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November 30, 2008

Shorties (2666, Bon Iver, and more)

The Boston Globe reviews Robert Bolano's 2666.

Reviewing Roberto Bolano's "2666" is like reviewing the ocean. To call it a thing of nearly unfathomable breadth elides the intimacy of experiencing it; to focus on the relentless, pounding rhythm of its violence does no justice to its shimmering beauty. One strains to make sense of it, intuits forces moving in the darkness far below the surface, and tries to divine their purpose from what can be seen. That its cross-currents will converge into a tsunami seems both impossible and inevitable - the imposition of order on chaos, and the mapping of a specific nightmare onto an ancient, diffuse one.


The New York Times reviews Kirsten Menger-Anderson’s debut short fiction collection, Doctor Olaf van Schuler’s Brain.

see also Kirsten Menger-Anderson’s Largehearted Boy music playlist for the book


The Chicago Tribune profiles indie musicians who found inspiration in nature, including Bon Iver's Justin Vernon.

But over the course of the harsh Wisconsin winter, Vernon wrote and recorded the intimate, soul-purging "For Emma, Forever Ago" (Jagjaguwar), one of a handful of stripped-down, back-to-nature albums released either this year (Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut, which plays like spring to Bon Iver's winter) or looming on the horizon (William Elliot Whitmore's "Animals in the Dark," expected on Anti in February). Even the New York City-based Antony Hegarty of Antony & the Johnsons sought inspiration from the natural world for his forthcoming "The Crying Light," writing a handful of songs after returning from a 2006 trip to the island of Svalbard in the arctic.


Rock's Backpages lists the most heartbreaking songs of all time.


This One Next recommends books, music, and movies ased on your personal taste.


The Guardian reviews Art Spiegelman's latest book Breakdowns, comparing comics to music in the process.

Comix, mostly thanks to Spiegelman's example, went from being exuberantly and experimentally childish and druggy to being often obsessively introspective, a bit like the difference between Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and Roger Waters. Because that worked commercially, it has now become the established default setting for modern American graphic novelists like Chris Ware. It's serious, it's respectable and it sells, but it's also a bit of a shame.


nyctaper shares mp3s of Naked Hearts' recent Brooklyn performance.


At NPR's Weekend Edition, Vagrant Records' Jeremy Maciak discusses the importance of marketing bands online in the internet era.

"It's about a slow build and having that intricate and honest conversation with our fans and potential audience," Maciak says. "Sometimes that takes months, years, to build."


Tampa Calling profiles singer-songwriter James McMurtry.

The Americana music icon speaks slowly. His voice is deep. His answers are straightforward and marked by an economy of words - and a drawl that reflects both his native Virginia and decades spent in the Lone Start State. You get the sense he’s incapable of feeding you bullsh8t, and its the same way with his music. Whether recounting the machinations of a crystal meth cooker in the fan favorite “Choctaw Bingo,” or telling me how his world-famous father Larry McMurtry’s one shortcoming as a novelist/screenwriter is that “he always gets firearms wrong,” the younger McMurtry’s words smack of integrity.


The Los Angeles Times' Pop & Hiss blog profiles new KCRW music director Jason Bentley, who is taking over for the legendary Nic Harcourt.


The New York Times reviews Sarah Vowell's latest book, The Wordy Shipmates.


At Blogs.com I listed my favorite literature blogs.


also at Largehearted Boy:

Online "best of 2008" music lists
Online "best of 2008" book lists
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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