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May 17, 2009

Shorties (Jack Kerouac, Flannery O'Connor, and more)

The New York Times profiles Jack Kerouac, sports fan.

In the Atlantic, Joseph O'Neill examines the spiritual aspects of Flannery O'Connor's fiction.

At the Baltimore Sun's Read Street blog, author Marilynne Robinson celebrates the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allen Poe's birth.

Poe at his best is not imaginable without the excesses for which he must be forgiven. I think I have always loved him because to love him requires loyalty. Those gothic dreams of his are the sort of thing a pre-adolescent girl might be enthralled by, and I did notice that brilliance and learning were among the glories of his perishing damsels. But I had to defend him and myself together from the idea that the tales were simply lurid or morbid. I knew better because I could not stop memorizing his poems. To say them and hear them taught me to feel the deeper coherences of language, as if words ordered by their sounds and suggestions were a charm that opened more meaning than words contain.

Every Sunday, Plugged In adds one album to its "best of the aughts" best albums of the 21st century list.

The Boston Globe reviews the memoir Love, As Always, Kurt: Vonnegut as I Knew Him, by Loree Rackstraw.

The Observer lists Britain's 10 best alternative festivals.

Scotland on Sunday interviews Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit.

The Chicago Tribune excerpts from Greg Kot's new book, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music.

At the New York Times, Tom McCarthy reviews Clancy Martin's new novel, How to Sell.

I found “How to Sell” very enjoyable. I experienced a growing fondness for the coke-addled and increasingly amoral brothers as they rushed from gem trader to topless bar to brother’s girlfriend’s bed and back again. My pulse raced as Bobby risked his job to tell a hard-up housewife who’d come in to sell a ring that, unbeknown to her, was worth at least five grand — and for which, if Jim had his way, she’d receive no more than five hundred — to leave the store as quickly as she could and go to the honest jeweler one block away (a generic warmhearted scene, essentially the same one you get in “Casablanca” when Rick rigs the roulette table for the young Bulgarian couple). The novel is a good, pacey and ultimately unchallenging read. Why couldn’t they just say that on the cover? “Entertaining, zippy and unchallenging — X, author of Y.”

Amazon MP3 is selling Green Day's 19-track 21st Century Breakdown for $4.99.

Help get Unbunny's Black Strawberries album remastered and released digitally and on vinyl.

This week's Largehearted Boy giveaway: the new Alina Simone/Black Swan 7" single along with a Black Swans album and Alina Simone's complete back catalog.

Follow me on Twitter for links that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

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)
weekly music & DVD release lists


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