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January 27, 2008


The Winnipeg Free Press profiles Canadian first-time novelist Andrew Davidson, whose book deal with Doubleday garnered a $1.25 million advance.

"I didn't do this for the money, because who could have guessed anything like this would happen," he said. "I wrote the book because I had to write it." He has said the book "is the story of a severe burn survivor who, while recovering, meets a schizophrenic woman who claims that they were lovers in 14th-century Germany, when she was a nun and he was a mercenary." His Toronto publisher, Anne Collins of Random House, calls it a "book of incredible erudition subsumed by a love story that crosses centuries." She acknowledges that Davidson is living every aspiring author's dream.

The Charlotte Observer fields local book club questions for Jeannette Walls, author of the memoir The Glass Castle.

Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields explains his move to California to the Los Angeles Times.

But Merritt's Holy Grail, the reason he moved west, remains unclaimed.

"I wanted to be closer to Hollywood to help realize my dream of making 50 successful Hollywood musicals," he says, drinking green tea at a table inside the cafe. That figure is a downward revision from the 100 that he was aiming for a few years ago, though it might still seem quixotic for a man of 42.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Edward Champion reviews William T. Vollman's new book, Riding Toward Everywhere.

Vollmann balances this idiosyncratic reporting with considerable literary references. He evokes Mark Twain, both in light banter (the book even carries a Huckleberry Finn-style disclaimer) and explicit reference. He considers Twain's revisit of the river he once piloted in Life on the Mississippi, wryly suggesting that contemporary train-hopping likewise represents an American pastime lost to abandoned memory.

The Seattle Times has several pieces focusing on the indie record label Sub Pop:

bands that have been signed to the label
a profile of the label's founders
an interview with label founder Jonathan Poneman

Barry Poliser, the writer of the song "All I Want Is You" (featured in the film Juno's soundtrack) talks to the Baltimore Sun.

"I wrote many children's songs, but most of the songs are satirical, funny, kind of edgy," said Polisar. "But ["All I Want Is You"] is not. It's what I would call a kid-like love song."

A la Carte shares a list of anti-war songs, along with many free and legal mp3 downloads.

Seattle Weekly examines the consequences of having so much music available to listeners online.

"What I can say about it is that the average 14-year-old can hear more music in a month than someone would have heard in an entire lifetime just 300 years ago," says Dan Levitin, psychologist, McGill University professor, and author of This Is Your Brain on Music. Thanks to digital music distributors like CD Baby, the Orchard, and IODA, any independent musician's songs can now appear on iTunes; and heaps of old songs are finding new life in digital files. According to Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr, more than 6 million songs are now in the iTunes Store.

Net, Blogs, and Rock'n'Roll is a blog about "digital discovery of music and entertainment," written by the author of the book of the same name.

Forbes profiles the free music filesharing service, Qtrax, which starts again today after a five year hiatus.

The latest version of Qtrax still lets users tap into file-sharing networks to search for music, but downloads come with copy-protection technology known as digital-rights management, or DRM, to prevent users from burning copies to a CD and calculate how to divvy up advertising sales with labels.

Missing your favorite television shows die to the lack of new episodes? Florida Today recommends books based on your favorite television series.

Jeffrey Lewis shares the three-page comic he illustrated (words are by John Darnielle) as a press kit for the new Mountain Goats album, Heretic Pride.

The Scotsman profiles its countrymen, the Twilight Sad.

It's the Twilight Sad's lyrics, though, that make them really interesting. With song titles including 'That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy', and 'Last Year's Rain Didn't Fall Quite So Hard', I'm keen to find out more about these crafted, miniature stories. "I'd never written a song before, and then 'That Summer' just came out two years ago," admits Graham, making a vomiting sound to show me how effortlessly it happened. "I think it's all down to Andy. I've got him to thank for getting me into music. He's like my HMV, and he's always been on at me to pull my finger out and write some songs."

In the Times Online, author JG Ballard revisits writing his 1973 novel, Crash.

In Crash I would openly propose a strong connection between sexuality and the car crash, a fusion largely driven by the cult of celebrity. It seemed obvious that the deaths of famous people in car crashes resonated far more deeply than their deaths in plane crashes or hotel fires.

The Times Online profiles Cat Power's Chan Marshall.

AfterEllen is liveblogging from the Xena convention.

NPR's Weekend Edition examines the fate of Vladimir Nabokov's final unpublished novel.

Harp features the tour diary of Minus the Bear's Alex Rose.

also at Largehearted Boy:

2007 online music lists
Daily Downloads
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from this week's CD releases)
this week's CD releases


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