Early Morning Roundup

  • I can truthfully think of no duller candidate for a lead review than this guy.
  • Other Ed, currently counting Rowling units, on Walter Kurtz.
  • Mr. Mitchelmore raises an interesting point about prejudices before reading. I think that a book, no matter how overexposed the subject matter, is still capable of surprising a reader if an author is good enough and that it’s a bit foolish to discount an author’s creative possibilities within a given formula. If anything, seeing precisely what Coetzee will come up with after so many books about writers writing books is the more interesting question. Hell, is not David Markson’s “Novel” tetralogy — if we must group them together — essentially about a writer writing a book? You’d be hard-pressed to call his approach similar to Stephen King novel featuring a writer writing a book.
  • Regrettably, I had to miss the Harlem Book Fair. But Richard Grayson was there dutifully reporting.
  • Spoon is not treading water. The new album is a fabulous head game with what the long-time listening base is expecting. (Case in point: the abbreviated “Your” in the title “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb.” And where’s the Y in “Rhthm and Soul?” And why a song about a Japanese cigarette case? That’s the kind of thing you’d expect from a band desperately seeking objects in a hotel room to write a song.) I’m liking this album very much because of these elisions, which also manifest themselves in such “ghost” flourishes as that sequenced horn section which opens up “The Underdog,” only to not quite match up with the bass notes in that chorus’s expected pomposity. (And then the “horns” shift to a clear synth voice around the three minute mark.) No, it’s not as overtly experimental as something like Kid A and these production decisions aren’t immediately clear on the first few listens. But it’s still pretty fun. And even if you don’t sign on for this sort of thing, there are still slacking rockers (“slockers?”) like “Finer Feelings” and “Don’t You Evah.”
  • And speaking of Mr. VanderMeer, here he is again in this week’s Book World.
  • More after sleep.

One Comment

  1. Wilfred Sheed is a great, underappreciated writer. His novels from the 60s and 70s, admittedly products of their time, will probably remain out of print, but he made a fine second career out of non-fiction writing, and was for a time one of the better critics on the scene. He writes a lot less these days (from age and illness, I understand), but it would be a shame if our historically myopic culture forgot that he even exists. He’s also — by way of his parents’ publishing house, Sheed & Ward — to the great era of Catholic converts in Anglo-American literature. This in itself is rather fascinating, even if it’s part of the reason that some of his work has dated so much. At any rate, people who care about unfairly neglected writers ought to be thrilled that the Times gave him front page treatment.


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