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March 29, 2008


In the Guardian, Margaret Atwood celebrates Anne of Green Gables.

Anne of Green Gables was first published in 1908, a year before my mother was born, so when I first grinned and snivelled my way through it at the age of eight, it was a youthful 40. I revisited it through the eyes of my own child in the 1980s, when it was approaching 80. Then our family actually went to Prince Edward Island, and stayed in Charlottetown, and saw the sprightly, upbeat Anne of Green Gables musical that's been running there continuously since 1965. I enjoyed it a lot, but watching a show about an 11-year-old girl with some real 11-year-old girls casts a different light on things: some of that enjoyment was vicarious.

The New York Times examines the "literary deal breakers" in romantic relationships.

Naming a favorite book or author can be fraught. Go too low, and you risk looking dumb. Go too high, and you risk looking like a bore — or a phony. “Manhattan dating is a highly competitive, ruthlessly selective sport,” Augusten Burroughs, the author of “Running With Scissors” and other vivid memoirs, said. “Generally, if a guy had read a book in the last year, or ever, that was good enough.” The author recalled a date with one Michael, a “robust blond from Germany.” As he walked to meet him outside Dean & DeLuca, “I saw, to my horror, an artfully worn, older-than-me copy of ‘Proust’ by Samuel Beckett.” That, Burroughs claims, was a deal breaker. “If there existed a more hackneyed, achingly obvious method of telegraphing one’s education, literary standards and general intelligence, I couldn’t imagine it.”

The Washington Post's Post Rock blog interviews Caribou's Dan Snaith.

What's a guy with a PhD in mathematics - who studied algebraic number theory - doing in a field like this?

What I like is, they're both creative. Mathematics at a higher level is more creative than people expect. But they're both really hard to pin down. Music has always appealed to me very immediately, but it's also very hard for me to say why I like this song and why I don't like this one. That goes for music I listen to as well as music I make. There's always so much more to understand, that's hard to wrap your head around why things work and things don't. People often expect my music to be very mathematical, which it's not. It's aesthetic and intuitive.

Sub Pop Records is looking to dole out a total of $13,000 in scholarship money to three Oregon and/or Washington high school seniors.

New York magazine profiles author Jhumpa Lahiri.

Lahiri still expresses an ambivalence about all her success that can’t be entirely written off as false modesty. Yet success has allowed her to work on long-shelved ideas (some of her new stories—as well as her coming novel—have been in the works for more than a decade). And it’s enabled her to write longer short stories, a form that happens to suit her perfectly. “I could keep them on the back burner, at a low simmer, for a longer time,” she says.

Lahiri also talks to the Providence Journal.

Pitchfork interviews Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood.

Pitchfork: How frustrating was it to not have any control over that Radiohead boxed set your old label released late last year?

CG: For me, it was upsetting because I remember when R.E.M. put out Out of Time and, around the same time, IRS re-released Murmur and the Chronic Town EP and Fables and stuff. It was just really nice for them to put out the back catalogue, because I think a lot of people got into R.E.M. around then. I would love for us to have people check out what we've done before in a cool way if they haven't already got it. But we're not traveling on that road at the moment. If you start taking stock, it's like the pathologist's knock on the door.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune talks backlash with the members of Vampire Weekend.

Quick breakouts such as VW's, however, often lead to even hastier waves of skepticism and backlash. Bands such as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Minneapolis' own Tapes 'N Tapes earned similar, blogger-buoyed excitement only to produce ho-hum record sales in the end.

Predictably, the Vampire boys are trying to brush off any negative reaction to their fast rise.

"There gets to be this sort of meta-analysis where, as soon as a band gets popular, the idea of a backlash is the first thing that comes up," Baio said. "As far as an actual form of it, we haven't seen anything other than people writing nasty, anonymous things online, but they've been doing that since last April.

My favorite Muxtape yet.

Drowned in Sound recaps March's notable music releases.

NPR's Morning Edition examines the effects of the film Persepolis on young Iranians.

Minneapolis Public Radio's The Current features the Mekons with an interview and in-studio performance.

NPR's All Things Considered excerpts Stefan Fasis's essay, "My Glove: A Biography", from the baseball essay compilation Anatomy of Baseball.

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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