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January 8, 2010

Shorties (New Blur Documentary, Hilary Mantel, and more)

The London Evening Standard points out the new Blur documentary, No Distance Left to Run.

Watch the film's trailer.

Podularity interviews Hilary Mantel, author of the Booker prize-wining novel Wolf Hall.

Variety profiles Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

At the Powell's blog, Amy Greene explains how the folk tales of Appalachia inspired her amazing novel, Bloodroot.

I began writing Bloodroot to tell the stories of the characters I had created, people whose lives I wanted to learn more about. But as I did so, I found myself focusing as well on the tradition of superstition and folk belief I grew up with, which seems to have been preserved by the isolating mountains, dating all the way back to the 1700s when the first settlers came over from Scotland and Ireland, bringing their mysticism across the ocean.

Fine Books & Collections examines the state of Jack Kerouac's literary estate. (via) lists 10 bands to watch out for in 2010.

The Two Gentleman of Lebowski (what if Shakespeare had written The Big Lebowski).

Billy Corgan is starting his own record label.

HTMLGIANT lists reasons you should not date a writer (if you are a writer).

Spinner reports that Alanis Morissette is working on a book inspired by Jack Kerouac.

The Journal of Cultural Conversation interviews author Masha Hamilton about The Afghan Women's Writing Project, a project she founded.

100 Scope Notes interviews a member of the 2009 Caldecott committee about the workings behind the children's literary award.

The members of Quasi make a mix tape for Magnet.

The A.V. Club interviews author Jeff VanderMeer.

AVC: Some authors say they can’t listen to music while writing, but you go so far as to include extensive playlists in your books. Finch’s, for example, is five pages long. Where did your relationship with writing and music come from?

JV: I see music as an aid. It overcomes my internal editor, especially when the music evokes the character or the mood I’m trying to build. I listened to some of the hardest-sounding Afghan Whigs stuff from some of the scenes from Finch, but at the same time, I listened to the soundtrack to the film Ulysses’ Gaze, which is beautiful and mournful. The music I listen to while writing is really scene-specific. It’s just a great motivator, a way to put myself in the mood.

Isak points out that recent Largehearted Boy interviewee Alicia Jo Rabins (interviewed by both Sana Krasikov and Diana Spechler) has two new poems in the current issue of Ploughshares.

Library Journal lists 24 graphic novels for African American History Month.

Pop Tarts Suck Toasted lists 10 New York bands to watch in 2010.

The Guardian Books Blog examines the effects of reading to your romantic relationship.

Which leads one to wonder about the place of reading in our most intimate relationships. What difference does it make in a relationship if both partners are notorious readers, or if one partner reads voraciously while the other has no interest in literature? Does "must love books" represent a categorical imperative, an optional extra or a quality of no consequence in a book lover's search for an ideal partner?

on sale at Amazon MP3: Radiohead's 11-track Kid A album for $1.99.

In the Guardian, Tom Ewing notes the return of the single and what that means for the music industry.

If the BPI's projections are right, singles sales will have topped 150m in 2009 – the most ever, up 400% in five years, and above albums for the first time in decades. Of course, there's no real cross-time comparison you can make: these days, any individual track counts as a "single" and they cost as little as 29p. Still, the singles boom is an inconvenient anomaly in current narratives of "what's happening to music". If you think recorded music is in terminal decline and should simply be a giveaway to support touring, you have to face the fact that millions seem happy to pay for it. But if you believe that recorded music is inherently valuable and its health has been sapped by piracy, you have to come to terms with the fact that the real value your paying audience attaches to a song is the same as a bag of crisps.

The Stylus Decade has listed its top 20 singles of the decade.

The best of the decade (2000-2009) online music lists will be updated Sunday.

The Guardian's Environment Blog examines how the movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road works as an ecology film.

The Free Music Archive now offers 15,104 free and legal mp3s to download or stream, including recently added sessions by Franklin Bruno, Portastatic, and many more.

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)

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