Two books by two talented authors. One writer uses imagined dialogue woven into documented events and facts while the other writer creates realistic scenarios with fictional characters.
Kerri Maher The Paris Bookseller
When bookish young American Sylvia Beach opens Shakespeare and Company on a quiet street in Paris in 1919, she has no idea that she and her new bookstore will change the course of literature itself. Shakespeare and Company is more than a bookstore and lending library: Many of the prominent writers of the Lost Generation, like Ernest Hemingway, consider it a second home. It’s where some of the most important literary friendships of the twentieth century are forged—none more so than the one between Irish writer James Joyce and Sylvia herself. When Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Beach takes a massive risk and publishes it under the auspices of Shakespeare and Company.
Jean Chen Ho Fiona and Jane
Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely freeways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. Fiona was always destined to leave, her effortless beauty burnished by fierce ambition—qualities that Jane admired and feared in equal measure. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they’ve lost. In stories told in alternating voices, Jean Chen Ho’s debut collection peels back the layers of female friendship—the intensity, resentment, and boundless love—to probe the beating hearts of young women coming to terms with themselves, and each other, in light of the insecurities and shame that holds them back.
Some of the new music that arrives on my desk can be difficult to classify. The descriptives an artist is required to select for the various media platforms can appear confusing if not contradictory. For example, experimental, dreamy, melancholic, post-minimalism, ambient, computer-folk, spoken word, and drone are just some of the genres assigned to the following music.
Lebenswelt – Come Back Again LP: Unspoken Words
On Under My Bed Recordings a No-Profit label based in Milan (Italy), founded in 2001, dedicated to home-recording productions. They state, “Do-it-yourself is a choice and an attitude, not a budget limitation. Hence, we preferentially produce minimalist folk, pop and, more rarely, electronic acts”. Lebenswelt is Giampaolo Loffredo who wrote all the songs with the musical participation of Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession, Three Mile Pilot) musical saw, marxophone, optigan and vocals; Richard Vincent Adams (Hood, The Declining Winter) basslines; Andrew Richards (aka Richard Andrews, Uniform motion, Angle) vocals; Antonella Amenduni on vocals; Alessandro Calzavara (Humpty Dumpty) on guitar distorsions; Mauro Costagli (Monêtre, Lo-fi Sucks!) on drums; Luca Galuppini (ONQ) on onqestrations; Giovanni Mastrangelo (Dana Plato, Favonio, Charmin? Elf) on contrabass and fretless bass guitar; Stephano Stephanowic (My Dear Killer) and Valerio Sartori on electric guitars; Pier Giorgio Storti (Belaqua Shua, Morose) on mellotron, cello, clarinet, farfisa; Alessandro Zangani (Monêtre, Lua) on pedal effects, Monome Norns, Op1. Unspoken Words marks the transition from an originally meant one-man-project to an actual collective, featuring Lebenswelt’s longtime friends and favorite artists.
Anrimeal – Elegy For An Empty Ocean (The Silver Field Mix) LP: Cloud Divine, Remembered
London-based, Ana Alves, AKA Anrimeal obviously intends us to sit up and take notice, she describes herself as, “Clodhopper and cherub”. Although we think she could do that easily with her music. About Cloud Divine, Remembered Ana says, “The LP refuses the limits of the traditional ‘remix album’ – sure, there are remixes here, but amongst them, you’ll find demos, reflections, confessions, rituals, and the artist’s own heartbeat. The sum of these parts is an immersive audio documentary about the making of Anrimeal’s debut. For those familiar with Could Divine, this is a chance to look behind the scenes and magnify its meticulous detail; for those unfamiliar, it allows a first visit to an abundant internal world”. At various points, Ana invites listeners to share in the joy, pain, and epiphany of creative work and witness intensely private, almost spiritual moments of self-affirmation. All profits from this release will be donated to Plataforma de Apoio aos Refugiados, a Portuguese refugee support organization.