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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Patti Smith, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. HarperCollins Forms Partnership With JetBlue

harpercollins200HarperCollins has established a new partnership with JetBlue. Henceforth, the content platform on JetBlue’s Fly-Fi (a special inflight Wi-Fi program) will feature content from HarperCollins books.

For this month, passengers will be able to read excerpts from Patricia Cornwell’s thriller novel Flesh and Blood, Amy Poehler’s memoir Yes Please, and James Dean’s children’s book Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses. Readers will have also have the option to purchase any of the available titles from a plethora of booksellers.

Here’s more from the press release: “At launch, JetBlue customers will be able to choose from excerpts of books by Daniel Silva, Martin Short, Anthony Bourdain, Patti Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, Carine McCandless, Paulo Coelho, Patricia Cornwell, Dorothea Benton Frank, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Dick Couch, Amy Poehler, James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton, Peter Lerangis, Herman Parish, James Dean, Nate Ball, Dan Gutman, Lauren Oliver, and Erin Hunter. Titles will change monthly. Books from these HarperCollins authors will be available to customers as e-samplers via JetBlue’s Fly-Fi Hub, which is currently accessible on 35% of their fleet.”

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2. PEN American Center to Auction Off Special Annotated Books From 61 Authors

61 authors and 14 artists have made annotations to some of their most beloved works for the First Editions/Second Thoughts (FEST) auction. The funds from this venture will benefit the PEN American Center.

The writers added in features to first edition copies of their books such as notes, essays, sketches, photos, and letters to the reader. The artists had a choice of re-making either a monograph or an important art piece.

All of the artwork and annotated books will be put on public display at Christie’s New York starting November 17th. The auction itself will take place on December 2nd.

The New York Times has an exclucisve video starring Robert A. Caro, Paul Auster, and Jane Smiley who talk about the experience of re-reading their own books (embedded above). Click here to watch another video for more details about the auction event.


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3. Required Reading: Best Unconventional Memoirs

In an age when everyone and their niece has written a tell-all book, when even fictional characters like Ron Burgundy are penning the stories of their lives, how does a memoir stand out among its peers? What qualities make it like nothing we've seen before? Sometimes truly extraordinary experiences can launch a memoir into uncharted [...]

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4. Catching Fire Soundtrack Includes Patti Smith & Christina Aguilera

The full track listing for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack has been released.

The CD includes songs by Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, and Patti Smith, according to Yahoo! Music.

The video embedded above contains a 90-second snippet from Christina Aguilera’s song, “We Remain.” The announcement on the Grammy Award-winning diva’s facebook page has already drawn almost 24,000 “likes.”


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5. St. Mark’s Bookshop Hopes to Raise $50K On Indiegogo

st marksSt. Mark’s Bookshop, a New York City-based independent bookstore, plans to move to a new location within the East Village neighborhood.

To help generate the money for a financial push, the owners have turned to the crowd-funding site indiegogo. According to the indiegogo page, the funds will be used to “build out the space and pay for moving costs, as well as maintaining its inventory for the remaining months at 31 Third Avenue.”

Some of the rewards that are up for grabs include signed first edition books by Junot Diaz, Patti Smith, and Paul Auster. The campaign will run until April 26, 2014.

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6. Musicians with homonymic names

By Matthew Hough

There are many cases of musicians with homonymic names, including jazz performers Bill Evans (pianist, 1929-1980) and Bill Evans (saxophonist, 1958-), and composers John Adams and John Luther Adams. In the following paragraphs, I discuss musical examples by artists comprising three such pairs.

Nancy Wilson and Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson – “Guess Who I Saw Today” (1960)

The arrangement here works for me: no real solos and clearly defined instrumental roles, including the absence of the piano during the bridge (1:56-2:29). Wilson’s performance, particularly the memorable way she sings the cascading titular line at 1:01 and 2:31, is stunning.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Heart – “Stranded” (1990)

Nancy Wilson sings a powerful lead vocal on this track from Heart’s Brigade album (produced by Richie Zito, who also produced Cheap Trick’s “The Flame” and Bad English’s “When I See You Smile”). The chorus features one of the great uses of the I-V-ii-IV pattern, evoking the chorus of Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way” (with which “Stranded” shares the key of G major following the half step “pump-up” modulation at 2:55).

