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September 29, 2011

Shorties (Philip Roth, Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam, and more)

The Millions implores the Swedish Academy to give the Nobel Prize for Literature to Philip Roth.

For your consideration, I present to you the Library of America edition of The American Trilogy, out just this week. The coincidence, I grant you, is a touch unseemly. One can't help wondering if the board of the LOA chose this week to publish its handsome $40 omnibus edition of Roth's three best-known late novels in the hope that you, the esteemed members of the Swedish Academy, would award him the Nobel Prize in Stockholm next week, allowing the LOA to bring in enough cash to float yet another edition of Henry James's Desk Doodles. But don't let that sway you. Just consider the work.

Nerve pits Nirvana's Nevermind album against Pearl Jam's Ten.

Chuck Klosterman makes a great point about Pearl Jam in his book Killing Yourself to Live: "Pearl Jam was seen as the people's band; Nirvana was seen as the band that hated its own people." And that's really the best distillation of the difference between those two bands, and why Pearl Jam, despite not having the cult of personality that Nirvana does, is ultimately a better band.

San Diego CityBeat interviews Elbow's Pete Turner.

At the Telegraph, author Charles Frazier lists the five best hardboiled novels.

Nerve lists five bands that music writers love that normal people should too.

Amazon announced its color tablet yesterday, the KIndle Fire, along with two new Kindle e-readers.

Flavorwire interviews cartoonist Dan Clowes.

At the Poetry Foundation, Eileen Myles reviews It Is Almost That / A Collection of Image+Text work by Women Artists & Writers.

Intuitively and practically speaking, This Is Almost That is, in effect, a handbook. It, by presenting female art history, shows us how to be an artist. Each career here, whether its arc is short or long, presents a new kind of way. Because the format is strong and uniform. Title, artist, date, and artist statement. Bios at the back of the book. When the work presented didn't hold my attention, the tiny quote from the artist at the front sometimes did. And since almost a quarter of the artists included are deceased, they weren't filling in their bio and statement form. The information was culled from journals and public statements and letters. And I think the reason the book has a consciousness-raising effect is because it's not intentional. It's adamantly an aesthetic selection, with relationships between the contributions being prime rather anyone being positioned as this or that. Finally, we are reminded that "images are not illustrative and language does not explain." It's gray and it's vague. For readers and wanderers.

Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn talks to the Illinois Entertainer.

"I've had kids come up and say to me, 'God, you guys and Drive-By Truckers are the only bands that I ever go see that look like they’re having any fun at all,'" recounts Hold Steady vocalist Craig Finn. We're discussing his band's triumphant, early-afternoon appearance at Lollapalooza back in August. "We definitely, honestly, have a great time when we play and try to convey that, and I think that gets contagious. I think we really did a pretty good job putting on a Big Rock Show. It was early in the day and obviously we're not as big as the other bands . . . But there was the Jumbotron, so that was cool."

The 20 best books for language lovers.

The Raleigh News & Observer interviews singer-songwriter and author Alina Simone.

Fictionaut interviews author Ben Loory.

St. Vincent plays a short set at WXPN's World Cafe.

Bookworm interviews Hector Tobar about his new novel, The Barbarian Nurseries.

Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark visit The Current studio for an interview and live performance.

At NPR, author Stefan Block recommends Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End.

Win Chad Harbach's debut novel The Art of Fielding and a $100 Threadless gift certificate in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.

Amazon MP3 has 100 digital albums on sale for $5.

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, books, and pop culture)

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