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July 26, 2008

Shorties

The New York Times interviews Nobel Prize-wining author Doris Lessing.

For the last two decades, most of your fiction has veered toward science fiction, which has disappointed literary critics like Harold Bloom.

I can’t be bothered with Bloom. A lot of people think some of my best writing is in science fiction, and they are just as significant as bloody Bloom.


Chicago Tribune readers share what they want in the newspaper's book section.


Red Orbit profiles former Guided By Voices and Amps guitarist Nate Farley, now fronting his own band, Shawen Acres.

"For so long I worked with two of the best songwriters we've got with Kim and Bob. I'm no Bob Pollard and I'm no Kim Deal, so I've got to do my own thing. I'm just glad to finally have the album out. It was like carrying a baby for four years."


The Times Online profiles author Chuck Palahniuk.

And the book readings, of course, are infamous. Like a kind of literary circus freak, Palahniuk delights in delivering material that frequently causes his fans to pass out (he stopped counting the casualties at 72). His only concern about this phenomenon is that his most shocking prose might be now overfamiliar. Hence the reason he replaced it for a while with material that instead made people cry. That also proved troublesome. “It's really difficult to salvage an event when everyone starts crying,” he says, matter-of-factly. “You just can't bring the energy back up, it's impossible”.


Aimee Mann talks to the Boston Herald about the current state of the music business.

“I’m looking for advice myself. I wish I could tell you I understand what’s happening, but I don’t. Lately, the music market seems like all supply and no demand. Technology is partially responsible. But then there’s this whole unfortunate cult of narcissism and pursuit of fame for its own sake compounding that.”


The Boston Globe lists the top 50 science fiction television shows of all time.


The New York Times reports from San Diego Comic-Con.


Yewknee.com offers a selection of summer mix CDs to download.


The Guardian profiles poet Sharon Olds.

In her early 20s Olds made a vow to Satan to write her own poetry - and again and again in her work she circles around a sinister moment when the narrator was tied by her mother to a chair. She prefers not to claim the experiences she writes about as hers. "Poems like mine - I don't call them confessional, with that tone of admitting to wrong- doing. My poems have done more accusing than admitting. I call work like mine 'apparently personal'. Or in my case apparently very personal."


JBooks interviews playwright Tony Kushner.


Literary Rags offers t-shirts with author's portraits on the front and a quote from that author on the back. My favorite is the Roethke shirt.


The Arizona Republic lists 5 bands they;d like to see stage reunions.


The Washington Post profiles Todd Hyman, founder of Carpark Records, Paw Tracks and Acute Records.

And 2008 is apparently a good time to be peddling weird rock music. As bloggers continue to blush and gush over Carpark and Paw Tracks artists Panda Bear, Beach House and Dan Deacon, Hyman's labels continue to win new ears -- no small feat as the record industry continues its free fall toward extinction. "Surprisingly, we're kind of the reverse," he says. "Our business doubled from 2006 to 2007."


Financial Times notes the recent convergence of literature and music at music festivals.

Last weekend, Kureishi could be found reading from his work to a captivated crowd at the Latitude festival in Suffolk. His presence illustrated how the event has used literature to differentiate itself from the UK's plethora of music festivals. Latitude's heaving literature tent also hosted authors such as Irvine Welsh and AL Kennedy. Meanwhile in Dorset, festival-goers at the inaugural Camp Bestival listened to writers like Howard Marks and Richard Milward alongside music from Suzanne Vega and Kate Nash.


The Los Angeles Times interviews Michael Chabon about genre in literature.

Where did this bias against work created for a popular audience come from?

In all fairness, it came from the fact that the vast preponderance of art created for a mass audience is crap. It's impossible to ignore that. But the vast preponderance of work written as literary art is high-toned crap. The proportion may settle down in the neighborhood of 90/10 -- Sturgeon's Law said that 90% of everything is crud.


The Eugene Register-Guard profiles indie music online retailer CD Baby.


The Guardian reviews Haruki Murakami's latest book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

Non-runners should not be put off by the title of the book, a play on Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, because while the neuroses and obsessions of the runner leap from every page, along the way we learn little things about Murakami the writer and Murakami the man. We learn how and when he works. We get an insight into doubts and insecurities when he first started out as a writer, and what he sees as a novelist's greatest qualities - number one is talent, then focus, then endurance; the read across to running in qualities two and three is obvious enough not to need stating.




Crosscut Seattle
interviews author David Guterson.

CM: When you're starting out on a novel, what comes first: characters, plot, landscape, or quandary?

DG: I start with a question. I then go from there to setting, asking myself, "What's the appropriate landscape to explore this question?" This was the case with Our Lady of the Forest — I envisioned a novel about spirituality and belief, then, after that, I asked myself, "Where's this subject best explored?" And then, deciding that it was the rainforest, I went ahead with characters and story.


Nashville's Ugly Mugs coffee shop is asking its patrons to recommend an album apiece for its new location.


T-shirt of the day: "Mixtape"


io9 lists great opening sentences from science fiction.


Drowned in Sound reassesses the discography of Conor Oberst.


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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