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Playlist from the Pages of That Was Then, This Is Now

S.E. Hinton, was the first recipient in 1988 of the Margaret A. Edwards Award. Her most well-known work is likely her first, The Outsiders, but her sophomore novel That Was Then, This is Now is the one we’re making a playlist for today. All songs have been chosen by my teen partner in crime, John Bartolucci. John is going into 7th grade and his band recently performed at an open mic night at the lcoal theater a few doors down from the library– so listen to the man, he knows his music!  We were going mostly for a retro vibe that would fit with the late 60s feeling of the book (which was published in 1971).

Playlist for That Was Then This Is Now– click on the links to hear exerpts from the songs!

1) Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix—“Reminds me of how Bryon was feeling when he couldn’t think strait and everything was
like a haze”—John

Hey Joe  By Jimi Hendrix “I love having these songs on our list because it’s a musical equivalent of the concept of that-was-then-this-is-now and how much American culture was changing in the 1960s and 70s. Generations that have grown up listening to Jimi Hendrix take for granted that he was a musical genius, but can you imagine what it must have felt like to hear these driving, powerful guitar sounds on the radio for the
first time? The course of rock music had taken a major turn, and I bet a lot of people would argue that Jimi Hendrix was the great marker between what was “then” and what has become “now” –Mia

2) Desecration Smile by The Red Hot Chili Peppers— “This song reminds me of how Bryon was feeling when he saw what
acid did to m&m”—John.

3) Baba O’Riley by The Who “Just an awesome song!”—John.

“I couldn’t agree more, John! This is one of my all-time favorite songs and has been ever since I was in high school. It must be one of
the great rock anthems if the two of us, from two different generations, both feel so strongly about it…even though it was originally released in 1971 (the same year as That Was Then, This Is Now!) with connotations of the war in Vietnam on everyone’s mind, was there ever a teen anywhere do didn’t feel like they were stranded in a teenage wasteland at some point? That felt like the definition of high school when I was 16!”–Mia

5) Numb by Linkin Park  â€œKind of like how Bryon just loses feeling in life”– John

6) I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers “A good song for how Bryon feels about Cathy”–John

Another of my all-time favorites! I’ll just say you haven’t lived until you’ve manically thrashed around to this song at 3 a.m. surrounded by joyful Scottish people some of whom are wearing kilts and leave it at that.  –Mia

7) American Pie by Don Mclean “This song reflects how Bryon feels that things will never be the same”—John

“Not only is this song about the loss of innocence and a world rapidly changing, it has also been sung along to by countless millions of teens in cars, at games, into hairbrush-microphones in front of mirrors, and of course at school dances. You could call it our unofficial national anthem in a lot of ways.”–Mia

8) Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers “A good song about what drugs can do to people”–John

9) How to Save a Life by The Fray “A song for how Bryon loses some of his friends to drugs”—John

“I like that our playlist ends with the most modern song, and that the song still relates to how a friend feels when
they see that someone they love is in trouble. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells me that the song was inspired by songwriter Isaac Slade working as a mentor at a camp for troubled teens, in particular one who had been troubled by drug addiction, making it a perfect match for The Was Then, This Is Now. The band opened the song lyrics up to other fan interpretations, creating a website that has resulted in some incredible story sharing. Check it out here:”

“That Was Then This Is Now is just an all around amazing book, it captures you from the first chapter and forces you to keep reading until the insightful ending. It has all the aspects of a great book all packed in one. Great for people who don’t like a very long read because it is fairly short and still great for people who do because it keeps you thinking long after you turn the last page. For me hands down one of the best I’ve ever read.—“John

“I agree with John—when we were brainstorming ideas for books we’d both read that we could make a playlist for, this one met with so much automatic enthusiasm from both of us. Obviously it is a story that stuck with both of us (I read it at least 15 years ago!). I find this especially impressive because it was written before either of us were born, and still rings so true. No wonder S.E. Hinton was the first Edwards Award recipient—the same way Jimi Hendrix changed the course of music, creating something entirely wonderful and new, Hinton changed the course of teen literature forever” –Mia

Mia Cabana, currently reading Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

John Bartolucci, currently reading Enclave by Ann Agguire

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  1. john john

    finally got around to checking my email the post looks great! :)

  2. Mia Mia

    Hooray John! I’m so proud of us :)

  3. John, I’m so glad to see you reading and writing and connecting with the public library this summer. Great work.

  4. Natalie Toporowski Natalie Toporowski

    Amazing connections- book to music! Wow! Incredible John! I am so psyched to see you still so pumped about reading. It is your key to success, John! Let me know what other books you find thrilling.

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