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May 28, 2009

Book Notes - William Walsh ("Questionstruck")

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

Pulling together questions from Calvin Trillin's 25 books, Questionstruck is a literary remix of the highest order. William Walsh once again proves himself as one of today's most innovative and clever authors.

J. Robert Lennon wrote of the book:

"Master re-contextualizer William Walsh has pulled off an unlikely feat: he didn't write a word of this book, and yet its twisted pleasures couldn't possibly belong to anyone else. He has managed to transform the collected works of Calvin Trillin into some kind of whacked-out koan, a strangely compelling harangue that will leave you dumbstruck."

In his own words, here is William Walsh's Book Notes music playlist for his book, Questionstruck: A Collection of Question-Based Texts Derived from the Books of Calvin Trillin:

Questionstruck is a book of interrogatives, so here’s a mixtape of songs titled with questions. I’ve pulled questions from Calvin Trillin’s books that speak in some way to the songs.

“Where is My Mind?” Pixies

“How did Italy manage to end up with no Caribbean islands at all?” (Third Helpings, 1983)

“Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?” U2

“Why dangerous? Why dangerous? Why dangerous?” (Runestruck, 1977)

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” Nirvana’s version

“Were you proud and humble last night?” (Alice, Let’s Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater, 1978)

“What Was It You Wanted?” Bob Dylan

“Was he feeling the 'sensibility of failed seriousness, of the theatricalization of experience' that Miss Sontag had written about?” (Barnett Frummer Is an Unbloomed Flower and Other Adventures of Barnett Fummer, Rosalie Mondle, Roland Magruder, and Their Friends, 1969)

“Who Was That Masked Man?” Van Morrison

“Yes, I know you’re busy, but could you just see if one of the people sitting under a dryer near where Mister Marc is working looks like he went to Georgetown and is carrying a gun?” (With All Disrespect, 1985)

“Could You Be The One?” Husker Du

“Could you please put me back on hold?” (If You Can’t Say Something Nice, 1987)

“How Soon Is Now?” The Smiths

“Was it possible that he had found himself among the sort of cultists who beat up elderly vegetarians?” (Killings, 1984)

“Where Do the Children Play?” Cat Stevens

“I had more or less resigned myself to playing babyfoot in foreign countries and being patient whenever someone in the United States said, ‘You play baby what’?” (Travels With Alice, 1989)

“Are You Gonna Go My Way?” Lenny Kravitz

“Why can't I find a publisher who gives a royalty of 55 percent? Why don't any of my friends want to chip in for my promotional budget? Why don't I have a foundation to help me cheat my way onto the best-seller list? Why can't somebody write my books for me and just leave me to collect the royalties in peace?” (Too Soon to Tell, 1995)

“What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” R.E.M.

“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather talk about sex and violence and exotic flavors of ice cream?” (Uncivil Liberties, 1982)

“So What’Cha Want?” Beastie Boys

“If there’s a cartel in bananas, so what?” (Remembering Denny, 1993)

“Where Were You” Lounge Lizards

“I used to walk by those frat houses, and the boys would be out there playing ball, and I'd think, what is there for me to do except go home and sit?” (An Education in Georgia, 1964)

“Call That Gone?” Paul Westerberg

“These kinds of questions: Has the period of the most acute danger of Deity Overload passed?” (With All Disrespect, 1985)

“Is This It?” The Strokes

“If you’re trying to sell something that appeals specifically to rich people—let’s say one of these rare-wine-of-the-month clubs—do you just send a mailing to everyone in the 10021 ZIP code and not worry about hitting a lot of not-so-rich people who happen to live there because they have rent-controlled apartments?” (Tepper Isn’t Going Out, 2001)

“(What’s So Funny About) Peace Love and Understanding?” Elvis Costello’s version

“Can peace in Vietnam be achieved by starting a small-scale war in Newton because of a proposed peace walk?” (U.S. Journal, 1971)

“Which Side Are You On?” Billy Bragg

“I don’t suppose you’re required to work on weekends, are you?” (Floater, 1980)

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?” The Clash

“The men want to know whether those partly erased tapes in the cellar stay or go, Dick, and what do you want done with the crown jewels of Rumania?” (Uncivil Liberties, 1982)

“Is This Love?” Bob Marley

“Who’s that cute little Jewish girl over by the punch bowl?” (About Alice, 2006)

William Walsh and Questionstruck: A Collection of Question-Based Texts Derived from the Books of Calvin Trillin links:

the author's MySpace page
the book's website
the book's blog
the book's Facebook group

This Blog Will Change Your Life review
Time Out Chicago review
What To Wear During an Orange Alert? review

Amazon Listmania list by the author of Calvin Trillin books
Apostrophe Cast interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes music playlist by the author for his novel, Without Wax
Sun Chronicle interview with the author
Thunk interview with the author
What To Wear During an Orange Alert? interview with the author
Word Riot interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
52 Books, 52 Weeks


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