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August 19, 2008

Note Books - Julian Koster (The Music Tapes)

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

The Music Tapes release Music Tapes for Clouds & Tornadoes today, yet another musical masterpiece from the mind of Julian Koster.

In his own words, here is the Note Books entry from Julian Koster of the Music Tapes:

First of all, I'm a bit silly in one regard: I find old hard and cloth cover books incredibly beautiful, and mostly try to find versions of the books I would like to read that were printed then. And so most of what I read was written prior to the 1930's and almost all of it prior to the 1970's. Just because I like the way nice old books look and how it feels to hold them, which really is pretty silly.

So, I like to read with a candle on my chest during the wintertime.

One thing I like to read during the wintertime is Pushkin's complete prose. He was such a wonderful storyteller. It feels like being told a big lovely yarn by someone who's voice resonates in a way that you almost feel it vibrating inside of you. It really is like being told a story out loud. I wish he'd written more stories, and finished more of the ones he started.

In a very similar spirit, except maybe a little more humble, O Henry's stories have a really wonderful warmth to me. I know the form and formula of them might be a little to silly for lots of folks, but there is a very familiar and special soul that radiates through them, something of New York City, something of running away from everything, something of a big kind hearted laugh, that I feel like I've run into in some places since I was a little kid.

Cinnamon Shops (Street of Crocodiles) by Bruno Shultz. Oh boy. These can be winter or spring or summer too, but whenever you read them your imagination is so grateful and happy. They sort call for your imagination to come out and play, and it does and sometimes it even stays out for hours and misses dinner time.

Chekov's stories have been my greatest excitement of the last 3 or 4 years. If you don't mind them being a bit damaged or beat up, you can find all the early British editions for good and cheap. I like Constance Garnett's translations. She's my favorite. I think the stories glow best of all through her translations. There is something about his stories, how simply he tells them, and how things can suddenly burst into such a complete absolute reality. Sometimes you can find the strangest love lurking deep under the surface of something where you'd never expect to find it. He writes about childhood nicely. I think honestly also, there is something about Russia in the 1800's...It is wonderful to visit.....

Just like the Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment. I couldn't say anything about them.

I like reading Lewis Caroll's stories and the Pooh books.

The Wanderer by Alaine-Fornier. I feel like I've lived that story, it feels more like a memory than a book.

Good old Dr. Seuss.

One wintry evening I found a copy of A World Rich in Anniversaries by Jean Follaine on a friend's bookshelf. What a lovely night that was. He wrote the nicest things.

There are a lot more stories I love, and a lot more I hope to meet someday, so I guess I'll just stop here. Thank you for asking.

Music Tapes links:

the band's Wikipedia entry
the band's page at Merge Records
the band's page at

stream Music Tapes for Clouds & Tornadoes

Music Tapes posts at Largehearted Boy

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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