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September 26, 2017

Book Notes - Alice Anderson "Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away"

Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away

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.

Alice Anderson's Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away is one of the most moving memoirs I have ever read.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Anderson is a gifted writer who vividly describes both settings and emotions. Her powerful story gives voice and hope to women caught in similarly terrible conditions.""


In her own words, here is Alice Anderson's Book Notes music playlist for her memoir Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away:



Three Little Birds
Bob Marley & The Wailers

This is the song I made a lullaby I made for my sweet three—Avery, Grayson, and Aidan. It was the song I'd sing at bedtime, the song I'd sing in an airport to calm then down when we were all traveling and everyone was tired to the bone. The night I was attacked, with the sweet three looking on, ended with my abuser locking himself in our bedroom with the kids, telling me there'd be no kids left if I called the police. Luckily, I called a DV shelter instead, and they advised me. The next morning, he woke up early and I did too, making his coffee like I always did, and he left three crisp one hundred dollar bills on the counter when he left, suggesting I buy each kid a new bike. Talk about "honeymoon phase." Only I took the money and ran. And the next night, huddled together on one bunk in the same shelter I'd called in a panic the night before, I sang this song to my shell-shocked children. That is, until someone down the hall yell, "Shut up, stupid!" and that was the end of that!


Sign Your Name Across My Heart
Terrence Trent D'Arby (Sandanda Maitreya)

It didn't make it into the book, but when I moved into the "Maxi Pad" in Paris, where a half dozen other models were already bunked out, D'Arby was briefly staying with us, dating one of the girls. I did just about everything in Paris except model. Save some shoots and shows I walked in, my days there were spent eating peaches, reading books, writing poems on brown paper bags, exploring the night city. I've always loved this song, and I'm a sucker for anyone who calls me baby.


You Don't Own Me
Son Lux
Stranger Forms

"I feel you tracing my scars—you don't own me."

I love the darkness of this track. This line, in particular, always strikes me in the heart. Because many times in toxic, abusive relationships, there is a kind of bonding over the ugliness. That moment before the moment you enter that honeymoon phase? When the abuser gets to fawn all over your tender, hurt parts (emotional, spiritual, or physical) and make it all better? But that's part of taking back your narrative, of taking agency of your own wounds. Because, as I say in Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away's first line: "We make chapels of our scars." And they are our own, not the abuser's. The story moves from telling an abuse story to telling a survival story. From telling a story of being wounded, to leaping out of that wound.


Keep Breathing
Ingrid Michaelson

First, I'm a Grey's Anatomy addict—it's my escape of choice, and this song appears in some of my favorite episodes. There is nothing like a Netflix binge when life seems unbearable.

"All I know is I'm breathing/all I can do is keep breathing/all we can do is keep breathing." Some Bright Morning is about survival. A lot of time people think of survival in a finite, "you made it" way. But survival can be soul achingly slow. When you leave an abuser, it's not over the day you leave. The leaving is metered out—over years, over battles, over court dates—and you have to keep fighting. Likewise, I am eight years out from sustaining a traumatic brain injury, and recovery from TBI is measured out not in days or weeks or months, but years. In both cases, my children were along for the ride. It's terrible to never get relief, to feel that the surviving isn't ever over. So sometimes all you can do is keep breathing, until you arrive at that finally, when the rough days are over at last.


The Greatest
Cat Power

I love Chan Marshall's kitten growl. This is one of those songs, and one of those albums, that I played over and over again. I was in catastrophe and court battles for the better part of ten years, and this song was a saving grace. As anyone who has been through the family court system or as a "victim" in the criminal courts knows, it can feel endless, like your fate is out of your hands and handed over to a power outside of yourself. It can rob you of agency, strip you of dignity, cloak you in fear. It's a ringer—spiritual, emotional, physical—if there ever was one. So when Chan sings,

Once I wanted to be the greatest
No wind or waterfall could stall me
And then came the rush of the flood
Stars at night turned deep to dust

Melt me down
Into big black armor
Leave no trace of grace…

Secure the grounds
For the later parade

it feels like I can power through, and arrive at the later parade of safety, of freedom, of peace.


How Many Fucks?
Erika Jayne

Well first, zero fucks given. I think the best survival stories are the ones that have a healthy dose of badass in the redemptive narrative. That's where the humor and the fearlessness and power come in. Also, we are a big drag family. My daughter Avery, aka PLEATHER, is a drag artist. She's the drag daughter in the local drag scene. There is a thematic pull through of drag as subversion in Some Bright Morning—they way we put on a persona to obtain power. So we play a lot of artists that are beloved in the drag scene. When this one came out, it was a personal power ballad: sunroof open, red lips on, driving down the highway, car dancing, no fucks given. Especially in the world of family court, where you have to relentlessly behave "like a lady" if you hope to keep your children, it's nice to have this kind of track in your back pocket. "How many fucks do I give? None, not one, zero, zero, done."


I'll Fly Away
Gillian Welch, Allison Krauss
O Brother, Where Art Thou Soundtrack

Of course I had to include this song. It's my anthem. The title of the book came from a scene, shortly after Katrina, when we're in New Orleans for the weekend to escape the hell that was still South Mississippi (where Katrina made direct landfall.) We'd often go to the Quarter to feel like life was at least normal: where restaurants and stores were open, where we could get away from the devastation that was our town, Ocean Springs. In the Quarter there is this street band that is always playing Jackson Square. On this day, it was just a ragtag ghost of the former band. I was on the street with my kids—one a baby, one a toddler, and one about five years old. When they started playing, "I'll Fly Away" I started singing, and somehow they invited me up. After that, whenever they'd see me coming, they cut off whatever song they were playing and start in with "I'll Fly Away." I was trapped—in a marriage, in a place, in a life I wanted out of. All I wanted was freedom, and "I'll Fly Away" became my freedom ballad.


Alice Anderson and Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away links:

excerpt from the book

Booklist review
Fiction Advocate review

Electric Literature interview with the author
The Manifest-Station interview with the author
Rumpus interview with the author
Sacramento News and Review profile of the author
Salon interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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)
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






September 26, 2017

Shorties (Margaret Atwood on the Inspiration Behind Alias Grace, A New Song from Michael Cera & Sharon Van Etten, and more)

Margaret Atwood on what inspired her historical novel Alias Grace.


Stream a new song by Michael Cera and Sharon Van Etten.


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed the National Book Foundation's Lisa Lucas.


The Boston Globe profiled Patti Smith.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn shared an excerpt from Margo Berdeshevsky’s new book, Before the Drought.


Stream a new Ty Segall song.


Bookforum interviewed author Jenny Erpenbeck.


PopMatters profiled singer-songwriter Linda Perhacs.


The 2017 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honorees have been announced.


Marika Hackman played an AVC Session.


Bustle recommended true crime books published in the last decade.


Stream a new song by The Residents.


Vulture profiled Stephen King.


Rolling Stone previewed fall's new music.


All Things Considered about her book Nomadland.


Frankie Rose covered the Cure's "A Forest."


Alice Anderson discussed her memoir Some Bright Morning, I’ll Fly Away with Salon.


Stereogum is streaming Florist's new album If Blue Could Be Happiness.


The Dallas Morning News interviewed Michael Chabon.


NYCTaper shared a recent Cap'n Jazz performance.


The Creative Independent interviewed author Eileen Myles.


Aquarium Drunkard interviewed The Weather Station's Tamara Lindeman and shared a new song by her.


Book Riot recommended September's best fiction and poetry in translation.


Stream a new Belle and Sebastian song.


Literary Hub shared a Meghan O'Rourke poem from her new collection Sun in Days.


The Quietus shared an excerpt from Paul Rekret's new book, Down with Childhood: Pop Music and the Crisis of Innocence.


The Millions interviewed author Carmen Maria Machado.


The National covered New Order's "Love Vigilantes."