Click here to view the embedded video.

Patti Smith and Patty Smyth

Patti Smith – “Free Money” (1975)

From her first album Horses (produced by John Cale of the original Velvet Undergound), this track features Smith’s distinctive mix of song and spoken word. I enjoy Smith’s vocalizations as well as the arrangement, which features a somewhat gradual buildup of instrumental forces. The accompaniment begins with piano; the bass and drums enter at 0:30 and rhythm guitars at 0:48. A double time feel begins at 1:01, followed by an uneasy, repeating eighth note gesture in the drums beginning at 1:33. Additional vocal tracks enter at 2:24 and a lead guitar comes in at 3:08.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Scandal – “Goodbye To You” (1982)

Featuring lead vocals by Patty Smyth, this song preceded Scandal’s bigger 1984 hit “The Warrior.” (Both became karaoke staples long ago.) The background vocals on this track are nicely placed in 1:18-1:31 and 2:48-2:56. The decision to elide Smyth’s voice with the synth lead beginning at 1:48 provides a smooth transition into the solo section, which ends with what are possibly my favorite two seconds of the song, from 2:19-2:21.

Click here to view the embedded video.

“Papa” Jo Jones and “Philly” Joe Jones

Jo Jones Trio – “When Your Lover Has Gone” (1958)

Also featuring Ray Bryant (piano) and Tommy Bryant (bass), this track features Jones’ uniquely colorful cymbal playing. I especially enjoy Jones’ contribution during the last chorus, beginning at 2:32.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Sonny Clark Trio – “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” (1957)

With “Philly” Joe Jones (drums) and Paul Chambers (bass). Jones is in top form here with pianist Sonny Clark and frequent rhythm section mate Paul Chambers. The group’s interplay during Chambers’ solo (2:31-3:21) is particularly engaging, as Jones and Clark create a subtle interplay within the accompaniment.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Have you ever confused musicians or artists with similar names? Tell us about it in the comments below!

A version of this article originally appeared on Music! Musical Musings from Matthew Hough.

Matthew Hough is a composer, guitarist and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. His music can be heard on Original Abstractions and is published by Hough House. He is also a Grove Music Online contributor. You can follow him on Twitter at @houghmatthew. He is a contributor to Grove Music Online.

Oxford Music Online is the gateway offering users the ability to access and cross-search multiple music reference resources in one location. With Grove Music Online as its cornerstone, Oxford Music Online also contains The Oxford Companion to Music, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music.

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The post Musicians with homonymic names appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Patti Smith & Neil Young in Conversation at BEA

Rock star and memoirist Patti Smith will host a lunchtime interview Neil Young at BookExpo America on June 6th.

Here’s more about the event, to be held in the Special Events Hall at the Javits Center: “Ms. Smith’s discussion with Mr. Young will focus on his upcoming memoir, Waging Heavy Peace to be published in North America by Blue Rider Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA), in fall of 2012.”

Smith won the National Book Award for her memoir, Just Kids. She is working on a film adaptation of the book with Tony Award winning playwright. If you want to prepare, check out this 10-hour long Spotify playlist linking to the music mentioned in Smith’s National Book Award-winning memoir.

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8. William Joyce & Patti Smith Get Booked

Here are some literary events to jump-start your week. To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Author Charity Shumway will be celebrating her debut novel, Ten Girls to Watch, at the powerHouse Arena. Join her on Tuesday, July 31st from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Brooklyn, NY)

Author Karen Thompson Walker and writer Hannah Trini will headline a discussion event. See them on Wednesday, August 1st at the powerHouse Arena from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Brooklyn, NY)

Meet one of the creators behind The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce, at a Books of Wonder event. Check it out on Saturday, August 4th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (New York, NY)


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9. Four Poetry Books You Can’t Live Without

It's been a while since I've had the pleasure — or the time — to write for the Powell's blog, so I thought I'd dip my toe into something I really love: a roundup of a few of the best poetry books I've read in the last year. This list, of course, is by no [...]

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10. what do you desire?

I stopped at The Strand while making my way to a client the other day.  It was a long walk and bitter cold.  I wanted warmth.  I needed books. 

