Book and Song Mash-up

This post is inspired by Book Riot’s 11 Amazing Book-Song Pairings. It is inevitable, isn’t it? Both are creative forms of storytelling, lending interesting imagery and articulating emotions. Since I am as much a music nerd as I am bookish, here’s my own list of book and song pairings.

While some have direct literary references, others share similar themes and mood, and others just naturally fit (in my head, at least).

1. Radiohead’s 2+2=5 to George Orwell’s 1984

Well this is a no-brainer. The phrase 2+2=5 is of course the false propaganda in Orwell’s 1984, representing “the Party’s” thought control and manipulation. The track 2+2=5 is from Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief CD. Recorded in 2002, the album was written at the time of the US War on Terror, exploring powerlessness and paranoia.

2. Accidental Babies by Damien Rice to D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover

Damien Rice is one of my favorite singer-songwriters and I’ve always felt that there’s intensity and complexity in his songs and lyrics. This intensity perfectly reflects the mood of Constance and Oliver’s relationship. It deftly captures the feeling of insecurity in being the other and the intensity and sense of urgency of their relationship.
3.  I Lost You by The Walkmen to Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence

 The attraction between Newland Archer and Ellen Olenska is so palpable. But he had to sacrifice his greatest love to conform to a close-minded, malicious society.  The Walkmen’s big, rich, dramatic tune and Hamilton Leithauser singing with such longing perfectly matches The Age of Innocence’s mood.

4. Beirut’s Postcards from Italy to The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

 Italy is that other in Isabel Archer and Gilbert Osmond’s relationship. At the blossoming of their love affair, Osmond likened their love to a Florentine summer day, “My dear girl, I can’t tell you how life seems to stretch there before us – what a long summer afternoon awaits us. It’s the latter half of an Italian day – with a golden haze, and the shadows just lengthening, and that divine delicacy in the light, the air, the landscape, which I have loved all my life and which you love today.” Sadly, Italy (Rome, in particular) also became Isabel’s prison, removing her from society and family.

5. White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes to Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome

The song’s lyric “And I turned ’round and there you go. And Micheal you would fall,
And turn the white snow, Red as strawberries in the summertime.” The image of the red blood in the snow? We all know how Ethan Frome ends.


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