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March 20, 2010

Shorties (Titus Andronicus, Best Books About College Basketball, and more)

The Austin American-Statesman spends a day at SXSW with Titus Andonicus.

The Christian Science Monitor lists the best books about college basketball.

Printers Row lists smart phone apps for book lovers.

Members of the Runaways discuss the band and the upcoming biopic with LA Weekly.

The New York Times reviews Elif Batuman's book, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them.

Hilarious, wide-ranging, erudite and memorable, "The Possessed" is a sui generis feast for the mind and the fancy, ants and all. And, unlikely though this may sound, by the time you've reached the end, you just may wish that you, like the author, had fallen down the rabbit hole of comp lit grad school. Batuman's exaltations of Russian literature could have ended up in scholarly treatises gathering dust in university stacks. Instead, she has made her subject glow with the energy of the enigma that drew her to it in the first place: "the riddle of human behavior and the nature of love" bound up, indeed, with Russian.

Read Batuman's Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay for the book.

LikeMinds is a social network built around personal taste in movies, books, and music.

The New York Times examines the challenges of cataloging and storing an author's digital archives (in particular, Emory's work to archive the literary data of Salman Rushdie).

On sale at Amazon MP3: Band of Skulls 11-track Baby Darling Doll Face Honey album for $2.99.

The Atlantic interviews cartoonist Jules Feiffer about his new memoir, Backing into Forward.

At Drowned in Sound, Emily Haines of Metric remembers Mark Linkous.

I'm drawn to musicians that defy quick description. So naturally I've listened like a student to every record Sparklehorse has made. Along with everyone who knew him, I'm mourning the loss of Mark Linkous, the man whose voice made us feel as though we were stones on a river bed.

NPR's All Things Considered interviews reggae legend Jimmy Cliff.

The New York Times reviews David Peace's novel Occupied City.

"These are the bare bones of the story. But they suggest nothing of the highly stylized and fresh approach of Peace's book, which combines the fragmented technique of "Rashomon" with a traditional Japanese storytelling style involving occult seances, and which draws on influences (or so Peace tells us) from sources as diverse as Benjamin Britten and the poetry of Paul Celan."

Read Peace's Largehearted Boy Book Notes music playlist for the book.

NPR Music continues to be the most comprehensive online source for SXSW Music coverage.

The New York Times reviews Alex Lemon's memoir, Happy.

A poet, Lemon exhibits a jarring penchant for eccentric phrasing (“Squirrels monster about”; “I hiss a beer open”) and a weakness for angst (“I want to rupture into a gasp of sorrowful ash because of everything I am”). But his descriptions of his physical hell can be precise and gut-wrenching. Learning to walk again is like being “on a tightrope in a cyclone”; the smallest sounds are “tympanic”; “words crawl across the page, like they’re alive, like bugs.” Particularly touching is how Lemon and his cagey and inarticulate college pals struggle to express their feelings about illness and mortality. “They’ll probably turn you into the Bionic Woman,” Lemon’s friend Casey nervously jokes when he deposits Lemon at the hospital. This book may lack finesse, but it is passionately felt and defiantly honest.

The Line of Best Fit interviews Hidden Cameras frontman Joel Gibbs.

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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