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June 4, 2007


The New York Times profiles the band Rock Bottom Remainders, which includes authors Scott Turow and Dave Barry (among others).

The band was created in 1992 by Kathi Kamen Goldmark, a singer and musician who was working part time as a media escort in Los Angeles, driving authors around on their book tours. “When they heard I sang in a band, that’s all many of them wanted to talk about,” she recalled on Thursday. “They’d say: ‘You’re kidding. You’re so lucky!’ ” She came up with the idea of putting together a literary band to give a benefit concert at a Los Angeles book fair that year and sent out a dozen or so faxes. Those who responded became the Rock Bottom Remainders, and with a few additions the band has been together ever since.

Singer-songwriter Steve Earle talks to the New Yorker.

Earle was in the Village the other day, working on a new album, which will be called “Washington Square Serenade.” He had made it more like a hip-hop record, he said: “The pieces are set to beats. It’s nothing like the way I usually work, when I bring a full band into the studio and we do the orchestrating right there.” He had recorded the demos on a computer in his apartment—“I finally tested positive for Pro Tools,” he said—and now, a few blocks away, at Electric Lady Studio, on West Eighth, he was adding guitars and other instruments (mandolin, bouzouki, harmonium), nearly all of which he plays himself.

Author Khaled Hosseini talks to the San Jose Mercury News about the effect of book clubs on sales of his novel, The Kite Runner.

"I feel like I owe the book groups a great debt," says Hosseini, who lives in a two-bedroom South San Jose home and was an internist at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara before taking a leave to devote himself to writing. Both his books are set in war-torn Afghanistan.

"Sales of `The Kite Runner' were very slow when it came out in June of 2003, and then the book groups really embraced it," he says. "The word of mouth they generated really went a long way toward its success."

Popmatters profiles former Libertines frontman Pete Doherty.

Salon offers the first of four weekly summer reading suggestions, "killer thrillers." lists the 25 best movie soundtracks ever.

Newsweek finds parallels between Harry Potter and Tony Soprano.

Drowned in Sound recaps May's music releases.

The New York Times examines publishers' speakers bureaus, which set up public appearances for their authors.

A speakers bureau “goes beyond the traditional marketing opportunities,” said Jamie Brickhouse, who heads the HarperCollins enterprise. “It’s a way for authors to continue to raise their profiles and reach new audiences. It’s great for the frontlist and for the backlist, and has brought new life to authors who don’t have an ongoing book push.”

Voice of America interviews author Philip Roth.

The Los Angeles Times profiles author Cormac McCarthy.

McCarthy, who will appear Tuesday on Winfrey's show in a rare interview, is considered an American literary giant by critics and readers, his books (notably "Blood Meridian" and "Suttree") taught in college courses alongside the works of Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain. The literary establishment was surprised at Winfrey's choice because it views her selections as lowbrow and repeating a familiar formula: Victim overcomes adversity, dignity prevails over evil, the underdog overcomes overwhelming odds and triumphs in a small but morally significant way. Oprah books have become a cliché, at least among the folks who think themselves her betters. The literary establishment believes that if Winfrey likes a book by a living writer, that writer must be awful.

Newsday profiles singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright.

This week, Five Chapters features a serialized new short story from Robert Anthony Siegel, author of the novel All Will Be Revealed.

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this week's CD releases


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