The Millions interviewed author Eleanor Henderson.



eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Devotion by Dani Shapiro
Georgia O'Keefe by Roxana Robinson
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Temple of Gold by William Goldman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Girl waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison
Goddess of Buttercups & Daisies by Martin Millar
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
The Palace of Illusions by Kim Addonizio
They Live by Jonathan Lethem



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
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)
weekly music release lists


September 25, 2017

Book Notes - Pat Thomas "Did It! From Yippie To Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary"

Did It! From Yippie To Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary

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.

Pat Thomas's Did It! From Yippie To Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary is a captivating portrait of both the activist and the era.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"An eye-opener for those who remember the '60s; for everyone else, a welcome introduction to that tumultuous time as illustrated through one of its most memorable personalities."


In his own words, here is Pat Thomas's Book Notes music playlist for his book Did It! From Yippie To Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary:



As I compile this playlist, it's the 49th Anniversary of the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention Riots; co-led by the subject of my new book: Jerry Rubin of the Yippies.

It was pure coincidence yet simply part of the synergy of the 1960s, that during the week of late August riots on the streets of Chicago, the Beatles released "Revolution" as a single (at the beginning of that tumultuous week) and the Rolling Stones released "Street Fighting Man" as a '45 as the protests wound down 5 days later. Talk about iconic bookends!

While just shouting out the slogan "Yippie!" was part of the soundtrack of the era, Jerry Rubin was closely aligned with many of the musicians of the day – protest singer Phil Ochs become a friend early on – while an unknown Rubin was still marching across the UC Berkeley campus in 1965. Ed Sanders, co-leader of the infamous Fugs was part of the Yippie conclave when they started up in '67. Rubin encountered Bob Dylan in '65 and again in '72 trying to rope the legendary bard into street-level political activism without success – and most infamously, it was Rubin who introduced the band Elephant's Memory to John & Yoko which resulted in the Lennon's double album of protest songs Some Time In New York City – in which Rubin is mentioned twice in various song lyrics and was responsible for some of the subject matter – such as the song "John Sinclair" about the manager of the MC5.

All of this is covered in detail in my new book DID iT! Jerry Rubin: An American Revolutionary – in which I interviewed 75 people who had a front row seat to these meetings and events that I mention above.

The Fugs - Exorcising The Evil Spirits From The Pentagon October 21, 1967

As part of the 'exorcism,' members of The Fugs, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, and thousands of other freaks chanted "Out, demons, out." The image of Che Guevara, who had been murdered a few weeks prior, was flying in the breeze along with flags of the Viet Cong. Phil Ochs performed on a makeshift stage, and satanic filmmaker Kenneth Anger growled incantations underneath the platform. The cool October air carried the patchouli scent of the Summer of Love (which had peaked just months earlier in Haight-Ashbury), All the elements, when combined with symbolic images of global revolution – resulted in "ritual theater" as described in Norman Mailer's The Armies of the Night.

Allen Ginsberg - Going to San Diego
Bob Dylan – George Jackson

By autumn 1971, Bob Dylan had come under heat from the radical left because he hadn't recorded any political songs in years. They wanted something along the lines of "The Death Of Emmett Till" rather than "Like a Rolling Stone" or "If Not For You."

Dylan had returned to the Village after sitting out the last part of the Sixties in Woodstock. He was now wandering the streets of Manhattan, trying to avoid interactions with provocateur A.J. Weberman, who was intent on stalking Dylan by pawing thru his garbage and accusing him of nefarious deeds in the underground press. To this day, Weberman continues to hound Dylan - posting harangues against him on YouTube.

Dylan ultimately decided to collaborate with Allen Ginsberg on some political recordings. On November 17th, 1971, with lyricist Ginsberg as the primary vocalist, backed by Dylan on guitar (along with musicians like David Amram, Happy Traum and poet/vocalist Anne Waldman) - they recorded the topical song "Going to San Diego" – with lyrics inspired by the announcement that the 1972 Republican Convention would be held in Southern California. Earlier, on November 4th, Dylan had recorded a classic protest song "George Jackson" – paying tribute to the black political prisoner who'd been murdered by prison guards in early August.

John & Yoko were now living in Manhattan and hanging with Jerry Rubin, who was energized to knock Nixon out of the White House during his '72 bid for re-election. Lennon liked the politics that Jerry was feeding him and impressed by where Dylan was headed musically.

As it echoed his own "Power To The People," as well as anticipating the yet to be recorded Some Time in New York City album. Lennon hoped Dylan would join him in a cross-country jamboree blending music and protest to help sway the presidential race.

John Lennon - New York City

Jerry Rubin not only has the distinction of being name-checked on two different songs on the Some Time in New York City album – he also performed as a 'percussionist' with John & Yoko several times during that period. Yet, he couldn't even play an instrument!

The John Lennon song "New York City" that closes side one of the Some Time in New York City album states, "Standing on the corner, just me and Yoko Ono - we was waiting for Jerry to land." While on the home demo version (on the John Lennon Anthology box set) Lennon sang, " I was standing on the corner, just me and Yoko Ono - we was holding Jerry Rubin by the hand."

Yoko Ono - We're All Water

Yoko told me and Abbie Hoffman that John & Yoko considered us to be great artists. Abbie replied, "That's funny, we always thought of you as great politicians." - Jerry Rubin

The lyrics on Yoko's song "We're All Water" (which ends side two of Some Time In New York City) has verses that pair together an odd cast of characters including: Chairman Mao & Nixon, Marilyn Monroe & Lenny Bruce, Eldridge Cleaver & the Queen of England and this wishful couple, "There may not be much difference between Raquel Welch and Jerry Rubin, if we hear their heartbeat."

MC5 - I'm Mad Like Eldridge Cleaver

In the months leading up to the 1968 Democratic Convention, the Yippies had invited thousands of left wing college students, hippies and outspoken radicals like poet Allen Ginsberg and novelist Norman Mailer. Politically savvy musicians such as the Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe & the Fish were slated to play, but dropped out as rumors of impending violence began to spread. In the end, the only musicians brave enough to weather the storm were those madmen from Michigan, the MC5 (managed by John Sinclair of the White Panther Party) and folksinger Phil Ochs, who was more committed to the revolution than he was to his music career.

John Sinclair & Wayne Kramer of the MC5 still enjoy a friendship with Black Panther David Hilliard to this day. The White Panther Party, despite its naïve hippie drug-infused antics, was truly in awe of the Black Panther's skills and philosophy. Musically, this was reflected in an eighteen-minute discourse entitled "I'm Mad Like Eldridge Cleaver" – which the MC5 performed at Detroit's Grande Ballroom during 1968. In typical MC5 style, it's an avant-garde blues-based jam, building in intensity with acid rock overtones as vocalist Rob Tyner rages.

The opening lines are "I'm mad out on the street; I'm frothing at the mouth, pissed." As the song builds, Tyner screams "I'm mad, I'm mad, like Eldridge Cleaver is mad!" It's the sound of white hippies channeling the urban black man's angst against the authoritarian system. While whites can never know the black man's burden, the MC5 tried to empathize. "Cleaver" was a reworking of John Lee Hooker's "I'm Bad like Jesse James."

Another song they took from Hooker's repertoire was "Motor City is Burning" (written by Al Smith) and included on the MC5's seminal Kick Out The Jams. Rob Tyner adds passionate words of his own, including praising the Black Panthers for their alleged role in the Detroit July 1967 riots.


Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man
Beatles – Revolution

The '68 Chicago Democratic Convention was held at the International Amphitheatre. That's where Hubert Humphrey, Mayor Daley and thousands of delegates gathered. The Chicago 8 Trial began on September 24th, 1969. The Rolling Stones tour documented in the infamous Gimme Shelter film stopped in Chicago (sans film crew) on the 16th of November, in of all places – International Amphitheatre!

It was a Sunday night, Abbie had the "day off" so he and his wife Anita made their way backstage to greet Mick Jagger and see if the "Street Fighting Man" wanted to make a donation to the cause (his reply was terse, he did not!).

