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October 10, 2009

Shorties (The Great American Rock Band, A.S. Byatt, and more)

A.V. Club writers each choose the "great American rock band."


A.S. Byatt talks to the New York Times about her latest novel, The Children's Book.

The idea for the novel came to her, Ms. Byatt said, because she had been thinking about how child rearing changed in the late-Victorian era. “People began talking to their children as people,” she said. “They even took tea with them. That’s a change — you wouldn’t find it in Dickens or Jane Austen. And this also coincides with Freud’s deciding that everything comes from childhood and discovering all sorts of little dark things there, even if they weren’t true.”


Tran Anh Hung, director of the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami's novel Norwegian Wood, discusses the movie with the Associated Press.


The Financial Times offers musical travelogues of two Georgia towns, Macon and Athens.


David Small talks to Short Stack about his graphic memoir, Stitches.

The power of "Stitches" lies in how strikingly straightforward you are in portraying your tale.

I tried to be completely candid, but without the complaining quality or, for that matter, the philosophizing that makes so many memoirs unreadable for me. I took my tone from the memoirs I've been moved by, most of which were from the events in Europe during World War II. In these brief, usually harrowing memoirs, there is a remarkable lack of adjectives because the facts stand alone. If you get caught up in, as it were, "customizing" your story (the way they customize, or tart up cars), it detracts from the verisimilitude, which should be the goal of any memoir.


NPR's Weekend Edition examines songs written about Mexico's drug war.


The Globe and Mail examines interactive books, or "digi-novels."


14 Mojo Nixon albums (& 147 songs) still FREE at Amazon MP3.


At the Guardian, Simon Reynolds examines the effect of the synthesizer on popular music.


Billboard interviews Glen Hansard of the Swell Season and the Frames.

Billboard: The Swell Season won an Oscar for the song "Falling Slowly" -- and has been immortalized in an episode of "The Simpsons." Which was more surprising?

Hansard: "The Simpsons," of course. "The Simpsons" is the one thing that binds the world together in a way. People don't watch the Oscars necessarily in India, but they watch "The Simpsons." What really struck me was that they were doing a little bit of a joke on "Once," but "Once" was a tiny film in the world. It did OK in America, but in the world of cinema, it hardly got recognized. I said this to the people at "The Simpsons" and they said, "We don't care. If we like something, we'll parody it. It's up to the rest of the world to figure out what we're parodying." When you've been on "The Simpsons," you know something has shifted.


Jacket Copy interviews author Margaret Atwood.

JC: Has the Internet created a different level of engagement with readers than previous book tours?

MA: It puts you in the position of a journalist, in a way. You become the journalist of yourself. Which is really weird. But you also become the journalist of your own tour. For the blog, I've been taking pictures of the events we've been doing…. Sometimes they come out, and sometimes they don't.


In the Guardian, author Nicholson baker reviews the Amazon Kindle 2 e-book reader.

A century and a half of evolved beauty and informational expressiveness is all but entirely rinsed away in this digital reduction. The Kindle DX ($489) doesn't save newspapers; it diminishes and undercuts them – it kills their joy.


As voted by its readers, the Times Online lists the best 60 books of the past 60 years.


Flavorwire lists the 8 most surprising music collaborations of 2009.


Current contest at Largehearted Boy:

Win one of two copies of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, by Jane Austen and Ben H. White.


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


also at Largehearted Boy:

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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