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September 6, 2010 9:48 AM   Subscribe

What books should I read before I see Sufjan Stevens in concert?

Lately I've been reading books that are somehow linked to things going on in my daily life. I really love the connection - I find myself more engaged with the book. I went through a reading slump in recent years, and I'm very happy to have my voracious reading habit back. Examples: reading more travel books because it's relevant to my job, reading a novel about a radio broadcaster as I have become a big fan of a few radio programs recently, etc.

I just bought a ticket to see Sufjan Stevens in October - I've wanted to see him live for a long time, and it's finally worked out that I will be around to see him in October. I have listened to all of his albums and read some great interviews with him, but I'm wondering what I might read that might get me into the right 'mindset' to see him perform. Books, articles, poems - anything. Fiction is preferred, but non-fiction is fine too.

What can I read that will "prepare" me for seeing Sufjan Stevens?
posted by gursky to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's non-fiction, but I thought Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock was very good. It covers, among other things, the context that produced Sufjan and other Asthmatic Kitty artists, several of whom are interviewed. As someone with almost no contact with American evangelical culture in general and contemporary Christian music in particular I found it very eye-opening.
posted by kelseyq at 9:57 AM on September 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Well, if you haven't seen Danielson: A Family Movie, that's a great place to start. Stevens got his start with Danielson, and there's a lot of great older footage of him. It also gives insight into his creative processes and religious beliefs and whatnot.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:51 AM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I feel that Carl Sandburg might be a good choice.

During the winter of 2004, Sufjan spent four months in isolation, reading books and biographies, memorizing the unfashionable poems of Carl Sandburg, laughing and shuddering through Saul Bellow's novels.

Also, heck, Devil in the White City, if you're interested in getting a decidedly more sinister take on the "World's Columbian Exposition" that's featured in "Come on! Feel the Illinoise!"
posted by redsparkler at 10:53 AM on September 6, 2010

The New Testament.

Seriously, Sufan Stevens is a really big Christian. Listen to Seven Swans.
posted by chicago2penn at 12:00 PM on September 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

excellent. thanks for the recommendations!
posted by gursky at 6:27 PM on September 6, 2010

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