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January 16, 2010

Shorties (Amazon's Best Books of the Decade, Owen Pallett, and more)

Amazon lists its books of the decade.

The Guardian profiles Owen Pallett and his new album, Heartland.

The result is Heartland, perhaps the grandest orchestral pop record since Joanna Newsom's Ys, and possibly – as Pallett concedes – just as divisive. Not everyone will immediately warm to an album of highly personal, highly strung song symphonies channelled through the bizarre concept of "a farmer named Lewis and the fictional world of Spectrum".

Newsweek reviews Joshua Ferris's new novel, The Unnamed.

Watch the trailer for the film adaptation of Michael Muhammad Knight's novel, The Taqwacores.

The New York Press profiles singer-songwriter Kevin Barker.

His press release pimps his work with pillars of the ‘freak folk’ scene like Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and even the mother of them all, Vashti Bunyan, and this record gives ample evidence why he’s a sideman of choice as his notes winnow out their space without treading on the vocals or overloading the song. But don’t let the company he keeps pigeonhole this record: it’s very much a stripped down country rock album in the tradition of under sung songwriter JJ Cale’s Naturally.

NPR is streaming Patty Griffin's new album, Downtown Church, in its entirety.

Daily Intel interviews author (and Largehearted Boy contributor) Jami Attenberg about her new novel, The Melting Season, her love of steak, and Donald Trump's hair.

NPR's All Songs Considered asks what album title sums up your life?

In the New York Times, author Stephen Elliott extrapolates on his "D.I.Y book tour."

At Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, Elvis Costello guest hosts and interviews the jazz pianist.

The A.V. Club lists gateway albums into the joys of Japanese noise-rock.

IGN shares a soundtrack for the end of the world.

The fifth edition of The Avery Anthology is available, and includes prose by Steve Almond, Stuart Nadler, Stephanie Carpenter and many more talented writers.

The New York Times reviews Sam Shepard's new short story collection, Day Out of Days.

Shepard’s book has no normal beginning, middle and end. Its structure is not sequential but vertical. Using fanciful anecdotes, lyric riffs, seemingly lifelike reminiscences and quotes from our nation’s founding thinkers, he drills down through the strata of our history into the bedrock of American myth. He sinks his wells at random, in offbeat spots, taking core samples from all over the country that often contain fossils of shared experience, some of them heavily crusted over with legend. His words have a flinty, mineral integrity, especially when he describes the people around him, who come off as distinctive individuals but also have an enduring archetypal feel, like the iconic figures in Whitman poems.

On sale at Amazon MP3: The Ting Tings 10-track We Started Something album for $2.99.

In the Guardian, author Naomi Klein examines how corporate branding has taken over the U.S. government.

My "best of 2009" lists:

favorite albums of 2009
favorite novels of 2009
favorite nonfiction of 2009
favorite short story collections of 2009
favorite graphic novels of 2009
favorite music of 2009 (at Urban Outfitters)

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

also at Largehearted Boy:

online "best of 2009" book lists
online "best of 2009" music lists
Online Best of the Decade (2000-2009) Book Lists
best of the decade (2000-2009) online music 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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