Have you ever just felt in the mood for certain types of books? Like after reading something dark and mysterious, you suddenly have this strong desire to read something light and funny? This happens to me all of the time. There have definitely been certain books that I have ended up greatly disliking mostly because I read them at the wrong time. And I’m not talking about the text being too difficult or the themes too mature, but more along the lines of my psyche just not being completely there. Jane Eyre was one of those books for me. I haven’t met too many people, let alone other book lovers like myself, who disliked that book as much as me. I read it in college while studying abroad in London, so really who would’ve thought that would be bad timing given it’s an English classic?! Well it was, and I suppose we’ll leave it at that. Perhaps if I had read Jane Eyre at another time, I would actually see why my most of my friends on Goodreads gave it four or five stars.
Since my Jane Eyre conundrum, I’ve become more mindful of my finicky psyche when choosing books. At times, just the act of deciding which book would be next up to bat was a cumbersome process. Then one day while I was listening to my iPod and reading, I had an epiphany about how best to select my next book based on my mood: music! If you think about it, your musical playlist is a great mood ring and can help narrow down what genre should be up next in your reading queue. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of songs and the books that best remind me of those songs. So if you catch yourself playing one of these tunes on repeat over the next few weeks, I suggest you pick up its book read-alike.
Song: “Judy is a Punk” by the Ramones
Book: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (2011 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)
Punk rock meets historical fiction. This was actually the book that I was reading and the band that I was listening to when this musical epiphany occurred, so it seems only fitting that this is my first read-alike. The New York-based punk rock group fully captures the anger and disillusion of the New York-based Andi Alpers, the protagonist in this twisty piece of historical fiction, as she is thrown headfirst into Parisian history and intrigue.
Song: “The Pretender” by the Foo Fighters
Book: Divergent by Veronica Roth
This is my song for Beatrice. She requires that rock edge of a band like the Foo Fighters. Her character is too complicated for something as simple and shiny as a pop song. There is so much at stake in this first book, and the last few chapters are just as action-packed as this song. This is a great read if you are looking for the new “it” dystopian series with a strong female lead.
Song: “Don’t Let Me Get Me” by P!nk
Book: Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
I think this song just spells out middle school angst for me. Eight Keys is a great story about two best friends, Elise and Franklin, who are trying to survive middle school, bullying, and each other. It’s a sweet story with a little mystery thrown in for Elise that involves hidden keys and rooms left behind for her from her father before he passed away.
Now, what about you, readers? Are there any books that remind you of songs or vice versa? Any books that you wish you had read at another point in life like my Jane Eyre conundrum?
— Katie Shanahan, currently reading City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare