Music to Read By

Today, I was given two free CDs by a colleague that they had gotten free and did not want. The first is Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack to Into the Wild. As I listened to it, it occured to me that–despite my being no Pearl Jam fan–he really does a good job of capturing the mood–of the book at least. The second is the soundtrack to Wes Andreson’s Darjeeling Limited, which as I listened to it I thought what a perfect companion it was for me as I wrapped up reading India After Gandhi.

So, these book-related soundtracks got me thinking of other book-music connections I have made in my recent listening and reading past: my soundtracks to my books–if you will. And, I though I would present a list of any of these where a clear association springs to mind. I will make no attempt to provide reasoning for the connections since in some cases there isn’t really a connection other than that was what I was listening to when I read a particular book. In other cases, there are clear connections. In no particular order:

  • BOOK: Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson; MUSIC: O.C.M.S. by Old Crow Medicine Show
  • BOOK: Parting the Waters: America During the King Years by Taylor Branch; MUSIC: Southern Rock Opera by The Drive-By Truckers
  • BOOK: American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird; MUSIC: Monkey on a Chain Gang by House of Freaks
  • BOOK: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor; MUSIC: Delusions of Banjer by Bad Livers
  • BOOK: Dubliners by James Joyce; MUSIC: Translate Slowly by The Reivers
  • BOOK: Goodbye to a River by John Graves; MUSIC: GP/Greivous Angel by Graham Parsons
  • BOOK: The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (& Grapes of Wrath (but that’s cheating)); MUSIC: The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen
  • BOOK: Rejuvenile by Christopher Noxon; MUSIC: Dial-A-Song by They Might Be Giants

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