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Leftover Magicians

While I've spent the last 3 days tearing through The Cut by George Pelecanos, I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about the previous two books I read (outside of Robinson Crusoe, which we just read in my British Novel class and about which I need to write a paper by Wednesday)...

I read Lev Grossman's The Magicians around the time it was published two years ago. In fact, I wrote a little about it here. While I liked the novel and found the ideas to be interesting, I didn't love the main character, Quentin Coldwater. That concern completely disappeared in the just-published sequel, The Magician King. King Quentin has actually matured since the events in the first book and while he isn't perfect, he was much more readable. The new novel also alternates the action in the present with chapters of Julia's story, which runs concurrent with the first book. The Magician King just felt stronger overall and it not only makes me ready for the third book in the series but makes me want to reread The Magicians. Highly recommended.

I came to Tom Perrotta through a movie adaptation. Election is one of my all-time favorite movies and when I discovered it was based on a book, I'd found a new writer to check out. I can't remember if I read that book or his Little Children first but I've been a fan ever since. His new novel is The Leftovers and it's the story of a family dealing with the aftermath of the Sudden Departure, which was maybe/maybe not the Rapture. The Garvey family came through the even intact but have since fractured, searching for relationships that will allow them to make sense of what happened to their friends, acquaintances, the world. The choices they make are not always good ones but in the end they all find a measure of peace, even if that peace isn't rational. Also recommended.


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Sunday Shuffle #413

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Here's today's ten...

1. I 4 U & U 4 Me (Home Demo)/The Decemberists (15) - last played on 8/19/15
2. Part One/Band of Horses (6) - last played on 5/7/16
3. Shame Chamber/Kurt Vile (5) - last played on 7/23/15
4. In the Eyes of My Friends/Sugar (2) - last played on 10/5/14
5. I Could Have Done This Myself/Lightspeed Champion (4) - last played on 9/1/14
6. Nonstop Disco Powerpack/The Beastie Boys (10) - 5/15/16
7. Mountain/Lucero (7) - last played on 4/29/12
8. Evergreen/Matthew Sweet (1) - played countless times on CD
9. The Sleeping Beauty/American Music Club (4) - …

Sunday Shuffle #448

I'm going to do a bit of a "spring forward" edition this morning, which means I'm going to skip over the first song that pops up and start with the second. I think I'll keep doing that throughout, so you get all the even numbered songs, #2 - #20. Why not?

2. Bechamel/Pernice Brothers (16) - last played on 5/15/15
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6. Late-Century Dream/Superchunk (18) - last played on 11/18/15
8. Your Weather/Dinosaur Jr. (19) - last played on 8/3/16
10. Centre For Holy Wars/The New Pornographers (2) - last played on 1/27/15
12. Girls and Boys (Pet Shop Boys 12" Remix)/Blur (3) - last played on 2/28/16
14. Hard To Find/The National (25) - last played on 2/12/17
16. Metal School/Spoon (17) - last played on 1/20/17
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5 X 10

I've recently found myself listening to albums that came out 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago. Here are some thoughts...

The Broken West/I Can't Go On I'll Go On (2007) - "Down in the Valley" hooked me the first time I heard it streaming on KEXP. At the time, the band was still called The Brokedown, but that would soon change to due copyright issues; that's okay, I like The Broken West as a name better anyway. To get back to "Down in the Valley," what grabbed me were the ringing guitars, layered harmonies, and the organ that weaved in and out. And the lyrics, of course - "I had my feelings like the Dutchman has his gold/Deep in the canyon by the river that runs cold." Speaking of The Dutchman's Gold, that was the name of the EP that I learned had already been out and used my eMusic credits to grab it. "Down in the Valley" was the lead-off track, but there were six other great power pop songs and I was both in love and even mor…