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January 12, 2010

Shorties (Haruki Murakami, Patti Smith, and more)

Playbill reports that a stage adaptation of Haruki Murakami's novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle will open on January 12th in New York City.


Patti Smith talks to New York magazine about her new memoir, Just Kids.


The Boston Globe interviews Jason Bitner, editor of the recently published book Cassette From My Ex.

Q. Do you think in the age of CDs and iTunes, where people can skip around, that the making of mix-tapes is a lost art?

A. I do think some of the craftsmanship is missing now, particularly with iTunes playlists and CDs since you don’t actually have to listen to the song all the way through. When you’re doing cassettes, the song that you’re listening to informs the next song that goes on, it puts you in a particular mood. When you’re not doing it in real time it’s just titles that you drag around. I remember spending days making mixes. You had to consider all the songs, maybe you had to find the old record that had that one song on it.


NME interviews Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine.


The Music Void makes 20 music industry predictions for 2010.


USA Today lists three new books and a movie inspired by Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland.


NPR's All Things Considered reviews the new Vampire Weekend album, Contra.

Sometimes, there's a blankness to the voices in Vampire Weekend songs that's more Bret Easton Ellis than F. Scott Fitzgerald. But Contra broadens the band's emotional scope; besides ennui and bafflement, there's palpable heartbreak, too. The sounds are generally so happy, though, that most people won't notice the lyrical bummers. It seems like useful music for this new decade: It's not ignoring the bad stuff, so much as it wants to dance while it figures things out.

Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio offers a track-by-track dissection of the album at Drowned in Sound.

Contra is on sale at Amazon MP3 for $3.99.


Muzzle of Bees interviews singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten.


The Huffington Post interviews author (and Largehearted Boy contributor) Jami Attenberg about her new novel, The Melting Season.

In the novel, you touch on a host of topical tabloid issues--vapid celebrities (and their impersonators), plastic surgery, reality TV. Were you concerned about writing on these topics in a way that didn't stoop to their level, or about the difficulty of saying something new about such well-trod ground?

I don't think there's any topic a writer should feel afraid of tackling just because it has already been discussed. If you feel you have a fresh perspective and an understanding of a certain emotional truth, it's always worth writing. I was looking at it through my character's eyes, someone who was an innocent, and had an extremely limited worldview. There was less room for overt snarkiness. It was more about humanizing her, and to a certain extent that world. And understanding why so much of America is fascinated with these topics. Myself included.


Debriefing is a blog dedicated to celebrating the life and art of singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt.


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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