After all, "Street Fighting Man" had been released as a '45 rpm single on August 31st ' 68, just 48 hours after the rioting in Chicago calmed down. Jagger had been inspired by a large demonstration in London's Grosvenor Square, which he had witnessed first hand. The event caused quite a stir in Britain and featured speeches by actress Vanessa Redgrave and Tariq Ali – an outspoken anti-war activist in the UK. Coincidently, the Beatles released their high-energy version of John Lennon's "Revolution" as a single on the 26th of August '68, some 48 hours before violence erupted in Chicago (a more laid-back version appeared on the White Album released later that year).

Doors - Peace Frog

Besides a great groove, for the lyrics:

Blood in the streets in the town of Chicago….
Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven

Blood stains the roofs and the palm trees of Venice
Blood in my love in the terrible summer
Bloody red sun of fantastic L.A.

Pat Thomas and Did It! From Yippie To Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, An American Revolutionary links:

excerpt from the book
excerpt from the book
video trailer for the book

Kirkus review
Los Angeles Times review
PopMatters review
Village Voice review

Deborah Kalb interview with the author
San Diego Troubadour interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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)
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


Book Notes - Rodrigo Hasbún "Affections"

Affections

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.

Rodrigo Hasbún's Affections is a fascinating novel of family and revolution.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Hasbún writes with patience and precision, revealing the family’s most intimate thoughts and interactions: first smokes, blind love, and familial devotion. This is a novel to savor for its richness and grace and its historical and political scope."


In his own words, here is Rodrigo Hasbún's Book Notes music playlist for his novel Affections:



I wrote Affections listening over and over again to the sessions that Chet Baker and Bill Evans recorded together. I know very little about the sessions themselves, and even less about jazz in general, but to me there's something utterly hypnotic about those fifteen tracks. Hearing the same music on repeat is curious in that sense: after a while you stop hearing it, but even then it lulls you into a certain state of mind, into a kind of sensory disposition useful for writing.

Back then I was living in Toronto and I didn't like working in the apartment we rented, so every morning I went out looking for some café where I could spend the next four or five hours. There are, then, at least a dozen good cafes behind Affections, and all of them are full of strangers, and in the background you can make out Chet Baker's sinuous and tragic trumpet, and Bill Evans' delicate, luminous piano. Those songs that helped me write Affections don't, however, take me back to the novel when I hear them. It's for this reason, and because otherwise it would be pretty dull, that I've been true to the unruly spirit of playlists when selecting my own. This is a playlist I might have listened to at the end of one of those writing days, when I would go wandering around the city. It's a playlist straight out of the streets and neighborhoods of Toronto, but precisely thanks to the music, they can transform suddenly into the streets and neighborhoods of Cochabamba, Santiago, Barcelona, or Ithaca, all cities where I'd lived prior to that year. If music has a power, I would say it's this: it allows us to travel through time and space, and it takes us back to moments and places that we cannot return to by other means.

There is no logic running through these twelve songs, only a jumble of styles, voices and eras, of intensities and rhythms that vaguely remind me of Affections. Some of the songs I heard for the first time on my iPod. Many more played out of a Walkman which I still keep in my desk.

Caught In Between – Micah P. Hinson
The main characters in Affections are a family of Germans who move to Bolivia in the mid 1950s to try to start again. From then on they all become somewhat trapped between this place and that, between the past and the present, between one life and another. I don't suppose Micah P. Hinson had any of this in mind when he wrote the song, but each time I listen to it, it brings back that liminal feeling, so common among those who no longer know where home is.

There Is a War – Leonard Cohen
Old Leonard was wise before he was even old, and this much he knew from the start: there are wars raging everywhere, between the rich and the poor, between men and women, between those who know there's a war on and those who don't. I have no doubt that Monika, the eldest and strongest of the daughters in Affections, would agree. At the beginning of the novel she is part of the group oblivious to the fact that there is a war on. Toward the end, she's ready to kill, and be killed, for her convictions.

El matador – Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
In some of those invisible wars this song plays loud and clear.

Manuel Santillán, el León – Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
And this one, its sister song.

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
"So, so you think you can tell heaven from hell, blue skies from pain? Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail? A smile from a veil?"

Cry, Baby, Cry – Janis Joplin
There's urgency in Janis Joplin's howls. There's vulnerability and emotional commitment. There's enduring ghosts and painful contradictions. Everything a novel needs to survive.

Fly – Nick Drake
Such sweetness, such kindness. We owe Nick Drake a life. His tone and voice never fail to move me. In some way they remind me of Trixi, the youngest of the daughters in the novel. She, too, needs "a second grace, a second face". She, too, wants to learn to fly.

En la ciudad de la furia: MTV Unplugged – Soda Stereo
The voices of Gustavo Cerati and Andrea Echeverri meld together delightfully in the middle of the jungle of eerie sounds. There are no more fairytales in the city of fury, he says. He's talking about Buenos Aires, but it could be any other city. La Paz, say, in the eyes of the unhappily married Monika, who haunts its streets searching for herself.

We No Who U R – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
"Tree don't care what the little bird sings. We go down with the dew in the morning light. The tree don't know what the little bird brings. We go down with the dew in the morning. And we breathe it in. There is no need to forgive."

Idioteque – Radiohead
"I have seen too much I haven't seen enough you haven't seen it I'll laugh until my head comes off women and children first and children first and children here I'm alive everything all of the time here I'm alive everything all of the time ice age coming ice age coming let me hear both sides let me hear both sides"

Feeling Good – Nina Simone
The more peaceful days, when everything seems easier –why are they so hard to capture? Will we ever learn how to write about them? Or, rather, does that peacefulness, so elusive, so necessary, only ever last a moment? If that's the case, I want to believe that there are a few such moments dotted throughout the novel, hidden beneath the commotion of daily life.

God Yu Tekkem Laef Blong Mi – Hans Zimmer, Gavin Greenaway
In the scene in The Thin Red Line when this choral piece plays, Private Witt takes advantage of a ceasefire to leave his Company and go and live among a community of Melanesians. In the middle of all the carnage, he finds a way to be closer to something that has remained impervious to the destruction, a way to be closer to the secret splendor of the world. Yes, Malick seems to be telling us in that scene, there are always wars going on –constant, interminable, brutal. But there is also this. Solidarity, the sense of belonging, the promise of better times. Children's voices, their games and their faith. The sea.


Rodrigo Hasbún and Affections links:

excerpt from the book

Financial Times review
Kirkus review
The National review
Publishers Weekly review
The Scotsman review

Houston Matters interview with the author
Quarterly Conversation interview with the author
The White Review interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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)
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


Shorties (October's Best Books, The 20th Anniversary of Bjork's Homogenic Album, and more)

Signature recommended October's best new books.


Stereogum reconsidered Bjork's Homogenic album on its 20th anniversary.


Ms. Magazine recommended new fall books for feminists.


NYCTaper shared a recording of a recent Nicole Atkins performance.


Paste recommended graphic novels with soundtracks.


Stream a new song by Liv (Lykke Li's new band).


CBS News profiled author/bookseller Ann Patchett.


Amadou & Mariam visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


Junkee shared a primer of the works of cartoonist Lisa Hanawalt.


Stream a new Kindling song.


Financial Times profiled Salman Rushdie.


Stream a new Cults song.


Boing Boing interviewed author William Gibson.


The Quietus recapped September's best cassette releases.


Signature recommended books about female leaders.


Stereogum recommended September's best jazz releases.


Book Riot recommended September's best small press books.


Melvins drummer Dave Crover's new single will be released on a cymbal.


Ariel Gore recommended magical feminist books to inspire resistance at Literary Hub.


The Guardian profiled Jennifer Egan.


KTEP interviewed author Quintan Ana Wikswo.


Depeche Mode covered David Bowie's "Heroes."


Luna Luna interviewed poet Valerie Hsuing.


Musical duo Balmorhea offered a track-by-track breakdown of their album Clear Language at Drowned in Sound.


