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Author Archive: "B. J. Novak"

The Powell’s Playlist: B. J. Novak

The Powell's PlaylistThese are some of the songs I listened to while writing the stories in my collection, One More Thing.

"Never Been to Spain" by Elvis Presley
I was never much of an Elvis guy, but for some reason he was on my mind a lot as I wrote this book. I actually wrote several stories about him and then chose one for the collection so as not to seem too repetitive (or obsessive). It was late-life Elvis who was on my mind: What was it like to be Elvis after you're not really Elvis anymore? I listened to this song a lot, as well as some fascinating late-career covers he did: "Something" by the Beatles, "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" by Bob Dylan. The covers are generally in bad taste, but you can still hear an exceptional heart shining through. I listened to "Never Been to Spain" in particular while writing "Quantum Nonlocality and the Death of Elvis Presley."

"Moonage Daydream" by David Bowie
I write from a desk that directly faces the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Perhaps coincidentally, several stories in the book concern outer space — "Dark Matter," "I Never Want to Walk on the Moon," and "The Impatient Billionaire and the Mirror for Earth." Also perhaps coincidentally, I found myself listening to this song a lot as I wrote the book. I don't know whether the song or the stories came first. But then again, there's a lot I don't understand concerning this song.

"Under Your Spell" by Desire
I was in New York during a very moody November and I wrote much of the story "Sophia" while listening to this song on repeat. There is a blend of obsessive and electronic emotion in this song, which in retrospect felt like the right combination for this particular story.


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