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May 18, 2008


The Toronto Star reviews a quartet of recently published culinary memoirs.

The Los Angeles Times examines the history of New York's Chelsea hotel as well as the fight by some residents to resist renovation.

In these rooms, Leonard Cohen met Janis Joplin on an unmade bed. Bob Dylan stayed up for days, longing for his estranged wife. Both men memorialized the hotel in song. In one room, Thomas Wolfe wrote "You Can't Go Home Again," and in another Arthur C. Clarke penned "2001: A Space Odyssey." The poet Dylan Thomas spent his last days at the hotel before a drinking binge finished him off in 1953. And 25 years later, the Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious was charged with stabbing girlfriend Nancy Spungen to death in their room at the hotel.

Some Chelsea Hotel songs:

Scoop lists "five comics that changed my life."

The New York Times profiles Death Cab for Cutie.

Death Cab for Cutie is all about paying the fare. On the new “Narrow Stairs” (Atlantic), its sixth studio album and second on a major label (“Plans,” from 2005, was the first), the band ponders the cost of giving up on hope and decides that depression is just not worth the sticker price. On the surface this is Death Cab’s darkest, noisiest music yet. One love song gets going with the lyric “I’m starting to feel like we’re staying together out of fear of dying alone.” By the song’s end, though, the narrator realizes the problems are his, and fixable. By the album’s end the listener will probably realize that hope is peeking out of a meerkat hole.

TinyDad lists 22 sites that "are driving daggers into the heart of the RIAA." offers travel destinations for book lovers broken down by US state.

Rolling Stone examines "rock's new economy," where artists have to find other revenue streams besides CD sales.

Ian Montone, whose Monotone Management handles the White Stripes, Vampire Weekend, the Shins, M.I.A. and the Raconteurs, says his bands no longer make most of their money on CD sales. "A lot of artists are looking toward touring and merchandising sales at shows, because that market is still vibrant if you grow it methodically," he says. The Shins have licensed songs for use in commercials for McDonald's and Zune. Still, Montone says the Shins turn down 90 percent of the licensing deals they're offered. So why McDonald's? "Why not?" says Montone. "They have kids and want to own houses."

The music blog 3Hive has added a discussion forum.

The Times Online examines the growth in recognition for Australian novelists.

The Observer examines how Jhumpa Lahiri's short story collection Unaccustomed Earth is changing American fiction.

Lahiri's new book, both the NYT and Time magazine said, represents a fundamental shift in direction of the American novel. No longer could it be considered under the direction of white, American-born men; the new direction of American letters - allowing for minor adjustments in course by writers such as Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace or Michael Chabon - is now informed by the experience of the immigrant.

The Times Online lists the 30 best books festivals in the British Isles.

The New York Times examines Barack Obama, the author.

The story of Mr. Obama’s life as an author tells as much about him as some of the stories he has recounted in his books. It possesses at times the same charmed quality sometimes ascribed to his political ascent — an impression of ease, if not exactly effortlessness, that obscures a more complex amalgam of drive, ambition, timing and the ability to recognize an opportunity and to do what it takes to seize it.

Scarlett Johansson talks to the Times Online about bloggers' reactions to her Tom Waits covers album, Anywhere I Lay My Head.

“I don’t know how people find the time to spend doing them,” Johansson says, with a magisterial swipe at the blogging community. “And why is it that people are so mean on the internet? They’re angry – really angry. They write things in language that I would never, could never, use: all that hatred and spite. Why is that? I think it’s because people feel so unsatisfied, they want something more. But a friend of mine thinks they are all really, really nice people who have to be nice all the time, and it’s them just spewing.”

Chinese novelist Liao Yiwu talks to NPR's All Things Considered about his book of Sichuan oral histories, The Corpse Walker: Real-Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up.

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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