Saturday, September 13, 2008

What is Amanda Petrusich reading?

The latest featured contributor to Writers Read: Amanda Petrusich, author of It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music.

From her entry:
two books that were written by good friends: Horses that Buck by Margot Kahn and Welcome to Shirley by Kelly McMasters. Each offers its readers a different portrait of a different America; both are lovingly rendered and tremendously written, as complicated (and compelling) as the country they portray. Horses That Buck is the story of Bill Smith, the three-time world champion saddle bronc rider; Welcome to Shirley is the author's memoir of her childhood in Shirley, Long Island, the site of the contentious and potentially lethal Brookhaven National Laboratory.[read on]
Amanda Petrusich is a staff writer at and a senior contributing editor at Paste, Amanda Petrusich is the author of Pink Moon, a short book about Nick Drake's 1972 album for Continuum's 33 1/3 series.

Among the praise for Petrusich's It Still Moves:
"Obsessed with roots but founded on uprooting, America has always been characterized by restless internal migration: people are always leaving home to find a better, truer home. In It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the American Music, Amanda Petrusich hits the road too, looking to crack the conundrum of the culture that produced Robert Johnson, Lead Belly and Hank Williams but also Cracker Barrel, Graceland, and Clear Channel. Talking and listening and eating her way across an American landscape as earthy as grits 'n' gravy yet as ethereal as the wraith-like plaint of pedal steel, she finds that the mystery doesn't so much resolve as grow more vivid. In this sharply observed, intensely felt audio-travelogue, "Americana" emerges as not so much a sound or musical genre as an imaginary country, a dream land superimposed over the real U.S.A. Above all it's a fantasy of the South spun by people mostly not from there, a salve for that feeling of hollowness that haunts modern urban existence, a remedy for our aching sense that real life is elsewhere."
—Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-84.
Learn more about It Still Moves and the author from Petrusich's interview with

Writers Read: Amanda Petrusich.

--Marshal Zeringue