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December 12, 2010

Shorties (Owen Pallett Covers Joanna Newsom, Genre Fiction vs. Literary Fiction, and more)

BlogTO shares a "neighbourhood mixtape" that includes Owen Pallett covering Joanna Newsom's "Peach, Plum, Pear."


The Observer examines the difference between literary fiction and genre fiction, using Dan Brown and Stieg Larsson as examples.

I realise we are sailing into choppy waters here. With Larsson now dead and so decent a chap, how dare I go up on deck and start explaining – amid the storms of publicity and howl of Hollywood and the relentless sluicing of the sales – that his work is not very good even by the standards of his genre? Well because, in my view, we need urgently to remind ourselves of – for want of better terminology – the difference between literary and genre fiction; because, to misquote the literary essayist Isaac D'Israeli, "it seems to me a wretched national compulsion to be gratified by mediocrity when the excellent lies before us".


Yesterday's updates to the online "best books of 2010" lists included eight year-end lists from the Guardian, NPR's best outsider fiction, the Independent's fiction of the year, and more.


Yesterday's updates to the list of 2010 year-end online music lists included Amazon's best music of the year, DC9 at Night's best albums that were supposed to come out, but never did, and much more.


The San Francisco Chronicle interviews PiL and Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon.


The Las Vegas Review-Journal examines whether books and e-books can coexist.


The Austin American-Statesman profiles Portland, Oregon's thriving music scene.


The Minneapolis Star-Tribune profiles four independent bookstores closing in the Twin Cities.


The Florida Times-Union shares an album guide for lovers and haters of holiday music.


The Denver Post spends a couple of days on the road with Tennis.

Then there's the sound — a minimalist sound that recalls a simpler era, built on breezy female vocals, warm, reverberated guitar tones, catchy hooks and tap-tap beats.

2010 will likely be remembered as the year that indie rock decided it was OK to smile again. And make no mistake, Tennis is all about fun. Along with other lo-fi, surf-rock bands like Best Coast, Harlem and Dum Dum Girls, Tennis has crested the sandy shores of indie-pop stardom.


Singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson shares a holiday playlist with Us magazine.


The Observer reviews Salvatore Scibona's novel The End.

From its first virtuosic, almost page-long sentence, The End declares itself as a work that requires attention, the heft of the subject matter matched by the ornamented tooling of the prose.


Vulture shares tips on how to hate the Beatles.


Drowned in Sound is streaming three tracks from the new Veils album, The Troubles of the Brain.


Mishka Bloglin offers a guide to the "grave wave" music genre, complete with a 3-CD mp3 compilation.


My own "best of 2010" book & music lists:

favorite albums of 2010
favorite graphic novels
favorite nonfiction books
favorite novels of 2010
favorite short story collections

Coming later this month: my favorite free and legal mp3 downloads and favorite debut novels of the year.


Amazon MP3 is unveiling a new free holiday song every day until Christmas.


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


Win an autographed copy of China Mieville's novel Kraken in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.

Contest sponsored by AbeBooks:



also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Online "Best Books of 2010" lists
Online "Best Music of 2010" lists

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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