Patti Smith's Woolgathering was on a front table, signed.  It was mine in an instant, and today, while on the train to Penn, I read.  Patti gave the class its first exercise of the day, which began with her words below: 
Blowing upon it, candles, a star ... What does one desire.  A partner.  A freewheeling moon.  Or perhaps to hear again as one heard as a child.  A music—curious, optimistic, as plain and elusive as the call of the reel permeating a summer night.  Expanding squares of laughter and delight.  Everyone dancing, just dancing.  
In three to four sentences only, write what you desire, I said. 

Oh, how they broke my heart.  Oh, how I wanted to be their age again.  So many years of doing still laid out before them.

I have a wonderful class.

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11. Woolgathering/Patti Smith: Reflections

What are we to make of Woolgathering, this hand-sized book by the legend Patti Smith? First published in 1992 as a Hanuman Book and described by its author (years later, upon its re-release) as absolutely true. The book, legendary singer/writer tells us, was such that in its writing Smith was drawn from her "strange torpor." Here she is, looking back:
In 1991 I lived on the outskirts of Detroit with my husband and two children in an old stone house set by a canal that emptied into Lake Saint Clair. Ivy and morning glory climbed the deteriorating walls. A profusion of grapevines and wild roses draped the balcony, where doves nested in their tangles.... I truly loved my family and our home, yet that spring I experienced a terrible and inexpressible melancholy. I would sit for hours, when my chores were done and the children at school, beneath the willows, lost in thought. That was the atmosphere of my life as I began to compose Woolgathering.
There are photographs in this slight book—many of clouds, many of childhood places. There are concentrated memories, phantoms, distillations intensely personal and inescapably vivid. Some of the passages begin like the beginnings of psalms, or songs, while others break toward a private vocabulary.

Here is a line:

Exclamation! Questions of origin, scope.

Here is a scene, a codex, a rebus:

How happy we are as children. How the light is dimmed by the voice of reason. We wander through life—a setting without a stone. Until one day we take a turn and there it lies on the ground before us, a drop of faceted blood, more real than a ghost, glowing. If we stir it may disappear. If we fail to act nothing will be reclaimed. There is a way in this little riddle. To utter one's own prayer. In what manner it doesn't matter. For when it is over that person shall possess the only jewel worth keeping. The only grain worth giving away.

Woolgathering is a book of parts. It is a prayer set into motion. It is a return to child awe, a vindication of at least some part of adult responsibilities to make sense of things, to cohere. What do our minds do when we let them roam and wonder? Something perhaps, like this. Let Patti Smith lead the way.

Thanks to my friend Elizabeth Mosier, I will be seeing Patti Smith this coming Thursday evening at Bryn Mawr College. Elizabeth knows what a huge Patti Smith fan I am (I could not stop raving about Just Kids, for example (a book featured prominently in my forthcoming Handling the Truth), or about Smith's interview with Johnny Depp in the pages of Vanity Fair). She knows how proud I was of her piece about Smith in her alum magazine, here. And she knows that, even if I cannot find just the right cocktail dress to wear (because I end up looking so lousy in all of them), I will stand proudly at her side on Thursday, when the Main Line welcomes Patti to town.

For more thoughts on memoirs, memoir making, and prompt exercises, please visit my dedicated Handling the Truth page.

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12. on meeting Patti Smith, ever so briefly, at Bryn Mawr College

Last evening, at Bryn Mawr College, the multi-media legend Patti Smith was given the 2013 Katharine Hepburn Medal at an absolutely beautifully orchestrated event.

And oh, did she make us cry. From her heart, without prepared words, she spoke directly to us from the stage above about Little Women, Jo March, and a certain season when Patti was twenty-two years old and Katharine Hepburn herself came shopping at Scribner's, where Patti was working. Ms. Hepburn had tied an overlarge man's hat to her head with a green ribbon. She asked for help in locating books. While Patti escorted her down the aisles, Ms. Hepburn would note that Spencer (Tracy) would have loved this book or that, giving Patti (she said, so eloquently, so flawlessly) permission years later to shop for her own husband, even after he had passed on.

