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October 1, 2008

Shorties (Chuck Palahniuk, Deerhoof, and more)

Chuck Palahniuk talks to the Baltimore City Paper about the film adaptation of his novel, Choke.

“By the time [your book] becomes a movie, thank god it takes so long because by that time, you’ve actually figured out what you are writing about,” Palahniuk says. “The trick with writing is to write about something and fool yourself into going someplace you would never consciously go. And so by writing about it, it looks like this fun adventure, but you’re really tricking yourself into going there.”

The School Library Journal notes librarians' disappointment with recent winners of the Newbery award for children's books.

Although some public librarians can’t afford to buy more than a single copy of the Newbery, they say the last four winners—Kira-Kira (S & S, 2004), Criss Cross (Greenwillow, 2005), The Higher Power of Lucky (S & S, 2006), and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! (Candlewick, 2007)—have been particularly disappointing. “I think I know books, but because of the subject matter, these wouldn’t be the ones I’d naturally choose to introduce to my kids,” said a children’s librarian. “Possibly the committee has too many 'experts’ on it, and not enough working, small-town public librarians.”

The East Bay Express profiles Deerhoof.

The band's stop-start, genre-smashing mix of discord and twee — fronted by the provocative Satomi — is inoculated against any expectations, even by fans. "If our fans expect anything at all, it may be just they expect to be surprised actually," said Saunier. "They kind of prefer to be surprised. It's just such a privilege if you're a musician or an artist."

The Manchester Review has posted the first chapter of John Banville's novel in progress, The Sinking City.

Ars Technica examines NPR's new social network.

An area for adding things like favorite NPR shows, music, movies, and hobbies allows for showing off who you are, and the site uses some handy prediction technology to figure out that typing "Hitch" might mean that "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is one of my favorite books.

Popmatters ponders the future of the personal music collection.

Future generations will certainly discover the music that came before them but will not discover them the same way we did as children. Sites such as are great resources that will only improve in time to help guide future music fans. But what may be lost is the joy of finding old records, books, photographs in the attic or basement as a child. These completely random discoveries open up a whole other world that may be very different from what their friends and schoolmates discover in their homes. It’s these discoveries that can lead kids down many different musical paths rather than just hearing several bands that all the sound the same found on a website.

NPR's Morning Edition excerpts from Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath by Rick Wartzman, and talks to the author about the book.

Chronogram interviews comics artist Jessica Abel.

see also: Abel's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for her graphic novel, La Perdida

MySpace Music is streaming the new Oasis album, Dig Out Your Soul (out October 7th).

Emerging Writers Network holds a roundtable discussion with new independent publishers.

The Los Angeles Times Soundboard blog profiles Juliana Hatfield.

Hatfield is gifted with Top Model looks as well as a stunning sense of melody and the chops to play a mean guitar solo when required. Coming up alongside fiercely confrontational artists including Courtney Love and Kathleen Hanna, she got a reputation as something of a prom queen. She was just too pretty, too aloof; and she had a habit of getting miffed with interviewers and saying things that sounded downright conservative....

see also: Hatfield's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for her memoir, When I Grow Up

Style Weekly profiles author Julia Alvarez.

“It wasn’t a literary culture, it was a dictatorship,” Alvarez says of the Dominican Republic. “Intellectuals were scoffed at. It was an oral culture, full of the world’s best storytellers. They knew intuitively what I try to teach to my college students now. I had that seed in me from my childhood.”

The New Yorker features new short fiction by Daniel Alarcon, "The Idiot President."

The Deadbolt lists the top 16 rappers of the 80's.

Literary parents-to-be may want to check out the book, A Is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books.

Exclaim! interviews Jay Reatard.

The Matador comp shows your songwriting is certainly changing direction…

Yeah, definitely. It’s pretty schizophrenic; it’s starts as a punk record and finishes kind of like an indie pop record. My idea was to go for it that way. I’m not really into playing straight punk anymore. I felt like a singles collection would start with what people would expect and end with what I want to be doing.

Express interviews Stereolab's Tim Gane.

» EXPRESS: You guys are infamous for being namedropped in the film "High Fidelity." Have you guys seen it? What were your thoughts?

» GANE: I didn't know — we've also been in "Glamorama" [by Bret Easton Ellis] — but it was weird. I knew they had picked a track for the ["High Fidelity"] soundtrack, but I didn't know that it was coming up in the film; I got gobsmacked, like they say in England. I was surprised.

The Sunday Herald reports that Wuthering Heights is being adapted to a Bollywood-style theater musical.

"It is not like putting a square peg into a round hole," says Kristine Landon-Smith, Tamasha's artistic director. "I thought of the harsh landscape in the original book, and if you put some swelling Bollywood music behind it you already almost have a Bollywood film. It just felt to me that it was a perfect match. There are points where the emotions get so high that they have to sing instead of speak. It's natural why it should be a musical."

Necklace of the day: "vote"

Jonathan Ames talks to the New York Sun about his graphic novel, The Alcoholic.

Enlivened by illustrator Dean Haspiel's noirish drawings, the book is both humorous and heartrending, an exploration of the need to make sense of a senseless world. Mssrs. Ames and Haspiel, both Brooklynites, have known each other socially since 2001, when Mr. Haspiel introduced himself at a book signing. "Dean kept pushing for us to collaborate," Mr. Ames said. "I didn't really have a background in graphic novels, but I was intrigued because I had always liked R. Crumb's work with Charles Bukowski."

At the New Yorker, Ben Greenman lists the five scariest movies ever.

Mashable lists 50+ websites for book lovers.

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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