Denis Johnson’s Last Gift to Readers

In 2004, after over a quarter-century releasing music under the project named Jandek, Sterling Smith gave the world a glimpse. It wasn’t a complete biography, but the artist who had intentionally shielded his true identity while releasing sometimes two new albums of raw and ghostly folk music a year showed he was more than just a face that graced a handful of album covers. Since that first performance, Smith continues to perform live, but still little is known about him. […]

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A Year of Favorites: Jason Diamond

It was cold the morning after it was announced David Bowie had died. Not surprising since I live in New York City and it happened in January. Yet I found myself standing outside my apartment around six in the morning, gym clothes on, not really dressed to be idling around. I put on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, which I’ve listened to countless times since I was about 13, and simply referred to […]

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Stephen King, “Stand by Me,” and the Terror of Being Young

It’s funny how people perceive things. I saw the movie Stand by Me, which turns 30 this month, around the time I turned 7, right after the film was released on VHS. I remember the person behind the counter telling my babysitter who was helping me pick out movies that they’d just gotten the film in the day before. When we showed her the movie we’d picked, my stepmom asked if it was scary when we told her the movie […]

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In Search of Whatever: On Rob Spillman’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties”

I’m not sure if Americans being reluctant to get out and see more of the country and world is strictly a post 9/11 thing, like we’re not safe here, but we’re way less safe anywhere else, or if it’s always been this way. All I know is that I don’t see that many great books about stepping out of your comfort zone and into the back of a car or hiking for miles. There are glimmering examples, memoirs that have […]

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Could This Be The Book Cover of the Year?

It’s too early to say, but The Incantations of Daniel Johnston, a graphic novel that Two Dollar Radio have slated for a July release, by Ricardo Cavolo and written by Scott McClanahan, might have the best cover of the year. Sorry to all other books that are out in 2016, this thing is just glorious.

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The Great Historical Novel Boom?

I keep this running tab of favorite books of the year on my laptop, which I assume I’ll share at some point in the future, probably in early December when people say they’re sick of lists that document the best books of the year, but they read them anyway. I won’t give too much away, but I’ll say that early on in this year, memoirs and short story collections are really dominating, and I haven’t been that into novels. I […]

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