Sometimes people really are who they are on the page, and I have never doubted that Patti Smith is the Patti Smith of Just Kids, a book I loved so much (for its integrity, its soulfulness, its ungreen love, its sentences) that I forfeited meetings with writers at a certain Orlando, FL, event so that I could stay in my hotel room and read it. Woolgathering, too, reveals the Patti Smith we met last night.

Patti Smith has, she herself has said, always sought to lessen the distance between herself and her audience. She does. She did. Taking on the obvious questions from passersby during the cocktail and dessert hours, allowing us to exclaim over her, noticing us.

"I like your dress," she said, as I stood near, photographing my friend, Elizabeth Mosier, second photo down, above.

I very rarely like my own clothes. I will always love this dress.

Oh, and in case you are wondering? That bit of graffiti up there does in fact belong to me. I try to stay in the background, whenever I can. But sometimes you just have to tell someone how much you love them.

1 Comments on on meeting Patti Smith, ever so briefly, at Bryn Mawr College, last added: 2/8/2013
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13. Free eBooks by Virginia Woolf

The great author Virginia Woolf drowned 72 years ago today. To remember her literary legacy, we’ve rounded up four free Woolf books for your Kindle, iPad or other eReader–follow the links below to download. You can find the rest of her books at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Over at Brain Pickings, Maria Popova has collected condolence letters from other authors and linked to Patti Smith‘s tribute to Woolf. Here’s an excerpt from the letters post:

On March 28, 1941, at the gruesome onset of WWII, Virginia Woolf filled the pockets of her overcoat with rocks, treaded into the River Ouse behind the house in East Sussex where she lived with her husband Leonard, and drowned herself. She had succumbed to a relapse of the all-consuming depression she had narrowly escaped in her youth. Once news of her death broke, an outpour of condolence letters captured the enormous collective grief, mourning at once the deeply personal emptiness left behind by a remarkable woman and a loyal friend, and the severe cultural loss of a brilliant mind and a transcendent artist.


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14. Woolgathering by Patti Smith

Your childhood wasn't based in "facts," was it? A timeline, something dry and tidy and biographical like that? Nah. You probably remember childhood as a series of vignettes informing you of what it felt like to be alive in a fresh new world. Patti Smith gets that, and she presents her childhood here as a [...]

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15. More Praise for Allan Tannenbaum's Look Back at NEW YORK IN THE 70s

Allan Tannenbaum's New York in the 70s exhibition and book is the talk of the town - featured in The New York Times Book Review Summer Reading issue, and also in Women's Wear Daily:

"PICTURE THIS: Nostalgia was in the air at the Not Fade Away Gallery on Thursday night, where New Yorkers of a certain age (and some of a younger one) gathered to celebrate former SoHo Weekly News photographer Allan Tannenbaum’s new exhibit “New York in the 70s,” a genre-spanning selection of pictures culled from the lensman’s recently re-released book of the same name, on view through June 25. “The Seventies in New York was a time where basically anything went,” explained Tannenbaum, taking a pause from signing books and greeting guests including music writer Danny Fields, photographer Bob Gruen, James Wolcott and Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye. “It was a very hedonistic period, which I’m not sure exists in this day and age anymore.”

To be sure, you’d be hard-pressed today to find a rock star willing to strip down to Skivvies for an impromptu shoot in an inflate-a-pool (see Tannenbaum’s “Patti Smith Soho Rooftop, NYC, 1974,”) or a world-famous couple allowing a newspaper photographer in on the most banal, private moments (as John Lennon and Yoko Ono did over several months in 1980). “These were one-on-one things,” Tannenbaum said of shooting famous faces, the results of which hung alongside his photos of seminal protests, parades, happenings and late nights at Studio 54 and Plato’s Retreat. All of which begged the question, Is there a trick to being at the right place at the right time? “I think the word is the ‘moment’ — you’re looking for a moment to happen. You have to pay attention. A lot of it is just understanding the scene, knowing where you are and being ready [for] when the moment happens,” Tannenbaum said, a moment before Patrick McMullan tapped him on the shoulder. “I hate to interrupt,” said McMullan, an old friend, “but I have the famous photographer Lynn Goldsmith, [Allan’s] contemporary, to bring over.” After smiling with Tannenbaum for a few McMullan shots, Goldsmith, who’s known for her portraits of musicians like Sting and Bruce Springsteen, offered her take on the show: “The interesting thing about Allan’s work, why it’s so good, is because it covers not just music or entertainment, but it’s like the title of his book — it’s the times. It’s very exciting to see [his work] all together in one place in that it’s really what life was like in the Seventies.” — Nick Axelrod

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16. The Winners Of The 2010 National Book Awards Live Blog

9:29 David Steinberger, chairman of the National Book Foundation is on stage talking about how the judges decide on the winners. It happened today at lunch.