The JDO Show interviewed author Bud Smith.



eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Devotion by Dani Shapiro
Georgia O'Keefe by Roxana Robinson
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Temple of Gold by William Goldman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Girl waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison
Goddess of Buttercups & Daisies by Martin Millar
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
The Palace of Illusions by Kim Addonizio
They Live by Jonathan Lethem



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
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)
weekly music release lists


September 22, 2017

This Week's Interesting Music Releases - September 22, 2017

Hiss Golden Messenger

Chelsea Wolfe's Hiss Spun, The Clientele's Music For The Age Of Miracles, Hiss Golden Messenger's Hallelujah Anyhow, Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Luciferian Towers, Josh Ritter's Gathering, and Shout Out Louds' Ease My Mind are the new albums I can recommend this week.

Reissues include a 2-LP, 2-SACD 50th anniversary edition of the Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request.


This week's interesting music releases:

Amadou & Mariam: La Confusion
Avril Lavigne: Best Damn Thing (reissue) [vinyl]
Avril Lavigne: Let Go (reissue) [vinyl]
Avril Lavigne: Under My Skin (reissue) [vinyl]
Bjork: The Gate [vinyl]
Black Country Communion: BCCIV
Brian Wilson: Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology
Burial: Rodent [vinyl]
Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun
Chris Hillman: Bidin’ My Time
Circa Survive: The Amulet
The Clientele: Music For The Age Of Miracles
Cold Specks: Fool's Paradise
Cristobal And The Sea: Exitoca
Cut Copy: Haiku From Zero
David Bowie: Heroes (7" Vinyl) (reissue) [vinyl]
Debbie Gibson: The Singles A's & B's
DJ Kay Slay: The Big Brother
Drivin 'N' Cryin Archives Vol. 1 '88-'90
Eilen Jewell: Down Hearted Blues
Elton John: Blue Moves (reissue) [vinyl]
Elton John: Empty Sky (reissue) [vinyl]
Enter Shikari: The Spark
Fergie: Double Dutchess
Haley Reinhart: What's That Sound?
Hiss Golden Messenger: Hallelujah Anyhow
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Luciferian Towers
The Horrors: V
Jen Cloher: Jen Cloher [vinyl]
John Zorn: Interpretation of Dreams
Jon Langford: Four Lost Souls
Josh Ritter: Gathering
The Killers: Wonderful Wonderful
Jaws of Love: Tasha Sits Close To The Piano
Ledisi: Let Love Rule
Leon Russell: On a Distant Shore
Lights: Skin & Earth
Linda Perhacs: I'm A Harmony
Lord Huron: Strange Trails [vinyl]
Luna: A Sentimental Education
Luna: A Place Of Greater Safety
Macklemore: Gemini
Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas II You (reissue) [vinyl]
Mastodon: Cold Dark Place
Metallica: Hardwired...To Self-Destruct [vinyl]
METZ: Strange Peace
Midland: On the Rocks
Mogwai: Every Country's Sun [vinyl]
Moses Sumney: Aromanticism
Noah Gundersen: White Noise
Phoebe Bridgers: Stranger In The Alps
Rapsody: Laila's Wisdom
Ringo Starr: Give Me More Love [vinyl]
Ringo Starr: I Wanna Be Santa Claus (reissue) [vinyl]
Roadcase Royale: First Things First
Rolling Stones: Their Satanic Majesties Request - 50th Anniversary Special Edition (2 LP/2 SACD box set) (remastered and expanded) [vinyl]
Satyricon: Deep Calleth Upon Deep
Shout Out Louds: Ease My Mind
Sleeping with Sirens: Gossip
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins: Everybody Knows
Steve Martin: "The Long-Awaited Album"
Ted Leo: The Hanged Man
Tom Petty: A Wheel in the Ditch
Tricky: Ununiform
Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches
Various Artists: Gary Crowley's Punk & New Wave
Various Artists: Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series) [vinyl]
Wolves in the Throne Room: Thrice Woven


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily book and music news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)


Shorties (Marilynne Robinson on Writing and Language, A Nick Cave Graphic Novel Biography, and more)

Marilynne Robinson shared an essay on writing and language at the New York Times.


The graphic novel biography Nick Cave: Mercy on Me is out this week.


The Quarterly Conversation interviewed author Rodrigo Hasbún.


Stream a new Stars song.


Jonathan Franzen talked books and reading with the Guardian.


Paste shared an excerpt (about Lucinda Williams) from the anthology Woman Walk the Line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives.


Celeste Ng talked to Salon about her novel Little Fires Everywhere.


Offa Rex visited World Cafe for an interview and live performance.


The Rumpus interviewed author Karolina Ramqvist.


Drowned in Sound reconsidered the Cocteau Twins' Garlands album.


Tobias Carroll shared an essay at Signature about poetry's insight into modern politics.


NYCTaper shared a recording of a recent performance by the War on Drugs.


Cheryl Strayed talked memoirs with Literary Hub.


Stream a new Baths song.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Tod Goldberg’s novel Gangster Nation.


Noisey profiled singer-songwriter Torres.


The Rumpus interviewed author Max Winter.


Stream a new Kevin Devine song.


Electric Literature wrapped up its serialization of a new Joe Meno novella.


The Memphis Flyer remembered Those Darlins' Jessi Zazu.


Lindsay Hunter shared an essay about writing her second novel at Publishers Weekly.


Stream a new Strange Ranger song.


Publishers Weekly interviewed author Daniel José Older .


The Quietus recommended August and September's best electronic music.


Nicole Krauss talked to Electric Literature about her new novel Forest Dark.


Stream a new song by the Cornshed Sisters.



eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Devotion by Dani Shapiro
Georgia O'Keefe by Roxana Robinson
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Temple of Gold by William Goldman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Girl waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison
Goddess of Buttercups & Daisies by Martin Millar
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
The Palace of Illusions by Kim Addonizio
They Live by Jonathan Lethem



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
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)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


September 21, 2017

Book Notes - Lisa Ko "The Leavers"

The Leavers

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.

Longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction and winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction, Lisa Ko's debut novel The Leavers is a powerful and timely look at the immigrant experience, and one of the year's most profound works of fiction.

The New York Times wrote of the book:

"This wrenching and all-too-topical debut novel picks up the life of an 11-year-old American-born boy on the day his mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, disappears . . . Ko uses the voices of both the boy and his birth mother to tell a story that unfolds in graceful, realistic fashion and defies expectations."


In her own words, here is Lisa Ko's Book Notes music playlist for her debut novel The Leavers:



Music has been such a huge part of my life, my writing, and The Leavers. Deming, one of the novel's main characters, is a musician. Long before I was a novelist, back when cassette was king, I was a dedicated mixtape maker, plotting out playlists like I'd later plot out scenes and narrative arcs. Now, when writing, I'll sometimes listen to music to help access a particular time or emotion.

The Only Ones, "Another Girl, Another Planet"

Eleven-year-old Deming Guo's mother Polly, a Chinese immigrant, goes to work one day and never comes home. Left with no one to take care of him, he is adopted by a white couple who move him from the Bronx to a small town called Ridgeborough, where he's the only Asian person. He's bereft, confused, missing his mom, and wondering where she is. Meanwhile, his adoptive parents change his name to Daniel Wilkinson and try to make him over into a different boy in order to help him "fit in." To cope with this dislocation, Deming tries to see his new town through an anthropological lens, studying the inhabitants like they study him. He calls it Planet Ridgeborough and attempts to convince himself that he'll only be a temporary resident.

Part One of The Leavers is called "Another Boy, Another Planet," which is also a nod to one of my favorite one-hit wonders and that 1970s British new wave exuberance I grew up loving. This 2:50-minute anthem is all power drums and flying guitar solos and nasally vocals. I used to listen to it in junior high and wish I was in a band, or that I'd been born ten years earlier.

Cat Power, "Manhattan"

A decade after his mom disappears, Deming, who now goes by Daniel, is 21 and moves back to New York City to be the guitarist in a friend's band. At the start of chapter 2, he's about to play a show and drinking too much to ease his nerves: "He wandered out to the rooftop, the city spread wide like an offering, though he knew better than to admit he was impressed by the view." Daniel's a born-and-bred city kid, but at this party he's surrounded by hipster transplants and feeling out of place in a way he hadn't expected. "Manhattan" feels like an appropriate gazing-alone-while-drunk-on-a-rooftop song. Don't look at the moon tonight, you can never be Manhattan.

