Fear of Lethem

This month, 33 1/3, the intriguing music review book series, drops what is sure to be another gem into its readers' eager hands. One of my favorite writers, Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, Fortress of Solitude, and Chronic City (among others), tackles the seminal 1979 post-punk album, Fear of Music, by Talking Heads. Jump on the AADL hold list for this forthcoming book by clicking here.

Fans of Lethem's work will remember his stake in the late-70s Brooklyn scene in Fortress of Solitude, as well as in his collection of essays, The Disappointment Artist. Fans of Talking Heads will find Lethem's nervy characterizations of place and time a fine pairing with David Byrne's lyrics.

For those unfamiliar with the 33 1/3 book series, each book focuses on one album from one musical artist. The books are each written by a different author, ranging from critic to uber-fan to musician, and now, even to bestselling authors. I always look forward to tossing a great record on repeat and diving into the back-stories behind the songs and the personal connections to the author's life.


Fans of cult movies will enjoy his take on John Carpenter's They Live with the book of the same name. His most recent title, Ecstasy of influence, is a nonfiction work with essays on a wide variety of topics such as Bob Dylan, book tours, and literary icons such as Norman Mailer. It was also given the distinction of being a New York Times Notable Book of 2011.

He also edits a number of worthwhile collections such as the recently published, Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, referred to as the final work of the famous scifi author and annotated by the editors which includes Lethem. Lethem describes the book as, “A great and calamitous sequence of arguments with the universe: poignant, terrifying, ludicrous, and brilliant. The Exegesis is the sort of book associated with legends and madmen, but Dick wasn’t a legend and he wasn’t mad. He lived among us, and was a genius.” He is quite the fan of Philip K Dick, and has been the editor on collections of his works published by the Library of America which are excellent and these are available at the library: VALIS and Later Novels as well as Four novels of the 1960s. His site lists all his works, http://www.jonathanlethem.com/bibliography.html

Thanks lucroe, great information here. I'm definitely going to check out Ecstasy of Influence.

I'll also add here that Lethem spoke at the AADL a few years ago, and the Library has the video recording of his book discussion here on You Don't Love Me Yet

The Atlantic also reviewed Lethem's book on 4/18/12. The full review can be read here: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/04/the-strange-tense-power-of-talking-heads-fear-of-music/256071/

Definitely going to read that book.

im so confused whos John C.?

which one???