Bryan and I are big fans of the 33 1/3 series from Continuum Books. Edited by David Barker, the monographs in the series each discuss one rock ‘n ‘roll album. In the past we’ve used Joe Harvard’s account of The Velvet Underground and Nico in our Writing New York class. This term we’re using Patti Smith’s Horses
by Philip Shaw.
The volumes in the series differ widely in their approaches: some make significant use of personal narrative; some make use of interviews. Some discuss individual cuts on each album at length, while others don’t. It’s a quirky series, but the best volumes, like Carl Wilson’s Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste by Carl Wilson tell us something not only about the albums that are their ostensible subjects, but also about music history and the larger cultural contexts of the albums.
We were pleased, therefore, to find a new call for proposals for the series last fall. Proposals were due by the end of 2008, and Bryan and I each submitted proposals: Bryan for Television’s Marquee Moon, I for Some Girls by the Rolling Stones (which I’m planning to discuss as a “New York album”). If the proposals are accepted, we’re planning to include those volumes in future versions of the Writing New York course.
We just learned yesterday that we’ve each made the first cut — along with 168 other aspiring authors. We’ll know more about 8 weeks from now, so keep you fingers crossed for us!