TV on the Radio, "You"

When Deming's mother Polly is several months pregnant, she pays $50,000 to get smuggled into New York in a box. Uncertain if she wants to be a mother, one day she falls asleep on the subway and misses her stop and ends up at Brighton Beach, where she wades into the Atlantic Ocean: "The cold water made me curl my toes and the waves lapped at my shins in a sharper, faster way than the dark blue of the river in the village, yet here the sea was cleaner, grayer, larger, more angry and thirsty and beautiful all at once, not unlike New York itself." It's here that she decides she will keep the baby. "I want you to know that you were wanted," she later tells Deming. "I decided: I wanted you."

The gray ocean, the sharp cold, Polly's decision, and the art-rock synth and confessional lyrics of "You": I just thought you might like to know, you're the only one I ever loved.

Frank Ocean, "Sweet Life"


Okay, so this song is about rich kids in southern California, but it's also a study in contrasts. Tight and loose, smooth sunshine, and lyrics about the emptiness behind all that sheen. (Domesticated paradise.) There's a scene in The Leavers where six-year-old Deming, Polly, and her new boyfriend are riding the Staten Island Ferry on the verge of spring. It's not just a new season but also a new relationship, and they're learning how to be a family together. Yet despite the happy moment, Polly can't fully enjoy it. She's already feeling an undercurrent of loss. Looking back, she says, "I wanted to remember this moment even as it was happening, to imagine it as already gone."

David Bowie, "Sound and Vision"

Deming is a Bowie fan, but he is also a synesthete, seeing colors paired with sounds. "Never had there been a time when sound, color, and feeling hadn't been intertwined, when a dirty, rolling bass line hadn't induced violets that suffused him with thick contentment, when the shades of certain chords sliding up to one another hadn't produced dusty pastels that made him feel like he was cupping a tiny, golden bird."

Arthur Russell, "Come to Life"

God, I love Arthur Russell. I listened to him often when writing the final drafts of my novel. There's something about the intersections of beat and instrumentation and voice that hit me in the right way. Unlike some music, Russell's doesn't necessarily drown out my thoughts, but syncs with them instead. "Come to Life" is on the folksy side, a bit of a ditty, but there's a nudging, a yearning, the two vocals hesitantly side-stepping around one another. There's movement here, or at least the desire for movement. I see Polly as a girl, in her village in China, riding her father's fishing boat at dawn. They paddle out onto the river until "the shoreline would grow dimmer and the blue would shoot in all directions, filling the frame around me, the sky so big it could swallow me, and I cracked open with happiness."

Jimi Hendrix, "Angel"

When Deming discovers Hendrix through his adoptive father's vinyl collection, Planet Ridgeborough takes on a vivid, cinematic quality. On his first trip back to New York City, nine months after he moves to Ridgeborough, he meets Angel, another Chinese adoptee:

Deming unplugged the earbuds and replaced her iPod with his Discman. He forwarded to "Angel" and pressed play. The guitar and cymbals shimmered in their ears, and he sang along. Tomorrow I'm going to be by your side. Then he got afraid that Angel might think he was singing to her, that he liked her. He hit stop. "You like it?"

"It's all right."

"He's only, like, the greatest guitar player ever in the history of the universe."

She flipped open a container, exposing a yellowing plastic U. "Do you want to see my retainer?"

The Durutti Column, "Otis"

After Polly and Deming are separated—I won't give away how—she lies in bed at night, unable to sleep, lost in a half-conscious haze of nostalgia and regret. Another sleepless night for me...

Diane Coffee, "Green"

Here's Shaun Fleming belting the hell out of the chorus in this sparkly-sad Sixties makeover. Here's a scene where Daniel has learned something that makes him feel hopeful and hopeless at the same time. It's a gorgeous spring night, but he's alone, walking in a park in Brooklyn, and watching the families below: "He dug his heels into the dirt and walked downhill, down the park's curved side, slow at first, getting faster, a grace note as his legs bounced upwards.... Propelled, he was almost in flight."

Alicia Keys, "If I Ain't Got You"

The summer before Polly disappears, she and Deming go for a walk near their Bronx apartment at sunset on a humid night and hear Alicia pumping from a passing car stereo.

Some people want it all

But I don't want nothing at all

If it ain't you baby

If I ain't got you baby.


Lisa Ko and The Leavers links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book (PDF)

Atlantic review
Christian Science Monitor review
Dallas Morning News review
Kirkus review
Los Angeles Times review
New York Times review
Publishers Weekly review

Goodreads interview with the author
Hyphen interview with the author
The Leonard Lopate Show interview with the author
Literary Hub essay by the author
NBC News profile of the author
Paste interview with the author
PEN interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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)
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


Book Notes - Jorge Armenteros "The Roar of the River"

The Roar of the River

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.

Jorge Armenteros's novel The Roar of the River reads like an evocative dream that you never want to end.

D. Harlan Wilson wrote of the book:

"Beautifully written and crafted, The Roar of the River is a mythic incantation of the relationship between nature and culture. Armenteros evokes the dreamscapes and desires of Marquez, Joyce, and Ballard while asserting his own distinctive voice."


In his own words, here is Jorge Armenteros's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection The Roar of the River:



Set in Saorge, a perched village of the French Alps, between a roaring river and the moonlight, a man dressed in a stripped tunic seeks refuge from his dying past. Instead, he encounters an iconoclastic set of characters that offer him love, instigate fear, explore the meaning of language, and elicit revenge. Following the musical structure of the 17th century fugue, the narrative voices succeed each other until coming together in a polyphonic search for light among the darkness of their origins.

“The Art of the Fugue (Contrapunctus I),” J. S. Bach
Bach brought the fugue to the peak of its development in the hundreds that he composed, and this work represents the apotheosis of the form. This is in keeping with the late works of such diverse artists as Shakespeare, Beethoven and Goya, which exemplify how pathos, humor, gravity, exuberance and tragedy are inextricably enmeshed in the deepest recesses of the human psyche.

“Losing my Religion,” REM
The Striped Tunic, the son of a murderous father, arrives in the village through the river in an attempt to forget his tumultuous past. Like in this song, he’s choosing his confessions. Obsessed over the need for truth, he searches for hidden meanings and hopeful signs. What if all his fantasies came flailing around?

“Polegnala e Pschenitza,” Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares
The piercing voice of The Chirping Man, its asymmetry, its dissonance, is well represented by the choir of the Bulgarian voices. As in a trance, the voices emerge from inside the chest and reveal universal human feelings, raw sometimes, but beautiful.

“Violin Concerto No.1 (Third Movement Passacaglia),” Dimitri Shostakovich
This movement is based on a grimly implacable bassline introduced first with horns sounding a characteristic “fate” motif, followed by a somber woodwind chorale. The One-Armed Man then enters with his paranoid and disjointed view of the world, at first sweetly consoling, then becoming increasingly impassionate and ferocious until the last fateful moment.

“Ai Vida,” Cristina Branco
Fado, the genre, whose name translates as “fate,” is the art of sorrow, pain, and joy. And no other music impersonates better the character of Nadya. Seeking to unsettle her fate, she moves among the shadows of the night in the company of stray cats. A dissatisfied soul, she acts hidden and quiet. Nadya is the solitude of time, so much and so little. And with a relentless thirst for life, she shapes the story into something uniquely sublime with an intense gesture of the soul.

“Spem in Alium,” Thomas Tallis (Performed by The Tallis Scholars)
A gigantic 40-part motet, Spem in Alium—really for five choirs of eight voices—is a tour de force. It creates the effect of a river of sound akin the river of voices that encompass the polyphonic sections of the book. The harmonic framework permits for multiple contrasts: the individual voices of the characters narrate and are silent in turns, sometimes alone, sometimes asking and answering, sometimes all together.

