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Wednesday, May 31 2006

Does Beloved Belong? The Absence of Minority and Fringe Literature in the New York Times Canon

A literary equal amongst these other authors Toni Morrison has, unfortunately, been cheapened to the status of a safe signifier: the voice of an outsider, so well received by the public, that she has become inevitably insider herself. Yet she is still regarded as 'alien' as before.

Thursday, May 25 2006

A Kind of Music: Interview with David Mitchell

'Writing is a kind of music. And I mean that very nearly literally. Or at least, I mean it metaphorically. It's nonetheless a metaphor, which is truer than the obvious. A sentence is a musical phrase that your eyeball can hear. Words are musical notes that, again, your eyeball can hear. Not a sound, but a nuance.' Stephen Schenkenberg talks to David Mitchell.

Thursday, May 11 2006

Bob Marley Is Still Catching Fire

May 11 is the 25th anniversary of the passing of the king of reggae, the day when Bob Marley succumbed to cancer in Miami in 1981 at the age of 36. Today his music is more popular respected than ever. Christopher John Farley, author of the new book, Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley, looks back.

Wednesday, May 10 2006

Everymen: An Interview with T Cooper

'It's weird when everyone decides one person is cool, don't you think? I'm suspicious of that.' James Withers talks to Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes author, T Cooper, about writing, reading, coolness, Jennifer Aniston, and why boy bands should never reform.

Tuesday, May 2 2006

She Blinded Me With Science

I imagined Viswanathan, Widener Library, Cambridge, Mass., tapping away on her laptop during freshman finals in a rare moment of silliness: ''It's formulaic 'cause that's, like, the moral, right, that not everything can be reduced to a science? That's soooo 'Mehta'!' Maureen Miller reads Opal Mehta.

Friday, April 28 2006

National Poetry Month Special

  Translating the Body by Jillian Weise All Nations Press, February 2006, 44 pages, $10.00 With a book of poems about an amputee, we might get hung up

You Bring the Jack; They’ll Bring the Coke: Interviews with Craig Davidson and Brett Alexander Savor

'Once you finish writing a four-page dog fight scene, or a scene where a guy gets his leg chomped off by an incensed killer whale, or one where an old porn star's penis pump explodes ... well, you sort of say to yourself, 'I've effectively eliminated myself from the mainstream.'' Craig Davidson and Brett Alexander Savory want to talk to you about Hell -- real and imagined. (If there's a difference.)

Tuesday, April 25 2006

All Pasts: Interview with Lance Olsen

'Historians can tell you what happened and on what day it happened and perhaps something about the larger forces that impinged on the happening. But the only fiction writer can offer the why of the happening, what it might have felt like, smelled like, tasted like. By doing so, he or she reminds the world of the fictive underpinnings of all pasts, including those we hold in our own recollections.' Scott Esposito talks to Lance Olsen about Nietzsche's Kisses.

Friday, April 14 2006

Bookmarks: Brief reviews of new and overlooked books

The Weather Makers: How Man is Changing the Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery Atlantic Monthly Press, March 2006, 384 pages, $25.00

Worlds of Their Own: Winter Photography Books From Perceval Press

'Deeply intimate and of a worth that far exceeds their cost, these microcosmic visual universes leave the reader feeling altered by having been exposed to the essence of another person's existence.' Melissa Fischer looks at the upcoming releases from Viggo Mortensen's Perceval Press.

Friday, April 7 2006

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Given Neutral Milk Hotel's shifting lineup and frequent moves in the years before and during Aeroplane, Cooper commendably maps out their story within a spare hundred some pages.

Born in the U.S.A.

You don't need to be a Springsteen fan to have heard the song or seen the video and know what's happening in it, making Himes's unsubstantial analysis of the song a waste of a page and a half. Himes's bio states he won a 2002 ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for Music Feature Writing -- you'd never guess it by such academic, overstated passages.

Riding a Comet’s Flame: An Interview with Kim Cooper

'In him not being interviewed he becomes the center of the book, but he would be anyway.' Kim Cooper speaks to PopMatters about the musical friendships that gave rise to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Jeff Mangum's reluctance to publicly speak about the band, and the difficulties of portraying people and music with words.

Thursday, April 6 2006

Sign ‘O’ the Times

Matos is a committed Prince fan who revels in the what he perceives as the artist's successes, like Sign, while admonishing those albums that he thinks fell short, like Diamonds and Pearls.

Wednesday, April 5 2006

Canon Fodder

'In effect, the series de-pop-ifies the records, taking them out of the realm of spontaneous appreciation by fans, and organizes the discipline of album criticism as the specific practice of experts.' Can the widely revered pop albums chronicled in Continuum's 33 1/3 series survive the ardor of their most intelligent and impassioned critics? Rob Horning investigates.

Tuesday, April 4 2006

Kick Out the Jams

Up against the wall, pseudo-revolutionaries: a report on radical rock of the '60s shows the perils of mixing art and politics in the marketplace.

Monday, April 3 2006

I Know There’s an Answer: An Interview with Jim Fusilli

'Well, when I was younger, it was the album that pulled back the curtain and showed me, at the same time, a new world and the truth of myself. But now I'm astonished by the wisdom of it, the depth, the quality.' Bill Gibron talks to Jim Fusilli about his excellent examination of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.

The New #1

Granted, Pet Sounds is a great album, one that requires very little support for its importance as art and as musical innovation. Yet Fusilli finds inventive ways of making these givens new and engaging.

Introduction and Interview with Series Editor David Barker

'We've definitely caught people at a moment in time where there's a certain nostalgia for the album format -- although I don't think it's as doomed as many make it out.' Anne K. Yoder talks to 33 1/3 series editor, David Barker, about his 'great little books'.

Thursday, March 30 2006

A Long Night’s Journey into Light

Half a century after its writing, Elie Wiesel's Night finds a renewed prominence thanks to Oprah, but its importance has never diminished. Justin Cober-Lake looks back at Wiesel's book and recommends others on the Holocaust and its continued relevance.

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