can’t stop listening to…

The Naked & Famous. They are from New Zealand, and they are great. Reminiscent of Passion Pit at times, M83 at other times, and good old-fashioned electronic/indie rock the rest of the time. Fingers crossed for a Chicago show sometime soon.

I tried uploading my current favorite N&F tracks and posting them below, for your listening pleasure. (I’m new to soundcloud, but it seems like an easy way to share music. Here’s hoping I did it right.)


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five dials

Five Dials is a digital literary magazine. Each issue is excellent (especially the Paris issue, the David Foster Wallace issue, and the Festival issue). The latest, Number 14, is a single essay by Orhan Pamuk entitled My Father’s Suitcase. Not only is the essay about a father and a son, but “it’s about literature and the reasons a person might choose to sit at a desk all day making marks on a page”.

So many wonderful moments in such a small space; a must-read, for writers and readers and anyone who feels a little more human, a little more connected, a little less alone when surrounded by words on pages.

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tree of codes

How cool does Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book look?

Apparently, he has (literally) cut out a new story from his favorite book, The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. “I would encourage everyone to do this.”

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“i can’t say it”

Lucky me, getting to attend two Jonsi shows in one year.  Yesterday’s show was just as moving and entertaining and beautiful as the first; a stunning backdrop with still and moving images projected onto it, all kinds of lights (flashing at times, strobe-ing at times, still/off at times), and above all, absolutely gorgeous music filling every inch of the old theater we were standing together in.

It’s tough to describe his show, let alone his music – do explore some of the videos on his website (or these on Pitchfork) if you’re interested. It’s also tough to process both his show and his music…last night, we all just stood around after it ended, not quite sure what to feel or say or do. I had mixed feelings – half of me felt incredibly alone and overwhelmed, while the other half wanted to seize every opportunity presented by every moment and just  stay awake and alive forever – I felt like I’d just been shown and told that the world is, indeed, a place overflowing with beauty and joy and grace.

Anyways. I was reminded of this passage I came across a few weeks ago, one I’d been waiting for the right time to share:

When I look at my life and its secret colours, I feel like bursting into tears. Like that sky. It’s rain and sun both, noon and midnight… I think of the lips I’ve kissed, and of the wretched child I was, and of the madness of life and the ambition that sometimes carries me away. I’m all those things at once. I’m sure there are times when you wouldn’t even recognize me. Extreme in misery, excessive in happiness – I can’t say it.

–from Albert Camus’ A Happy Death

Haven’t we all felt this way? So overwhelmed in ways both good and bad, so much so that we fear we won’t be recognized, even by those we stand in front of.

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a few fall favorites, so far:

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I’d *almost* forgotten just how good this book was, until a summer re-read bridged the gap between finishing some old New Yorkers and waiting for this. I still have the copy I read in high school (and used again in college (twice)). Pages are falling out,  and it’s brimming with reviews and newspaper clippings and old term papers and there’s hardly an unmarked page. Oh…I also have a first edition, thanks to my extremely generous and thoughtful father.

The last page in particular just slays me; I read it aloud and it nearly breaks my heart every time.

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning –

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

One of my favorite lines in all of literature, right there.

*This was a good little article by someone who also re-visited Gatsby this summer and had more time than I do to write about it.

*Now: who who who will come with me to NYC to see GATZ? Every word of The Great Gatsby performed on stage (which, by the way, apparently takes over six hours). I need to go. Currently accepting offers and/or donations to cover flights, lodging, and admission to the show.

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because I can’t say it better:

“Reading [Alice] Munro puts me in that state of quiet reflection in which I think about my own life: about the decisions I’ve made, the things I’ve done and haven’t done, the kind of person I am, the prospect of death. She is one of the handful of writers, some living, most dead, whom I have in mind when I say that fiction is my religion. For as long as I’m immersed in a Munro story, I am according to an entirely make-believe character the kind of solemn respect and quiet rooting interest that I accord myself in my better moments as a human being.”

– Jonathan Franzen, from his 2004 NYT review of Alice Munro’s Runaway

I’m reading Runaway now. And so far, he’s absolutely right.


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