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November 6, 2012

Book Notes - Sadie Stein "Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story"

Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story

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.

Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story was curated by some of today's finest authors including Lorrie Moore, Dave Eggers, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Lydia Davis. Each shares a favorite story from the legendary literary quarterly's archive, and the resulting collection is a glimmering literary snapshot of the past fifty years.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the collection:

"The editors call this a guide for young writers and readers interested in literary technique, and the book achieves that purpose while also serving as a tribute to the role The Paris Review has played in maintaining the diversity of the short story form. The collection reminds us that good stories are always whispering into each other's ears."

Stream a Spotify playlist of these tunes. If you don't have Spotify yet, sign up for the free service.


In her own words, here is Sadie Stein's Book Notes music playlist for the anthology, Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story:


"Some Velvet Morning," Nancy Sinatra

I immediately thought of this song when I first read Leonard Michaels's "City Boy"; the dreamy quality; the oddness; the undercurrent of suppressed violence.


"Presbyterian Guitar," John Hartford

If I had to choose one song that, for me, captures the overall feel of the collection, it would be this one, which I still think is the most beautiful rendition.


"Something on Your Mind," Karen Dalton

The melancholy and eccentricity of Karen Dalton's voice puts me in mind of the narrator of "Emmy Moore's Journal": a woman barely holding onto sanity, but still a strong personality to be reckoned with.


"Making Plans for Nigel," Nouvelle Vague

Mary-Beth Hughes's "Pelican Song" is largely about family expectations run amok. I love the XTC version of this song, too, but the cover has a melancholy quality that feels right here.


"Walk a Thin Line," Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac and Mrs. Bridge? I don't know why, but somehow the combination makes perfect sense to me. Something about the resignation of both, maybe.


"Rut & Nuzzle," Snowblink

This is one of my more abstract picks, but the beautiful melancholy and soaring quality of this song evoke perfectly, for me, Steven Milhauser's "Flying Carpets."


"Place to Be," Nick Drake

I have always felt this song captured a certain kind of looking-back better than almost any other. In terms of era, it may seem an odd match for "The Palace Thief," but I think there's a similar emotional resonance.


"Jesus Fever," Kurt Vile

I didn't choose this song only because it was later part of Jesus' Son (although I'm sure that factored into the decision) but rather because the tone of the song is akin to that of Johnson's story: detached, drifting, yet incisive.


"Nobody's Fault But Mine," Otis Redding

Even though the girl in Raymond Carver's "Why Don't You Dance" describes the yard-sale man's records as "crappy," and this is anything but, I can still imagine the girl and boy swaying to this on his lawn.


"Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi," Jacques Dutronc

You might think this was chosen to accompany the Flaubert, but I was thinking instead of Donald Barthelme's distinctive style, showcased in "Several Garlic Tales."


"Consolation Prize," Orange Juice

Several stories in the anthology deal with awkward relationships, but none so baldly as Mary Robison's "Likely Lake." Ditto the great Edwyn Collins, who apparently wrote this about a girl who wanted nothing to do with him.


Sadie Stein and Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story links:

Christian Science Monitor review
City Book Review review
London Times review
PopMatters review
Publishers Weekly review
Three Guys One Book review

The Atlantic interview with Sadie Stein
Capital New York profile of Sadie Stein
The Days of Yore interview with Lorin Stein
The Days of Yore interview with Sadie Stein
Huffington Post interview with Lorin Stein
The L Magazine review
The Millions interview with Sadie Stein
Other People interview with Lorin Stein
The Rumpus interview with Lorin Stein


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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