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December 1, 2011

Book Notes - Mickey Hess "The Nostalgia Echo"

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.

Mickey Hess's The Nostalgia Echo is an inventively told satirical novel brimming with pop culture references and clever witticisms.

Joe Meno wrote of the book:

"The Nostalgia Echo is the best book you will read this year, or any year: the exact antidote to all those tired, humorless, beige-colored novels of recent memory, the writing here pops with both a dazzling intelligence and a devastating depth of character. Mr. Hess carries on in the great tradition of Vonnegut, D. Barthelme, and every other genius literary madman."

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


In his own words, here is Mickey Hess's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, The Nostalgia Echo:


Cool Kids "'88"

In which the Cool Kids borrow some Nas lyrics for their chorus: "Do the Smurf, do the Wop, Baseball Bat/Rooftop like I'm bringin' 88 back." When Nas wrote the line he was 29 years old, looking back on his 16th year. When the Cool Kids used it, they were waxing nostalgic for a golden year of hip hop that occurred when they were tiny infants.


The Ataris "Boys of Summer"

A nostalgic cover of an already-nostalgic original. Just before the line "don't look back -- you can never look back" the Ataris change Don Henley's "I saw a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac" to "I saw a Black Flag sticker on a Cadillac." And like that, Sixties hippie nostalgia becomes Eighties punk nostalgia. I read somewhere that this song is about minor league baseball.


Bryan Adams "Summer of 69"

In the summer of 1969, a 10-year-old Bryan Adams learned to play guitar, started a band, hung out at a drive in, and held hands with a girl on a porch. These were the best days of his life.


Ghostface Killah "All that I got is You"

Proving that people are nostalgic even for the worst of times, big Ghostface gives us chills on this tribute to his mother's strength in the worst of conditions, complete with "pluckin roaches out the cereal box" and a young Ghost being sent to his friend's house with a note asking to borrow food.

Things was deep. My whole youth was sharper than cleats
Two brothers with muscular dystrophy, it killed me
But I remember this: moms would lick her fingertips
To wipe the cold out my eye before school with her spit


C Rayz Walz "Three Card Molly"

"Remember that time I took a shit in the train station?/And you said the cops was comin -- but you was just playin?"


Masta Ace Disposable Arts

Entire album, start to finish. Even the cover art for this thing has a bittersweet nostalgic quality. Ace swung to West Coast car culture for his Nineties albums, and now his first album in six years shows him back in NYC, sitting dejected in the middle of the street on a spare seat from a car. Ace's most complex album explores how it feels when a rap career is ending, but it's so powerful it revived his career. This year is its 10th anniversary.


Elizabeth Cotton "Freight Train"

My dad used to play this song on his guitar in the kitchen and all other sounds in the house would stop.


Mickey Hess and The Nostalgia Echo links:

the author's website
the author's blog

Publishers Weekly review

Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for his memoir Big Wheel at the Cracker Factory
The Rumpus posts by the author
THE2NDHAND stories by 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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