When I’m stumped about what kind of posts to write, I turn to The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday book topics. The topic “Books I’d Give a Theme Song To” stuck out to me because, at the moment, I’m very much into the soundtracks of some of my favorite films and the moods they inspire. Right now, I’m in love with the You’ve Got Mail soundtrack (and was even on a Nora Ephron reading kick for awhile!), because it just screams New York in the fall.
So, I picked a few books that seemed to fit well with songs I knew from movies, the radio, or even my own iPod. Keep reading for these pairings and explanations of why I think they fit together!
1. Three Amazing Things About You, by Jill Mansell: “Right Back Where We Started From”
I associate this song with movies that end in weddings, like The Parent Trap or Yours. Mine and Ours. Three Amazing Things About You, which I briefly talked about here, covers three characters who are finally together by the end of the book, celebrating the crazy twist of fate that introduced them to each other. When I match books with songs, I think about the decision cinematically, and “Right Where We Started From” is like the ultimate closing credits montage song for me.
2. Millicent Min: Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee: “King of Anything”
I sort of have the pipe dream of adapting Millicent Min into a screenplay one day, because I think it’s such an important, smart story that I counted as one of my favorite books in middle school. I’ve always pictured this song as a great movie opener, playing alongside Millicent coming home from the last day of school after her failure in gathering yearbook signatures. This song is like a feminist manifesto, saying, “I don’t care what makes you think you’re in charge, but I’m going to do what I want regardless.” Millicent isn’t actively rebellious, but she’s clever and does her own thing, not really bothering to try out what’s cool and “normal.”
3. Small Mercies, by Eddie Joyce: “Both Sides Now”
Small Mercies is a quiet, beautiful story that was one of my favorites the year that I read it. It’s often a very internal read, exploring the characters’ thoughts and memories rather than actions. The sections detailing the past are mostly all before 9/11, on which the family loses a son, and the present-day parts explore the immediate and long-term aftermath, incorporating “both sides now.” The song discusses how the speaker is totally changed now, which fits the family dynamic and individual lives of the characters in Small Mercies.
Side note: three cheers for it nearly being that time of year to watch Love Actually and cry along with Emma Thompson to this song!
4. The Light We Lost, by Jill Santopolo: “Leaving on a Jet Plane”
These lyrics just scream of Gabe and his choice to follow his professional dreams rather than work on his relationship with Lucy. Although I totally understood Lucy’s reluctance to let go of Gabe completely, her pining for him even after she gets married and builds a life with another man got a little pathetic to me. That being said, the ending of this book will probably shake you to the core regardless of what you thought of Lucy and Gabe.
5. The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer: “I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City”
New York City was a holy mecca for Jules when she was growing up and visited Ash and Goodman at their Manhattan home. It signals a passionate life in which she can become one of the best, but the longer she’s there as an adult, the magic wears off a bit. However, in the end she sort of makes peace with the fact that not everyone becomes extraordinary, but New York is still an amazing place to be.
6. Welcome Home or Someplace Like It, by Charlotte Agell: “Breathe”
I read this book a couple times back in middle school, and although its details are fuzzy, I remember being so inspired by its tone that I wrote my own story that was pretty similar. The book reminds me of a warm, rustic coming-of-age movie, and perhaps it’s because Alexi Murdoch sings a song that’s on the Away We Go soundtrack, but his voice just fits that kind of narrative for me.
7. Us, by David Nicholls: “It’s Too Late”
Us covers the main character Douglas trying to win back his wife Connie after she reveals that she may want a divorce. Along with Small Mercies, it was one of my favorite reads of 2015. Despite Douglas’s attempts to reconcile with Connie as they travel Europe with their son, he’s ultimately too late in saving the relationship because life previously just got in the way of marriage maintenance.
What about you? Have any of your recent reads reminded me of songs?