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March 19, 2012

Shorties (Philip Roth, Tanlines, and more)

The Newark Star-Ledger profiles author Philip Roth.

"I find writing is largely an ordeal I have to face every day," he says. "It’s a strange occupation. You are on your own. There is no rule book, no casebook. Nothing. … I guess that’s what I wanted."

Morning Edition profiles the band Tanlines.

The duo uses many elements of electronic dance music, but often repurposes them in a poppier context. As an example, Cohen points to the track "Brothers," which he says reminds him of a Bruce Springsteen song.

"It has a four-four kick, it has a rave synth, it has some of our elements — like that static sound that sounds like waves crashing. But the song itself is really like a melancholy introspective song," Cohen says.

The Economist profiles Dennis Johnson, publisher of Melville Books.

You recently published your 200th book and celebrated your tenth anniversary. What are your thoughts on the future of book publishing and Melville House?

I'm concerned with the survival of the printed book. I'm concerned with the fact that publishers seem very eager to abandon it for what's sexy or trendy, or has better margins, which I fear will prevent the healthy evolution of the digital book. They're not necessarily competitors; they are to some extent apples and oranges. I'm also concerned about the overall health of the marketplace. I'm not convinced it's a great marketplace for literature and I'm worried about being able to disseminate our product in the future.

NPR is streaming the new THEESatisfaction album, Awe Naturale (out March 27th).

Interview Magazine interviews author Tom McCarthy.

NPR Music is streaming audio from several of SXSW 2012's musical performances.

BOMBLOG interviews Jarett Kobek about his novel, ATTA.

NW Maybe we have to build a public for that type of discourse, or find that public. There was an obsession, I guess, with subjectivity in terms of politics, and maybe that’s what led to this interiority that you’re speaking of. People thought actionable politics was just dead and impossible. People didn’t believe in a grand politics beyond the reactionary.

JK I wanted ATTA to engage a younger audience beyond forty-somethings gleaning potential insights about the perils of married life and parenthood from the latest 700 page book by Jonathan Franzen. It’s possible that it worked—one of the first reviews was five stars on from a deranged Canadian teenager who calls himself Brosephicles. I guess he sits around playing Xbox 360 Live and then reads Deleuze and then goes back to killing the Borgia in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

The BBC News Magazine profiles Leon Theremein, inventor of the musical instrument that bears his name.

Prospect explores recent novels narrated by "hindered narrators."

This kind of novel, told in the first person by a character with a limited ability to understand the world or write about it, is the genre that defines our times. Every story told by an "I" implies some limitation, but books like Haddon's take this further. These narrators are conspicuously powerless, often children or disabled people; usually their prose is full of (what the reader hitherto had thought were) errors. They are, in short, the world’s least likely authors. The poet and novelist Nick Laird has used the phrase "hindered narrator," which describes it well.

Studio360 interviews Andrew Bird about his new album, Break It Yourself.

The Browser interviews author Tim Lott, who also lists the five best books about brothers.

Trib Local interviews author Frank Delaney, who speaks about the state of literary criticism, bloggers in particular.

"My main complaint about the general direction of literary criticism over the last century has been – and Joyce is a case in point – that it tended, in its lofty tone and often impenetrable language (not to mention occasional vendetta behavior), to be antidemocratic, to keep certain areas of literature to itself, whereas my own passion is for as many people as possible to be reading as widely as possible. The Literary Bloggers have no axes to grind, they're not protecting their reputations, they don't fear being sneered at by other critics, they're reading what they want to read, writing what they want to write, and they don't want to keep what they enjoy to themselves. They want to share. They want to expand the constituency of reading. They want to hail and applaud good writing. To my mind this is a very significant development – uneven, I grant, here and there, but, dammit, not as uneven as the generations of formal literary critics, and the blogging intention is so good and so worthy of loud vocal support that you can call it truly a new and, to my mind, incomparably welcome development in the world of reading and writing."

Win a copy of A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel: Volume One 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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