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October 2, 2013

Book Notes - Beth Lisick "Yokohama Threeway: And Other Small Shames"

Yokohama Threeway: And Other Small Shames

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, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Beth Lisick's new essay collection Yokohama Threeway made me laugh out loud more than anything else I have read all year, she is a master at sharing her life experiences with self-deprecating yet honest humor. I agree with Kathleen Hanna, who said, "How is Beth Lisick not as famous as David Sedaris?"

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Her seemingly unconnected, ironic, dryly funny, sometimes cringe-worthy vignettes constitute a strangely touching and engaging portrait of the artist as a young screwup."

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 Beth Lisick's Book Notes music playlist for her book, Yokohama Threeway: And Other Small Shames:

This is my fifth book and it's the only one that I felt like I absolutely had to write. It's a collection of short pieces about personal shame, regret, general cluelessness, embarrassment, and moments of hubris and false pride. There are so many things in my life that continue to haunt me year after year that I thought it would be an interesting experiment to make a list and write them out. The only other parameters I gave myself were it couldn't be something that I had written about before, it couldn't be about my son (I don't write about him), and it had to be something that still made me cringe when I thought about it.

For instance, I can be in a pretty great mood and then see something — a headline, a type of dog, a particular restaurant, a brand of shoe, a Winnebago, a picture of Rob Schneider, a Lladro figurine — and it can trigger a real downer feeling. It's often an unconscious process, too. I'll have to stop and check myself: Wait, why am I suddenly feeling bad? Oh, right. It must have been that snippet of a Portishead song coming out of a passing car window making me think of every awkward sexual encounter I had in 1994. I also like thinking about how subjective it all is. I have done things I'm not ashamed of that would surely gut some people. Conversely, I once dried myself off with the dog towel at a friend's house and because it seemed so tied to who I am as a person, I've thought of it literally thousands of times in the last twenty years.

Everly Brothers: "Cathy's Clown"
These tight harmonies know that being a clown really sums it up for most of us.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down: "We Don't Call"
Strategy: Out of sight, out of mind works pretty well sometimes.

The Smiths : "What Difference Does It Make?"
Clearly this song doesn't need the question mark.

Mark Eitzel: "Mission Rock Resort"
I don't cry easily, so this comes in handy when I think a spontaneous weeping spell will help.

Louvin Brothers: "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby"
Wait. Who's your baby? I thought I was your baby. Oh, okay.

Bongwater: "David Bowie Wants Ideas"
Ann Magnuson always nails the vortex of internal monologue, fantasy, humor, and nightmare for me.

Sonny Smith: "Day In The Life of a Heel"
I never want to look like a loner murderer. Can't I ever just be some kind of happy sheep herderer?

Neil Young: "Helpless"
Yes. Often.

Tune-Yards: "You Yes You"
I'm not sure what this song is about, but whenever she yells: Throw your money on the ground and leave it there! I just think: Fuck. Yes. Great plan.

Sly and the Family Stone: "Que Sera Sera"
Right?? Right.


Beth Lisick and Yokohama Threeway: And Other Small Shames links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

SF Weekly review

City Lights Booksellers interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Everybody Into the Pool
Other People interview with the author


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
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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