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May 16, 2012

Shorties (Connecting Winnie the Pooh to The Rolling Stones, Dan Clowes on Chicago, and more)

Vanity Fair finds a surprising connection between Winnie the Pooh and the Rolling Stones.

WBEZ's Alison Cuddy interviews cartoonist Daniel Clowes.

At the New Yorker, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lists her favorite albums.

The Book Case recommends 12 super short story collections.

am New York previews this weekend's NYC Popfest.

The Book Case recommends 20 standout books for summer.

Rocks Off! lists the 12 best insult and jab songs.

Tin House interviews author Brian Evenson about his new story collection Windeye.

Many stories here share a fruitful sense of placelessness. Can you talk a little bit about how setting informs your characters?

I do like having a setting that has very firm outlines in terms of individual elements of it—the look of a room, the shape of a house, etc., without being grounded in an actual place in the real world. I think that attention to the details of a place at the expense of a larger pinpointing of place makes readers pay attention in a different way than saying “Chicago” or “New York” or “the Midwest” or “Great Jones Street” does. That’s a kind of shorthand that allows the reader to pour their sense of a place in, and to compare it to an actual place, but I think there are two dangers with that. The first is the danger that you pull the reader partly out of the fictional world, since they’ll constantly referring to their in-head encyclopedia about what that place is like. The second is that these larger identifications of place end up often standing it for attention to careful world-building, generating a space or place for the reader to inhabit while the story is going on. I guess even when I do have an actual place in mind, as I in fact did for a number of these stories, I found it more productive to focus on what would immediately be perceived by someone coming into it rather than identifying it more geographically or culturally or specifically.

The New York Times examines the band String Cheese Incident's unique stand against Ticketmaster.

The 10 essential poets every student should encounter in school.

Arne Bellstorf talks to Rolling Stone about his new graphic novel, Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles in Hamburg.

Bellstorf achieves wonderfully intuitive likenesses of Kirchherr and the Beatles in the book, but had to work to keep iconic images of the musicians out of his mind. "I wasn't a big Beatles fan, so I always had a picture of the late Beatles in my head, but it was interesting to learn that the Beatles started out as a rock & roll cover band in Hamburg," he says. "My drawing style is usually pretty linear-clear, very reduced and simple and not naturalistic at all, but I showed my first draft to Astrid and she just laughed and said it was very cute. She liked the noses and the funny hair, how I depicted their pretty boy look."

At NPR, author Zoe Ferraris recommends Mario Puzo's novel The Fortunate Pilgrim.

Vulture interviews Garbage's Shirley manson about the band's new album.

Talk of the Nation interviews Deborah Davis about her new Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation.

Drowned in Sound interviews Volker Bertelmann of Hauschka.

There's something I find weirdly hilarious about how you create these big, profound compositions out of these banal, everyday kind of items like Tic Tac boxes. Are you a funny guy?

You tell me! Sure, I'm funny. I like irony and melancholy, a mixture of those things. I'm sort of a responsible person – I have a family, I have things to take care of, you know? – but yeah, I like to laugh and part of that seeps through into my music, I suppose. Life is a gift and you have a certain amount of time to make the best of it. You might as well have fun, huh?

The Two-Way gathers reactions to the death of author Carlos Fuentes.

Win Hilary Mantel's novels Bring Up the Bodies and Wolf Hall 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)

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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