As bibliophiles, we’re intimately familiar with the sheer bliss we get from losing ourselves within the pages of a captivating read. But, as someone who is just as smitten by music, I can never imagine myself not reading without the added dimension of musical accompaniment. [Full disclosure: I do everything with music to soundtrack the uncountable situations I experience every day.] But, coming back to reading, by integrating music, you can really elevate your experience, as it intensifies the immersive effect and enriches your connection with the narrative, making your experience more holistic.
So, here goes; three of the best pop artists that will ameliorate your reading experience (Bonus: I’ve included book recs that pair perfectly with each artist.):
May I be brutally honest? I could write books inspired by her lyrics. I am a huge Billie Eilish fan, especially of her introspective lyrics—which, one would fear as a distraction, but I promise, my book recs will have you aggressively nod in affirmation that Billie Eilish is a great artist to listen to while reading.
Her unique sound, haunting vocals, and lyrics that bravely explore difficult-to-discuss themes like mental health, identity, and heartbreak set the mood for a thrilling mystery or a heart-wrenching drama.
Now. Ready for my recs?
1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Why? A common thread. Both Plath’s evocative prose, and Eilish’s music explore the complex and often dark emotions of the human experience. There couldn’t be a better pairing!
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Why? Similar themes. Salinger’s masterful prose and Eilish’s music both explore themes of angst, loneliness, and the struggle to find oneself—all of which are complexities of youth.
3. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Why? No-brainer: Mental health. Eilish’s lyrics may sometimes be difficult to consume, although highly relatable; her music pairs perfectly with Green’s introspective (and thoughtful!) writing, as both delve deeper into the many complexities of mental health, unraveling thoughts in the pursuit of identity.
Whether or not you’re a die-hard Swiftie (I’m not, and yet, I thoroughly enjoyed writing this section), we’re all in agreement that Taylor Swift knows how to write a catchy tune. My obvious choice was going to be anything and everything YA or those lighthearted reads that leave you warm and fuzzy, but I’ll admit, her music is more nuanced and would pair well with various genres, making her a fine artist to add to your reading playlist.
Here are the books I’ve picked because, in my honest opinion, these really reflect the range of Swift’s musical vibe:
1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Why? Remember Swift’s early-career pop songs brimming with innocence? That’s exactly the vibe of this light-hearted read with its easy-to-consume and fun tone.
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Why? This one’s all about the tone as well! The book is high on emotion, and its thought-provoking storyline delves into heavy themes like morality, love, and loss, while still peppered with humor and optimism. Now that pairs very well with some of Swift’s reflective and poignant ballads, and as much with her uplifting songs.
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Why? Glamor and nostalgia. Those two words accurately describe the vibe of some of Swift’s pop-centric songs as well as the classic novel set in the Roaring Twenties. I can totally imagine a retelling of The Great Gatsby on screen with Taylor Swift’s songs as the original soundtrack.
Ed Sheeran’s soulful ballads make for the perfect soundtrack to a cozy night spent within the pages of a great read. Sheeran’s music will make you feel all the feels irrespective of whether you’re reading a romance or a coming-of-age story.
1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Why? Why not! You wouldn’t have thought of this book when you read Ed Sheeran, right? One often does not go past the Shape of You vibe when thinking of Sheeran, but his music has a good range of emotions and tone that it would pair just as well with a thriller. Especially Sheeran’s introspective songs would create the perfect ambiance, oozing with eerieness and suspense, to thoroughly enjoy this book.
2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Why? Perfect backdrop! Just as Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger made young Marjane’s resolve even more relatable and had us cheer for her, in Persepolis, nothing could soundtrack The Alchemist’s themes of self-discovery and following one’s dreams, than Sheeran’s uplifting and hopeful music.
3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Why? It’s the obvious choice. Common themes of love and relationships make the pairing of this book and Sheeran’s music, a no-brainer.
So, there you have it—three popular artists you’ll want to listen to while reading. Are you a music buff just like me? Head over to TF Word to check out their music and find more great artists to add to your reading playlist. Happy reading (and listening)!
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