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October 23, 2011

Shorties (St. Vincent, Ann Beattie, and more)

The Irish Independent profiles St. Vincent's Annie Clark.

On record, Clark sounds like Kate Bush trapped inside a Sufjan Stevens song while someone in the adjoining flat slaps on their favourite Bjork LP. Her compositions are gorgeous and dissonant and weird (albeit with a sweet internal life that rewards ardent listening).

In the New York Times, Ann Beattie talks about her forthcoming novel, Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life (in stores November 15th).

Hypothetically, in a book you can say anything. Just how that thing is spoken of, however, has led to some major confusion. The question is: What lies beneath or behind the text? As any fiction writer will tell you, writing about what happened almost never works. Facts look stranger in print. "Mrs. Nixon" is about the limitations of language and also about what I believe are the limits of knowing anyone. When someone means to compliment my writing by saying, "You really nailed it!" I feel that I have failed: I see the hammer, and its sad utility. Even if what I write pleases me, I’m well aware it precludes all other moments that might have been included.

The Mobile Press-Register reflects on Winston Groom's novel Forrest Gump on the 25th anniversary of its publication.

The Birmingham News interviews interviews Joey Ryan of the Milk Carton Kids about the band's free music agenda.

BBS: And I assume the decision to give your music away for free was a natural outpouring of that.

JR: It seemed like an obvious decision early on, that we would give the music away for free, being a brand-new band and really wanting to be on the road a lot. So everything we do has been geared toward the live show, including the records themselves, which have been recorded live. The first album, Retrospect, is a live album [recorded during two shows]. The studio album, Prologue, was recorded the same way, but in a studio. We really value–I think the fans do, too–but we really prioritize and value being able to recreate what’s on the record.

The Independent, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Kansas City Star, and the Columbus Dispatch review Haruki Murakami's new novel 1Q84.

The New York Times profiles the iPod on the device's 10th birthday.

Salon interviews author Curtis Sittenfeld about the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Neal Pollack reviews Richard Stark's newly reprinted series of Parker novels.

The National Writing Project interviews music critic Ann powers about why she writes.

The New York Times notes the resurgence of zine publishing and appreciation.

Flavorwire shares a gallery of literature-inspired jack-o'-lanterns.

Portugal. The Man visits The Current studio for a live performance and interview.

The Arizona Republic interviews Craig Thompson about his latest graphic novel, Habibi.

Q: "Habibi" is epic in scope and a big departure from your autobiographical work. What was your inspiration?

A: After finishing "Blankets," I was sick of drawing myself and sick of drawing mundane Midwestern snowscapes. I really wanted to do something bigger than myself and outside of myself. So I was considering two trajectories, either the fantastical, craft a short of fantastical epic typical of comics, or go a non-fiction journalistic route like what Joe Sacco was doing, who is a huge influence. Something with that social-political edge. And then "Habibi"just met in the middle. I think "One Thousand and One Nights" as a genre fit the bill for both of the things that were interesting me at the time, the sprawling fantastical epic and also a reflection on Islam.

On sale for $5 this month at Amazon MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea album.

Win Haruki Murakamki's new novel 1Q84 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)

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
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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