Books & Music: Like Wine & Chocolate

1 minute read

Books and music go together like, well, wine & chocolate. Settling down on the couch with a great book, a glass of wine, and some great music has to be one of life’s guiltiest pleasures. Heck there’s even a quiz that, given your favorite wine, will pick some books & music for you! (For the record: according to this quiz, if I’m drinking Merlot at home by myself, I’m supposed to listen to Time Spent by Deaf Center, whilst reading Catcher in the Rye).

But in general, getting a soundtrack for that great book you’re reading can be a challenge.

Some books have music embedded right in them. David Mitchell’s bestselling The Bone Clocks has a constant hum of music in the background, everything from Benjamin Britten to Herbie Hancock to The Talking Heads — have a listen here:

Kathleen Ann Goonan’s In War Times is a well regarded but little-known alternate history novel that mixes WWII, physics and the birth of Jazz, and the music she mentions is like a master class in the history of jazz.

If the book’s been made into a movie, well then you are in luck — maybe you’re reading The Great Gatsby — Jay-Z’s soundtrack for the movie is right there, waiting to be listened to, and the soundtrack to Master & Commander is perfect if you’re reading some Patrick O’Brian nautical fiction.

Authors often share the music that inspired them or served as their working music. Indie authors are starting to use curated soundtracks to market their books, so checking out your favorite author’s website may get you some interesting new music you’ve never have heard of otherwise. LargeHeartedBoy’s Book Notes series gets authors to recount the music that inspired them (check out Erin Morgenstern’s playlist for The Night Circus!).

Bloggers often get into the act too: Novel Songs has a great set of playlists, and The Unofficial Addition Book Fan Club has a colorful set of playlists for various books.

But, there’s no central place to go for great music that fits the book you’re reading! How do you pick the music you listen to while reading? What if there were a search engine for playlists for a book — would you use that?