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April 17, 2007


Salon reviews the final Lord of the Rings volume, The Children of Hurin.

"The Children of Húrin" will thrill some readers and dismay others, but will surprise almost everyone. If you're looking for the accessibility, lyrical sweep and above all the optimism of "Lord of the Rings," well, you'd better go back and read it again. There are no hobbits here, no Tom Bombadil, no cozy roadside inns and precious little fireside cheer of any variety found here. This is a tale whose hero is guilty of repeated treachery and murder, a story of rape and pillage and incest and greed and famous battles that ought never to have been fought. If "Lord of the Rings" is a story where good conquers evil, this one moves inexorably in the other direction.

The Denver Post offers a guide to podcasts.

BBC News examines the "mis lit" literary genre.

Now we have what Bookseller magazine refers to as "mis lit", or "misery memoirs", in which the author tells of his or her triumph over personal trauma. Referred to by publishing houses as "inspirational lit" - or "inspi-lit" - many, though by no means all, of the harrowing memoirs tell of being sexually abused as a child.

And they are proving to be hugely popular. Currently there are three such books in the top 10 best-selling paperbacks in Britain.

The Independent reviews Bob Dylan's London performance.

The Boston Globe reviews Jeff Hobbs' debut novel, The Tourists.

The 26-year-old Hobbs was mentored through the novel-writing process by Bret Easton Ellis, and it shows. (In fact, it's too bad Simon & Schuster didn't leave in the two essays introducing the advanced reading copy of the novel contrasting the experiences of mentor and mentored.) But even without the noted connection, "The Tourists" strongly calls to mind the "brat pack" novels of Ellis and Jay McInerney, with an undercurrent of "The Great Gatsby" as well, all updated to here and now, and sure to make sensitive readers worry about the future of this generation.

My Old Kentucky Blog features some in-studio tracks from David Vandervelde.

This Women Coil is a French music blog devoted to female artists.

No Flying, No Tights reviews graphic novels for teens.

Best Online Documentaries links to free and legal streaming documentaries of all kinds.

Paste's band of the week is Menomena.

LAist profiles the five young adult novels nominated for the 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

InformationWeek examines Rolling Stone's planned social network.

Feczko said that during a recent talk at NYU, Keith Blanchard, Wenner Media's executive director for online media, disclosed plans for a social network that allows music fans to create profiles and post "Best of" lists. Blanchard described the project as an "American Idol version of lists" and announced that 1,000 back issues of the magazine would be available through the Web site or via DVD sets, according to Feckzo.

The BBC's Collective interviews author Gautam Malkani about his novel, Londonstani.

Double Viking lists the 5 hottest indie women.

In the Guardian, authors including Jonathan Franzen and Douglas Coupland share "what gets their creative juices flowing."

WXPN's World Cafe profiles the Rosebuds.

At I Will Dare, the Bookclub Bitches podcast discusses one of my favorite novels of the year so far, Tom McCarthy's The Remainder.

T-shirt of the day: "War and Peas"

see also:

this week's CD releases


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