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March 7, 2012

Shorties (Michael Chabon on Science Fiction, The Longevity of Bruce Springsteen, and more)

Wired interviews Michael Chabon about the prejudice against science fiction.

The A.V. Club marvels at the long and successful career of Bruce Springsteen.

What's The Boss' secret? Quality is a factor, sure. Like Neil Young, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, Springsteen still puts out good records, full of original songs that are true to his signature sound while showing a willingness to explore new musical ideas. And as a touring act, The E Street Band remains a powerhouse. I've seen Springsteen in concert twice—in 2000 and 2009—and while both shows were great, the second show was remarkably better. The man seems to be picking up momentum in his 60s.

Kevin Guilfoile and John Warner preview this year's Morning News Tournament of Books.

Washingtonian interviews White Rabbits frontman Alex Even about the band's new album, Milk Famous.

This is the third record now. If you had to look at all three albums, how would you describe the trajectory of the band's sound?

That's hard for me, because I'm in it and I don’t have a lot of perspective. I write songs I think are cool, and the rest of the dudes do the same thing. But I feel like the first record was very big-sounding. We had all these people who could play, and everyone played at the same time. The reaction against that on the second record was, "Let's see how restrained we can be and still make compelling music." And I feel like this record is maybe more of a combination of the two—exercising restraint as a musician but also knowing when to push things over the edge and go big the way only we can because we have so many people.

Jami Attenberg reports that Jonathan Franzen is no fan of Twitter.

On social media:

“It's a free country. People can do whatever they want within the law, and even some things not within the law…I personally was on Facebook for two weeks as part of a piece of journalism I was writing — it seemed sort of dumb to me. Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose…it's hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters…it's like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it's like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’…It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium."

Jewcy interviews Jon Natchez of Yellow Ostrich about the band's new album Strange Land.

At the Guardian, Lloyd Shepherd shares his top 10 "weird histories" in books.

Paste points out an 8-bit cover of the Smiths' "This Charming Man."

The Telegraph profiles London's only bookstore built on a barge.

The shortlist for the inaugural Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing has been named:

Counterpower: Making Change Happen by Tim Gee
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
Tweets from Tahrir: Egypt's Revolution as it Unfolded, in the Words of the People Who Made It edited by Nadia Idle and Alex Nunns
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones
Magical Marxism: Subversive Politics and the Imagination by Andy Merrifield
Penny Red: Notes from the New Age of Dissent by Laurie Penny
Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World by Nicholas Shaxson

At eMusic, Jami Attenberg interviews author Nathan Englander.

Shanghaist interviews Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie.

With the John Carter film premiere looming, SF Signal examines speculative fiction's love affair with Mars.

BookPage recommends 12 female authors to watch in 2012.

Stream a new song from s/s/s (Serengeti, Sufjan Stevens, and Son Lux). Their Break and Claw EP is out March 15th.

Flavorwire lists 10 of the most powerful female characters in literature.

Paste lists the top 25 Sufjan Stevens songs.

Tablet finds similarities between the Bible's Book of Esther and The Hunger Games trilogy.

All Songs Considered previews several bands playing this year's SXSW Music festival.

All Things Considered explores the explosion in dystopian fiction for young adults.

Dystopian fiction has been around for a long time, but the success of The Hunger Games has spawned a whole new crop of books set in a grim future where an authoritarian regime is just begging to be overthrown. They are aimed straight at a teenage audience.

Win new novels by Hari Kunzru and Heidi Julavits 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+, Tumblr, Pinterest, 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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