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April 23, 2011

Shorties (Sufjan Stevens, Best Books on the American Civil War, and more)

At Big Other, author Curtis White shares his love for the music of Sufjan Stevens and the importance community plays in music appreciation.

This may seem as if I am glorifying Sufjan in a way that his music will not support. And perhaps it is true that his music will not bear comparison to the music of Beethoven or Mahler. Well, assuming that's true (I have my doubts about knee-jerk deference to the classical masters), so what? My point is not evaluative; my point is syntactic. My point is that the deep historical forces that make Sufjan possible include Beethoven as well as Plato. I'm also saying, as I said in The Middle Mind, that like it or not indie pop/rock is about the only green and living perimeter, like the stuff just beneath the bark of a tree, that we have left.

Book Beast lists the 11 best books on the American Civil War.

The San Francisco Chronicle reviews Arthur Phillips' new novel, The Tragedy of Arthur.

Ultimately, this is a book about authenticity, not only of literary texts but also of people and filial relationships. The hero of the novel wants to believe that his father loves him, despite much evidence to the contrary. What kind of father abandons his family by committing acts that he knows are likely to put him behind bars? And for that matter, what kind of father leaves a forged play as a way of making amends? This is all good, serious and emotionally rich material, and Phillips handles it skillfully and sympathetically.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune interviews author Elizabeth Berg.

Topspin Media explores the "unbundling (and re-bundling) of music," an article inspired by this blog post on the unbundling of media.

Flavorwire lists books that changed the way we think about the earth.

Salon explores the mystery of the comic book hipster cops that appear in many DC and Marvel issues.

USA Literary Map

Merrril Garbus of tUnE-YarDs talks to the San Francisco Chronicle about her new album, w h o k i l l.

Jacket Copy interviews Jonathan Evison about his new novel, West of Here.

The Nation lists 10 protest songs that matter.

At Patricia Ann McNair's blog, Gina Frangello discusses writing short stories as training for novels.

On sale for $2.99 at Amazon MP3: Deerhunter's Halcyon Digest album.

NPR reviews and excerpts from Penelope Morton's newly reprinted 1962 novel The Pumpkin Eater.

World Cafe is streaming a short performance by Bright Eyes.

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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