As the B-52s understood so well, we all need some good stuff in our life. Here’s some good stuff:
Jhumpa Lahiri’s much-lauded collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, is out in paperback from Vintage this week. Although I’ve only read three of the collection’s eight stories so far, it’s already easy to see why the book was so beloved last year. Lahiri explores the intersection of different cultures and the subtleties of generational conflict, but the themes and content of her stories always veer toward universals of domesticity–siblings, marriage, children, and all the troubles that go with them are studied here. I found bits of my own life echoed here in insightful and analytical detail, particularly in the heart breaker “Only Goodness.” Good stuff.
Also new in paperback this week from Randomhouse is Stefan Merrill Block’s debut novel The Story of Forgetting, and while I haven’t had a chance to get too far into it, its blend of science, medicine, memory, and fantasy seems pretty intriguing. Block examines Alzheimer’s disease through the lens of an elderly man named Abel, a misanthropic teen named Seth, and a Calvinoesque fantasy world called Isadora–a world without memory. Seems pretty cool; potential good stuff. Trailer here.
For more good stuff, check out our new tumblog Pet Zounds.
Here’s a cool interview from The Times with Bob Dylan on Presidential autobiographies and more. Good stuff.
You can also listen to all ninety minutes of Neko Case’s concert at the 9:30 club, broadcast live last night on NPR. Lovely Ms. Case transcends good stuff, of course.
Speaking of transcendent good stuff, the new Dirty Projectors album, Bitte Orca, has, ahem, leaked. It’s the sort of greatness that makes you ashamed to be a pirate, the kind of album you can’t wait to actually buy even though you’ve been listening to it in full for a few months (it doesn’t drop until June 9th). Lush and ethereal, somewhere between Kate Bush and Storm & Stress, Bitte Orca is the sort of stuff that would play at high school proms around this country this year if this country had any class. Here they are playing “Stillness is the Move”: