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September 14, 2007

Book Notes - David Rosen ("I Just Want My Pants Back")

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that is in some way relevant to their recently published books.

The New York Observer heralded I Just Want My Pants Back as the return of the slacker novel. Funny, smart, and fast-paced, this coming of age novel is a bright debut from author David Rosen.

L Magazine said of the book:

"Raunch meets redemption in this wonderfully observed, breezy and entertaining story."

David Rosen will be reading from the novel Monday, September 17th at Mo Pitkins in New York at 7 pm.

In his own words, here is David Rosen's Book Notes essay for his debut novel, I Just Want My Pants Back:

I’m Mr. Easily Distracted. So while I’m into music, I don’t usually play it when I write. Otherwise, I inevitably find characters saying lines like, “Karma police, arrest this man.”

But when writing I Just Want My Pants Back, I did listen to music – almost constantly -- because it’s such a large part of Jason Strider’s, the narrator’s, personality. Jason is a 25-year-old in NYC with a degree from Cornell, a wiseass mouth, a tiny apartment, a shitty job as a receptionist at a casting agency, and absolutely no idea what to do with his life. He’s searching for love, meaning, and yes, a missing pair of pants, lost to a one-night stand. I was looking for tracks that helped put me in his funny ha-ha and funny-sad place.

Black and Brown Blues, Silver Jews

This is one of those songs where every verse is infinitely quotable, where you laugh but deeply feel the melancholy of the song’s narrator. “Fake IDs, and honeybees, the jagged skyline of car keys.” David Berman, leader of the Jews, is an accomplished poet – I highly recommend his book, Actual Air, not to mention every one of the Jews’ albums. In general, I like Jews, but that’s a separate subject.

My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It, Hank Williams

Sure, it’s an obvious choice, but still, you cannot deny Hank. You can try, but then a bunch of punk-a-billy thugs will swing by your house and beat you with a pillowcase filled with grapefruits. Jason listens to this while lying on his couch, staring at the ceiling, thinking his cramped, dusty apartment is not unlike a nostril.

Son of a Gun, The Vaselines

Listening to this song while walking down Avenue C inspired a small scene in the book, on page 65. A band that never rated highly enough in America, though they were one of Kurt Cobain’s favorites.

Creosote, Son Volt

Like a punch to the stomach delivered by a pretty girl with martial arts training.

Ursula Finally Has Tits, The Queers

The Queers f*cking rock. And when you’re writing a book, and it’s late, and your narrator is occasionally drunk and knocking over bar stools, you need some music like this, that puts you in a bar, stumbling and shattered, a bit dangerous. You also need a lot of caffeine so you don’t face-plant on your keyboard.

Range Life, Pavement

Whenever I listen to this song, whether on my iPod walking around NYC, or in a car, staring out the window, it seems the world around me somehow magically falls in step with the laconic beat. Yes, that might be the corniest thing I ever typed. But it’s true.

Nitemare Hippie Girl, Beck

A song that, at least for me, is reminiscent of walking into a girl’s apartment you just met, excited about the possibilities, not knowing exactly what will happen or what you’ll find. Specifically, it reminds me of a night I ended up in a strange woman’s apartment I’d describe as “bohemian disgusting.” Ten years of The New Yorker piled in the tub, pot seeds on the turntable… it was a Petri dish with a bed in it.

Talkin’ New York, Bob Dylan

Patty, Jason’s wise older neighbor, has a stash of Dylan records. She quotes this song at a particularly poignant moment. I won’t spoil it.

Something Wicked, British Sea Power

I made a video trailer for the book (you can see it at, and before I even started editing, I knew this was the track I wanted to use. All BSP’s music seems to have that searching quality to it. Maybe it’s the organ.

Banging Camp, The Hold Steady

Craig Finn describes being wasted in particularly visual ways.

No Feelings, The Sex Pistols

I listened to Never Mind The Bollocks a lot, as well of a bunch of Clash albums, particularly Give ‘Em Enough Rope, while writing. They are part of the bedrock of Jason’s musical tastes. Not to mention my own.

David Rosen and I Just Want My Pants Back links:

the book's website
the book's video trailer
the book's page at the publisher
the author's MySpace page
the author's Facebook page

ain't it cool news review
L Magazine review
Marie Claire review
Maxim review
New York Observer review

AdPulp interview with the author
the author's gossip moment in Page 6
the author's short story in Esquire as part of their Napkin Fiction

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)

Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2007 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)


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