1. I've given the new Bob Dylan album a few listens, and I like it a lot. Modern Times
plays like Love and Theft
Part Two -- eclectic, rootsy high-shuffle beats, witty, aphoristic lyrics -- and since I loved the earlier album this is hardly a complaint. For a taste of these lyrics, check out these excerpts
on a blog dedicated, interestingly enough, to theological scholarship and faith.
Novelist Jonathan Lethem interviews Bob Dylan
in the latest Rolling Stone, but it's a mediocre and attenuated effort. Bob Dylan is a great bullshitter
who can spin out long sequences of nonsense and make it all sound important; this is the game he's played in a long career of interviews. A good Dylan interviewer must anticipate this and aim to get past Dylan's basic bag of tricks, but Lethem's interview (erroneously billed as "an intimate conversation") simply solicits familiar stock answers from the old guy and goes no further than that. It's a disappointingly short piece, and I wish Lethem had reached harder and asked some more unusual questions.
2. Some live events coming up in the New York City area: Ted Pelton, author of Malcolm and Jack
, will be reading at Night and Day
in Brooklyn on September 7 at 7 pm. A large contingent of writers concerned about the wars in the Middle East, including Diana Abu-Jaber, Edith Chevat, Robb Forman Dew, Masha Hamilton, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Bernie McFadden, Jim Sheperd, Joan Silber, Leora Skolkin-Smith and Katharine Weber
, will be gathering at McNally Robinson Booksellers at 50 Prince Street on September 18th on behalf of Seeds of Peace (info here
). Finally, USA Poet Laureate Donald Hall
will be performing Sept 19
at City University of New York.
3. Goodbye to The Beiderbecke Affair
, a worthy and well-illustrated blog that's published its last post