Call In: Music and Book Recommendations

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Brian’s heading off for two weeks of vacation and wants your recent book and music recommendations. Suggest a novel or a music track released within the last year. Give us a call or comment below!

Comments [73]

Tash from NYC

"The Night Counter" by Alia Yunis is fun, funny escapism at its best. It's a creative piece of storytelling about navigating the complicated and often dysfunctional familial relationships. Her debut novel won't disappoint and has received rave reviews.

Aug. 21 2009 10:00 PM
Tash from NYC

"The Night Counter" by Alia Yunis is fun, funny escapism at its best. It's a creative piece of storytelling about navigating the complicated and often dysfunctional familial relationships. Her debut novel won't disappoint and has received rave reviews.

Aug. 21 2009 10:00 PM from Mount Kisco, New York

I just wanted to bring to your attention a book that just came out--The Night Counter. It's a wonderful work of fiction. This book captures the arab-american experience with heart and guts. It's also a fantastic read. The narrative pullls from the first page. It's one of those books that you can't put down, but you are so sad when you get to the end because you don't want to have to say goodbye to the characters. Also, the book is well crafted that it's hard to believe this is a first novel.

I think the author would be a wonderful guest for your show.
Alia Yunis grew up between the midwest and the Middle East and she's currently a professor at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. She's a PEN Emerging Voices fellow. This is her first novel.
Patricia DUnn

Aug. 19 2009 01:21 PM
Jeannette from Peekskill, NY

The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a wonderful read and a jabbing reminder of just how recently mindless bigotry ruled the day. (OK, some would say it still does.) The story takes place in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, and tells of the relationships between black maids and the white women for whom they work. Here's the Amazon link:

Aug. 10 2009 12:51 PM
sing with voices from nyc

paneloux by sing with voices

Aug. 07 2009 08:53 AM
samrigrl from Manhattan

Great band called "Home To Henry" saw them about two weeks ago at a club.

Hugh Laurie's novel, "The Gunseller" lots of fun!

Aug. 07 2009 12:03 AM
Judith from Larchmont, NY

I suggest the boook "Lark and Termite" by Jayne Ann Phillips. Beautifully written and imaginatively conceived.

Aug. 06 2009 02:53 PM
Donald from Trenton

New in paperback is Letter from Point Clear by Dennis McFarland. Settings are beach houses in the South and the Cape and it is a nice read about Born again Christians meeting a gay in-law. Also anything by Alexander McCall Smith.

Aug. 06 2009 02:08 PM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

You crazy liberals listeners should all read the following books and demand that the highly paid public servants, Brian and Lenny have these authors on the air to discuss their books, instead of suppressing the full and fair discussion of important public issues.

These books are all on the NY Times Best Seller list, some for many weeks:

(1) “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression” by Amity Shlaes;

(2) “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto” by Mark R. Levin;

(3) “Catastrophe” by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann;

(4) “Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies” by Michelle Malkin;

(5) “Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine” by Glenn Beck;

(6) “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change” by Jonah Goldberg. (May have been on one NPR show or another.)

WNYC and NPR are propaganda machines for the left and don’t tell you all, read and learn, my friends, read and learn.

Aug. 06 2009 01:24 PM
Rob from UWS

Did anyone catch the Douglas Adams (Hitch Hikers)/Orwellian book that someone mentioned on air towards the end of the program????
Would love to know.

Aug. 06 2009 12:27 PM

For summer-spicy Jazz..
Elliot Garland Ensemble

Aug. 06 2009 12:14 PM
richard from lake charles, louisiana

Damon Castillo Band
Album:Laurel Lane
This is an album that you can sing to in your car or dance to any night of the week. It's got some of the loving philosophy of '70s california rock with a Motown/Robbie Neville/Jessie Johnson backbeat. The production quality is audio perfection. This one definitely got lost under the radar.
Lake Charles, La.