“Ready to Go,” Republica
“You're weird, in tears, too near and too far away.” That is how The Old Sister, a character ready to go, feels about her life as a cheesemonger in the small villages of the Roya valley. She’s strange and insane—two things she can never change. Butt-lipped, she’s ready to go.

“Caminante No Hay Camino,” Joan Manuel Serrat
The lyrics in this song were composed by Antonio Machado, the best Spanish poet of the Generation of ’98. For Machado, poetry is a daydream; life is a permanent attitude of watchful vision with open eyes. Readers can frequently discover in his poetry an ecstatic mood. And ecstasy is precisely the mood of The Fat Poet, a character who sources words out of thin air under a moon impossibly white.

“Ana Na Ming,” Salif Keita
Inside a ruined stone house, The Striped Tunic lies down next to Nadya and tries to console her. She has suffered a brutal affront. This song of painful yearning captures the sentiment: “The river is crying / It’s making noise.” Sometimes it is even better if you don't know what the lyrics are about.

“String Quartet No. 3 (Blood Oath),” Philip Glass (Performed by the Kronos Quartet)
The introspective nature of the string quartet articulates the dramatic moment when Didier tries to wash away traces of blood left by Nadya at the Fontane de Mèdge. He scrubs hard, harder, he does not want her stains. The elusive repetitiveness of the harmonic progressions, where subtle shifts continually occur, alternating between pulsed chords and rich polyphonies, depicts very well Didier’s state of mind.

“The Beatitudes,” Vladimir Martynov (Performed by the Kronos Quartet)
This setting of “The Beatitudes” employs techniques that might be described as "minimalist”—two string soloists alternate a pentatonic melody, while the other strings sustain a seemingly eternal, scarcely changing chord—evoking an atmosphere of timelessness. This is what happens the book’s conclusion, when The Striped Tunic enters the waters, the deepest part of his past, the roar of the river.


Jorge Armenteros and The Roar of the River links:

the author's website
excerpt from the book
excerpts from the book

TNBBC's The Next Best Book Blog essay by the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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)
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


Shorties (A Profile of Joan Didion, A Conversation Between Philip Glass and Devonte Hynes, and more)

Vogue profiled Joan Didion.


NPR Music shared a conversation between Philip Glass and Devonte Hynes.


Dave Eggers talked to Smithsonian about his forthcoming book Ungrateful Mammals.


Drowned in Sound interviewed the Horrors' Faris Badwan.


Hazlitt interviewed author Carmen Maria Machado.


Stream a new song from Montreal's Common Holly.


Bookworm interviewed author Matthew Klam.


Stream a new Charlotte Gainsbourg song.


Celeste Ng talked books and reading with the New York Times.


Stream a new song by the Kalbells.


Book Riot recommended campus novels for autumn.


Beach Slang covered Big Star's "Thirteen."


Literary writers discussed the influence of Stephen King at Literary Hub.


NPR Music is streaming Loney Dear's self-titled album.


The Rumpus shared four new poems by Maggie Smith.


Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers talked protest music with the Columbia Tribune.


Franklin Foer discussed his new book World Without Mind with Literary Hub.


NPR Music is streaming Jessica Lea Mayfield's new album Sorry Is Gone.


BookPage interviewed author Jamie Ford.


Rolling Stone profiled the band Deer Tick.


Paste interviewed Mick Fleetwood about his new book Love That Burns.


Stream a new Kristin Kontrol song.


Publishers Weekly profiled author Jennifer Egan.


Stream two songs from Angel Olsen's rarities collection Phases at NPR Music.



eBooks on sale for $1.99 today:

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
Devotion by Dani Shapiro
Georgia O'Keefe by Roxana Robinson
The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle
The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
The Temple of Gold by William Goldman

eBooks on sale for $2.99 today:

Girl waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Native Believer by Ali Eteraz

eBooks on sale for $3.99 today:

All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison
Goddess of Buttercups & Daisies by Martin Millar
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
My Happy Life by Lydia Millet
The Palace of Illusions by Kim Addonizio
They Live by Jonathan Lethem



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
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)
weekly music release lists
WORD Bookstores Books of the Week (recommended new books)
weekly music release lists


September 20, 2017

Book Notes - John Haskell "The Complete Ballet"

The Complete Ballet

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.

John Haskell's The Complete Ballet is a marvelously inventive and compelling novel.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Fiction and essay share the stage in Haskell's captivating, erudite novel. . . . In imaginative, analytical, affectless prose, Haskell gives new life to well-known stories danced onstage, constructing interiorities and motivations for the characters, and drawing connections between the emotions of the ballets and his narrator’s story."


In his own words, here is John Haskell's Book Notes music playlist for his novel The Complete Ballet:



Music, like memory, gets stored away in the brain, pulled off the metaphorical shelf when a connection, either playful or appropriate, is needed. The connection between the events of life and the memory of a tune or lyric or rhythm is unconscious, and like a dream, sometimes it doesn't seem to make sense, but mostly it does, even if the person doing the dreaming, me in this case of The Complete Ballet, can't say what the connections are. However, for these notes, I'll try to give an indication, at least, of what those connections might be.


"My Favorite Things" by Rogers and Hammerstein
This song comes first because, for me, it straddles both the world of Rogers and Hammerstein, the world of narrative musicals, and the world of John Coltrane, a spiritual world of introspective jazz. Growing up my family had the Mary Martin version, and now with my daughter I listen to the Julie Andrews version. Because the book is partly about my daughter I should also mention "Do-Re-Me," also from the Sound of Music, a song I used to sing with her.


Peter Tchaikovsky, "Swan Lake"
At a certain point in her life my daughter loved ballet, and especially Romantic Ballet, which is what The Complete Ballet is partly about. But only partly. It's also about love, and the music played when Odette and Siegfried meet by the lake is full of the exuberance of love and the danger of love.


Pete Seeger, "Shady Grove"
Another song I used to sing with my daughter. The part that goes: "Shady Grove, my little love, I'm bound to go away" expresses an idea of loss that is part of the book.


Bob Dylan, "Mr. Tambourine Man"
My daughter didn't know what a tambourine was but she intuited what "the jingle jangle morning" was, and she loved to sing this song very loud.


The Grateful Dead, "Uncle John's Band"
Another song my daughter used to sing, expressing joy in the part that goes, "Hot damn, I declare, have you seen the light." Also, there's the fact that Tricia Brown, the choreographer, used the song for her dance, Accumulation, a dance I don't mention in my book but was part of my research. I like the juxtaposition of spare, modernist movement with the old timey folksiness the Grateful Dead brought to the song. I'm not saying I ate any magical mushrooms when I heard them play it at the Winterland Ballroom but the song has a lot of associations.


Kurt Weill, "Mac the Knife"
John Gay's The Beggar's Opera became Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, which was made into a film by G.W. Pabst. Brecht shares a birthday with me and he's always hovering in my work, specifically his ideas about how an audience (or reader) might come to a work of the imagination.


John Zorn, "Spillane"
I heard this first on NPR when NPR was interesting. Then I saw Zorn's band playing it in a now-vanished music venue on Houston Street. And by seeing the show I mean I sat in the middle of the musicians, and it might be my imagination but I think I was given a triangle to play. Although the music is contemporary, it sounds like what a film noir movie looks like, and there's an element of noir in my book.


"Falling in Love Again" sung by Marlene Dietrich
This is a song featured in the book. I remember Marlene Dietrich singing it in The Blue Angel, a movie about a man who got in over his head, and what he got in was his own desolation. The song is quite emotional but it's also extremely simple, just words repeated. In that it's a little like Simon and Garfunkel's "Leaves that Are Green."



Neil Young, "After the Gold Rush"
A number of scenes in the book take place in a nightclub called the Crazy Horse West. I associate Neil Young, who had a band called Crazy Horse, with the Sunset Strip, with the whiskey nightclubs that dotted it back in the 1970s, places in which styles of music were given the freedom to incubate and grow. Flying mother nature's silver seed for sure.


