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January 29, 2012

Shorties (Craig Finn, Gender Bias in NPR Book Coverage, and more)

Craig Finn shares the influences behind several songs on his solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, with the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"Honolulu Blues"

"A lot of it was inspired by this book 'Democracy' by Joan Didion, which talks a lot about all the profiteering that took place out of Hawaii during the Vietnam War. It was sort of a jumping-off point for a lot of the bad stuff that we did. Not just the war itself, but all the money being made off the war. We went [to Honolulu] with the Hold Steady, and I thought it was nice, but noticed that the streets are kind of edgier than you'd guess."

Finn also discusses the solo project with the paper.

The Boston Phoenix examines the gender bias in NPR's books coverage.

As it turns out, public media is worse than even the New York Times. Far worse. NPR and WBUR talked about male writers about 70 percent of the time. Of the roughly 60 works of fiction discussed on NPR, only about 20 were written by women. Of the six novelists featured on more than one program, all but Amy Waldman, author of The Submission, were men. Of the three novelists interviewed on more than one program, all were men. Terry Gross interviewed twice as many male as female novelists, and Morning Edition apparently dedicated no coverage at all to women fiction writers.

The Scotsman has news of a new film collaboration featuring Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian.

Stuart Murdoch, the lead singer of the Glasgow-based group, has now teamed up with twice Oscar-nominated Barry Mendel, producer of movies such as Bridesmaids, The Sixth Sense and The Royal Tenenbaums, to produce the film, which is described as "a musical love letter" to the city. The pair hope to start filming in June.

All Things Considered profiles Ezra Jack Keats's children's book The Snowy Day, which turns 50 this year.

Keats received thousands of fan letters from children, featuring their own versions of his deceptively simple collage illustrations. Even children in places like decidedly un-snowy Florida could relate to Peter's adventures. But one of the most touching reports came from a teacher whose students had read The Snowy Day.

"There was a teacher [who] wrote in to Ezra, saying, 'The kids in my class, for the first time, are using brown crayons to draw themselves.' " Pope says. "These are African-American children. Before this, they drew themselves with pink crayons. But now, they can see themselves."

Crib Notes interviews Twin Sister lead singer Andrea Estella.

Kevin: Do you have any current day influences that give you a sense of inspiration?

Andrea: I really like Ariel Pink and the new band that he’s in now. Hercules & Love Affair I think is really cool. Bear in Heaven, I look up to them. And Lost Boy, I love Lost Boy!

The New York Times explores the future of Barnes & Noble.

The Observer profiles the band the Ting Tings.

The Observer notes that more women authors are writing horror stories.

Where once an accomplished "lady novelist" in search of a change might have attempted a neat whodunnit or perhaps a cosy "Aga saga", suddenly the unholy desire to create a horror or ghost story has seized a range of established talents. Even the television book club presenter Judy Finnigan has been drawn to the genre for her debut novel, a ghost story that will be out this autumn.

The San Francisco Examiner profiles singer-songwriter Jessie Baylin.

The Observer profiles John Lanchester, whose book Capital is being called "the great British novel of the early 21st century."

Murk Avenue has pinpointed the exact date Ice Cube sings about in "Today Was a Good Day."

McSweeney's interviews Diane Williams about her new collection of short fiction, Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty.

At Slate, Kate Roiphe defends John Updike's literary reputation.

"25 Things I Learned from Opening a Bookstore."

25. No matter how many books you've read in the past, you will feel woefully un-well read within a week of opening the store. You will also feel wise at having found such a good way to spend your days.

British house music star Maya Jane Coles shares some of her favorite tracks with the Guardian.

Author Jonathan Evison on writing and the importance of independent booksellers:

Reading is, at its best, not an escape; it is genuine experience. A novel is not a monologue, but a conversation, a collaboration between writer and reader, an invaluable exchange of human conditions.

Amazon MP3 has 1,000 digital albums on sale for $5.

Follow me on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Stumbleupon for links (updated throughout the day) that don't make the daily "Shorties" columns.

also at Largehearted Boy:

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

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

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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