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September 2, 2011

Book Notes - Dan Fante ("Fante: A Family's Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving")

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

Dan Fante's memoir truly lives up to its subtitle, "A Family's Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving." Written by Dan Fante, the son of novelist and screenwriter John Fante, this book openly explores his family's addiction problems, and offers a rare honest snapshot into the life of a writer.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"His anecdotal, spare narrative is full of fine, pointed writing and searing memories."

Stream a Spotify playlist of these tunes. If you don't have Spotify yet, request an invitation.

In his own words, here is Dan Fante's Book Notes music playlist for his memoir, Fante: A Family's Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving:


What's interesting is that I often hear music as I write, especially with the memoir I just completed. My book traces my life and my father's life over the course of several decades. More often than not, what I heard was Rock N' Roll. But sometimes I crossed the map. Anyway, here goes:

My first jarring inspiration from music to become a writer came from Little Richard. When I heard "Lucille" for the first time I was twelve. As I was writing my memoir it came back in spades. Richard's vocals had a wild freedom. They released me from the confinement of convention and from ordinary thinking. The man broke all bounds of reason and propriety and allowed me go beyond my limits. If Richard could do it in music then I thought that I could do it too.

Robert Palmer's, "Addicted To Love" allowed me almost the same permission. As my CD played on repeat - pounding and pounding - I could see those mindless sexy girls in that video. The experience for me is entirely sexual - inspirational. The booming hook, "You might as well fact it, you're addicted to love," pushed me passed my own reservations to open my heart to my work.

Another one that comes to mind was an old John Fogerty: "I Ain't No Senator's Son." John Fogerty's snarling vocals and iconoclasm let me cut loose to say what I need to say and not second-guess myself.

Dylan's "Forever Young" is my hymn to my father in the book. His lyrical prayer made me feel my father, John Fante. It made me mourn his absence but also allowed me to touch his heart.

Then there's Joe Cocker's Randy Newman lyric, "You Can Leave Your Hat On." Again here for me the song evokes an absence of self-imposed limits. The unrestrained lust in the words and music are like a tome to single-mindedness saying all that's important is the sex. And make no mistake writing to me is very sexual.

Lastly, I get constant inspiration from Cole Porter's stuff. Be it Tony Bennett or Sinatra on the vocals. "You're The Top" is brilliant. Sometimes I repeated the lyrics to myself while I was driving. If Porter could write stuff like that then I can too.


Dan Fante and Fante: A Family's Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Publishers Weekly review

Interview interview with 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)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
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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