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January 31, 2010

Shorties (Alice Walker, Nouvelle Vague, and more)

Author Alice Walker remembers Howard Zinn in the Boston Globe.

I was Howard’s student for only a semester, but in fact, I have learned from him all my life. His way with resistance: steady, persistent, impersonal, often with humor, is a teaching I cherish. Whenever I’ve been arrested, I’ve thought of him. I see policemen as victims of the very system they’re hired to defend, as I know he did. I see soldiers in the same way. In some ways, Howie was an extension of my father, whom he never met. My father was also an activist as a young man and was one of the first black men unconnected to white ancestry or power to vote in our backwoods county; he had to pass by three white men holding shotguns in order to do this. By the time I went off to college, the last of eight children, he was exhausted and broken. But these men were connected in ways clearer to me now as I’ve become older than my father was when he died. They each saw injustice as something to be acknowledged, confronted, and changed if at all possible. And they looked for signs of humanity in their opponents and spoke to that. They both possessed a sense of humor and love of a good story that made them charismatic teachers. I recently discovered, and it amuses me, that their birth dates are close, though my father was 13 years older.

The Salt Lake Tribune interviews Olivier Libaux of Nouvelle Vague.

Author T.C. Boyle discusses his new short story collection, Wild Child, with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"They are hoping it will be a best-seller," he said. "Of course, that's very hard in literature. A few years ago, The New York Times decided to split their lists between 'mass market' — i.e., crap — and 'trade paperbacks' — i.e., good stuff. But immediately, the crap publishers realized they could dominate both the trade and mass market lists. So it's really hard to get on the list. That's what they're hoping by trotting me around again."

The Los Angeles Times examines the non-traditional avenues of promotion the internet provides musical acts.

The Telegraph notes the boom in fantasy novel sales due to the Twilight series.

The Jakarta Post examines how Indonesian music promoters used Twitter to promote a charity concert.

Peter Gabriel talks to the Times Online about his new covers album, Scratch My Back.

Gabriel says he’s “hoping this album will give me a greater respect for space when I get back into my next batch of material. It’s definitely taught me how to focus on one idea in a more meditative way”. Meditative, in Gabriel’s current sound world, often sounds like a euphemism for sad. Scratch My Back, beautiful as it often is, sits a long way from the pop-funk highs of Gabriel’s most popular work. “I wasn’t trying to make a dark record, but I wanted it to be emotional. This is gonna be one of those records that divides people. What I want to do with the next one is to make it really up, like disco. It’s a lot easier making emotional miserable music than it is making emotional happy music — joy is a much harder fish to catch.”

Author Nick Flynn guest blogged last week at Powell's Books.

AOL interviews author Jami Attenberg about her dual lives as author and copywriter.

On sale at Amazon MP3: Metric's 10-track Fantasies album for $2.99.

Win four Ox-Tales short story collections (that benefit Oxfam) 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:

Atomic Books Comics Preview (highlights of the week's comics & graphic novel releases)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (highlights of the week's book releases)
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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