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November 22, 2011

Book Notes - Lenore Zion "My Dead Pets Are Interesting"

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

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, David Peace, Myla Goldberg, and many others.

Lenore Zion's essay collection My Dead Pets Are Interesting is clever, funny, and brutally honest.

Tom Hansen wrote of the book:

Stream a Spotify playlist of these tunes. If you don't have Spotify yet, sign up for the free service.


In her own words, here is Lenore Zion's Book Notes music playlist for her essay collection, My Dead Pets Are Interesting:


My book, My Dead Pets Are Interesting, is about my reality and my fantasy world and the uncontrollable and socially unacceptable thoughts that tie the two together. I didn't necessarily have a set playlist of songs that I listened to while writing, but these songs all occupy large spaces in my brain and are therefore present in my book in one way or another.


"California" – Joni Mitchell

I spent much of my childhood singing this song into a mirror in my bedroom and mimicking sexy dancing. I think I pulled it off. Twenty years later, as I was writing the essays that would make up most of My Dead Pets are Interesting, my friend Sadie and I often drove around Mulholland Drive singing this song, even the super high notes. I think we pulled it off.


"You Can't Always Get What You Want" – Rolling Stones

When I was a kid, my father would sing this song to me in deep monotone whenever I complained about wanting something I didn't have. The message never stuck, though, so I heard this song from my father almost daily. He also used to sing “Get your butt/out of bed/la la la la la” in the morning. He can only hit one note. So it'd be the “Get your butt/out of bed/la la la la la” song, followed by my complaints: “I don't wanna,” ending with his rendition of “You Can't Always Get What You Want.” He'd always be smiling when he sang the Stones song, as if it was a fresh joke every time. Dad humor melts my heart.


"Tea and Thorazine" – Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird frequently uses big words that I don't understand and sings about things I don't understand. When I do understand what he's talking about, it's related to crazy people and neuroses. I like that because I am a neurotic crazy person. “Tea and Thorazine” sounds sorta old-timey to me and makes me feel smart because I know exactly what Thorazine is used for and when it's used. Ditto tea.


"Fistful of Love" – Antony & the Johnsons

This song is about a physically abusive relationship. I'm not in one of those, and I never have been, but I'm really dramatic and if my boyfriend started to hit me, I'd probably write the lyrics “I accept and I collect/upon my body/the memories of your devotion” in my journal while I cried and folded his laundry and thought about how much I love him. I bruise very easily – a feather could float down from the sky and graze my skin and I'd look like I'd been beaten. It's very alarming, I've even been tested for Leukemia. People who don't know me sometimes question me about bruises and I get the impression they think I'm a victim of domestic violence when the reality is that I am a victim of walking into my furniture like a newly blind person.


"Kinda I Want To" – NIN

This was my jam in high school. But you can't always get what you want.


"Pale Blue Eyes" – Velvet Underground

One of the most played songs on my iPod, I can't figure out who to think about when I listen to it. I don't have blue eyes, so it's not about me, but it sounds like this blue-eyed person cheated on his or her spouse with Lou Reed. Which totally doesn't count because he's Lou Reed. His voice when he sings this song is the most sympathetic noise in the world, even more so than a sad little three-legged kitten meowing in a cardboard box next to a dumpster suspiciously filled with umbilical cords to the right and a comatose crackhead who used to be well-adjusted and full of potential until his stepdad molested him to the left.


"Only Skin" – Joanna Newsom

The second most played song on my iPod. It's almost 17 minutes long and at no point during the sprawling piece of music do I have even the slightest clue what this broad is talking about. But when I need 17 minutes to pass quickly (airplanes, elliptical machines, etc.) I listen to her jigsaw puzzle of a song every time. Making me, quite possibly, the only person in the world who works out to Joanna Newsom.


"Moonlight Sonata" – Beethoven

I also work out to this song.


"Too Many Puppies" – Primus

My book is called My Dead Pets Are Interesting, so of course I'm going to listen to "Too Many Puppies." Too many of them are being shot in the dark. That's what I think the lyrics are, but I'm probably wrong. My friend Dach also loves this song – he lived in the apartment beneath mine while I was writing the book and he played it frequently. Then he and I went to a boxing store and bought a speed-bag together and hung it up in the garage and punched it a whole lot. Because there were too many puppies.


Lenore Zion and My Dead Pets Are Interesting links:

The Book Lady's Blog essay by the author (on books she loves)
Modern Romance interview with the author
Three Guys One Book essay by the author
Worldwide Dirt interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)

List of Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
List of 2011 Year-End Online Music Lists

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
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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