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!