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February 25, 2007

Shorties

The Raleigh News & Observer previews books for spring.


Wales on Sunday offers a "rock 'n roll map of Wales."


The Santa Cruz Sentinel compares and contrasts the recent novels by authors Martin Amis and Dave Eggers.

While Amis is an outsider with a weak argument [really, is Russia unique in its suffering?], Eggers inhabits Deng completely, and in doing so, makes real an incomprehensible life and fresh every battered cliche about the human spirit.


Newsweek profiles "The 99," the first comic book series to feature Muslim superheroes.


Singer-songwriter James McMurtry talks to NPR's Weekend Edition, and plays a couple of songs in the studio.


The San Francisco Chronicle interviews legendary singer-songwriter Lee Hazlewood.

Q: Beck. Nick Cave. Sonic Youth. You influenced all these people.

A: There are a bunch you don't even know, in countries you haven't been in. There are a lot of them. It came awfully late in my life, but I'm very proud of that.

Q: What did you think of Jessica Simpson's take on "These Boots Are Made for Walkin' "?

A: Well, I thought it was very profitable for me. That's what I thought of that. It made money.


Author Steven Hall talks to the Daily Scotsman about his novel, The Raw Shark Texts.

It was important for Hall that each reader could "choose their own level of involvement", and he is thrilled that some readers respond to it purely as an adventure, while others treat it as a love story or a Chinese box puzzle. Although, with its cadenzas on books, the nature of reading and eerie doppelgangers it is clearly in a "post-modern" tradition, Hall plays those features down. "I mean", he says, "it seems to me you've got postmodernism in The Simpsons, so it's not that difficult or complicated." He's slightly averse to the "boring, knowing, tongue-in-cheek" stuff. "If I'd made it ironic," he continues, "that just translates as not being sure about the story, or that I can tell it properly. The only way a conceptual fish works is if you play it straight right the way through."


The Observer examines the effects Oscar nominations for the films inspired by the British books, The Last King of Scotland and Notes on a Scandal have had on sales of the novels.

The Last King of Scotland has been similarly buoyed by Whitaker's Bafta and Golden Globe winning performance. Sales of the book shot up from 293 in the week ending 16 December to a peak of 5,821 in the week of his Oscar nomination.


The Independent conducts an e-mail interview with author Chuck Klosterman.

MT: And finally, alongside the journalism, the new book features your first short story. Is a novel on the way?

CK:I hope so. I'm certainly trying. But fiction is difficult. Maybe I'll write a novel, but maybe it will be boring and forced and nobody will publish it. I've been incredibly fortunate over the past five years. I can't believe things have worked out the way they have. However, past performance is no indication of future returns. We'll see what happens.

In Esquire, Klosterman wonders why Britney Spears shaved her head.

Britney Spears has a lot of strange problems, but here's the biggest one: Everyone seems to think her actions have meaning. Because she is a celebrity, it is always assumed that what she does is driven by motive. I see no evidence of this. For one thing, there is no upside to this particular "media decision" (all the attention she's received is predictably negative and completely fruitless). For another thing, shaving one's head really isn't that crazy (the hot chick from Top Chef made the same move two months ago).

The Minneapolis City Pages asks three questions of Klosterman.

CP: Releasing a career retrospective as your fourth book is a pretty bold move. How accustomed are you to being called "bold"?

CK: It's particularly weird that you would ask this question. I've been having a 10-year debate with two of my friends over what constitutes the definition of "bold." The crux of the argument is whether Mother Teresa was bold or merely humane. Personally, I do not view releasing an anthology of journalism as a particularly bold endeavor. It's not like I punched a grizzly bear or blew up the moon.

see also: Klosterman's Largehearted Boy Book Notes contributions for his books Chuck Klosterman IV and Killing Yourself to Live.


Upstage magazine profiles singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins.

Think Roy Orbison's "Cryin'" if he was a woman, the orchestral sweep of Sufjan Stevens, the bleak vision of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, the darkly mysterious girl group-on-acid musings of Julee Cruise and Lynch composer Angelo Badalamenti, the sorrow of Patsy Cline, the '60s psychedelia of Love and Nuggets, all with a redeeming sense of hope amidst the emotional wreckage...


Rolling Stone lists "the best songs to play while drinking whiskey."


Gizmodo has called for a boycott of RIAA album releases next month.


GOOD magazine lists the "51 best* magazines ever." (see the post for the asterisk's explanation)


see also:

this week's CD & DVD releases

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