Greenlight Bookstore is a general independent bookstore in the heart of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Tumblr is our second home for staff picks, event information, and things that make us tick. For more info, please visit our website.
Alphabet opens with a young man learning the alphabet in prison. Simon was sentenced for killing his girlfriend. After learning to read and write, he begins writing letters to anonymous women. First, the letters are smuggled out of the prison. Then he puts an ad in the paper and corresponds with a woman who turns out to be a teenager. Through letters and experimental therapy, Simon discovers the answers to why he killed his girlfriend and his relationship to women.
Originally published in the UK in 2004, and now published by Biblioasis and available in the US, Alphabet is an awesome portrayal of someone trying to figure himself out, who seeks to be a better person while sometimes failing. When you’re finished, you’ll wonder about Kathy Page’s power to get so close to Simon, so I’ll leave you with this interview…
Our #10daysofrock comes to a close today, as tonight we launch The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs with an amazing evening of discussion and performance! Taking us out with a bang is Amy Winehouse, covering “To Know Him Is To Love Him.”
Greil Marcus: “In 1958, the Teddy Bears released “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” a number 1 hit written by Teddy Bear Phil Spector, a song that took forty-eight years to find its voice. When Amy Winehouse sang it in 2006, her music curled around Spector’s, his curled around her, until she found her way back to the beginning of his career, and redeemed it.”
Don’t miss tonight’s event, when it all comes full circle — tickets are still available, online or at the door. Rock on!
Disclaimer: Day 9 of #10daysofrock, Christian Marclay’s Guitar Drag, is more of an art statement than a “song”.
"In 1998 [Christian Marclay] was on an airplane, reading Time; there was a story about the James Byrd murder. The only photo was of the back of the killers’ Ford, rust covering the insides and outsides of the truck, with the license plate dead center, smashed, bent, the paint scratched to the point where TEXAS is barely legible. The picture stayed in Marclay’s mind as an image that wanted to be taken farther. A year later, in San Antonio as a resident artist, he determined to do it.” - Greil Marcus, The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs
What can rock say about violence and race? What are the musician’s rights and obligations, even complicity? Hear these questions and more discussed when Marcus talks with Sasha Frere-Jones on 9/10.
On Day 8 of #10daysofrock, rock history intersects with Brooklyn history. From The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs:
"On 22 July 2007, in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Lou Reed took the stage to close a tribute to Doc Pomus, a songwriter who had died sixteen years before… Born Jerome Felder in Brooklyn in 1925… he wrote history." Pomus’ compositions include the song "This Magic Moment," originally written for the Drifters and covered here by Reed.
Join us on 9/10 for our own tribute to great songs, singers, and writers at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn - one ticket gets you book, music, and conversation with some of the greatest music writers ever.
The legacy of money continues with #10daysofrock Day 7: Atlanta punk band The Brains, led by Tom Gray, offers up “Money Changes Everything.”
"Nearly twenty years later, when it was still impossible to write a song about money without thinking of what Barret Strong or the Beatles had already done, the point for Tom Gray, teacing out the words and the melody of "Monday Changes Everything", was to interpret the world. He did that, and with such ambiguous power that he set off a battle of the bands over a single song that is still going on today."
Our #10daysofrock passes the halfway point! Day 6 features “Money (That’s What I Want)”, originally by Barret Strong (birth name: Berry Gordy) in 1959.
"All rock ‘n’ roll songs about money [and there are a lot of them]… flow into Barret Strong’s ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ or out of it," writes Greil Marcus in The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs.
Local band The Brooklyn What will be playing one (or more) of those money songs at our book event on 9/10!
Speaking of money… a $25 ticket gets you in to the rock show, PLUS a conversation with Greil Marcus and Sasha Frere-Jones, PLUS a copy of The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs, as well as the chance to have Greil sign and personalize for you or the rock fanatic in your life.
Day 4 of #10daysofrock: All I Could Do Was Cry, first released by Etta James in 1960 (and performed by Beyonce as James in the 2008 film Cadillac Records). This version, though, is from the Vietnamese-Hungarian artist Nguyen Thanh Hien. What do you think?
Greil Marcus and Sasha Frere-Jones talk about how a song evolves through various interpretations at their discussion on 9/10 — and The Brooklyn What adds some new interpretations to the classics.
For day three of #10daysofrock, a 1956 number from the Five Satins: In the Still of the Nite.
Greil Marcus writes “As the guitarist and critic Robert Ray once said, ‘What’s interesting about rock & roll is that the truly radical aspect occurs at the level of sound’… And now this sound, too, will change people’s ideas about the world — it will feel bigger, less fixed, more threatening, more beautiful — and it will change how people feel themselves to be in the world.”
We’re counting down Ten Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll, in preparation for our awesome event on 9/10 with Greil Marcus, author of The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs! Follow and share: #10daysofrock
In the Number One spot: Shake Some Action, released in 1976 by the Flamin’ Groovies. Marcus: “By 1976, rock ‘n’ roll might have seemed like an old story, fixed and static, its secrets all exposed… run by a few record companies and half a dozen lifeless icons. But in Shake Some Action everything is new, as if the secret had been discovered and the mystery solved on the spot.”