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September 11, 2012

Book Notes - John Reed "Snowball's Chance"

Snowball's Chance

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, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Melville House has released a 10th anniversary edition of John Reed's novel Snowball's Chance, a scathingly satirical sequel to George Orwell's classic Animal Farm.

Guernica wrote of the book:

"The novel transcends its particular circumstances … Snowball’s gambit is to turn the farm into a giant spectacle of happiness, and his Animal Fair represents more than just a place: it names an entire ethos."

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 John Reed's Book Notes music playlist for his novel, Snowball's Chance:


This is the third playlist I've put together for Largehearted Boy—and a testament to the generosity of the titular (thank you, David). The last two playlists were for new books: All the World's a Grave and Tales of Woe. In keeping with the trend of my playlists, I'll be adhering to a rigid policy of less talk more list. I'm adding a YouTube playlist as well, and I'm hoping we can embed that. (And maybe I can get David to go back to the Grave playlist and embed a playlist there, too. Here's the Grave playlist on YouTube.) This list is for a new edition of Snowball's Chance, which originally came out ten years ago. (Snowball's Chance is a twenty-first century update of Animal Farm. Snowball comes to the farm, brings capitalism. Wrote it in the weeks after 9/11.)

Without knowing what I was doing (i.e., working on this list), I've been thinking about New York songs. Songs that are about the city or situate themselves in the city. (I grew up here, "the" city is NYC, despite the carping complaints of foreigners.). I was trying to resist writing up my own "Top Songs About New York," or "Best New York Songs," or (sorry, SEO) "Great Songs About New York"). For one thing, best-of lists are moronic. Final judgment on a work of art is contemptible, and partaking of it is … blah blah blah. Second thing: even if I had the impetus, I'm not qualified to cull such a list. However, in my research, I did come across some ostensibly credible top New York song lists. For ex: a top 40 at New York Magazine and a top 100 at TimeOut New York. Would I be throwing down the gauntlet to say I was not impressed? My top, great, best, fifty New York songs:



Ace Frehley, "New York Groove" (1978)
Ben E. King/the Drifters: "Up on the Roof" (1962)
Bill Withers, "Harlem" (1971)
Black Uhuru: "The Great Train Robbery" (1986)
Blondie: "In The Flesh" (1976)
Bob Dylan: "Positively 4th Street" (1965)
Charlie Parker: "Scrapple From the Apple" (1947)
Chrome: "Meet You in the Subway" (1979)
David Bowie: "Jean Genie" (1972)
David Bowie: "Suffragette City" (1972)
Death Cab for Cutie: "Coney Island" (2001)
Dion and the Belmonts: "The Wanderer" (1961)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions: "New Amsterdam" (1979)
Fred Neil: "Bleecker & MacDougal" (1965)
Gil Scott-Heron: "New York Is Killing Me" (2010)
Glenn Miller: "Pennsylvania 6-5000" (1940)
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five: "The Message" (1982)
Irving Berlin: "Puttin' On The Ritz" (1930)
Jeffrey and Jack Lewis: "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror" (2005)
Jimi Hendrix: "Crosstown Traffic" (1968)
Jimmy Reed: "Going to New York" (1958)
John Lennon: "New York City" (1972)
The Kills: "What New York Used To Be " (2008)
Leonard Cohen: "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" (1974)
Lou Reed: "Walk on the Wild Side" (1972)
MC Shan and Marley Marl: "The Bridge" (1986)
Mott the Hoople: "Alice" (1969)
New York Dolls: "Subway Train" (1973)
Odyssey: "Native New Yorker" (1977)
Simon & Garfunkel: "At The Zoo" (1968)
Stevie Wonder: "Living for the City" (1973)
Suzanne Vega: "Tom's Diner" (1987)
The Ad Libs: "The Boy from New York City" (1964)
The Bee Gees: "Stayin' Alive" (1977)
The Clash: "The Right Profile" (1979)
The Crystals: "Uptown" (1962)
The Lovin' Spoonful: "Summer in the City" (1965)
The National: "Daughters of the Soho Riots" (2005)
The New Pornographers: "Myriad Harbour" (2007)
The Ramones: "53rd & 3rd" (1976)
The Ramones: "Rockaway Beach" (1977)
The Rolling Stones: "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo" (1973)
The Rolling Stones: "Shattered" (1978)
The Ronettes: "Be My Baby" (1963)
The Strokes: "New York City Cops" (2001)
The Talking Heads: "Life During Wartime" (1979)
Tom Waits: "Union Square" (1985)
Vampire Weekend: "M79" (2008)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "Our Time" (2001)


John Reed and Snowball's Chance links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
the book's foreword
the book's Wikipedia entry
video trailer for the book

Flak Magazine review
Guernica review

BOMB interview with the author
CriticalMob interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for All the World's a Grave
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Tales of Woe
New York Times profile of the author
PopMatters profile of the author
This Blog Will Change Your Life interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2012 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

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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