A Reading Soundtrack
Not that I actually listen to music while reading (who does that?) but I love finding and imagining connections between songs and books. Here are some soundtrack suggestions for my recent reads.
The Book: The Magic of Saida by M.G. Vassanji
The Song: Fatima by K’Naan
Anyone who listens to CBC Radio 2 probably got their fill of K’Naan during the last World Cup, but he’s got other incredible songs. I was singing this in the car (pity my children) when it hit me, just how closely the narratives of these two works match up. We have – childhood love, Arabic and Swahili languages, children displaced by the whims of adults, adults displaced by the whims of government, and a man who goes to North America, leaving the girl behind in Africa, probably in harm’s way. The book and the song are both romantic and tragic.
I fell in love with my neighbors daughter
I wanted to protect and support her
Never mind I’m just 12 and a quarter
I had dreams beyond our border.
The Book: The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
The Song: Wild Country by Wake Owl
I’m in love with this song. I’m in love with this book. Both are just dreamy, in the “I wanna stare at you all day” sense, and in terms of the style and imagery. To me, both are about memory and fate, and how lives and hearts becomes intertwined.
What will become of the truth when we keep it in
things we don’t remember when they ask us when
we did the things that we learned we shouldn’t do again
what wasn’t learned from mistakes, we will make them
The Book: Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer
The Songs: Madness by Muse
This book devastated me. The kind of whirlwind romance that would take place over weeks or months today plays out over years, in letters between two writers. Love is shown to be beautiful, infuriating, and ultimately destructive. This is romance for grown ups. As for the song, my three year old says “It’s the song you like, mama” when this plays on the radio. Again, pity the children’s poor ears, because I belt this one out like nobody’s business.
Come to me
Just in a dream.
Come on and rescue me.
Yes I know, I can be wrong,
Maybe I’m too headstrong.
Our love is madness.
The Book: Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Song: People Got A Lotta Nerve by Neko Case
The awesome power of nature and man’s unwillingness to acknowledge it as such. I just started Moby Dick, but I think this might play into it…
They call them “killer” whales
But you seem surprised
When it pinned you down to the bottom of the tank
Where you can’t turn around
It took half your leg, and both your lungs
And I craved I ate hearts of sharks
I know you know, that I’m a man, man, man
Man, man, man eater
But still you’re surprised-prised-prised when I eat ya
I love this idea of pairing the book with a poetic lyrical song. Thanks for introducing me to some new great books and great music!
Such a big fan of this idea, even without knowing most of the books or songs.
I’ve had a “songs that remind me of books” memo on my phone for months now. Just had to amass enough to make it worthwhile. Definitely something I’ll do again!
Music and books can be so complementary to each other, I love your list and thank you for introducing me to Wake Owl (I love the portion of the lyrics you posted as well).
I’ve been meaning to read Frances and Bernard. In addition to finding the cover striking (I’m a cover snob), I love Flannery O’Connor’s stories.
Read it! I really need to do a review so I can push it on everyone. It’s SO GOOD.