Aug. 06 2009 12:06 PM
Dipti Khera

Please read Rana Dasagupta's, Solo.

A fantastic, painful, heart rendering tale of a 100 year old man and how he has seen the World change. Set in Bulgaria, between Asia and Europe, tracking changes between socialism and capitalism, and an intimate description of how our personal experiences of relationships and deaths color our political and social positions.

Aug. 06 2009 12:05 PM
Tim Lee from Brookyln

I'm loving the Phenomenal Handclap Band album. It reminds me of the summer we're not having.

Aug. 06 2009 12:05 PM
Paul from NYC

3 books I've read and enjoyed recently are "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy; plus 2 narrative histories, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq" by Stephen Kinzer; and "The Bonfire: the Siege and Burning of Atlanta" by Marc Wortman.

I like the Grizzly Bear's "Veckatimest"; TV On The Radio's "Dear Science", Jenny Lewis's "Rabbit Fur Coat", Ramblin' Jack Elliot's "A Stranger Here" among many cds.

Aug. 06 2009 12:04 PM
Laura from Park Slope

Did anyone catch the author/title of the book described by the caller as "1984 meets Hitchhiker's Guide"? I didn't catch it and now I'm curious!

Aug. 06 2009 12:04 PM
inwoodgal from inwood

I'm a classical musician and usually stick with that genre, but I recently had a chance to work with Sidiki Conde, singer and drummer, from Guinea. He has a CD, Sidiki, which I like more and more as I listen. Too bad you'll be out of town - he'll be at Lincoln Center out of doors on August 16 at 3. For anyone who's around then, check it out. You'll leave with more energy than you came with.

Aug. 06 2009 12:03 PM
hjs from 11211

a lot of bad news can happen in 2 weeks

Aug. 06 2009 12:02 PM
Henry S. from Manhattan


Can you fill in for yourself while you're on vacation? I like Mark Rudman's The Book of Samuel and anything released by Subliminal Frequencies (run by ex-Sun City Girls).

Aug. 06 2009 12:02 PM
Carol Butler from manhattan

I recommend two terrific summer books. Do Butterflies Bite? by Hazel Davies, a question and answer with fascinating information about butterflies and moths, and Salt Marshes: Natural and Unnatural History by Judith Weis. It's a book about the plants and animals that are found in the salt marshes on Long Island or the Jersey shore, among other places. It explains how salt marshes work, how they have been affected by human development and climate change, and what is being done to restore them.

Aug. 06 2009 12:02 PM
george from Brooklyn

Peter Pigeon of Snug Harbor

It's a great new illustrated book set in New York with characters ranging from Pirates of Penzance sort of sailors to Billyburg artist types. I got it for my kids, but they had to wrestle it away from their Grandfather.

Aug. 06 2009 12:02 PM
Justin Herbert from nyc

Daddy-An Absolutley Authentic Fake Memoir by Andrea Troy. Funny, hilariously coarse, and very current about social issues! A short, funny satire, worth the time! Have a good vacation!

Aug. 06 2009 11:59 AM
John-Paul G from Elizabeth, NJ

Brian Brown's "Love is a Peculiar Type of Thing "
It's just such a hard to put down book that came out recently. It covers any number of topics between the author and the author's characters in their dealing with life. Slice of life, yes, but for the generation that is now coming into power.

Something else so cutting edge that it'll give you super indy cred is James Kochalka's Digital Elf Kochalka's youthful exuberance combined with music made with a gameboy is just so odd yet wonderful.

Aug. 06 2009 11:59 AM
Sam from Brooklyn

If you're entertaining or having a romantic evening, you should try an album of covers by Seal called "Soul."

Aug. 06 2009 11:58 AM
veronica from Montclair, NJ

"See Fernando" - Jenny Lewis

Aug. 06 2009 11:57 AM
Roger from Nyack

'Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi' by Geoff Dyer.

