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April 18, 2008

Note Books - Alison Sudol (A Fine Frenzy)

The Note Books series features musicians discussing their literary side. Past contributors have included John Darnielle, John Vanderslice, and others.

A Fine Frenzy's debut album, One Cell In the Sea, crept up on me last year. Some records are immediately favorites, but I found Alison Sudol's lyrics growing on me with each spin. Her literary allusions and poetic storytelling bear repeated listens and mark her as a singer-songwriter in the true sense of the word.

Alison keeps her fans apprised of her current reading at her online book club at Buzznet, where she posts videos chronicling the books she loves and interacts with other readers in the forum.

Thanks to Alison for sharing some of her favorite books for the Largehearted Boy Note Books series.

In her own words, here is the Note Books entry from Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy:


I read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged when I was in high school and I remember being captivated by her stark imagery and daring philosophy. I had heard about The Fountainhead, but never had the urge to read it until I saw a battered copy sticking out on the shelf of a used bookstore in Vancouver, BC. I began reading it on a very long flight to Germany. I had a water bottle in my lap and it was open just slightly (I haven't quite managed to get the whole plane-organization thing down, I've always got a drink or bag of peanuts in my lap, a pen stuck in my hair, my jacket jammed on the side of the seat and a giant bag between my feet... Working on that... ) Two chapters into the book, I looked down to find the water bottle had tipped over, soaking my pant leg completely. I had been so immersed in the story that I hadn't noticed at all. The book only got better from there. It's about integrity, individualism, courage, art, belief and greatness. It came at a time when I needed those things to be reinforced. I would strongly recommend it to anyone in need of a bit of truth and passion in their life.


Country houses, picnics, carriages, balls, romance, pride, folly, compassion, tea and trouble. There's nothing not to like about Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen has the unique ability of immersing the reader in 19th century life while still somehow remaining amazingly modern. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy are two of my favorite characters of all time, but every person Miss Austen has written into life is as three dimensional and full-blooded as if they had lived and breathed on their own. Again, I found myself reading on a plane. This one made the people sitting next to me nervous because it caused me to spontaneously chuckle loudly and burst into tears in the same hour. A very good book indeed.


This is one of the most spiritual books I've ever read. I've only read it once, but I remember the way it made me feel as clearly as if it were only yesterday. I was sitting in my classroom at the time (I think I was about fifteen years old) and I was reading during a study hall. As I made my way through the story, I became entirely unaware of my surroundings. It felt like I was flying. When I reached the end, I found myself sobbing fairly loudly and somehow grinning at the same time. It was a truly transcendent experience. I'd recommend it to anyone that doesn't like lengthy or difficult prose. It's a pretty easy read, but for me, it was life changing.

Alison Sudol and A Fine Frenzy links:

A Fine Frenzy's website
A Fine Frenzy's MySpace page
A Fine Frenzy's Wikipedia entry
A Fine Frenzy's YouTube channel

Alison Sudol's book club on Buzznet

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Note Books submissions (musicians discuss literature)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
Soundtracked (directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2008 Edition)
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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