9:32 Steinberger is thanking all of the former winners and the sponsors.

9:34 Steinberger is naming the winners of the Innovations in Reading Prize from earlier in the week. Find out more here.

9:39 Andy Borowitz is back on stage to introduce Tor Seidler who is presenting the award for The Young People’s Literature. There were more than 200 novels in the category.

9:42 The winner is Kathryn Erskine for Mockingbird.

9:44 Cornelius Eady is taking the stage to present the award for Poetry.

9:50 The winner is Terrance Hayes for Lighthead.

9:52 Marjorie Garber has taken the stage to present the award for Nonfiction.

9:54 The winner is Patti Smith for Just Kids. Smith says she always wanted to have a book of her own since she worked in a book store as a kid. “There is nothing more beautiful in our material world than the book.” She says never to abandon the book.

9:58 Joanna Scott is taking the stage to introduce the award for Fiction.

10:04 The winner is Jaimy Gordon for Lord of Misrule. Gordon: “I am totally unprepared and I am totally surprised.”

10:06 The awards are over, thanks for following our live blog.

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17. Taking Patti Smith and Adam Foulds for a Ride

Because Lilian Nattel is a very brilliant author and reader, I trust her, and when she sang the praises of Adam Foulds' The Quickening Maze back in late June, I knew I'd be reading the book sooner than later.  And when the dear and deep and perpetually risk-taking Elizabeth Hand wrote (long before the National Book Award list had been unveiled) that I absolutely had to read Just Kids by Patti Smith (she'd reviewed it for the Washington Post), I said, All right, Liz.  I will.

Yesterday, released for the afternoon from client work, I headed to the Chester County Book & Music Company, which is another version of paradise on earth.  We're talking an indie book store here that feels a city block deep, and those who work there stack their favorite reads up and down end shelves.  I get lost there, and I don't mind one bit. 

This afternoon, I board a plane.  Smith's coming with me.  So is Foulds.

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18. Just Kids/Patti Smith: Reflections

I couldn't stop reading Just Kids, Patti Smith's memoir.  I was supposed to be doing other things—was in the land of mouse ears and Grumpy, among writers and teachers, in a hotel nestled around this cloud-reflecting lagoon.  But Patti Smith writes poetry, she tells a story, she searches for truth, and Just Kids is so full of the surprising line, the arresting scene.  It's full of Patti Smith herself, a rock and roller with a vulnerable heart, a scorcher of a performer who nonetheless craves the sacred companionship of books.

Just Kids is advertised primarily as the story of Smith's relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, and that it is.  But it is also the story of Smith's ascension through art—the years she spent choosing between buying a cheap meal and an old imprint, between being an artist or a writer, between being Mapplethorpe's lover and his best friend.  She tells us about the conversations that generate ideas among artists and friends, about coincidences that set a life on its path, about the clothes she wore and the mis-impressions she couldn't correct, about a kind of love that is bigger than any definition the world might want to latch onto it.  She yields an entire era to us, and though her writing is all sinew, strength, and honesty, she does not once betray her friends, does not invite us to imagine privacies that should remain beyond the veil.

This is, then, a revelation of a book, an exemplar.  I could quote from every line.  I'll simply give you the beginning:

When I was very young, my mother took me for walks in Humboldt Park, along the edge of the Prairie River.  I have vague memories, like impressions on glass plates, of an old boathouse, a circular band shell, an arched stone bridge.  The narrows of the river emptied into a wide lagoon and I saw upon its surface a singular miracle.  A long curving neck rose from a dress of white plumage.

You don't assess writing like that.  You honor it. The National Book Award Nonfiction Panel got this one just right.