Extraordinary; unable to pull myself away from it and drawn, sometimes against my will, into empathy with the (main?) character.

Aug. 06 2009 11:56 AM
Derek from Inwood - Manhattan

I agree with Karthik. I just finished "Netherland" by Joseph O'Neill last night (staying up until 2 a.m. to do so). The best book about New York City and immigrant dreams in the post-9/11 world, with a nod to the Great Gatsby.

Alternately, you could also try "It Feels So Good When I Stop," by Joe Pernice. Just came out today, so I haven't read it yet, but it's both a novel and a music CD (purchased separately), which could be an immersive experience.

Aug. 06 2009 11:56 AM
Matthew from Brooklyn

I highly recommend the Decembrist's 'Hazards of Love' album.
It's like a novel in music form.

Aug. 06 2009 11:56 AM
Justin Herbert from nyc

I discovered a good read, a short novel with a satiric punch and lots of laughs--Daddy-An Absolutley Authentic Fake Memoir by Andrea Troy. It's about this egotistical, uncouth, opprtunistic character who writes about morality for a paper like the Times and has uproarious escapades!

Aug. 06 2009 11:56 AM
Guy Anglade from Brooklyn, NY

Here are several new books I think you should check out for your vacation:

1. Shahriar Mandanipour, "Censoring An Iranian Love Story"

2. Colum McCann: "Let The Great World Spin"

3. Michael Gross: "Rogues' Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money that Made the Metropolitan Museum"

4. Muriel Barbery: "The Elegance Of The Hedgehog"

Aug. 06 2009 11:55 AM
Nick from UWS

Brian, you're going on vacation. You should do NOTHING. Listen to NOTHING. Read NOTHING. Stare into space. Clear your head. Meditate. Think of NOTHING. Clear your mind of all the absurd racket of modern popular culture and events.

Aug. 06 2009 11:55 AM
Jim Anderson from SoHo

You must listen to Moby's new album Wait for me. It's the best for long drive (if you're driving). I'm not that good at reading books due to internet. Well, try the latest Archie comic.

Aug. 06 2009 11:55 AM
Joe from Avenel,NJ

Highly recommend "America" by John DeBrizzi. Shows a relationship between generations and social conditions. Fiction

Aug. 06 2009 11:55 AM
Jennifer Hickey from Bayside, Queens

"Self Help" by Loorie Moore

Aug. 06 2009 11:55 AM
rob from park ridge, nj

required vacation soundscapes - andreas vollenweider, 'the trilogy'.

Aug. 06 2009 11:54 AM
Ivorine from New Jersey

The BEST book I've read this year is David Henry Sterry's Master of Ceremonies. Sterry was the Master of Ceremonies of Chippendale's (the male strip club) in the mid '80s. This is really a tribute to NYC in the cash-happy '80s and a story of what happens when there's too much excess (sound familiar?!). It's beautifully written and a complete page-turner. Great for the beach!

Aug. 06 2009 11:54 AM
Lynsey from Astoria

Don't go!

Aug. 06 2009 11:53 AM

The New York Review's Children's Collection just republished James Thurber's THE 13 CLOCKS with a new introduction by Neil Gaiman.


Readers young and old will take pleasure in this tale of love forestalled but ultimately fulfilled, admiring its upstanding hero ("He yearned to find in a far land the princess of his dreams, singing as he went, and possibly slaying a dragon here and there".) and unapologetic villain ("We all have flaws," the Duke said. "Mine is being wicked".

Aug. 06 2009 11:53 AM
ramatu from Brooklyn

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
Awesome book about a slave rebellion in Jamaica by a group of women. The degree of insight into the lives of the characters from the slave master to field slaves is uncanny.

Aug. 06 2009 11:53 AM
Andy from Brooklyn

Hear it and see it: UsaIsAMonster's "No More Forever" with an animated video funded by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts ---

Aug. 06 2009 11:53 AM
Terri from Brooklyn

'The Gone-Away World' by Nick Harkaway.

