8. Books (and Magazines)

Sep-14-2012 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: The Guardian, in a hilarious conceit, is having a showdown tournament of the top 32 American writers. Read the way they were selected, and see the full list, and the four novels that represent them. If you enjoy books by, or about musicians, this is going to be a good season. Bikinis that are similar to book covers is as bizarre a concept for a website as I’ve seen, and the 15 magazine covers are interesting, though some are not controversial. But it’s a fun trip down memory lane.

* The Great American Novelist Tournament: The Final 32 Matthew Spencer The Guardian

The original list was debated, dissected and reassembled several times over. Here, at last, is the final list of 32 competitors for the title of Great American Novelist

I read and digested your comments. I agonised and I performed sweeping U-turns across the American canon. I have re-jigged the novelists to produce a final list that still does not include David Foster Wallace, Marilynne Robinson, Harper Lee or anyone short of the four novel minimum. For shame, but this single elimination tournament demands a novelist must have four possible “greats” to bring to the party. It is a wide sieve through which many notable writers have fallen, but there it is: I’m looking for an American, writing within the last 100 years who went back to the well again and again and continued to find it wet with novelistic inspiration.

* Autumn’s 10 best music books  The Observer

Blame Bob and Keith – and Patti too. If it weren’t for the runaway success of Dylan’s Chronicles (published 2004), Richards’s Life (2010) and… Just Kids by Patti Smith (also 2010), the shelves this autumn would not be heaving under the weight of recollections by rock’s big beasts. Between now and Christmas, autobiographies are expected from Neil Young and Pete Townshend, Rod Stewart and Peter Hook, not to mention the biggest beast of them all, perhaps – Steven Patrick Morrissey. In between, we have high-profile biographies of Leonard Cohen and Led Zeppelin, an appreciation of Prince and an account by Mick Jagger‘s accountant. Rarely have the half-remembered recollections of artists, many au fait with recreational chemistry, been more in demand.

The celebrated memoirs of Dylan, Richard and Smith ramped up expectations for the rock autobiography. Pre-Keef’n'Bob, rock memoirs were specialist titles, sold in comfortable numbers to fans, music journalists and sensation-seekers, thumbing the index for names and dates. Then, perhaps, they radiated out to the wider circle of autobiography junkies. … But these three very literary books broke out of their reservation with elan, escaping into the wider-reading wild, chased by critical acclaim and garnering huge sales. It helped, of course, that Dylan was an enigma who remained an enigma even when setting the record straight; it helped, too, that when Richards was commenting on the size of Jagger’s member, his own memories of discovering the blues in bomb-scarred postwar south London were so beautifully drawn. With Smith, you got the bang of a poet and a famous artist for your buck.

Bikinis Meet Their Match Matchbook

Matches between bathing suits and books.

* 15 of the Most Controversial Magazine Covers in History Twisted Sifter



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