The clearinghouse

I liked the Decemberists since my friend Hanson introduced them to me a couple of years back. Any band that can name drop Marcel Duchamp and write sea shanties and songs that make fun of Los Angeles is alright with me. I've been listening to a copy of their soon to be released album, Picaresque (mea culpa on internet piracy here). Well the new album is more of the same, which is a good thing. What the world needs now isn't love but tightly written, comical songs about maritime life.

I'm also going to take this opportunity to gush about wunderkind Jonathan Safran Foer. I gobbled up his debut novel Everything is Illuminated and I've been shoving that book into people's hands for the last three years now. It's a story about a young Ukrainian-American named Jonathan looking for his grandfather's destroyed shetl. He's coming out with a new novel, soon, but not soon enough. Here's an interview with Jonathan from the NYT magazine. Also, because I'm actually reading again I want to heartily recommend Ken Kalfus' novel the Commissariat of the Enlightenment, about the fictional meeting of Lenin, Stalin and a filmmaker witnessing the death of Leo Tolstoy.

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