Reading it is akin to tearing down a worn out old highway in a patched-over beater, parts flying off, dog hanging out the window, laughing and singing badly to a great old song on the radio---with a batch of cops on your tail.

The man can write the hell out of a story.

It comes out in paperback August 11.

Aug. 06 2009 11:53 AM
Bushra from manhattan

Jonathan Ames!
The Double Life Is Twice as Good

Ames is an NYC treasure who goes into his misadventures in great detail in this book. Raunchy and thoughtful. It just came out a few weeks ago.

Aug. 06 2009 11:52 AM
the truth from bkny

An Interesting read is Christ The Lord, Out of Egypt By Anne Rice. Especially if you are a fan of Anne Rice.

Aug. 06 2009 11:52 AM
SB from NYC

For a rock pick, I'm hooked on the Silversun Pickup's album Swoon, particularly the song "Panic."

Aug. 06 2009 11:52 AM
ken from times square

I like this new remix of the Twin Peaks soundtrack, with a bonus helping of Lynch being exceptionally weird. Whodathought?

Aug. 06 2009 11:52 AM
greg gallagher from bklyn

two great new bands

The Low Anthem...check out "Charlie Darwin"

Among the Oak and Ash...great cover of "Peggy O"

Aug. 06 2009 11:52 AM
lance from asheville, north carolina

Debbie Fountain is the coolest.

Aug. 06 2009 11:52 AM
Edward Bottger from Brooklyn

...and also the album "neanderthal" by spleen united. they're huge in europe but largely undiscovered here. really smart, well crafted, high energy pop music.

Aug. 06 2009 11:52 AM
antonio from park slope

Sag Harbor a novel Colson Whitehead. Lot of fun. Especially if you grew up in the ny area in the 80's...

Aug. 06 2009 11:51 AM
Kevin K. from Brooklyn

Track recommendation: Dirty Projectors' "Stillness Is the Move"

They're a great band because they're doing the impossible: reinventing music. And to make it even better, they apply an R&B groove to this song that's as infectious as it is original.

Aug. 06 2009 11:51 AM
Edward Bottger from Brooklyn

check out the new sonic youth album "the eternal". best album this summer, in my humble opinion.

Aug. 06 2009 11:50 AM

Hey Brian,

Listen to the Cambridge University Darwin College Lecture series available on iTunes for free! This is a really great series on Darwin's influence on science, literature, social theory, etc.

Aug. 06 2009 11:50 AM

Brian, you should read 'Good Book' by David Plotz. You're sure to get a few chuckles out of it. Have a Bible handy in case you want to check his source material.

Aug. 06 2009 11:49 AM
Katie Sue from NY, NY

The track to listen to first is "Find Love"

Aug. 06 2009 11:49 AM
geneGC from Brooklyn

The soundtrack to Dr. Horrible.


Aug. 06 2009 11:49 AM
Karthik (pron. car + thick) from NYC

"Netherland" - One of the best books I have read this year. Even Obama liked it. :)

John Grisham's "The Associate" is pretty good to satisfy the thriller appetite.

Aug. 06 2009 11:49 AM
Olivia Parton from Westchester

Without a doubt, Brian should read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as well as the second novel, just out, following on from that, The Girl Who Played With Fire By Stieg Larsson

I would guess he won't be able to put them down. The second novel is even more thrilling and complex than the first.

Tragically, the author died at age 50. However there is one more novel in the series he had submitted for publishing before his death.

Aug. 06 2009 11:42 AM
Jim from Hastings

What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read with Your Child -- and All the Best Times to Read Them by Pam Allyn. Amazing book about reading to and with your kids -- great recommendations, but really just wonderful read about life and growing up.

