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February 10, 2008


The Chicago Sun-Times handicaps the Grammys.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reviews Lee Siegel's new book, Against The Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob.

"Culture needs authoritative institutions like a powerful newspaper," he writes. "It needs them both to protect its critical, independent spirit and to make sure that culture's voice gets heard in the larger din of more powerful economic and political entities."

As many papers reduce or drop the reviewing and coverage of books, the welter of "literary" bloggers promises to replace the validated work of professional critics and editors.

"With all its various centers of power and checks and balances, a newspaper is a lot less biased -- for all its commercial pressures -- and a lot less susceptible to hostile influences than the unchecked ego and will of a single blogger," Siegel believes.

The San Jose Mercury News lists the year's prize-winning children's books.

The New York Times reviews the Mountain Goats video for "Sax Rohmer #1" from their new album, Heretic Pride.

John Darnielle, the singer-songwriter behind the Mountain Goats, is a hard-core word nerd; there is proof in his barbed lyrics and more proof on his blog, The new Mountain Goats video, for “Sax Rohmer #1,” underscores his word obsession, and maybe mocks it too. (It was directed by Ace Norton; find it at This is the great first single from the group’s new album, “Heretic Pride” (4AD), and while Mr. Darnielle intones and (later) yelps the words, the camera reveals them, perfectly in sync with the song. The ominous lyrics — “Ships loosed from their moorings capsize and then they’re gone/Sailors with no captains watch awhile and then move on” — are written all over the crowded set, on walls and floors and on the band members themselves. Now it’s even harder to resist the temptation to read Mr. Darnielle instead of hearing him.

T-shirt of the day: "Buddha Rock"

Arthur magazine interviews comics writer Grant Morrison.

Oxford Comma Riddim is a Vampire Weekend fansite complete with lyrics, forums, and tourdates.

The Times Online profiles bestselling author James Patterson.

The virtue prized by his fans is the sparseness of his writing, stripped of descriptive passages and pared down to short paragraphs with typically 150 chapters. “I don’t put in too many details about how a room looks,” he observed. “Some people would go for whole pages. That’s great if you have the style, but if people really want to know what happens next it’s just boring.”

PJ Harvey talks songwriting with the Age.

"Michelangelo said of his sculpture that the image existed already within a block of stone and he just had to reveal it," she says. "I think that goes through the minds of a lot of artists. Something is there and you just have to reveal it . . . I might just begin a song with a line I like, and that will be a platform for the song to unfold. It will be a process of having the courage to be that vulnerable, to let this song inhabit you and write itself."

The Observer lists ten essential albums for spring.

The New York Times profiles Ajinbayo Akinsiku, the cartoonist behind the graphic novel The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation.

“We present things in a very brazen way,” said Mr. Akinsiku, who hopes to become an Anglican priest and who is the author of “The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation.” “Christ is a hard guy, seeking revolution and revolt, a tough guy.”

The New York Daily News also reviews the book.

Though there are some biblical quotes here and there, most of the dialogue is familiar to comic book readers. Right before Cain kills Abel, for example, Cain says, "Wassup, Bro? I've got something I wanna show you ..."

"Sounds interesting," the unsuspecting Abel replies. "What is it?"

"Your death, you smug %@#$!"

Brave New Traveler lists the 50 greatest travel books of all times.

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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