Laurie Anderson, "Progress" (or "The Dream Before")
This is where I was introduced to Walter Benjamin's idea of an angel being blown by a storm from paradise, being propelled into "the future to which his back is turned." It's another example of reworking something already known to make it known again, in a different way.



Joanna Newsom, "The Book of Right-on"
For a few weeks, possibly months, I walked around singing the chorus of this song, about shining a light on, and that the book of right-on, it was right on. With all the hopelessness I see in the world it's nice to radiate a bit of idealism.


Radiohead, "How to Disappear Completely"
I've been known to write with this song playing, but until I sat down to write this playlist, I never knew the title, which, in relation to The Complete Ballet, is apt.


Talking Heads, "Cross-eyed and Painless"
Lost my shape, trying to act casual. That about sums up my narrator's dilemma. It's a song that's easy to get submerged in, and also easy to come up for air.


Chick Corea, "Spain"
This is a song that, when I hear in my head, and when I hum the melody to myself, working through the rhythms of the melody, I almost always get lost, losing my place, and although it's annoying, it makes me like the song even more.


Jorge Ben, "Fio Maravilha"
At a residency, with the help of a Brazilian architect, I tried to learn to sing this song in Portuguese. I'm still trying, and part of what appeals to me is the fact that the song, full of emotion, which I thought might be about tempestuous love, was instead about a soccer player.


Joni Mitchell, "A Case of You"
This haunting song, full of emotion, is about love. Also, because Joni lived in Laurel Canyon, it partly haunts my book.


Leonard Cohen, "Chelsea Hotel # 2"
Another form of the personal essay.


Steve Reich, "Tehillim"
The music I listen to when I'm writing, for the most part, can't have lyrics. Not lyrics I understand anyway. The voices in "Tehillim" are probably speaking Hebrew, I don't know, and it doesn't matter because the words, while retaining the shadow of their meaning, are released from meaning, which is what writers try to achieve.


David Lang, "The Lost Meeting"
Sound that floats, and floats me when I hear it.


Johann Bach, "Cello Suites"
Almost all of Bach is rejuvenating. I'm not a big fan of his organ work, but The Cello Suites, definitely, and also the piano work and flute work, the duos and trios, calm me while at the same time focusing my unconscious on what it should focus on, the unconscious. And instead of leaving the unknown alone the music seems to opens up what I imagine are the secrets of rhythm and melody and oddly, I see Bach as very American.


Aaron Copeland, "Appalachian Spring"
Speaking of American.


John Dowland, "Come Again"
Another case of the lyrics melting into the music. In this case it's sweetness and purity, and because the song was written in another time, the 16th century, the purity seems real.


Bob Marley and the Wailers, "And I Love Her"
The idea of a cover, an appropriation of a song that becomes a completely different song is, in a way, what I'm doing in my book, and this cover makes the Beatles song more plaintive and raw and emotional.


Lou Reed, "Satellite of Love"
Lou. Romanticism. Death.



Kate Bush, "My Silver Bullet"
When I started writing these notes, for some reason, this song began playing in my mind. I have no idea why but I'm including it because there it was, or really, here it is.



"Bigmouth Strikes Again" by The Smiths
Proof that despair can also be fun.



"Help Me Somebody" by Brian Eno and David Byrne
When I read Amos Tutuolo's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, years ago, I remember being inspired but what seemed to me the innocence of his outlook. Not innocent as in naiveté, but a wide-eyed observance of what is happening in front of our eyes. Then, layered over that, is this song from Eno and Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and the title speaks for itself.


John Haskell and The Complete Ballet links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Publishers Weekly review

Literary Hub interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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)
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


Book Notes - Scott Esposito "The Doubles"

The Doubles

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.

Scott Esposito's The Doubles brilliantly blends memoir with film criticism.

Alvaro Enrigue wrote of the book:

"Scott Esposito is a true American cosmopolitan—full of ideas and void of pretensions. His way of seeing—inquisitive and gentle—his way of writing—honest and charismatic—are a life-line out of our self congratulatory provincialism.”"


In his own words, here is Scott Esposito's Book Notes music playlist for his book The Doubles:



I'm first and foremost a book person, but I'm also someone with an intense love of film, so this has led to some very conflicted feelings. There's no doubt that film is the major artistic medium of the modern era (sorry novels, your reign ended a while ago), but there's also no doubt that a lot of what makes books indispensable will never, ever be possible in a movie.

The Doubles comes out of that tension. It's a book about 14 movies that made me. As I explore how these 14 films helped make me what I am, I look at how film has made all of us. Retelling 1 film per essay—in essence translating 14 films into 14 works of words—I use creative nonfiction that combine what's spectacular about cinema with what's necessary about literature. These 14 films collectively cover some 20 years of my life between 1996 and 2016.

The result is part memoir-through-film, part investigation into how art affects our lives, part philosophy of art and life.

So for Largehearted Boy's Book Notes feature, I decided to put together a playlist of 14 different tracks that each embody something important to me about these 14 films. If you read The Doubles, I think this playlist will add a dimension to the book. And if you don't read The Doubles, I think this is still a pretty epic playlist. If you doubt that, just read on and see what's in it.


1996, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, ERROL MORRIS (1991)
Cosmic Background Radiation Ambient Noise — The Universe



Yes, I'm beginning this playlist with 12 hours of ambient noise—12 hours of ambient noise like none other in the universe. A Brief History of Time is Errol Morris's film adaptation of Stephen Hawking's book of the same name, which sums up everything this one-of-a-kind genius had figured out about black holes, the beginning of time, the cosmos, and reality. And when I think about the impact this movie had on me some 20 years ago, I go right to this noise, which comes from the beginning of all existence. As you listen to these sounds, they might sound like your white noise machine, or your air conditioner, or being in the cabin of a jetliner at cruising altitude, but they're actually none of those things: this noise is being generated by the energy that was released by the Big Bang, which is still with us some 14 billion years later. It's essentially the remnants of the most freakishly gigantic explosion ever. So far as we know, it was the beginning of the very reality we all live in. So listen to this and think about the fact that that the noise you're hearing started at the beginning of time and has been traveling through our universe ever since.

1997, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, STANLEY KUBRICK (1971)
Eminem — Amityville



Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange gave us Alex, the utterly despicable character at the heart of this very transgressive movie. He's a singular creation, one that has inspired a lot of controversy, and it's hard to watch this film with a lot of mixed feelings. Yes, Alex is a compelling, even charismatic character, but he's also purely disgusting. To me, this track of Eminem's is basically the hip-hop version of Alex. This is a nasty, angry, perverse song that exults in its own horror. This is basically Eminem at his worst, one of the most screwed-up cuts off of the most screwed-up album he ever made. And yet, there's a part of me that really responds to this music, which really troubles me and makes me think. Which is kind of like what I'm saying as regards Alex and this movie in the essay on A Clockwork Orange.

2001, SUZHOU RIVER, LOU YE (2000)
Summer Rain — Carl Thomas



I listened to this song so much the summer I met my partner. And not long after we fell in love, we watched the Chinese movie Suzhou River together. For me, Suzhou River was all about a moment in my life when I was discovering the true parameters and dimensions of love. This is also a deep theme of the story told in Suzhou River, which is about how hard it is to stay in love. Anyone can fall in love, but to remain in love you need to have a quantity of idealism, an ability to embrace fantasies, which not everybody has. Listening to this song always takes me back to those falling-in-love moments and gives me back a little of that idealism that we all need.

2003, RUSSIAN ARK, ALEXANDER SOKUROV (2002)
Sinking of the Titanic — Gavin Bryars



Russian Ark is a 99-minute film that occurs over just one take—a momentous tracking shot that goes on for miles through the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. It's a really weird film without much of a plot, the kind of film that you just have to embrace, just let it wash over you and take what you can from it, not hoping to derive a single plotline or come to some sort of a conclusion. It's kind of like ambient film, so that's why I'm choosing one of the most famous (and beautiful) ambient music tracks in recent memory. In the weird mixture of genres of sound, and in its relentless ongoingness, Sinking of the Titanic achieves something that reminds me of a aural version of Russian Ark.

