Thursday, December 13, 2007

My bookshelf runneth over (and a contest)

So that's my bookshelf. As you can see, it is a mess and quite full. The bottom shelf is all Llewellyn and Flux titles and it is almost to capacity. Very soon, I will no longer have the luxury of duplicate copies of books, so in the interest of making room I'm going to have a little contest.

Here's what I'm thinking. (Bear with me.) I have a tendency to associate novels and rock albums. Sometimes, I read a book while listening to a certain song or album, and they become inextricably and quite durably linked in my mind. The first example of this phenomenon for me is the deeply weird paring of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" (and most of the rest of the Violater album) with the Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher (I still love half of this pair). Almost twenty years have passed since the pair was formed, but the song--which I don't listen to intentionally--never fails to evoke the book to this day.

Other times, the connection forms more deliberately and rationally. These connections are more interesting to me. For instance, I was cross-country skiing last weekend and listening to The Who's "The Who Sell Out." I'd also recently re-read M.T. Anderson's Feed so that was knocking about in my head, too. And thus the pairing was formed--and it's much more fun to contemplate than Depeche Mode with John Christopher.

Most readers of this blog probably know Feed (the best dystopian novel in recent memory) as a brilliant story of language, adolescence, and consumer culture, but for those of you unfamiliar with "The Who Sell Out," it's from 1967, and it's a concept album. There are thirteen songs--many great ones, including "I Can See for Miles"--but interspersed among there are faux commercials and PSAs, sung and played by The Who. Listen to the whole album, and you get a really interesting mix of intensely earnest, often intensely adolescent*, rock with jingles for things like deodorant, Coke, and baked beans. Sound a little like Feed already? The demarcations between songs and ads aren't clear, and the sensation I get of adolescent earnestness and intensity struggling and interacting with marketing and commercial messages is almost identical to what I feel reading Feed.

So, that's my other pairing.

How is this a contest? Easy, put your pair in the comments (and make sure to leave a way for me to reach you), and the first ten commenters win a book (from Llewellyn or Flux). The first kind of pair (accidental connection) is fine, but I really want to read your more intentional pairs (Feed+"The Who Sell Out").

*I'd argue that The Who were the most seriously YA of the British invasion bands--much more so than The Beatles.

UPDATE: Another song that feels very YA-ish to me is Neighborhoods #1 (Tunnels) by The Arcade Fire. I don't have a pairing though.


Anonymous said...

Your contest requires more thought, so this isn't an entry. A teenager told me she never buys complete albums because she doesn't like every song. She instead downloads MP3s of the singles she does like. Do kids still know what it's like to stick the ear buds on and hit Play, then sit back against a couch or flat on their beds and get lost in an aural world for an hour or more?

(A quick google found perhaps they might. Nine Inch Nails released a multimedia concept album just this year.)

With that said, I will always associate my manuscript with David Gray's Life in Slow Motion. :)

I will now ponder more musical/literay connections.

Colleen Cook

liz said...

Neighborhoods #1 (Tunnels) must definitely be paired with The Virgin Suicides. I adore both, in that nostalgic melancholy way.

le sigh...

wilco's heavy metal drummer needs a companion book, too, so i will think on that for a while.

~liz a, voice of the blog

Brian Mandabach said...

Accidentally, I happened to be listening to my dad's Miles Davis record, ESP, when I was in 8th or 9th grade and reading Sartre's Nausea. The record still brings back images of Paris and attacks of angst.

I'll have to think more to give you a more intentional pairing, but don't all the best couple's come together by chance? Or do you call it fate? I was also listening to a lot of Hendrix at the time, but the two didn't stick together.

A.S. King said...

I really thought about this, and the only - completely unintentional - pairing I've got is the Violent Femmes song "Blister in the Sun" and Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin.

I liked the book WAY MORE than I like the song.

celerysoda said...

I've got two nonaccidental book/song pairings:

- Blankets by Craig Thompson and "Teen for God" by Dar Williams

"...Dear Lord I plan each day
the things I will not do or say,
But I’m driven by a passion is it only there to tame?
It fills my heart and it calls my name..."

- The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds

"...What if I'd been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I'd be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?
And in a white sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize..."

Sheryl said...

Songs that I pair in my mind with Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist:

"Don't You Want Me" by Human League because it alternates between the male and female voices and has them both experiencing the same events but with different perspectives and interpretations of those events.

"Whatever" by Guy Forsyth reminds me of how Norah felt she had to change to be more vegan, more political, more Jewish, etc. for Tal.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Don't count me as an entry cause I'm a Flux person already, but I had to weigh in on this. I love the connection b/w music and lit and almost always listen to music while I'm reading and writing.

Two pairings stuck in my head -- one accidental from when I was a young, idealistic kid -- Enya's The Celts (my Mom's first CD and thus played over and over) and Diana Wynne Jones' Dogsbody (my favorite book and thus read over and over).

And one from more recently -- The Shins' "Nothing At All" and Someday this Paid Will Be Useful to You. The tune has a painful, studied nonchalance to it that feels a lot like James in the novel.

Katydid said...

Oh, when I saw this I immediately thought of Feed. I listened to Eisley's new CD, Combinations, while I read it. My favorite one that I really liked to listen to while reading Feed was "Invasion".

debbierfischer said...

Great contest. While reading Janet Fitch's White Oleander, I was listening to Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine album and Joan Osborne's Relish album.

Little Willow said...

Joydrop's second album Viberate (yes, they spelled it that way) + Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.