January 8, 2013
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.
Susan Steinberg'sSpectacle is innovative in style, smart, and resonant, one of the most impressive short story collections I have read in years.
Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:
"With its literary inventions and sharp storytelling, this is a masterpiece of contemporary short fiction."
I wrote the stories in Spectacle at artist residencies and in a café in San Francisco where I write on Sundays with the poet Randall Mann. The café plays a kind of country music I don't like, and the artist residencies are mostly silent, so I often listen to loud music when I write, often the same two or three songs over and over. I don't pay a lot of attention to song lyrics, though I think they still get into my head, perhaps even into the work. I guess I'm more into, and affected by, the mood or tone or speed of a song, if that's even the way to say it. I've listed each story in the collection with one of the songs I listened to repeatedly when writing it. Some of the songs are old ones I still wanted to hear, and some I was turned on to while writing the book.
"Superstar" – "Work It" by Missy Elliott (Remix Featuring 50 Cent)
Because I'm into Missy's enthusiasm.
"Underfed" – "Sleep All Day" by Rural Alberta Advantage
A song I love from a mixtape a friend sent me while I was at an artist residency.
"Cowboys" – "Gold Soundz" by Pavement
Reminds me of Baltimore, my hometown, setting of several stories.
"Supernova" – "Moonchild" by Cibo Matto
Because I'm into Cibo Matto's wistfulness.
"Signifier" – "Swimming Pools" by Thao
Another song I love from the mixtape, above.
"Underthings" – "Edmonton" by Rural Alberta Advantage
Song from another mixtape.
"Universe" – "Bright As Yellow" by The Innocence Mission
Reminds me of San Francisco, where I live, the setting of several stories.
"Cowgirl" – "From a Motel 6" by Yo La Tengo
A song I loved years ago and started listening to again.
"Spectacle" – "Got It" by Sebadoh
Same with this one.
"Signified" – "Avalon" by Roxy Music
And this one.
"Spectator" – "Stillness Is the Move" by Dirty Projectors
Because I'm into Dirty Projectors' brilliance.
"Universal" – "Freedom of '76" by Ween
Reminds me of Boston, where I went after leaving Baltimore. Also the setting of several stories.
Susan Steinberg and Spectacle links:
also at Largehearted Boy:
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