2004, THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS, LARS VON TRIER (2003)
You Know My Steez — Gang Starr



Sometimes when you put two things together, the result is a lot more than the sum of their parts. That's one of the ideas behind The Doubles—a lot of the movies in it are fueled by pairs, be it pairs of people, of ideas, etc, and these two things tend to spur one another on into greater things than would have been possible alone. And that's also definitely the theory behind The Five Obstructions, in which Lars von Trier puts mind-fucking obstacles in the way of Jørgen Leth, hoping to inspire creativity and self-discovery in him. Things end up going in really weird directions, to the good of this film. So, to musically embody this, I'm picking one of the best tracks from what is quite possibly hip-hop's greatest duo ever: Guru and DJ Premier. These two had a very special chemistry, and neither one of them is ever quite this good on their own.

2005, KOYAANISQATSI, GODFREY REGGIO AND PHILIP GLASS (1982)
The Rite of Spring — Stravinsky

Koyaanisqatsi is all about what technology has done to the modern world, about trying to find a cinematic language to begin putting all of this into perspective. So, I thought it was fitting to include music whose premiere is often regarded as the moment that modernism started. To me, Stravinsky's ballet feels like letting some genie out of the bottle, which is apropos, because that's exactly what Stravinsky did, and also what modernism has done. Koyaanisqatsi is all about reckoning with the world that freed genie made. In addition, the charge of Stravinsky's music really captures how the visuals of this film feel to my eyes—all the movement, the frenzy, the sudden changes, the moods. And I hope the essay I created out of this movie—which was the hardest of all 14 to write—captures a little of the relentless energy and ceaseless invention of Stravinsky's work.

2006, THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE, KRZYSZTOF KIESLOWSKI (1991)
Henryk Górecki - Symphony No. 3: movement 1



The plot of The Double Life of Véronique is built around an incredibly beautiful symphony featuring a transcendent soprano. Unfortunately, the symphony in the film is unfinished, so we can only hear a little bit of the first movement—which is reall too bad, because it's absolutely incredible music. Whenever I think of what that music would have been if it had been completed, I think of Górecki's Third Symphony. There are very few—if any—things that you will hear that are this stunningly beautiful as Górecki's Third. It always puts me right in mind of that beautiful quality Kieslowski managed to capture with this one-on-a-kind movie. And, it's very fitting that Górecki is a Pole just like Kieslowski, and of the same generation. And also, I discovered this symphony almost exactly when I discovered Véronique. Enjoy!

2008, CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS, ANDREW JARECKI (2003)
Shostakovich — Symphony 15



Capturing the Friedmans is a really challenging movie that takes you into some of the darkest parts of our world. It's about a pedophile, and pedophilia is one of those supremely awful crimes, something that's so taboo that it still has the power to evoke a real sense of transgression in our society. If you combine such these emotions with the authority of the law, the system of justice, and the obligations and bonds of family, then you have an extremely potent mixture. And that's just what Capturing the Friedmans is. So I'm including here Shostakovich's Symphony 15, the great composer's last, which is also a mixture of diverse elements—from childhood to old age, plus Soviet terror, world war, and a long, compromised life—that produces supremely challenging, strange music. There's a reason that David Lynch listened to this symphony nonstop as he made Blue Velvet—it's weird, intoxicating stuff.

2009, 3 WOMEN, ROBERT ALTMAN (1977)
Alban Berg — Piano Sonata, Opus 1



God is this music creepy. And complex. And just plain inexhaustibly deep. Which is basically exactly how I feel about 3 Women, too. In my pantheon of cinematic gods, Robert Altman gets a special place, and 3 Women may be my very favorite of all Altman's works. It's a movie that packs so much in, and that makes everything you think you understand about the world feel creepy and foreign. Most of all, it's about people and their identities, and how weird it is that we're split into different genders. Alban Berg's perfect piano sonata feels very close to this film to me, and it was great music to listen to as I wrote this film into an essay.

2010, MEEK'S CUTOFF, KELLY REICHARDT (2010)
On the Transmigration of Souls — John Adams



Meek's Cutoff is, in my opinion, probably the most profound response to 9/11 made by an American filmmaker. Even though it's set in 1845 and has very little to ostensibly link it to the atrocities of September 11, 2001, the movie is clearly all about that day and its results—you just have to look at it the right way. So I thought I would include this music, which is also a very remarkable response to 9/11, also made by an American artist of the first rank. My essay on this movie is all about how that day felt for me, and what happened to me and my country in the years after. If we're going to understand what happened on that day and what's been happening since, we need our artists to step up with this kind of work. And the rest of us need to reflect deeply on that work and start talking publicly about what it means to us.

2011, THE SEVENTH CONTINENT, MICHAEL HANEKE (1989)
Allure — Jay-Z

The Seventh Continent is a movie about people who decide to kill themselves—if anything, this movie makes you understand what a horror that is. Not just that suicide itself is absolutely repulsive, but the world that would make people choose suicide is also repulsive. It takes a whole lot to extinguish the will to live in a person, you really have to work to drain away those things that fill life with mystery, and hope, and discovery, and passion. So I've got to put this song of Jay-Z's here, which is basically him romanticizing that part of life that makes it worth living. That surge of electricity you feel throbbing through you when you know you're really alive. I think that feeling is absent from these people's lives; and, by association, I would say that Haneke is arguing that contemporary society doesn't allow for enough of this feeling in our world.

2014, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, BANKSY (2010)
Run the Jewels — All Due Respect



The great thing about Run the Jewels is they can do it all—deep, introspective stuff, battle raps, political anthems, and also pure malicious mayhem. This right here is the pure mayhem. In case you didn't guess, the title is absolutely ironic, as basically every word that comes out of the mouths of El-P and Killer Mike in this track is completely disrespectful of all authority. And this is perfect for Exit Through the Gift Shop, because this is how I imagine the mindset of people heading out for the night to paint illegal graffiti. This music is just thrilling and frenetic and very fuck-the-world, all things that fit into my image of street art bombing runs in the wee hours of the morning—which is what Banksy's movie Exit Through the Gift Shop is all about. My essay tries to capture some of that energy and understand the complexity of the identity of "street artist." Oh, and in closing, if people aren't making graffiti to this track, they should be.

2015, BOYHOOD, RICHARD LINKLATER (2014)
For Philip Guston — Morton Feldman



Boyhood is a film that plays with duration in a very strange way: it was filmed over 12 years, and as the characters age in real life, they concurrently age in the film. It's "slow filmmaking"—there was no way you could rush this movie. So, in the spirit of playing with duration and taking it as slow as necessary, here is Morton Feldman's nearly 5-hour-long piece, "For Philip Guston." Like this music and Linklater's movie, the essay on Boyhood is also the longest essay in the book, and it took a long time to get it just right. And lastly, I just want to point out that the first comment on this video over at YouTube (when I looked at it tonight as I wrote this) was strangely appropriate to Boyhood's material, and also just perfect: "This was the only song we had played at our high school prom which was themed Minimalism and Moonlight."

2016, VOYAGE OF TIME, TERRENCE MALICK (2016)
Ab-Soul — Nibiru



This is prophesy right here. The thing I love most about Ab-Soul is that he's rap's crazy prophet. This is one of Ab-Soul's oldest tracks, and it's still one of his best—this is basically Soulo rapping from the perspective of a rogue planet that's destined to hurtle into the Earth. True to form, he's invoking Ancient Sumerian deities, Atlantis, the Mayan 2012 prophesy . . . oh my god, that's just the first verse! Anyway, Voyage of Time is based 100% on science, not a whole bunch of paranoid conspiracy theories, but I put these two together because they've both got that cosmic feel, basically that sense that there's a whole lot to this world that we don't know, and we're probably never going to know it. They both put me into this space of cosmic wonder, whose presence in my life is one of the most longstanding and important aspects of me being an artistic person. I tried to embody all that in the essay for this movie and go out in a big, big way.


Scott Esposito and The Doubles links:

the author's website

CCM interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for The Surrender


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

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

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

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)
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


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