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July 6, 2008


The Toronto Star handicaps a trio of debut novels: Ed Park's Personal Days, Nathaniel Rich's The Mayor's Tongue, and Keith Gessen's All the Sad Young Literary Men.

The next quarter-mile (next 100 pages) is crucial, and Gessen could still recover, while Park might succumb to the cutesy and pointless narrative trickery typical of the Eggersards and blow his considerable lead. As for wondercolt Rich, well, simply finishing the race in one piece should be reward enough, as his sire, New York Times columnist Frank Rich, waves proudly from the grandstands.

see also: Park's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for his novel

The New York Times profiles Beck.

Though much is made of Beck’s outward eccentricities — his tendency to speak in meandering half-sentences, his occasional use of puppets in his live show — beneath them he is a dedicated apprentice of pop songcraft and the history of the form.

The Philadelphia Inquirer lists its contenders for the song of the summer of 2008.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer offers its summer reading suggestions.

see also: my list of summer reading lists

io9 lists 10 Batman books you must read.

The Telegraph re-reads the novels shortlisted for the "best of the Booker" prize.

As things stand, though, it's not easy to see anything beating the far more famous Indian novel on the list - which might be more of an injustice if Midnight's Children (1981) by Salman Rushdie weren't also the best book of the lot.

Nearly 30 years - and at least three more classic Rushdies - later, Midnight's Children should, in theory, have lost its power to astonish. In practice, rereading it instantly returned me to that original state of awed disbelief that so much exhilarating stuff can be packed into a single novel. (Rushdie, you feel, could have knocked off the entire plot of Oscar and Lucinda in one chapter here.)

Cracked lists the most "unintentionally scarring" '80s music videos.

Nerve interviews John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats about his 33 1/3 book, Black Sabbath: Master of Reality.

What's next for John Darnielle? Are you considering another novel? Cause this one was awesome.

Thanks, man! Yeah, I'm actually working on another one. I've been kind of conflicted about it, because its protagonist is also a kid who's into metal. When I was starting it, I thought, "Do you really want to set yourself up like this?" But then I thought, actually, part of the problem with the way society treats people like the Master of Reality narrator is in thinking of all kids who're into metal as if they were all the same — in reducing individuals to types, which they're not. So I thought it'd be better, if trickier, to start out with a story that looks similar, but whose differences will become pretty obvious after a chapter or two. So that's what I'm working on right now. It's a much uglier and harder story I'm telling though. It is keeping me up at night, which is fun, if irritating to my wife.

Intelligent Life examines "how dumb is your bestseller list?"

Nerve interviews A.C. Newman of the New Pornographers.

You described the song "Challengers" using the quote, "A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to discover through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened." What are those two or three images for you?

I don't know. I don't even remember who wrote that quote. I just remember I read it in the liner notes for a Scott Walker album. I can't remember if it was Camus or Nietzsche; I always get them mixed up. But it's true, anyone who is doing something creative, they're always chasing something. And a lot of the time you're not even sure what it is you're chasing. That's the best explanation I've ever found for that.

UIC interviews artist Heather McAdams, and she lists her favorite autobiographical comics and books.

io9 lists "four anime robots that made me more human."

Streamzy is an online site to search for streaming music.

Pendant of the day: "read."

NPR's Morning Edition profiles Bit o' Lit, a commuter zine filled with book excerpts.

The Times Online profiles the Watson Twins.

The duo first came to attention when they shared the billing with Rilo Kiley’s vocalist Jenny Lewis on her 2006 solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, and spent the following year touring the world with her. Encouraged by the enthusiastic response, Leigh and Chandra recorded a mini-album, Southern Manners, and have just released their first full-length collection, Fire Songs. Their self-penned songs strike a melancholic yet optimistic mood around themes of love lost, shared and, just occasionally, requited. The eternal search for love is mapped out in a series of gently melodic tracks infused with notes of folk, country, blues and soul.

also at Largehearted Boy:

daily mp3 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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