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October 25, 2009

Shorties (Chuck Klosterman, R.E.M., and more)

The Wall Street Journal reviews Chuck Klosterman's new essay collection, Eating the Dinosaur.

Another media critic, Neil Postman, once argued—in the title of one of his books—that we are "amusing ourselves to death." But Mr. Klosterman's relentlessly thoughtful prose makes a case that our arts and entertainment are more suffused with meaning than ever before. Even as he's fretting over the direction of the culture, his writing stands as an eloquent defense of it.

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe talks to NPR's All Things Considered about the band's new album, Live at the Olympia.

"We were trying to rehearse songs that we had never recorded," Stipe says. "And we kind of — we went back to a template from the 1980s, when we toured nonstop for the entire decade, of writing a song, kind of trying it out live onstage before actually going into the studio and recording it. And so with our last record, we tried to do the same thing with [these] five nights at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. ... A lot of the songs wound up to be, I think, fan favorites, or songs that we had not heard nor even thought of ... in 25 years."

Actor Bill Pullman shares his favorite books with the New York Post.

Author Nicholson baker talks to the Toronto Star.

Plugged In continues its countdown of the 50 great albums of the aughts."

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reviews Marie Mutsuki Mockett's novel, Picking Bones from Ash.

As the story lines converge, Mockett combines the best elements of a mystery story, ghost story, magical realism and the complex difficulties in deciding what is "best" for our elders and offspring.

The New York Post profiles The Swell Season.

Comic Book Resources excerpts from Alex Robinson's forthcoming comics adaptation of L. Frank Baum's A Kidnapped Santa Claus.

The Wall Street Journal examines the literary legacy of bestsellers.

The Toronto Star reviews Jonathan Lethem's new novel, Chronic City\.

Chronic City is like a Dungeons and Dragons game for postmodern hipster-intellectuals: compelling, complex, involving and ultimately unresolvable.

The Daily Beast interviews author Philip Roth.

Paste lists 10 songs inspired by movies.

The New York Times reviews R. Crumb's new graphic novel, The Book of Genesis Illustrated.

The Telegraph examines the fad of celebrity novels (and why this is a boom time for ghostwriters).

Publishers have to make a profit, and novels by celebrities sell. Indeed, they might shift around 100,000 in hardback, compared with less than 1,000 for the average hardback literary novel. And, in theory, for every celebrity book that makes money, the publisher is given the chance to take a risk on a dozen literary novels which deserve publication, but which may well make a loss.

Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar talk to NPR's All Things Considered about their film soundtrack, One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur.

The Guardian reports that Morrissey is in stable condition after collapsing on stage.

Win a copy of They Might be Giants' new children's book, Kids Go!, in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.

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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