F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, ‘Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.’ Fitzgerald was a member of the vast club of famous writers who appreciated the bottle, including Ernest Hemingway, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver. In her new book, ‘The Trip to Echo Spring,’ author Olivia Laing explores the reasons why so many literary stars loved to drink, and the both amazing and devastating impact it had on their writings.
While you’re settling in this morning, listen to Olivia Laing talk booze and books with KQED’s Michael Krasny.
This book is to help you wean yourself off the tyranny of reading, the addiction of reading. You know, you come home from work and you just want to unwind with some Kierkegaard, just a few pages, and then you wake up at dawn, naked, in a park, and you’re 600 pages into a DeLillo novel, and you have no idea how you got there; this book helps you stop doing that.
Last year I wrote about some very interesting research being done by Paul J. Heald at the University of Illinois, based on software that crawled Amazon for a random selection of books. At the time, his results were only preliminary, but they were nevertheless startling: There were as many books available from the 1910s as there were from the 2000s. The number of books from the 1850s was double the number available from the 1950s. Why? Copyright protections (which cover titles published in 1923 and after) had squashed the market for books from the middle of the 20th century, keeping those titles off shelves and out of the hands of the reading public.
Why is it—and Eleanor & Park fan fiction—not a thing? Because it should be. Seriously. By Fiel Estrella February 1, 2013
What inspired you to write a misfits-in-love story like Eleanor & Park? I have always, always wanted to write a first love story. I feel like, when you’re 16, you have the greatest-ever capacity for romantic love … You also know that what you’re feeling probably won’t last. First love usually doesn’t. There’s a built-in tragedy to falling (truly) in love when you’re 16. It’s like every 16-year-old in love is either Romeo or Juliet. That is what I wanted to write about.
Days of Yore: Did you read a lot when you were little?
Sarah Manguso: Yes. One quirk of my early reading life was that our town had an unusually well organized dump — okay, “waste management facility” — and it included a fantastic book swap. I found all sorts of weird, antique, out-of-print books. Periodically someone would dump a big box of correspondence. Old, old handwritten letters. Old magazines. I went there on Saturdays, with my father, and I was allowed to take home whatever I wanted.
“Everything that I wish I could be” is the title of a series of book collages made by Kent Rogowski. He used the titles of self-help books to create larger narratives, which become portraits of emotions, people and events in life. (via today and tomorrow)
In his new book, The Biographical Dictionary of Popular Music, Dylan Jones devotes an entry to “Cover Versions: 75 of the Best,” from Rufus Wainwright’s popular take on the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah,” to Hendrix doing “All Along the Watch Tower.” It’s a very fine and noble list, of which you can listen to the top fifteen on the Huffington Post. (See also two great excerpts at Salon and the Daily Beast.)
In that spirit I’d like to present my own list of “Favorite Covered Songs!” I warn you though, if you can’t make it through this video of Sid Vicious singing Frank Sinatra’s standard “My Way” then this Spotify playlist is not for you!:
1. “Love Goes On” (The Go-Betweens) by Nada Surf
2. “Video Killed the Radio Star” (The Buggles) by Joyce Manor
3. “Black Diamond” (Kiss) by The Replacements
4. “Many Rivers to Cross” (Jimmy Cliff) by Harry Nilsson and John Lennon
5. “What’cha Gonna Do About It” (The Small Faces) by Condof****
6. “My Generation” (The Who) by Patti Smith
7. “Can’t Hardly Wait” (The Replacements) by Justin Townes Earle
8. “Speeding Motorcycle” (Daniel Johnston) by Mary Lou Lord
9. “Thirteen” (Big Star) by Elliott Smith
10. “After Hours” (The Velvet Underground) by Rilo Kiley
11. “Benny and the Jets” (Elton John) by The Beastie Boys featuring Biz Markie
12. “Attitude” (The Misfits) by Guns N’ Roses
13. “Hey Jealously” (Gin Blossoms) by The Ergs
14. “Louie Louie” (The Kingsmen) by Black Flag
15. “Wendy” (The Beach Boys) by Descendents
16. “Mercury Blues” (Douglas/Geddins) by David Lindley