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February 10, 2013

Shorties (50 Years of The Feminine Mystique, The Greatest Televised Musical Performances of the 1960s, and more)

Weekend Edition reassesses Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique 50 years after its publication.

Paste lists the 10 greatest televised musical performances of the 1960s.

Russia Beyond the Headlines profiles Vladimir Sorokin, the "Tarantino of Russian literature."

"I am always writing about Russian metaphysics," Sorokin once acknowledged and of course he was right. The science of looking beyond the physical studies the original, fundamental, unmoving reality – that which is not visible to any eye that has not experienced pain. In this dark kingdom of eternal forms, Vladimir Sorokin the veteran Platonist reveals the national archetype. He is helped by his temperament, which constantly puts him at odds with the authorities.

The Georgia Straight profiles singer-songwriter Nicki Bluhm.

The San Francisco–based singer-songwriter is definitely onto something, as evidenced by her 2011 sophomore album, Driftwood. Drawing equally on bourbon-hazed country, smouldering blues, and golden-’70s pop, the singer’s songs are the kind that used to land artists like Sheryl Crow and Shelby Lynne gift-wrapped major-label recording contracts back in the mid ’90s. After being shopped unsuccessfully to record labels, however, Driftwood, like the singer’s 2008 debut, Toby’s Song, ended up coming into the world in a considerably more DIY fashion.

Karen Russell talks to Weekend Edition about her new short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

Russell has written both novels and short stories, interspersing them throughout her career. "I spent most of my 20s with these alligator wrestlers in the swamps of South Florida, she says of writing Swamplandia! "While I was writing the novel, which took me a really long time ... I would sometimes take a break from the swamp and write a story, and that felt kind of like a fling." The title story in Vampires, in fact, was written during a period when "Swamplandia! had become an inhospitable place, and I didn't want to go back there for a while."

Weekend Edition interviews Tara Conklin about her debut novel The House Girl.

On how her novel addresses revisionist history

"As I was doing the research, you know, I read a lot of slave narratives, and the thing that just struck me is that, you know, 250 years of slavery and there are so few accounts of what their lives were actually like. And I started thinking a lot about who writes history and what are the voices that we don't hear, and so that was one of the influences that went into me setting up that situation where [Josephine's mistress] Lu Anne Bell takes credit for Josephine's art and then, over the years, over the decades, Lu Anne achieves a fair amount of fame when in fact Josephine was the artist."

Duluth band Southwire visits The Current studio for an interview and live performance.

My Name Is Not Bob lists the best blogs for writers to read in 2013.

The Observer profiles singer-songwriter Matthew E White.

This hirsute, portly, softly spoken man has become one of 2013's unlikeliest success stories on the back of his first solo album, Big Inner. It crept out in the States last year, getting a bigger issue through Domino last month, and is the kind of record that causes people to swoon. It manages to sound effortlessly avant garde and comfortingly traditional at the same time, an effect of White's love of the Brazilian tropicália movement, which also sought to meld folk traditions with experimentation. Big Inner sees White steer his way through the wellsprings of American music – soul, jazz, country, pop – to create something unlike anything else being made at the moment: music that manages to have an air of mystery by seeming to have emerged from nowhere, fully formed.

The Observer reviews My Bloody Valentine's new album, m b v.

The New York Times interviews Jodi Picoult about her new novel The Storyteller and the "chick lit" label.

You have bristled when others have labeled you a chick-lit author.

I don’t mind the term “chick lit.” I don’t happen to write it, so I think it’s funny when people assume I do just because I happen to have a vagina. It would be news to the 47 percent of people who write me fan mail who happen to be men to find out that I write chick lit.

Flavorwire lists the best hidden treasures in Amoeba Records' digital vault of out-of-print albums.

All Things Considered interviews Teddy Wayne about his new novel The Love Song of Jonny Valentine.

On the appeal of a creating a child star

"Entrepreneurial narcissism is, I think, one of the defining features of our age, and it's one thing if an adult celebrity is hawking his own product, which is often himself. So, if Ashton Kutcher is branding himself on Twitter, that's fine but when a child does it, it becomes that much more pernicious. And the cracks in the facade of how we function as a society are that much more evident."

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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)

The list of online "best of 2012" book lists
The list of online "best of 2012" music lists

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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