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July 26, 2011

Shorties (They Might Be Giants, Alan Moore, and more)

The A.V. Club interviews They Might Be Giants' John Linnell.

AVC: How often are your songs inspired by real events? From Join Us, "Never Knew Love" seems like it’s about a real situation, and "Judy Is Your Viet Nam" sounds like it’s about someone you know.

JL: I like songs that sound like they're about something that really happened, but I would say in most cases, they're not. And I would say John has a really good impulse to cook up… He's written songs that you would swear really happened to someone, because they’re so specific. "Judy Is Your Viet Nam," to me, has that quality, and I'm pretty sure it's not about anybody specific, but you could you ask him. Neither of us have either written a fully autobiographical song. That’s not where we're at. We don't find our own lives that interesting. I think there are certain details from things we hear that might find their way into our songs, but the person saying "I" in the song, the protagonist, is neither one of us. They're not expressing our experiences.

The Guardian interviews comics writer Alan Moore.

Early Nerd Special lists the top 10 YA books that deal with tough issues.

The Gladstone Observer interviews Mogwai guitarist Barry Burns.

The ABA Journal has 30 lawyers each recommend books that everyone in their profession should read.

Jacket Copy lists the literary highlights of this year's Comic-Con.

PopMatters profiles singer-songwriter David Bazan.

The Washington Post examines modern problems in measuring popularity in popular music.

Rolling Stone shares an "essential Lollapalooza 2011 playlist."

At It's Nice That, author Justin Taylor shares five books from his bookshelf.

Flavorwire creates a "literary mixtape" for Lord of the Rings wizard Gandalf.

At Speakeasy, author Lev Grossman explains why fantasy fiction isn't just for children.

Mashable explores the trend of musicians selling merchandise on Etsy.

Fresh Air interviews Heidi Cullen about her book The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and other Scenes from a Climate Changed Planet.

Lifehacker lists the five best streaming music services.

Fresh Air reviews Dana Spiotta's new novel Stone Arabia.

Spiotta's work because she tackles philosophical subjects in an edgy collage-type style that jumbles together time frames and narrative modes. She even throws around words like "ontological." If all that sounds off-putting, be assured that Spiotta's novels are post-modern without the chill: character development and the spiky nuances of family relationships are always a central concern. As much as we're invited, in Stone Arabia, to meditate on the value of the art of Nik Worth, the aging non-starter rock 'n' roller who's one of the main characters here, we're also caught up in the emotional toll his obsessions exact on his sister, Denise. There's almost always a Denise in the life of an "art-for-art's sake" artist, the mother, partner or family member who's grounded enough to worry; the one who comes up with the money for rent and food.

Talk of the Nation interviews singer-songwriter William Elliott Whitmore about his new album Field Songs.

Alt.Latino examines Uraguay's place in Latin rock history.

The Guardian Books Blog predicts the Man Booker prize longlist.

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

also at Largehearted Boy:

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

Atomic Books Comics Preview (highlights of the week's new comics & graphic novels)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (highlights of the week's new books)
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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