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19. The Depp-Smith Conversation (to die for)

I am powerless when it comes to intelligent conversation—utterly done in when two learned, well-lived, curious people go back and forth, talking craft, talking wanting (this need I have for real conversation renders me pretty useless at most cocktail parties, I confess, an utter bore).  Conversation is what we get in the January 2011 issue of Vanity Fair—Patti Smith (and you know that I loved her memoir) interviewing Johnny Depp (who needs to say more?).

Look at how far afield from the traditional celebrity interview this goes. Look at what Hollywood mashing with Rock and Roll can be:

Smith:  When you spouted a few lines of poetry to Samantha Morton, who played Elizabeth Barry in the movie—that was my introduction to Wilmot's work, to his poetry.  And I noticed in Alice, when the Hatter recites, "Jabberwocky," that you have a gift for giving us the full measure of a poet's work. It is really quite difficult. Could you imagine doing a recording of works of poetry?

Depp:  I don't know.  It's daunting, because you don't know exactly... I mean, you can decipher the intent, and you can kind of swim around in the guts of it, but you just don't know how the poet would have wanted it read.

Smith:  Yes, but that's no different than Glenn Gould having to anticipate how Bach would want his work played.  I thought the Hatter's reading of "Jabberwocky" was luminous.  Yesterday you read me a poem written by the Elephant Man.  I didn't know he wrote poetry.  The poem you recited was heartbreaking.  How did you come to find it?

Depp:  I made an appointment at the hospital where they had his remains....

4 Comments on The Depp-Smith Conversation (to die for), last added: 12/7/2010
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20. Celebrating the National Book Critics Circle Award Nominees

I never read nearly as much as I'd like to read—my multiple worlds are perpetually colliding, fracturing time. But I was so gratified to learn that, on this year's list of NBCC nominees, many of the books I'd loved best and celebrated here, on my blog, are being equally celebrated by the judges.  In Autobiography, there's Patti Smith's remarkable Just Kids, Darin Strauss's deeply moving Half a Life, and the thoughtful, provocative Hiroshima in the Morning, by my much-loved friend, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto.  In Criticism, there's Elif Batuman's The Possessed and Ander Monson's Vanishing Point.  I'd put all five books on my Penn syllabus months ago, and here they are—proven, lifted, upheld.

A huge congratulations to them all, and, especially, to my dear friend, Reiko.  I've linked to my own reflections about these books here, should you be interested in how they affected me early on.

2 Comments on Celebrating the National Book Critics Circle Award Nominees, last added: 1/25/2011
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21. Patti Smith to Publish Free Essay Exclusively on Nook

Today Barnes & Noble revealed that National Book Award winner and singer/songwriter Patti Smith will publish an essay exclusively for Nook users. Entitled “The Year of the Book,” readers must visit a Barnes & Noble store with a Nook device to download the essay.

The essay will be available on February 5th, only offered for four weeks. Here’s more about the essay: “In this exclusive essay for Barnes & Noble, Smith writes about the year that changed everything for her as a writer and about the books that got her there.”

The program works through the through the company’s “More in Store” program. Do you think this kind of in-store download program can help preserve the brick-and-mortar bookstore?

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22. Patti Smith to Collaborate on ‘Just Kids’ Screenplay

National Book Award winning author and rock star Patti Smith will work with Tony Award winning playwright John Logan on an adaptation of her memoir, Just Kids.

Logan has worked on a number of film scripts, including Gladiator, The Aviator, Sweeney Todd, and Rango. The book followed Smith’s relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, exploring the New York City music and art scene during two tumultuous decades.

Here’s more from the release: “Currently in its thirty-seventh week on the New York Times bestseller list, Just Kids has also been translated into twenty-seven languages. Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She gained recognition in the 1970s for her revolutionary mergence of poetry and rock, and for her seminal album Horses. She is presently recording her thirteenth album for a 2012 release. In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the prestigious title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

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23. Patti Smith Memoir Playlist on Spotify

In her memoir, Just Kids, rock star Patti Smith tells stories about enough songs and musicians to fill an entire record collection.

Spotify user Beth Miller has created a mind-boggling 10-hour long Spotify playlist linking to the music mentioned in Smith’s National Book Award-winning memoir. It’s the perfect way to read the book and prepare for the upcoming film adaptation.

