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February 4, 2015

Book Notes - Michelle Tea "How to Grow Up"

How to Grow Up

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, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Michelle Tea's new memoir How to Grow Up is a compelling and honest book that lives up to its title.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"An engaging and darkly funny memoir."

Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.


In her own words, here is Michelle Tea's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir How to Grow Up:


"Dirt"/The Stooges
In honor of The Blue House, the San Francisco punk house where I wiled away my twenties drinking, writing, hosting cocaine after-parties and Bingo games. We told prospective roommates during interviews that we were an anti-cleaning establishment. The devotion to dirt had many interesting consequences - a bizarre fungus that looked like pasta growing on moldy towels, a staph infection in my nose, nearly dying from pouring bleach into a cat litterbox (who knew?). I was dirt, and I didn't care!

"Speak Softly Love (The Godfather Theme Song)"
In honor of the Green Street Mortuary Band who would play the mournful tune in honor of whoever had passed away. I lived across the street, in North Beach, and it sounded like they were in my living room, powerful, haunting and brief, just like life.

"Wild Youth"/Generation X
In honor of the twentysomething bartenders and drag queen I began co-habitating with on the verge of my 40s.

"Destination Unknown"/Missing Persons
Dale Bozzio was (is?) my fashion idol! I saw this video when I was fist beginning to understand fashion and it blew my mind. Every Missing Persons video features Dale Bozzio looking like a billion bitcoins. I randomly met her at Fanueil Hall in Boston in the 80s and was astounded. She was wearing lots of leopard, plastic leopard, and stilettos. LOVE HER SO MUCH.

"Open Your Eyes"/Lords of the New Church
This song sums up my attitude in high school, and Stiv Bators sums up my romantic ideal of the era. It was fun to write OPEN YOUR EYES SEE THE LIES RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!!! on m Catholic School uniform.

"Fire Door"/Ani DiFranco
The soundtrack to my early 90s lesbian feminist nervous breakdown, wherein I sold all of my amazing (objectifying) clothes and and would only listen to female voices, with the exceptions of:

"Suggestion"/Fugazi
"Polly"/Nirvana
"Losing My Religion"/REM
...because Ian McKaye, Kurt Cobain and Michael Stipe were feminists it was okay to mix up the 24-7 Ani with their male voices.

"Money"/The Flying Lizards
I can't buy $900 leather hoodies without it.

"Beautiful Boyz"/Cocorosie + Antony
Because the perfume I obsess over, La Labo Rose 31, smells like it would be worn by characters in a Jean Genet novel, and this song sounds like a tribute to characters from a Jean Genet novel.

"Ne Me Quitte Pas"/Jacques Brel
In honor of Paris where everyone should decamp to after a breakup.

"The Baby Screams"/The Cure
Oh shit my baby is crying I have to go!


Michelle Tea and How to Grow Up links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book

Boston Globe review
ELLE review
Flavorwire review
Kirkus review
Lambda Literary review

AfterEllen interview with the author
Bustle interview with the author
KQED profile of the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for Mermaid in Chelsea Creek


also at Largehearted Boy:

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (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

List of Online "Best of 2014" Book Lists
Essential and Interesting 2014 Year-End Music Lists

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
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)


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