Literary Pairings: Books & Music

Although I had good intentions of doing this monthly, every ten weeks seems like as good of a spacing as any. For the second time (my first effort can be found here, although it’s only a mediocre effort), I’m trying out this particular feature. Although I generally pair books with food mentioned within the text, I thought I’d pair favorite quotations with a thematically matching song. Am I the first to do this? Certainly not. I’m not sure there are any original ideas in the world anymore, but I am borrowing this fine one from Literary Jukebox.


It’s raining in Colorado. No just a little rain, but extensive, pervasive, constant rain. I think it’s beautiful, if slightly depressing. Although it bears noting that I would prefer not to receive this much rain

This month’s pairings:

Book: “If we live long enough, we become caricatures of ourselves.”

Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving.

Music: Mad World by Gary Jules.
Book: “And happiness…Well, after all, desires torment us, don’t they? And, clearly, happiness is when there are no more desires, not one…What a mistake, what ridiculous prejudice it’s been to have marked happiness always with a plus sign. Absolute happiness should, of course, carry a minus sign — the divine minus.”

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Music: Lithium by Nirvana
“Who am I, Mother? I’m not you. That’s why you wish I were dead. You can’t shape me anymore. I am the uncontrolled element, the random act, I am forward movement in time. You think you can see me? Then tell me, who am I? You don’t know. I am nothing like you. My nose is different, flat at the bridge, not sharp as a fold in rice paper. My eyes aren’t ice blue, tinted with your peculiar mix of beauty and cruelty. They are dark as bruises on the inside of an arm, they never smile. You forbid me to cry? I’m no longer yours to command. You used to say I had no imagination. If by that you meant I could feel shame, and remorse, you were right. I can’t remake the world just by willing it so. I don’t know how to believe my own lies. It takes a certain kind of genius.”

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Music: Run Outta You by Vintage Trouble
Book: ““I don’t call people for help. It’s not because of the way I was raised, at least I don’t think so; it’s the way I was made. Johanna once said that if I was drowning at Dark Score Lake, where we have a summer home, I would die silently fifty feet out from the public beach rather than yell for help. It’s not a question of love or affection. I can give those and I can take them. I feel pain like anyone else. I need to touch and be touched. But if someone asks me, ‘Are you all right?’ I can’t answer no. I can’t say help me.

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Music: Behind Blue Eyes by The Who
Book: “The temperature had climbed above ninety degrees, and the cicadas were humming. They were hot and bored with fishing, and so they swam in the river. Later they lay on the rock again, making wet shapes that dried quickly in the sun. The heat of the rock and the warmth of the day baked into them. He lay next to her, and she stirred, inside, at his closeness. And then she felt it. He’d put his hand on hers, and that was the first time she felt the jolt, like touching an electric socket by accident. She would never forget that feeling. Then, for Emma was at heart incautious, she wove her fingers through his.”

Abide with Me by Sabin Willett

Music: Springsteen by Eric Church (I really like this song, which is quite surprising – mostly to myself)
Book: “The external world had maps and signs, but none of these would do for a man who’d lost his way as thoroughly as Will had. A man like Will needed absolute faith, in something, in someone. He needed peace of mind and someone to believe in him, and that was not so easily found.”

The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman

Music: Faith by Room Eleven
Book: “The sun had burned through and the day had gone from dull to dazzling, yet in the west black-satin thunderheads continued to stack up. It was as if night has burst a blood-vessel in the sky over there.”

Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Music: Down in the Canyon by Heartless Bastards

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Miscellaneous things you’d care to share?

21 thoughts on “Literary Pairings: Books & Music

    1. It suits the dreary Colorado weather right now. Although I must say I’ve slept exceptionally well since it started raining, I find it relaxing (as long as I don’t focus on the flooding).

      And it is a pretty song, even if it is depressing – which it most certainly is.


    1. Because it’s awesome.

      I pictured you having more of an opinion on Faith, I assume you prefer the George Michael version? I’m currently watching Pretty in Pink right this very moment (I’m Team Duckie and I’m multi-tasking), I do love the ’80’s – even if I don;t actually remember anything but fluorescent colors and jelly sandals. I always wanted red hair like Molly Ringwald.


      1. It goes without saying re: Faith. Really, you should never mess with George. I’ll tweet you a pic that will show how very old I am…

        Love Pretty in Pink but my favourite Ringwald is ’16 Candles’. Memorably, Pretty in Pink was the movie I went to on my first real date.


      2. Hmmm…still waiting for that picture.

        My first real movie date was to 10 Things I Hate About You. My first group movie date (a couple of girls paired up with a couple of guys, there was kissing involved) was to…Titanic. As I’m not the romantic sort, I didn’t cry, but my date did!


      3. And to shame your ’80’s purist self, I actually prefer Marilyn Manson’s Sweet Dreams cover to the Eurythmics original. I kind of like creepy sometimes.


    1. I love that song. And I’m not an ’80’s purist. I’ve even been known to prefer the cover over the original, but I think we;ve had that discussion before (I think specifically Letters to Cleo vs Cheap Trick’s I Want You To Want Me).


      1. YES! Love the Letters to Cleo version. That song just works so well as alt/punk rock (not really sure what to call it, I’m not good on popular music styles…) and the original is just kind of “meh” in comparison. As for Mad World… I do love this more melancholy version… the original gives off a much angrier vibe, which kinda works too… but I think I’m biased since I actually heard the cover first.


    1. Ugh, me too. They say maybe this weekend.

      I’m right beside Maple Grove reservoir, which is now on alert to fail. I’m not too worried yet, but I would feel better if it would stop raining (or at least slow down).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: