Welcome to Grove at Home!
Every weekday, from now until we’re all out of the house again, we’ll be sharing a couple of links — some fresh, some from the vault — to say hi, remind you to keep reading, and let you know what’s on our minds.
Friday, May 7
Today, we’re sharing a couple links to songs by musicians who are the authors, or subjects, of recent or forthcoming books!
B.B. King sings How Blue Can You Get at Farm Aid
Bob Dylan’s interactive video for Like a Rolling Stone
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine declared Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone the greatest song ever written. We’ve certainly got Dylan-on-the-brain as we look forward to the Nobel laureate and music icon’s 80th birthday later this month, and celebrate the re-release of Howard Sounes’s Down the Highway — the definitive book of Dylan’s mercurial and improbable life. In case you’ve never enjoyed it, the interactive video for the Like a Rolling Stone — released nearly half a century after the original record — is an absolute joy. Watch it here:
Rickie Lee Jones sings Coolsville
Thursday, May 6
Twenty-three years ago today, Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. introduced the world to the iMac personal computer. Twenty years later, in November 2018, Jobs’s daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs gave a talk at the offices of Google — one of the corporate giants that arose in the wake of the seismic shifts Jobs created in the landscape of consumer technology — to discuss Small Fry, her memoir of her sometimes troubled relationship with her dad, and of coming of age in the Silicon Valley of the eighties and nineties.
A plea from Frank O’Hara: “let your kids go to the movies!”
There’s never a bad time to read the work of Frank O’Hara, who changed American poetry forever with his ebullient intimacy, urban energy, everyday chattiness, and abiding commitment to the principle that, in writing, “you just go on your nerve.” As we begin to consider the renewed possibility of evenings at the movies, here’s his classic poem Ave Maria, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.
“Mothers of America
let your kids go to the movies!
get them out of the house so they won’t know what you’re up to
it’s true that fresh air is good for the body
but what about the soul
that grows in darkness, embossed by silvery images
and when you grow old as grow old you must
they won’t hate you…”
Bob Dylan sings I Threw It All Away
Later this month, Bob Dylan — generation-defining troubadour, enigmatic crooner, and Nobel laureate — turns eighty. To celebrate, we’ve just released a new, updated edition of Howard Sounes’s Down the Highway, which Salon called “the last [book] you’ll ever need to read about Dylan.” We’ll be sharing some more footage of, and writing about, Dylan in the next few weeks. To start with, here’s a fantastic performance Dylan gave of his song I Threw it All Away, off 1969’s Nashville Skyline, on Johnny Cash’s TV Show.
Wednesday, May 5
Today marks the 39th birthday of adventurer, naturalist, photographer, and author Levison Wood! We’ve had the opportunity to publish four of Levison’s books, in which he documents encounters with landscapes as various as the heartland of the Nile River, the 1,800 miles from Yucatán to Colombia, and the magnificent home terrain of the African elephant. We’re celebrating Levison’s unique career and restless spirit with this clip, shot for the Discovery Channel UK, that finds him on a four-day walk across the Sahara desert, with limited water and no map.
Hubert Adjei-Kontoh on Guided by Voices’ new “collage of rejected songs”
Big news for fans of the unstoppable indie-rock force known as Guided by Voices: their latest — and thirty-third — album, Earth Man Blues, dropped last week. It’s been a few years since we published James Greer’s Guided by Voices: A Brief History, and Huber Adjei-Kontoh’s Pitchfork review offers a great introduction to the band’s seventeenth release of the past decade.
“Is it better to be a long-running band making pretty good music, or is it preferable to craft several classic albums and burn out into the night? Oddly enough, Guided By Voices has managed to do both. They have obvious classics (Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes), and they’ve managed to produce at least one good song every year they’ve existed. This is why for their adoring and long-loving fanbase, it’s easy to call oneself an ‘eternal GBV fan,’ as Jay Carney, Amazon’s PR flack and former Obama press secretary, does; Beto O’Rourke is obviously a fan as well.” Continue reading…
Today is also the 203rd birthday of Karl Marx — a fine time to watch David Priestland, author of The Red Flag, which Foreign Affairs called “the best and the most accessible one-volume history of communism now available,” speaking about merchant ideology and how it’s come to dominate the political class.
Tuesday, May 4
It’s May 4th, a holiday to Star Wars fans all over the world (who greet one another today with the benediction “May the Fourth be with you” — get it?). And there’s no greater Star Wars fan anywhere than Kevin Smith, creator of the cinematic universe known as the View Askewniverse, and director of movies including Clerks, Chasing Amy, and, of course, Dogma, the irreverent 1999 comedy that proclaimed Alanis Morissette is God and made one of the most wittily, slyly metaphysical statements of any uproarious comedy in the past twenty-five years. Here’s Smith holding fo(u)rth on the Star Wars prequels, George Lucas’s vision, and more.
Jeanette Winterson on Ursula K. Le Guin
This short essay by Jeanette Winterson does start with a nod to Star Wars, but it’s really about the irreplaceable and inimitable Ursula K. Le Guin. A quick read that’ll thrill sci-fi lovers of all stripes. Check it out!
“Star Wars – which played with both forms, still put the emphasis on the human. To be a Jedi is what most of us wanted, just as children now, would like to be Harry Potter. It seems that, in our imaginations at least, we are not so in love with machines.
“Ursula Le Guin was the first person since Tolkein to create an authentic habitable world, where magic was simply the way things were done. Earthsea is a parallel universe. Like Middle Earth, there are tools but not technology. The world has developed differently, choosing the inner and not the outer powers. It seems neither far-fetched nor unlikely. Earthsea is not an escape into fantasy, it is a game of the possible.” Continue reading…
If you haven’t caught any of the announcements made so far, consider yourself on notice: Open Water, Caleb Azumah Nelson’s instantly acclaimed debut novel, which we had the absolute joy of publishing last month, has been named goop’s Book Club pick for May! We couldn’t be more excited for this instantly necessary classic-in-the-making to reach an even wider audience. Click below to learn more about the Book Club and read the first chapter of Open Water, and save the date for a live discussion on Thursday, May 27th, 9:30 AM Pacific, 12:30 PM Eastern.
“Our May goop Book Club pick is Caleb Azumah Nelson’s lyrical debut novel. Open Water explores the depths of romantic love through a relationship between two best friends and young Black artists who meet in a London pub. You will fall for them quickly.” Continue reading…
Monday, May 3
Yesterday, the wonderful Martha Grimes turned 90! Grimes is the bestselling author of more than thirty books, most of them featuring Scotland Yard inspector Richard Jury, and we’re delighted to publish two: The Knowledge, and The Old Success. Here, to enjoy as you wolf down some birthday cake in Grimes’s honor, is a fantastic, short clip in which she discusses her process for writing the Richard Jury books — including the sources of dialogue, the role of humor, and a whole lot more.
Believe it or not, it’s been a year: our very first Grove at Home feature debuted one year ago today. We’re all hoping to be safely out of lockdown soon. In the meantime, a look back on our first week reveals that not that all that much has changed on Grove at Home — we were sharing video from Martha Grimes, Larry David, Harold Pinter, and more, and reading Lisa Locascio, Kelli Jo Ford, Richard Stengel, and more. But here, see for yourself:
Rickie Lee Jones sings a solo acoustic version of Chuck E’s in Love
If you haven’t yet heard about Last Chance Texaco, the no-holds-barred memoir by rock legend Rickie Lee Jones, there’s some chance you’re not paying attention: Rickie’s talked about it on NPR, and it’s been wonderfully reviewed in publications including the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. Here, as a worthy accompaniment to the excitement, is a fantastic live, solo, acoustic 1994 performance of Chuck E’s in Love — the song that first put Rickie Lee on the map when she released it in 1979.