Follow this link to get a Spotify invite for the free service. Once you have an account, check out our Thomas Pynchon Spotify playlist, our Ann Patchett Spotify playlist and the new Patti Smith Spotify playlist. If you create a Spotify playlist with music from a specific author, be sure to share it with us.

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24. Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology

The Occupy Wall Street library has produced the first Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology. The founders seek poetry in all the languages of the world, building a “massive text of dissidence, a testament to the infinite beauty of the human spirit.”

Poet, author and rock star Patti Smith visited the protest site over the weekend, donating ten copies of Just Kids to the library and reading the anthology. The Wall Street Journal even took notice of poetry scene at the park, writing an article about the poetry anthology.

Here’s more about poetry at the protest site: “Every Friday night around 9:30pm poets of all walks of life and ages come in and read/perform their poetry. Folks that have been around the NYC poetry scene for a long time have been saying the poetry assembly is one of the greatest open mic reading series NYC has ever fostered and NYC has a great legacy of poetry. With that validation, I highly suggest you join us. Poetry illuminates the soul of Occupy Wall St. A lot of people are asking, “What are the demands” and the poets voices show just how nuanced the human spirit and impossible a set of demands truly is. This occupation is about transforming consciousness and the poetry community is a major part of that process. So please join us!”

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25. On Berlin, Re-reading, and Book of Clouds

David Bowman has an interesting and timely back-page essay in The New York Times Book Review this weekend.  It's called "Read It Again, Sam," and it celebrates books fine enough to be read again.  Patti Smith reports on her plan to read again An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter.  Stephen King professes to having read Lord of the Flies eight or nine times.  Bharati Mukherjee reveals that she re-read all of Louise May Alcott at least a half-dozen times at the tender age of 9.

And you?

Earlier this week, while on a plane home from London, I reached for Book of Clouds (Chloe Aridjis), a book I'd read at once upon its release in 2009.  It's just the right size for an eight-hour flight (with a nap tucked somewhere in between), and I'd wanted to re-read it because I craved the surreal mood it had engendered within me—the fog, the mist, the strange; I craved the Berlin at the book's heart.  How had Aridjis achieved her effects?  I would examine this.  I would study it.

I had remembered Clouds as a lyric of a book, and indeed extraordinarily beautiful images float throughout. But what was also fascinating to me, upon my second review, is that Aridjis is not tricking her reader with language here; she is never overreaching.  Indeed, some of her oddest moments and most surreal, memorable constructions are rendered with thoroughly uncluttered, even straightforward prose—a glorious effect that I had not deconstructed my first time through.  So caught up was I in the mood of her Berlin—in the underground worlds, in the residues of a sinister past—that I failed to see that passages like this one, describing an abandoned bowling alley beneath the streets, had been meticulously and not (until the very end) metaphorically put forth.  Aridjis gives us the facts.  She lets us do with them what we will. 

After traversing several dark, damp rooms, plowing ever deeper into the labyrinth, though it was hard to tell how many doorways we'd actually crossed, we arrived at the so-called Gestapo bowling alley, a rectangular room, somewhat larger than the others as far as I could tell.  Our guide asked us to fan out so that everyone could see and directed his flashlight at different spots.  I stepped out from behind a girl with pigtails and began to look around.  It was a pretty chilling sight.  Everything, it seemed, was just the way it had been left decades ago.  At the center of the room lay a metal contraption, about eight feet long, an obsolete machine once used for spitting out wooden bowling balls, and with its rusty corners and thin bars, it looked, at least from afar, like a medieval instrument of torture, like those racks to which victims were bound by their hands and feet and then stretched.

I would not have known this about Clouds had I not read the book a second time.  I would have carried with me a false idea about Aridjis method—a first-blush idea, not a studied one.  I loved the book even more the second time I read it through.  I loved it, though, for somewhat different reasons.

Always, in perpetuity, Clouds will be a signifier for me—a book that in large part sent me to Berlin this past summer, a trip that subsequently led to my own work on a new (and very different) book set i 6 Comments on On Berlin, Re-reading, and Book of Clouds, last added: 12/10/2011
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