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October 17, 2010

Shorties (Bob Dylan, Salman Rushdie, and more)

The Guardian and Washington Post review Bob Dylan's The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9), out Tuesday.

The Washington Post:

"Witmark" won't add much to anyone's fundamental understanding of early classics like "Blowin' in the Wind," since many of the demos sound little changed from later "official" versions, but they offer a fascinating glimpse into Dylan's early capacity for self-mythologizing. Dylan's wholesale appropriation of blues and folk traditions, what historian Sean Wilentz in his new, excellent "Bob Dylan in America" calls "the magpie quality that is the essence of Dylan's modern minstrelsy," was then in its early bloom. "Witmark" finds him trying on and discarding various accents (he sounds positively Appalachian on the slight "Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues") and poses -- the raconteur, the righteous observer -- as if they were suits.

The Telegraph reviews Salman Rushdie's children's novel, Luka and the Fire of Life.

The Los Angeles Times interviews Laurie Anderson about her new multimedia project, Delusion.

Tell me more about "Delusion."

It's 20 stories with images and music. There are a lot of things in it that sound really pompous. I'm trying to represent what I think of as mental drift — just the way your mind can move from thing to thing. So it helps to have a lot of different media — music and stories and images. Your mind just processes those things so differently. So for example, I'll tell a story and there will be a violin solo, which is really a kind of comment in music on the story. You can say things in a violin solo like "I doubt it, but it's a very beautiful thing, but it's also sad and in the end I think it's kind of hilarious." So it's a real conversation that happens between a lot of media. Not to say I'm super proud of being a multimedia artist. I think for this work, I use other elements that will carry the story, that will make the story a better story.

USA Today reviews actor/writer James Franco's new short story collection, Palo Alto.

USA Today profiles Mumford & Sons.

Jamming with feeling: The band draws from a deep well of inspirations, from the usual (Bob Dylan) to the niche (Fairport Convention). "We're a confluence of influences," Dwane says. "Our English heritage is very strong with all of us, so that's the basis of our sound." Fans rave about their signature acoustic crescendos and passionate melodies. "Our mission statement is to write relatable music," Mumford says. "If we're going to be singing the same songs over and over again, and with conviction, it needs to be about things that are relevant to our lives. We don't want to reel in some intellectual premise we don't understand."

The Observer profiles Elvis Costello.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks to author Don DeLillo.

In the Paris Review, Art Spiegelman reviews the most gorgeous book of the year, Lynd Ward's Six Novels in Woodcuts.

At Five Books, Rosie Blau lists the best debut novels of 2010.

The Free Music Archive now includes 26,589 tracks to stream and/or download, including this almost hour-long CBC Radio 3 interview with the Arcade Fire.

Londonist's London Literary Locations feature maps out the city's featured buildings and areas in popular novels.

On sale for $3.68 at Amazon MP3: David Bowie's The Man Who Sold the World album.

Weekend Edition profiles singer-songwriter Clare Burson.

Dinaw Mengestu talks to Weekend Edition about his new novel, How to Read the Air. An excerpt from the book is also presented.

All Things Considered interviews "kindie rocker" Elizabeth Mitchell.

Follow me on Twitter and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily links from the worlds of music, literature, and pop culture)

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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