Friday, August 10, 2012

Books and Music

Everyone is a little bit different when it comes to reading. Maybe you have a favorite chair to curl up in with a good book. Maybe you like to read for an hour before sleep each night. Maybe you reread an old favorite every year.

Personally, I like to have music playing. To be honest, I have music playing almost constantly, but when it comes to reading, I'm particular. When I reread Jane Eyre, I like to put on classical piano, or when I read the Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce, I had Sara Bareilles' Kaleidoscope Heart on repeat.

Sometimes it's a careful match for tone and mood, and sometimes the music becomes entangled with the memories of the book I was reading at the time. Like when a song comes on the radio and you try to remember which car ad you heard it on first, but more pleasant.

Sometimes an author will provide you with a soundtrack. Jodi Picoult's Sing You Home comes with a recording of original music. On her website, you can see the songs E.L. James listened to while writing her popular 50 Shades trilogy, and now EMI will be releasing albums of classical music to enjoy while you read 50 Shades of Grey.

If you've never seen them, you should check out Flavorwire's Literary Mixtape posts. These clever posts imagine what a favorite fictional character might have on their ipod, and cover a diversity of literature from Arya Stark to Moby Dick (yes, the white whale). And if the 50 Shades fans don't yet have enough musical variety, you might enjoy checking out Flavorwire's Mixtape for Lady Chatterley.

Similarly, blogger and journalist Maria Popova pairs a literary quote with a piece of music on her blog, Literary Jukebox.

Sometimes musicians find their inspiration in literature. You may've heard of the wizard rock or wrock movement. These bands formed around their love of the Harry Potter series. With band names like Harry and the Potters or The Whomping Willows, these readers share their love through their creativity.

More main stream groups will look to writers of prose when creating their music, or even for their name. Take the group Steely Dan, whose name comes from an *ahem* character in William S. burroughs' Naked Lunch. Or Glen Hansard's Come Away to the Water, which was inspired by The Hunger Games (though Maroon 5 are the performers on the soundtrack).

And of course, the love goes the other way, as anyone familiar with The Rock Bottom Remainders can tell you!

So how about you? Any favorite literary/musical pairings? Or must you have the peace of a silent house to properly enjoy a book?

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