Friday, October 23, 2009

Music Is My Life

Well, not really, reading is. But I do find that I have to be listening to music while I read at home or I have this funny sense that someone is going to jump out at me, screaming. Having music on while I read kind of calms me and let's me fall into that very inner space where real reading happens, when the world disappears.
I usually listen to Coco Rosie, Dead Can Dance, Mazzy Star, some classical like Gorecki. Just something beautiful and lilting to keep me mellow so I can focus on the page. Reading in a public place does the same thing for me. I love to read in a coffee shop with a huge cup of beany goodness. Possibly a pastry.

So I guess it shouldn't surprise me to learn that some authors listen to music while they write. And some even have "soundtracks" for their books; music they recommed which connects in some way to their book. Just yesterday I was looking up info on Maggie Stiefvater for her book Lament and she has actually written and arranged her own enchanting music to accompany her book. Head over to her blog for a sample. Maggie plays the harp, lovely.
Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List mentions that there was a "soundtrack" that was playing in her head while she wrote her book. Here's the link to her Hate List playlist. Very awesomely, Jennifer also includes notes on why she picks each song and how they relate to her book. My favourite is: "3) "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult -- Even though my first thought is "cowbell," my second is that it helped bring Nick's thoughts clearer to me... and also that I grew up loving this song". You're gonna want that cowbell.

Guy Gavriel Kay has a spot on his website to showcase songs inspired by his books. Each song has little annotations as to how it was inspired, which book and scene it connects to. There is promise of a possible recording of Rachel's Song from The Summer Tree, including a cello! I think it might make me cry if I heard it. That book...

Do you read and listen?

Mandy

9 comments:

Sara said...

I'm so pumped that you mentioned Guy Gavriel Kay... LOVE his books!

Mandy said...

Sara: I'm glad you've heard of him and love him. He's a canadian author, so that makes me happy! Plus his books are amazing.
I notice on your profile that you liked How To Say Goodbye in Robot. I really liked that one too, and just reviewed it here a few weeks back. Thanks for the visit!

kiirstin said...

I tend to listen to music when I'm writing, but when I'm reading I get a little distracted by it, especially if there are words. I like white noise, background talking (as long as I can't make out the words) but music seems to distract me too much to get lost in a book!

ps. Guy Gavriel Kay is teh awesome. There's a lovely interview between him and Shelagh Rogers that sometimes gets replayed on CBC, and I listen to it everytime I can.

Marge in WA said...

Too cool Mandy! I too love music, and often while reading certain songs will come to mind...almost like creating my own background music - thus the playlist I guess? Of course now I've loaded my mp3 with some new stuff (cuz I'd never heard of those bands you mentioned, and I'm always looking for new music). Especially enjoyed Dead Can Dance and Mazzy Star. Thanks!

Mandy said...

Kiirstin: I'm going to go looking for that interview. I'd love to hear it.

Marge: Cool! Coco Rosie is kind of strange, but I absolutely love them. I saw them live once, the first time I ever heard their music, and had goosebumps the entire show.

Karen Mahoney said...

I absolutely LOVE the Fionavar Tapestry books by GGK! Thanks for mentioning them & for reminding me I'm overdue on re-reading the whole trilogy. :)

Cheers,
Karen

Brian James said...

I listen to music all the time when I write.

I choose music that fits the mood I'm trying to create. I could name at least several albums that were a part of the process of each book..

Though, I never listen to music when I read. It's probably the only time I don't have music on (besides watching something of course).

Mandy said...

Karen: I know! I first read the trilogy two years ago and then again last year. It seems I have to read all three books every year just to remind myself how great the story is. :)

Brian: Funny enough I was just on your blog, prior to writing this entry, looking for some quotable articles about how music is related to your books, for you. I know you have a weekly music roundup on your blog. Maybe i overlooked the blog entries you wrote about any music that is connected to your books?

Lawral the Librarian said...

"But I do find that I have to be listening to music while I read at home or I have this funny sense that someone is going to jump out at me, screaming."

Seriously? The same exact thing goes through my head if I'm sitting in silence in my house reading. I usually play some classical music (music with words distracts me too much) to ward off that feeling.

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