledwidge says his role was to flesh out the outline, adding details like St. Patrick's underground bomb shelter, which he invented. Ledwidge, who lives in Avon, Conn., says he wrote several chapters at a time and sent them to Patterson, who spends most of the year in Florida. Patterson sent back revisions, which, he says, mostly dealt with "the pace, not getting bogged down," and "not neglecting the detective's family."


The Independent reports that Ian Rankin will be the first non-American author to have a novel serialized in the New York Times.


SXSW Baby! is getting into full swing with news about the music, film and interactive conference. Along with Donewaiting's SXSW blog, this is a must-read for anyone attending the conference.


Singer-songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips lists "music you should hear" for Amazon.com.


see also:

Largehearted Boy's favorite albums of 2006
2006 Year-end Music List Compilation
this week's CD & DVD releases

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