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June 25, 2010

Book Notes - Kate Rockland ("Falling Is Like This")

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

I have to admit, the first thing I noticed about Falling Is Like This was Courtney Love's blurb on the back cover, that alone piqued my interest enough to start the book. Thank you, Courtney.

Kate Rockland's debut novel Falling Is Like This is fast-paced, clever, and funny. Rockland chronicles one woman's relationship with her new rocker boyfriend (who she has had a crush on for years) as deftly as she depicts New York's rapidly evolving East Village.

Music permeates the book, and provides the perfect backdrop to the novel.

In her own words, here is Kate Rockland's Book Notes music playlist for her novel, Falling Is Like This:

Falling Is Like This takes place in the East Village, around 2006. Harper Rostov is 23 and figuring out where to live, where to work (she wants to be a music journalist) and whether she is falling in love with Nick Cavallaro, lead guitarist in famous Jersey punk band Hitchhiker's Revenge, whom she has just met as the book opens. Over the span of one week, Harper rises and falls and rises again, all set against the gritty yet gentrifying backdrop of the East Village. Therefore, this playlist is divided into seven songs, one for each day.

1). "Stuck Between Stations" by The Hold Steady

I love its line "There are nights when I think that Sal Paradise was right/Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together/Sucking off each other at the demonstrations/Making sure their makeup's straight/Crushing one another with colossal expectations/Dependent, undisciplined, sleeping late."

Don't you ever get angry with your own generation? Harper does, and there are few instances where this leaks through, such as when she passes the Urban Outfitters on 14th street in Union Square: "I got a kick out of their overpriced tank tops with sparkly scarves wrapped around the skinny necks of mannequins in their windows. It depressed me that my generation was so gullible as to not only spend good money on a flimsy tank top, but to be sold the idea of wearing it in October. With a stupid scarf that costs twenty bucks."

Sometimes I feel like anyone born after 1980 has been bought and sold, that advertisers have ruled the way we think since we watched the Smurfs in our footie pajamas. I feel like The Hold Steady's lyrics reflect this frustration, that we care too much about what we look like, and that we're lazy, some of us.

2). "I Love Rock ‘n Roll" by Joan Jett

I love it that the greatest ode to rock and roll was written by a pint-sized woman from Philly. Harper is a strong female character who loves rock music, and starts a ‘zine called Thrash in college to cover her favorite bands. The strong chords, the throaty voice… Joan Jett is a woman Harper would have listened to relentlessly.

3). LeAnn Rimes "Can't Fight the Moonlight"

Okay, so this is definitely the corniest song of all time. Why else would it have the lyrics: "Underneath the starlight, starlight/There's a magical feeling so right/It will steal your heart tonight." I mean, come on. Barf central. But, wait! Fear not, friends. I put this song in here because in the book, Harper and Nick go into Coyote Ugly bar, on 1st avenue and have beers. It's their first official date. Did you see the movie? I definitely watched it growing up. The lead character was from Jersey, after all.

4). "Hopeless Romantic," by the Bouncing Souls

Maybe I should have put this song first, because it's the coolest by far. I love this band from New Jersey, I used to write about them and even went on their tour briefly to Hawaii, which is a whole other story. I love their songs so much, I could listen to that 1999 Hopeless Romantic album over and over again. "I don't know what other people see/Or what they think is love/But I know what it means to me/I fall in love so easily." This sums up the relationship between Harper and Nick so well; they fall in love within one week. When you're young, this really happens.

5). "Rebel Girl" by Bikini Kill

I worshipped Bikini Kill in high school, along with Hole. In Falling Is Like This, Harper is hanging out with a new group of women she's never met before, including the wives of some of Hitchhiker's Revenge band members, fans, and female sound technicians and merch sellers at shows. Harper's a good girl, and she loves these punk girls with their blue hair and Dr. Martens. "Rebel girl you are the queen of my world" sums up the way Harper feels about her new band of female friends.

6). "Straight Outta Massachussetts" by NOFX

There is no funnier line than "I moved in with my mother 'cause I could afford the rent.
 I moved to California, they thought I had a speech impediment." Come on… that's fucking hilarious. I put NOFX in my playlist because Nick has been on tour with them many times, and because they just are so awesome. He also has a NOFX tattoo wrapped around his calf, amongst many others.

7). "Pork 'n Beans" by Weezer

I love Weezer and Rivers Cuomo makes a cameo in my book. I interviewed him in person five years ago when he was living and taking classes at Harvard. He was very nice. I remember it was snowing outside, and he'd arrived before the other students after a winter break. He was the only student on campus. He used to meditate in his tiny dorm room closet.

Kate Rockland and Falling Is Like This links:

the author's website

Booklist review

Boxing the Octopus interview with the author
Chick Lit Is Not Dead interview with the author
GirlHabits interview with the author
Guide to Literary Agents post by the author
Hudson reporter interview with the author
Morristown This Week profile of the author
Mrs. Mo's New Jersey interview with the author
On the Verge interview with the author
The Page 69 Test for the book
Trashionista interview with the author
Unabashedly Bookish profile of the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)

52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists

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