I think I have found the perfect challenge to participate in for the Bout of Books read-a-thon. I’ve always been one of those people who love to listen to music while reading because it makes the experience all that more intense. While, usually, I pick a fitting soundtrack, sometimes they just happen… when I still used to buy CDs, I would listen to the newest one over and over and if I was reading a big book at the same time, whatever CD was playing became that book’s soundtrack. Needless to say, there are some very embarrassing soundtracks from my teenage years. Yes, I’ll share them with you…
First, the ones that make sense:
Catherynne M. Valente – The Orphan’s Tales
Music: S.J. Tucker – For the Girl in the Garden and Solace and Sorrow
S.J. Tucker and Cat Valente are friends and, from what I see on the internet, frequently go on tour together. The authoress reads and Miss Tucker sings and/or plays music to accompany her. These two albums are highly recommended for many, many reasons. Every single song actually pertains to the story in The Orphan’s Tales duology, some tracks are readings of passages from the books, and they all create an amazing atmosphere. Sure, the books would be breathtaking on their own but the music gave it that little extra kick that will make these stories completely unforgettable.
You can head over to S.J. Tucker’s homepage and buy the albums right there – they are “name your own price” so even a small wallet can enjoy this folksy, mythic music. I went and bought the above albums plus the one inspired by Cat Valente’s Palimpsest. I also highly recommend the song “September’s Rhyme” to go along with the first Fairyland book.
J.M. Barrie – Peter Pan
Music: James Newton Howard – Peter Pan OST
I have been slightly obsessed with Peter Pan for many years and read it first long before the 2003 movie came out. Once it did, however, I bought the soundtrack and listened to it while re-reading. It perfectly captures the childlike wonder this book makes me feel. Movie soundtracks are great for readers who are easily distracted because there are no lyrics, just orchestra music. This one is sweet, sugary, full of stars and thimbles, and while Howard isn’t my favorite soundtrack composer, I think it goes very well with this story. The Régis Loisel comic adaptation, though… not so much.
Music: Clint Mansell – Death is the Road to Awe (The Fountain OST)
This one happened by accident. I found a recommended soundtrack list somewhere on tumblr and checked out the music on youtube. This one stuck with me and I listened to it over and over again while gobbling up this amazing book (In case you’re wondering: Yes, I am having a total love affair with Cat Valente’s work). I had seen the movie The Fountain but didn’t make the connection between the song and the movie at all. Anyway, the song offers the perfect mix of mythology and dramatic crescendoes for this particular story.
Music: Pixies – Where Is My Mind
Ever since I saw Fight Club and then read the book, I have been in love with Chuck Palahniuk’s work. The Pixies song is the one that plays at the end of the movie and it’s become the Palahniuk song for me. Whenever I embark upon the journey through one of his new books, I put it on and am back in this guy’s strange world. It fits not only because the song is featured in one of his movie adaptations but also because “Where is my mind” is the perfect thing to ask yourself while reading Chuck’s books. He is insanely talented but utterly disturbing.
Now for the embarrassing ones…
George R.R. Martin – A Song of Ice and Fire
Music: The Killers – Hot Fuss
This album came out in 2003 which was when I first started reading A Game of Thrones and, like I said above, the two were simply consumed together because the album was new and I got the book as a gift. There is no reason whatsoever why I would recommend this particular combination of book and movie other than that it worked for me. To this day, I can not hear “Mister Brightside” without seeing the Starks going down the King’s Road to the capital. It even goes so far that certain POV characters are associated with particular songs of the album (in my head, at least). Go figure.
K. A. Applegate – The Everworld Series
Music: Spice Girls – Forever
My only defense is that this was a gift and I was 14 years old. There you go. Again, there is no connection at all between the books and the music, it’s just that listening to the album while reading the series made them inseparable in my head. I can’t say I listen to the Spice Girls any more but when my mp3-player shuffles up one of their songs, I’m right back in Everworld alongside those four teenagers facing Norse gods, trolls, dragons and Merlin. I still can’t believe this series only got 12 instalments. When I was 14, I could have continued reading these books forever. Highly recommended YA reads (though not necessarily with that soundtrack).