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October 7, 2012

Shorties (Underrated Neil Young Albums, An Interview with Junot Diaz, and more)

The Oregonian lists five underrated Neil Young albums.

The Los Angeles Review of Books interviews author Junot Diaz.

Gregg Barrios: In the new collection This is How You Lose Her as in Drown you don't close off the experience of each individual story but instead return to the same characters in a different time and place. It's episodic with a central character (House on Mango Street comes to mind). What attracted you to this form? I think of telenovelas. Is that too glib a reading?

Junot Diaz: This is not glib. Novelas taught me a lot about narrative, about storytelling, how to hold people's attention over a span of episodes. But with this book I also wanted a hybrid pleasure. I wanted, to be precise, a story collection with a novelistic arc. I wanted to give the reader the short story's standard pleasures: closure and its often blunt reminder that our choices and their consequences sometimes cut us off from the life we once had; and also I wanted to give readers the novel's standard pleasure: long connection to characters and their world. Like a good immigrant I guess I wanted the best of both worlds.

Tim Egan talks to Weekend Edition about his new book, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis.

Scotland on Sunday interviews singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright about her new album, Come Home to Mama.

Current odds on the Nobel Prize for Literature feature Haruki Murakami as the 3/1 favorite.

At The Daily Swarm, author Eric Drucker and music critic Jon Caramanica discuss the current state of music journalism.

Weekend Edition interviews Will Wiles about his debut novel, Care of Wooden Floors.

All Things Considered profiles Ultraista, the band of Radiohead producer Nigel Goodrich.

The name Ultraísta gives some indication of the band's approach and sound. It comes from the Spanish literary movement known as ultraísmo, from the early 20th century. The poets and writers who were part of it — including Jorge Luis Borges — were committed to writing spare but evocative works.

The Independent cites a study that shows genetics play a role in creative writing.

"This work is unique in its objective to investigate the familiality and heritability of the trait of creative writing," the researchers write, "while controlling for general cognitive ability and for the general level of family functioning. Despite the lack of systematic research on the aetiology of writing in general and creative writing in particular, it is rather difficult not to acknowledge the familiality of creativity in writing, given the families of writers who have entertained and educated us over the years. These findings constitute the tip of an interesting iceberg, indicating that there may be some components of creative writing that are familial and heritable."

Weekend Edition profiles singer-songwriter Josephine Foster.

Don't try to pigeonhole Josephine Foster. She has recorded albums of psychedelic rock and Tin Pan Alley, music for children, blues, Spanish folk tunes, 19th century German art songs and a song cycle based on the poems of Emily Dickinson. Although her soprano may be a little unusual, it's arresting.

Win Matt Furie's new children's book The Night Riders 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.

Amazon MP3 offers over 300 jazz albums on sale for $1.78.

Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, 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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