January 27, 2016
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
The stories Amber Sparks new short fiction collection The Unfinished World are imaginative and richly told, fantastic in every sense of the word.
Kirkus wrote of the collection:
"The strength of the collection is Sparks' lush, lyrical writing, saturating the dark, death-filled stories with beauty…. Stylish and deeply imagined."
Stream a playlist of these songs at Spotify.
When I started putting together a Book Notes list of songs to accompany my book, The Unfinished World and Other Stories, I felt stuck because all I wanted to do was, well, listen to David Bowie. I was devastated when his death was made public, because no one's music and art – and life as an artist – has meant more to me. And so finally I said, you know, I bet I'm not the only person who just wants to listen to Bowie right now. And I'm going to make a list for those people. An all-Bowie list for my book.
I have to admit, it was more than a little therapeutic. And appropriate, given what a reader Bowie was, how many literary references fill his lyrics and serve as his influences. And appropriate, too, given for me how much time spent writing has also been time spent listening to David Bowie, how much his music has no doubt seeped into the pages of my books and filled my words with weirdness.
Anyhow, I'd normally explain each song, and how it fits each story. But in this case, I'd rather let the lyrics themselves do the talking. No need to explain – just read and listen and I hope, enjoy these songs and stories in a new way.
The Janitor in Space/Hallo Spaceboy
"Your silhouette is so stationary
You're released but your custody calls
And I want to be free
Don't you want to be free
Do you like girls or boys
It's confusing these days
But moondust will cover you"
Lizzie Borden Jazz Babies/Oh You Pretty Things
"Look at your children
See their faces in golden rays
Don't kid yourself they belong to you
They're the start of a coming race"
The Cemetery for Lost Faces/Breaking Glass
"Baby, I've been
In your room again"
Thirteen Ways of Destroying a Painting/We Are the Dead
"Oh caress yourself, my juicy
For my hands have all but withered
Oh dress yourself my urchin one,
For I hear them on the stairs
Because of all we've seen
Because of all we've said
We are the dead"
And the World Was Crowded with Things That Meant Love/Strangers When We Meet
"Cold tired fingers
Tapping out your memories
Dazzled by the new
Was all that I feared"
Birds with Teeth/Golden Years
"Last night they loved you, opening doors and pulling some strings, angel
Come get up my baby
In walked luck and you looked in time
Never look back, walk tall, act fine
Come get up my baby"
We Were Holy Once/Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
"She could've been a killer
if she didn't walk the way she do,
and she do
She opened strange doors
That we'd never close again"
La Belle de Nuit, La Belle de Jour/Queen Bitch
"She's an old-time ambassador of sweet-talking, night-walking games
And she's known in the darkest clubs for pushing ahead of the dames
If she says she can do it, then she can do it, she don't make false claims
But she's a queen and such are queens that your laughter is sucked in their brain"
The Men and Women Like Him/Look Back in Anger
"'You know who I am,' he said
The speaker was an angel
He coughed and shook his crumpled wings
Closed his eyes and moved his lips
'It's time we should be going'"
Things You Should Know About Cassandra Dee/Heart's Filthy Lesson
"If there was only something between us
Other than our clothes
Something in our skies
Something in our skies
Something in our blood"
The Fires of Western Heaven/How Does the Grass Grow
"If the clocks could go backwards
The girls would fill with blood and
The grass would be green again
Remember the dead
They were so great"
The Fever Librarian/African Night Flight
"Seemed like another day
I could fly
Into the eye of god on high
His burning eye will see me through
One of these days, one of these days
Gotta get a word through one of these days"
Unfinished World/Fantastic Voyage
"In the event
That this fantastic voyage
Should turn to erosion
and we never get old
Remember it's true, dignity is valuable
But our lives are valuable too"
Amber Sparks and The Unfinished World links:
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
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)
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)