Category Archives: Books

Occupational Alphabet

There may not be a connection, but I sometimes suspect my love of pop music has a lot to do with my love of doggerel verse. Because, let’s face it, that’s what most pop lyrics, even the best ones, are. … Continue reading

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My Kind of List

I’m a lover of long books, and I’m always trying to find things that are challenging, so this list of ten particularly difficult books is perfect for me. Three of them I’ve already read (Clarissa, To the Lighthouse, and A … Continue reading

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DJ Culture

It’s a publishing scandal, not a musical one, but it surprises me that no one I’ve read, when discussing Q.R. Markham’s Assassin of Secrets, mentions sampling. Because this appears to be exactly what Markham did. It isn’t a simple case … Continue reading

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About time

The 2011 releases in the Library of America have just been announced, and include some amazing stuff. More Philip Roth, plus Ambrose Bierce, Kurt Vonnegut, a humor collection put together by Andy Borowitz, and most important as far as I’m … Continue reading

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Finishing the Hat

The intro from Stephen Sondheim’s new collection of lyrics with commentary includes a simple, charmingly self-deprecating primer on lyric writing, and explains why good poets make lousy lyricists. Learn from the best, my friends.

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Quote of the Day

When trying to understand modernist ruptures, the revitalization of tradition inherent in supposedly destructive tactics is readily apparent. Stravinsky and Schoenberg seem to intend not that we stop listening to Bach in order to listen to them, but rather that … Continue reading

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Listen to This

Largehearted Boy interviews Alex Ross about his new book, and Ross provides a short playlist of records that emphasize the book’s “principal theme—the interconnectedness of far-flung musical realms.” Selection number one: Beethoven’s Third Symphony. Selection number two: Pere Ubu’s “30 … Continue reading

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Follow the chacona

In a preview of Listen to This, Alex Ross traces an elemental bass line from 16th cent. South America to Led Zep. I cannot wait for this book.

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All right, Roger, we get the point, now shut up already

Excuse me while I go off topic for a moment. Roger Ebert has been posting a series of sarcastic tweets in which he refers to various volumes in his book collection as “e-books”. “Aww. My dog Ming chewed the spine … Continue reading

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Something to look forward to

Alex Ross’s new book, Listen To This, comes out in September. Sounds like the first three chapters alone will make it worth reading. His idea about “music…as a way of knowing the world” is something I’ve been fumbling around myself, … Continue reading

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