Music in Books

I’m the type of person who usually has to have music playing when I read a book. It’s not so much that my mind can’t focus on just one thing at a time, but rather if I’m snuggled up in my chaise lounge with a cup of hot cocoa, a good book, and absolute silence there’s a really good chance I’ll fall asleep in about 5 minutes. Therefore, I firmly believe that music can be a good accompaniment to books. But what about when music is actually featured in books.


Honestly, nine times out of ten, whenever a book mentions the title and artist of a particular song I have absolutely no idea what it is, and I just brush over it completely. Remembering song names is not my forte. At all. Some authors try to help the issue by providing a playlist of all the songs referenced in their book. There’s just one BIG problem. This playlist is always featured at the end of the book! At that point, I’m not gonna take the time to look up every song on YouTube when I probably won’t even remember which scene in the novel it corresponds to. Consider this a tip to all the authors out there who want to feature a playlist: put it at the beginning of the novel. I might actually take the time to look them up beforehand, so that when I get around to the eventual scene in which it’s mentioned I have an actual chance of remembering the tune.

I assume I’m not the only one out there who has the issue of not remembering song titles, so you have to ask yourself why authors even bother mentioning music at all when we might not understand the reference point. It’s a question I’ve asked myself a time or two, and I think I know the answer. Because when you do know the song, it can completely transform the scene into something that goes beyond the written word, and have a lasting impression. Take my word for it, when that happens, it can really be something special.


Last year I read a book by Jessica Sorensen called The Secret of Ella and Micha. There is one scene in this book which I will always remember, and it’s because of music. Ella and Micha were childhood friends, but are now at odds after years of separation. It isn’t until they are both at a house party when their unresolved mutual attraction for each other comes to a head. The scene describes how Ella is in the living room, surrounded by people dancing, when the song Sail by Awolnation starts to play. She closes her eyes, and slowly starts swaying to the beat of the music when she suddenly feels Micha’s eyes on her. He stalks her movements as he crosses the room to dance with her, and can’t help but eye her body with smoldering passion. Somebody open a window!


Unbelievable sexual tension to be sure, but I think the fact that I was already very familiar with this song, and could hear that sensual beat playing in my mind, made me feel as though I too was in that living room watching the scene unfold before me. Believe it or not, now whenever I hear that song I remember how Micha placed his hands on Ella’s hips as they danced to the song, and I need to fan myself from all the steaminess. If you aren’t familiar with Sail, just click here to listen, and you might understand a little bit of what I’m talking about. It’s also a really awesome song.


Now that I’m done ranting about music I’d just like to reiterate to all the authors out there the benefit of including a playlist at the beginning of a book which features a lot of music. It can help bring your words to life. And what about all of you? Is there a song out there that you associate with a particular book? Feel free to share in the comment section!

6 thoughts on “Music in Books

  1. I love that GIF of Brad Pitt. He was so funny in that movie. He was always dancing. I don’t have any songs that I associate with a particular book, but I do enjoy playing music when I read. People always ask me how I can read and listen to music at the same time. I don’t know, but I enjoy doing it.


  2. Hi! Love the pics – and Brad Pitt. So funny. I don’t listen to music when I read, nor do I associate a song with any book I’ve read. But I do listen to music when I write. It’s similar to how music enhances a movie, helps me to really get in the mood of a scene. I think I’ll try to listen while I read and see what I’m missing.
    Have a great day!


  3. That’s what happened in Rae Of Hope, there was a song list at the end but I really couldn’t be bothered to look up the songs. I think putting song lists at the beginning would be a great idea, give the readers time to get the songs up and ready by the time they get to the chapters the songs are assigned to.


  4. Sadly you enter copyright infringement territory when you put actual song lyrics in your book. On the flip side, you can’t copyright the name of a song so you can that in your book without entering infringement territory. Problem is … like you, most folks don’t readily remember the names of songs.


  5. I’m the same as you, I always forget the names of songs! But if I knew them, it would make the scene amazing. A lot of the time it shows a lot about the character as well, which is cool 🙂 If the character is obsessed with a certain band I might check them out – but never an individual song that’s only mentioned once!


  6. Oh, boy is this timely! My next book is almost done and it features music throughout. I was going to do a blog right before I released and feature a playlist in it. Now I’ll include one in the FRONT of the book! Great advice!


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