Sixteen Saltines

Occasionally, I am allowed to listen to the radio in the car between renditions of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”  (Ben loves the “hum diddle iddle iddle hum diddle ay” part.) It’s important that I don’t play it too loud, or appear to be enjoying myself, lest Ben realize that we’re not listening to his music and demand that I “PUSH THE BUTTON.”

One day, when conditions were good, I was listening to the local modern rock station (Nirvana every hour, on the hour) when I heard the lyric, “She doesn’t know but when she’s gone I sit and drink her perfume.” I cranked the volume just long enough to figure out what we were listening to before switching over to Disney Soundtrack Hell, as it was clearly a reference to Love in the Time of Cholera, one of my all time favourite books.

“Sixteen Saltines” by Jack White is supposedly a big “eff you” to his former partner Meg White, but this lyric makes me think there’s more to it. In the book, unrequited lover Florentino Ariza drinks Fermina Daza’s perfume to literally make himself lovesick. It’s a powerful image, and I don’t think it was used accidentally. I would LOVE to provide a quote from the book, but I can’t find my copy. I’m a bad book owner.

I love literary allusions in music, and I especially love it when I find them myself, because then I get an “aren’t I clever” bonus. What are your favourite musical literary references?

From Away with Footprint on author signature

How? How did this happen? Sorry, Michelle!

A few asides:

  • In other Bad Book Owner news, my mom finally returned my signed copy of From Away. Yes, that is a FOOTPRINT over the author’s note and signature. This is why I can’t have nice things.
  • I love that I got to work “Sixteen” into this post, because today is my 16×2 birthday. Sixteen was quite the year for me. First job, first love, first heartbreak, first… well. MANY FIRSTS. I hope that 32 is just as auspicious and a lot less traumatic.


  1. Rick MacDonnell

    My favorite literary reference in music is actually a band’s name, rather than a song. The Sugi Tap take their name from a slightly obscure reference to Battle Royale (a Japanese novel that The Hunger Games utterly and completely ripped off). The band’s name inspired me to check out the book, which then inspired me to check out the manga series based on the book. I’d never read manga before (or since), but that series is unbelievable. One of the greatest reading experiences of my life. WARNING: It is absolutely not for the faint of heart … one of the goriest, most sexually explicit things I’ve ever seen.

    I LOVE this post, by the way. It’s nice when book blogs take a little break from books, in my opinion. 😀

    • lauratfrey

      *Googles Battle Royale* whoa. That’s… interesting 🙂 I don’t know the first thing about mangas. Are they actual books? Or more like comic books? Or do you read it online?

      I’m thinking about doing some reading out of my comfort zone (probably next year) and well, this would certainly qualify!!

      Thanks for the compliment. Lately I’m getting the most positive reactions when I write about parenting. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. I just don’t think the world needs another Mommy blog, though, so I think I’ll stick around 🙂

  2. Kristilyn (@ReadingInWinter)

    Still sad about a footprint! Though, back before I was a book blogger, I wasn’t too picky about my books — there are a few books with cracked spines I need to replace!

    As far as literary references go, I still really love Sarah Slean’s song ‘Me and Jerome’ which was written about a dream she had about meeting J. D. Salinger. It’s one of my favourites!

  3. Brie @ Eat Books

    I’d love to chime in with a literary reference of my own, but my brain is not working this lovely Sunday morning ;D

    As for the footprint – you already know my toughts on that one lol. My mom still teases me in front of people about how I won’t lend her books because of the one time she cracked a spine. On a hardcover. Like it happens all the time to people! *sigh*

    I just wanted to say that I really loved this post, too. You should write more often, even if you don’t have anything too bookish to talk about. 🙂

    • lauratfrey

      Thanks Brie, I’m working on it. My biggest challenge is getting on the computer. I wish I could do posts on the phone… I mean, I *could*, but I’m not a great phone typer, and I just find everything so slow and awkward.

      I think my mom is on the black list now, or at best I will only lend her stuff that I don’t need to get back!

  4. Megan

    Ahhh! How do you get a footprint there? Bizarre!

    I’ve been a huge Jack White fan for years! He’s probably a genius, so I’m not surprised to find literary references in his work. Probably all about the layers.

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  7. Burdette

    I seriously love your site.. Very nice colors & theme.

    Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply
    back as I’m attempting to create my own blog and would love to find out where you got this from or what the theme is called. Kudos!

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