Welcome back to Musical Mondays! A blog about books and music.
Just to recap: A lot of books are now incorporating music in some way into the story. Some authors create music playlist for their books, other weave music into the story, and some are just about music in some way. The first blog post featured Books with Playlists. This blog will highlight books that weave music and songs throughout the novel.
Just like the last list, music isn’t necessarily the main focus of these novels, although it can be. Instead, many use music to help tell the characters’ stories, set the mood, or give the reader an extra layer to think about and interact with. One of my favorites of these is when songs are the chapter titles – like in Playlist for the Dead or Blackbird Fly.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Here is a road trip full of detours, connections, and music. Each chapter begins with the lyrics from a song and music playlists mark Amy and Roger’s journey across the country. The playlists are not online but are detailed throughout the book.
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly Black Bird Fly Playlist
There is a lot of music in this book! And since Apple loves the Beatles, and thinks one of the albums is the soundtrack to her life, many songs are by them. Each chapter title is a song and Kelly has compiled a playlist of some of the songs throughout the book.
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Music, especially drumming, is a central component of this novel. It uses drumming vocabulary through the story and it is a love of music that helps the main character get through some difficult times. No playlist yet, but there is a short video interview with Sonnenblick where he talks about the book, writing, and drums. And don’t miss the sequel After Ever After or this video where Sonnenblick plays the drums!
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell Eleanor and Park Playlist
Rowell works on her playlists while she writes. For Eleanor and Park she created mixed tapes for each character and ended up with four playlists! On her site she has the playlists, with links to the music, as well as her thoughts, commentary, and videos.
Guitar Notes by Mary Amato Guitar Notes Playlist
This book is filled with music and, since the two main characters write music together, sometimes reads like a fabulous, dramatic, romantic version of a music writing handbook! Amato has written and recorded all the songs for the book, making a unique playlist! Her website, The Thrum Society, contains the songs, song writing resources, a songbook for the novel, videos, and karaoke versions of the songs.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman If I Stay Playlist
If I Stay is infused with music. Forman put together a partial list of the songs in the book in the order they appear in the story, but there are many more throughout. Also, don’t miss the sequel Where She Went, which has original songs throughout. Forman has compiled the lyrics to these songs on her website.
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen Just Listen Playlist
Music is a big part of this book, but the songs in it were actually made up by Dessen. But, after she wrote it she went back and created a playlist of the songs that were her inspiration for the book, that helped her get through writing, or that she just likes.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Website
This is a book filled with mixed tapes, a band’s secret show, and a whirlwind night of music and adventure! There are also 3 playlists to go with this book! The first playlist is a listing of the songs mentioned in the books. The other two are The Norah Soundtrack which are the songs Cohn imagines would be on Norah’s side of a soundtrack, and (T)Rainy/Dreamy which is a playlist of songs inspired by Norah’s wish to make Nick a playlist with the words rain or train in them.
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Each chapter is the title of a song that appears on a playlist left behind by one of the characters. The reader, and the main character, are tasked with figuring out what message the song is trying to convey. There is no online playlist, but the songs from the chapter titles could be compiled together to make one and then listened to as you read.
That's it for this month.Come back for our last installment, Want to Join a Band?, for a look at books where the main characters are part of a band or write or make music. A few are even written by muscians!
Happy Reading (and Listening)!