Playlists for Books

The other day, I was sitting on the bus reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver on my iPod, while listening to Adele’s latest album 21.  The music was a perfect backdrop to the raw, emotional, and wrenchingly heartbreaking story of a dystopian world where love is treated like a disease.  Adele has described her own musical style as “heartbroken soul,” and when her amazing smash-hit Rolling in the Deep started to play, I couldn’t help but notice that the music and lyrics fit the tone of the book to a “T:” “we could have had it all….”

More and more, books and music seem to have this symbiotic relationship going on.  Of course, there are soundtracks to movies that are based on books, but nowadays, authors are also coming out with playlists for their novels.  Especially authors who write for teens.  Which makes sense, given the white earbud epidemic that seems to have spread among the adolescent population. 

One of the first YA authors to do this was Stephenie Meyer who created a Twilight playlist.  Meyer says that she can’t write without music and that the playlist is composed of the music she hears in her head while reading the book.  Mostly, it’s a collection of alternative rock (Coldplay, Muse, My Chemical Romance), and I think it works quite well.

Maggie Stiefvater has also created playlists for her novels Shiver and Linger.  Maggie says, “I have to have music playing non-stop while I write, or I can’t focus. All I can think about is doing laundry, taking a walk, making cookie dough, or laying on the floor. So I create focused playlists for each book, every song picked to reinforce the mood or help me through a scene.”  Stiefvater’s lists have that alternative feel as well, but its more Folk Festival than Rock on the Range with tunes from Rufus Wainwright and Fleet Foxes.  Fitting, nonetheless. 

I love this idea of pairing music with books (it’s almost as natural as cake & ice-cream, chips & dip or macaroni & cheese), and I think this only the beginning.  As ebooks become more mainstream, it seems only natural to listen to some tunes while reading a good book.  And hey, if it means I don’t have to listen to that crying baby on the bus while I’m trying to read, I think that’s a good thing.  Music most definitely has the power to influence mood, and it can really enhance your reading experience.  So why not put together your own book playlist, and see what you can come up with!?

Some other really cool book playlists?  John Green’s Paper Towns playlist, Becca Fitzpatrick’s Crescendo playlist, and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls playlist.

~ Lindsay

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3 responses to “Playlists for Books

  1. This blog is fantastic. We must copy your ideas… here in Finland.
    Next summer I’ll make further investigations in Winnipeg Millenium Library, first time since 1987!

  2. Jamie McGuire’s playlist for her book “Walking Disaster” is fantastic. I have read the book again- listening to the music in the background having downloaded my favourite songs from itunes- quite an experience!!

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