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February 6, 2009

Book Notes - Leanne Shapton ("Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry")

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published books.

Wonderfully inventive, Leanne Shapton's Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry captures the relationship trajectory of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris through an auction catalog of their belongings. Reading as much like a graphic novel as a puzzle, the book tells its story through photographs and item descriptions in a surprisingly readable and innovative fashion.

In her own words, here is Leanne Shapton's Book Notes essay for her novel, Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry:

Like many couples, Hal and Lenore exchange mixed cd's early on in their courtship. Always a tricky thing: setting forth ardor and intention without coming across like a sap, show-off or maniac. But really, during the rose-tinted first three months, the beloved can pretty much do no wrong, all is forgiven and any bad moves pronounced "adorable."

While a few songs in this soundtrack are taken from music mentioned in the book, others are songs I listened to while shooting, writing and organizing the story. Some pin the themes of love and heartbreak so perfectly they should probably have been listed in my acknowledgments. I've organized them loosely into Side A (the Beginning) and Side B (the End).


A Side:

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, LET ME GET WHAT I WANT - The Smiths

(The silent prayer murmured throughout most doomed relationships.)


BACHELORETTE - Bjork

(Simultaneously a nightmare, dream and bellowing declaration of intent.)


SLOW COUNTRY - Gorillaz

(acidic mist of longing, missing and desire)


U GOT IT BAD - Usher


THIRTEEN - Big Star

(Lenore sings this to Hal in bed)


SAVE ME A SATURDAY NIGHT - Neil Diamond


HEAVEN - The Rolling Stones


NOBODY - Paul Simon

(Hal writes these lyrics in a valentine)


TONIGHT WE'LL BE FINE - Teddy Thompson (Leonard Cohen)

(pitch perfect "almost perfect")


HOLD ON, HOLD ON - Neko Case


LOVE WILL TEAR US APART - Joy Division


B Side:

BLACK STAR - Gillian Welch (Radiohead)

(Might as well stay in your bathrobe.)


WAKING UP TO US - Belle and Sebastian.


IF I EVER FEEL BETTER - Phoenix

(Blunt, blurting heartbreak, that you can dance to.)


DON'T FORGET ABOUT US - Mariah Carey

(Best on a car radio, past midnight, on your way home, in the rain.)


THESE FOOLISH THINGS - Byran Ferry (Eric Maschewitz)

(I considered These Foolish Things as a title.)


SET ADRIFT ON MEMORY BLISS - P.M. Dawn


THAT'S NO WAY TO SAY GOODBYE - Roberta Flack


DOLPHINS - Beth Orton and Terry Callier

(Tim Buckley's version of Dolphins is my favorite song, and must have sowed some melancholy seed age 17 when I first heard it. Sung in duet by Orton and Callier it's just as unforgettable.)


BANDIT - Neil Young

Leanne Shapton and Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry links:

the author's website
the publisher's page for the author
the publisher's page for the book
GoodReads page for the author
GoodReads page for the book

Counterforces and Other Little Jokes review
Elle review
Very Short List review

New York Times profile of the author
New York Times slideshow featuring the author and the book
Shoptimism profile of the book

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
Online "Best Books of 2008" Lists
Largehearted Boy Favorite Novels of 2008
Largehearted Boy Favorite Graphic Novels of 2008
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Why Obama (musicians and authors explain their support of the Democratic presidential candidate's campaign)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
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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