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September 2, 2012

Shorties (Autumn's 10 Best Music Books, Interesting Facts About Oscar Wilde, and more)

The Guardian lists autumn's 10 best new music books.


IrishCentral lists 10 interesting things about author Oscar Wilde.


ShortList.com lists the coolest book covers of all time.


Financial Times explores on the past and future of music on vinyl. (via)


The Morning News interviews author Ron Rash.


The Observer profiles the xx.

The xx make electronic-edged music that's ghostly, low key, as spare and enigmatic as their curious name. The trio are notoriously reticent, hoping in their promotional commitments to make minimal personal impression; and in the three years between releasing a fine first album and putting out, this month, a second, they've done so impeccably. Tracks from their self-titled debut, winner of the 2010 Mercury Prize, are used all over, and their new album, Coexist, deserves to become another cultural fixture. You will definitely be aware of the xx's stuff. You might not be totally sure who they are, though, these cat burglars of British pop – here, there and everywhere without leaving identifying marks.


The Boston Globe reviews Michael Chabon's new novel Telegraph Avenue.

In recent books, Chabon’s prose has had a willed cleverness, as if warped by the pressure drops of dipping in and out of so many genres so quickly. Here he is in full flow again. His long, gorgeous sentences have the truth and clarity of good music on vinyl. The East Bay unfurls on these pages like an endlessly repeating, mesmerising funk ballad. It’s all in the downbeat: tempeh-munching yogis, Pynchonian-named henchmen in $300 track suits, kung-fu studios, the erosion of barbershops, the cult of local baseball, all those kneeling buses.


Weekend Edition interviews Cat Power's Chan Marshall about her new album, Sun (out September 4th).

On the genesis of Sun

"I had started four years ago in Silverlake, in Los Angeles, out of habit, started writing some songs with a guitar and a piano. And when I played it for a friend, he said, 'Man, this sounds like old Cat Power. Man, this is depressing.' So I just closed shop for eight months. When I went back to the studio, I didn't play guitar or piano. The only thing I could play that was in the studio was a drum set and these synthesizers. And that's why the record sounds totally different."

The Guardian gives the album four out of five stars.


Robert Sullivan talks to All Things Considered about his new book, My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78.

Boston has its Liberty Trail, but Sullivan says, Revolutionary landmarks in and around New York tend to go unnoticed. It could be because the British were often on the winning side of the battles fought there. "We don't champion them naturally. It's hard to champion great losses and defeats and evacuations." Like the Battle of Brooklyn, which wound up being the first big fight and failure of the Revolution.


All Things Considered interviews Art Garfunkel about his music career.


BBC News examines the effect being interned in China during World war II as a teenager had on J.G. Ballard's writing.


All Things Considered interviews Alanis Morrissette about her new album, Havoc and Bright Lights.

On being pegged as an "angry" performer

"If there were to be any quality [for which] I become a poster child, I'll take anger — because as a woman, two of the main emotions that we are, quote-unquote, 'not allowed' to feel are anger and sadness. That anger is such a powerful life force, and I think it can move worlds. It is behind every activism and every [act of service] that I do — anger fuels it. So for me to think that anger can go away is naive. But the form that that anger takes, and the degree to which I am responsible for it, in that I don't allow it to be destructive... Ideally, that would be how I'd operate with it, but sometimes it has its way."


The Atlantic asks, "When authors disown their work, should readers care?"


Win D.T. Max's new book Every Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace and a $100 Threadless gift certificate in this week's Largehearted Boy contest.


Amazon MP3 has over 100 digital albums on sale for $5.

Amazon MP3 offers over 500 albums for sale for $2.99.


Follow me on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, 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)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
daily mp3 downloads
Largehearted Word (the week's best new books)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
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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