Aug. 06 2009 11:40 AM
Anna O

I loved Sarah Waters' new book, The Little Stranger. I've been recommending it left and right, and everyone who reads it thanks me. It's a ghost story set in a decaying country manor in post-WW II Britain. It has all the pleasures of a summer house and a horror film rolled into one: rich characterization, beautiful writing, evocative setting, subtly creepy.

Aug. 06 2009 11:40 AM
dan from manhattan

Have a great vacation!

For the family, I recommend the wonderful music for kids from Robbert Bobbert and The Bubble Machine. This is smart kids music. Check out the track "We R Super Heroes" at

The Apples in stereo have a new greatest hits album "#1 Hits Explosion" that is the perfect upbeat summer album! preview it here:

Thanks for all you do!

Aug. 06 2009 11:39 AM
Caitlin from Jersey City

Aughh two whole Brianless weeks?!

Regina Spektor's new album is really great. Book: Liberation by Brian Francis Slattery - dystopian near-future hippy-novel-esque sci-fi.

Aug. 06 2009 11:39 AM

just finished reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a good vacation read (it's a mystery). My favorite song of 2009 so far is Raise Me Up by Hercules and Love Affair.

Aug. 06 2009 11:37 AM
lucy from brooklyn, ny

Elwood Emission "Ode to the Ego"

released june 30 2009
6-track EP.
(think old nine inch nails wedded to pat benatar)

tracks to note: "Other" & "Run"

Aug. 06 2009 11:37 AM
Stuart from New York

Hi - Great show!

A music recommendation I first heard about on Soundcheck a few weeks back:

Rashanim: The Gathering, on Tzadik Records (I think it's John Zorn's label). Really hard to describe, but it's a beautiful and surreal mix of Jewish, film, and world music...

here's the link to the Soundcheck show:

Aug. 06 2009 11:36 AM
Helen from East Harlem

The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR'S Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience by Kristin Downey.

Very readable and engaging nonfiction book about the first woman Cabinet member.

Frances Perkins was FDR' Sect. of Labor who helped us get Social Security, the minimum wage, safe work places, the end of child labor, CCC, WPA, and so on!

Aug. 06 2009 11:36 AM
russell from new york

Peter Schilling Jr's "The End of Baseball." Bill Veeck buys the 1944 Philadelphia Athletics and stocks them with black ballplayers. Immensely entertain.

Enjoy your vacation.

Aug. 06 2009 11:36 AM
Freddy Jenkins

Reading: Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
Music: Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear

Aug. 06 2009 11:33 AM

Bill Callahan's new album, Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, is AMAZING. Mellow but lovely. Perfect for a relaxing drive along the coast.

Aug. 06 2009 11:33 AM
Brian from Manhattan

Enjoy your vacation in the 'dacks! I suggest the first novel from author John Dermont Woods called "The Complete Collection: Of People Places and Things."

from Amazon review: "book evokes a kind of nearly Renaissance-like iconographic worldview of Memory and the Imagination, but one channeled through the disposable world of American children's toys and comic books"

Aug. 06 2009 11:11 AM
Maria from Brooklyn

Great Summer Music

Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavillion (Domino Records)
Blind Man's Colour: (debut EP Kanine Records & available on iTunes)
ZAZA: ZAZA EP (Kanine Records)
Javelin (Luaka Bop)
The Very Best (Green Owl Records)
Juliana Barwick
Holiday Shores (two syllable records)
That Ghost (two syllable records)

Aug. 06 2009 11:10 AM
Suki from Williamsburg

I highly recommend Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen. It is a gorgeous rewriting of Matthiessen's Watson trilogy that won the National Book award this year.

Aug. 06 2009 11:06 AM
capper from ny

Music -- Hello Starling by Josh Ritter

Aug. 06 2009 11:03 AM
John from Brooklyn

I highly recommend Jessica Anthony's novel "The Convalescent." If you want a Geek Love meets Hungarian tribal history type of story, this is for you. I actually wish I hadn't finished just so I can keep reading.

Aug. 06 2009 10:38 AM

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