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July 5, 2016

Book Notes - Hannah Pittard "Listen to Me"

Listen to Me

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, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Hannah Pittard's novel Listen to Me is both riveting and unsettling.

Library Journal wrote of the book:

"Pittard's glistening new novel... opens up to show not just the depth and potential shattering points of all close relationships but also how danger—and, yes, evil—lurk at the outskirts of our lives, threatening to upend us unexpectedly...Pitch-perfect in language and ominous in mood, Pittard's narrative telescopes enormous emotion and insight into a brief, compelling read."

In her own words, here is Hannah Pittard's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Listen to Me:

My husband and I fight on road trips. We're clockwork, the two of us. The night before each trip, I tell him that I want to leave early. I admonish him to pack now, shower now, be ready to leave the minute I am. Without fail, the next morning, while I walk and feed the dog, make the bed, prepare the smoothie, my husband mills about the house as though it's an idle Sunday and we're not about to make a 400-, 500-, 700-mile multi-state journey. Here's the thing: it—the fighting—is my fault! Why, when it happens this way every time, do I still allow myself to be rankled? How is it possible that I haven't yet learned that he will never—ever, ever—do things quickly in the morning? Dunno. But it happens this way without fail and, by the time we're backing out of the driveway, I'm inevitably pissed and he's invariably taciturn. Ah! Coupledom!

But here's something else: I love road trips! And I love them with my husband! And I love, love, love that something else we fight about is what to listen to. My husband, a musician, writer, and professor, likes to say I hate music. But that's not true. I love music! But I also love silence. I also love listening to books on tape. I also love talk radio (especially—and ironically—evangelical and conservative talk radio). Andrew, my husband, only loves to listen to music. He hates silence. He tolerates books on tape, but only because he falls asleep when they're on. Talk radio is a nonstarter.

Mark and Maggie are the hero and heroine of my new novel, Listen to Me. When we meet them, they're about to embark on an 800-mile drive from Chicago to Charlottesville. They're also in the midst of classic couple's row. Here, then, in honor of warring but loving couples everywhere—couples willing to lock themselves into small spaces and travel epic distances of highway—are a few songs that even my husband and I can agree on as the soundtrack for a road trip.

Springsteen – "I'm on Fire"
Leonard Cohen – "Ain't No Cure for Love"
John Prine – "In Spite of Ourselves" & "Taking a Walk"
Neil Young – "Out on the Weekend"
Rolling Stones – "Dead Flowers"
Hayes Carll – "It's a Shame" & "Another Like You"
Tom Petty – "Square One" & "Down South"
James McMurtry – "You Got To Me"
Lucinda Williams – "Those Three Days"
Jimmie Dale Gilmore – "I Was the One"
Warren Zevon – "Lawyers, Guns, and Money"
Guy Clark – "L.A. Freeway"
The War on Drugs – "Under the Pressure"
Jason Isbell – "How to Forget"

Hannah Pittard and Listen to Me links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Oregonian review
Publishers Weekly review

Deep South Magazine interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for Reunion

also at Largehearted Boy:

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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

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