There’s more than you might think! Here are 7 popular songs inspired by books!
1. Panic! At the DIsco, “Time to Dance”
“Time to Dance” was inspired by Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters. The novel follows an unnamed ex-model who has been left disfigured by a gunshot to the face, as she attempts to navigate through the new life she’s left with.
Her friend, Brandy, is a trans woman seeking a sex change operation, and her presence serves as a symbol self-love and acceptance.
Things get more complicated than this, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it.
Brendon Urie and Ryan Ross (a former member of Panic! At the Disco), are both big fans of Palahniuk’s work, and many song titles off the album A Fever you Can’t Sweat Out can be linked back to the author’s body of work.
“Well, she’s not bleeding on the ballroom floor/Just for the attention/’Cause that’s just ridiculously odd/Well, she sure is gonna get it/Here’s the setting: Fashion magazines line the walls/Now, the walls line the bullet holes”
2. David Bowie, “1984”
You’ll never guess what this ones about.
1984 is a George Orwell classic about a dystopian future where all of Europe has been combined into Oceania, a country ruled by their totalitarian government. Citizens of Oceania are hunted down by the Thought Police, who punish those who show signs of individuality or independent thinking.
David Bowie initially intended to write a musical based on the novel, though it was never finished, and several of the musical’s songs were instead included on Bowie’s eighth album Diamond Dogs.
“Someday they won’t let you, now you must agree/The times are a-telling and the changing isn’t free/You’ve read it in the tea leaves, and the tracks are on TV/Beware the savage jaw of 1984”
3. Bruce Springsteen, “The Ghost of Tom Joad”
“The Ghost of Tom Joad” is a folk song about the character of the same name from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, a novel set in the Great Depression. The plot focuses on Tom and his family as they travel from Oklahoma to California in search of work after their farm has been repossessed. Once in California, Tom realizes that the state is flooded with people all looking for jobs, and that actual positions are both scarce and brutal work.
Much of Bruce Springsteen’s music, including “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” is centered around what it’s like to be working class under American capitalism, which is the primary theme in The Grapes of Wrath.
“You got a one-way ticket to promised land/You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand/Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock/Bathing in the city’s aqueduct”
4. Led Zeppelin, “Ramble On”
“Ramble On” takes a lot of inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Ringsseries. The song describes the pain of having the girl you love taken from you, and the journey one has to go on to find their one true love. Robert Plant equates the feeling to the journey Sam and Frodo take to find and destroy the One Ring in the fantasy epic.
The title “Ramble On” refers to the fact that in both Lord of The Rings and in real life, the only option is to persevere towards that finish line despite how emotionally taxing the journey may be.
“‘Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair/But Gollum, and the evil one/Crept up and slipped away with her, her, her, yeah/Ah, there’s nothing I can do now/I guess I’ll keep on ramblin'”
5. Neutral Milk Hotel, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”
This connection isn’t totally confirmed, but many fans believe that “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” is about Anne Frank’s The Diary of A Young Girl. Jeff Mangum, the lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel, has spoken about the emotional impact that Frank’s diary has had on him several times.
In this track specifically Mangum describes a connection he feels to Frank’s writing, and meditates on how wonderful it is to be born on the same earth as someone who has had such a positive impact on the world.
“What a curious life/We have found here tonight/There is music that sounds from the street/There are lights in the clouds/Anna’s ghost all around/Hear her voice as it’s rolling and ringing through me”
6. Nirvana, “Scentless Apprentice”
“Scentless Apprentice” is based on the novel Perfume: The Story of a Murdererby Patrick Süskind, one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite books. The novel follows a man named Jean-Baptiste Grenouille who was born with an incredible sense of smell, though his own body possesses no smell of it’s own. While walking through Paris, Grenouille smells something unlike anything he’s experienced before, and discovers that it’s the scent of a young and beautiful girl. Grenouille strangles the girl to death, and stays beside her body until all traces of it’s scent are gone. This leads Grenouille to commit a string of several murders in an attempt to bottle the scent of the women he kills.
One of the main themes in this novel is the idea of being born different, and being ostracized because of it before you ever have the chance to prove yourself worthy of acceptance, and theme that “Scentless Apprentice” focuses on.
“Every wet nurse refused to feed him/Electrolytes smell like semen/I promise not to sell your perfumed secrets/There are countless formulas for pressing flowers”
7. Lana Del Rey, “Body Electric”
Lana Del Rey’s “Body Electric” was heavily inspired by Walt Whitman’s I Sing the Body Electric. Whitman’s poem focuses on the idea that all bodies are beautiful and important, as beautiful and important as the human soul.
In this song Lana is mourning the loss of a romantic relationship, and trying desperately to enjoy life as she normally would. However, the joy she once found in dancing with strangers is now gone. She can no longer see the beauty in herself, or those around her now that she’s lost the person she found to be more beautiful than any other.
“Elvis is my daddy/Marilyn’s my mother/Jesus is my bestest friend/We don’t need nobody/’Cause we got each other/Or at least I pretend”
There’s something fun about bad guys. A memorable villain is just as much a key ingredient of literature as the hero, acting as the antagonist and obstacle in the way of the heroes goals. If done properly, a villain will be just as remembered and often as beloved as the hero, hailed for their command of evil minions, nefarious lines, and the threatening situations they put our plucky main characters in. But who are the best? Who are the cream of the crop among literary bad guys? Well, here are the top ten best and darkest villains in literature!
10. Annie Wilkes- ‘Misery’
Image via Stephen King wiki
Annie Wilkes is a cautionary tale, showcasing how mentally unstable being a ‘superfan’ can make you. When writer Paul Sheldon breaks both legs in an accident, Annie takes him in and begins to nurse him back to health. But slowly, she reveals she’s obsessed with the Misery series Paul writes and the latest book kills off Misery. Annie Wilkes snaps at this and forces Paul to write a new novel that undoes Misery’s death. She subjects him to multiple horrors within her house, such as slicing off Paul’s leg with an axe and stabbing a state trooper who tries to rescue Paul before running him over with a lawnmower. Annie Wilkes grows increasingly psychotic over the course of the novel and just as Paul does, the reader becomes increasing desperate to escape her presence. Annie Wilkes was played by Kathy Bates in the 1990 film adaptation, winning an Oscar for bringing the character to life.
9. Patrick Bateman- ‘American Psycho’
Image via Variety
Debuting in 1991 in the novel American Psycho,Patrick Bateman is a deeply, deeply disturbed man. A young investment banker living in Manhattan during the 1980s, Patrick Bateman is a serial killer who begins the novel in semi-control of his killing urges but spirals completely out of control as the novel progresses. Told from Bateman’s POV, the novel paints him as a racist, a homophobic, a narcissist, and a psychopath. However, Bateman may not even be a serial killer, as the novel frames his crimes as possibly not even having happened after he confesses at the book’s end. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Bateman is a deeply disturbed man and one whose mental state is at rock bottom, even if he’s a serial killer or not.
8. Count Olaf- ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’
Image via Lemony Snicket wiki
Children’s novels often have brought to life some of the most iconic villains in pop culture and Count Olaf is no exception. The main antagonist for the majority of the series, obsessed with claiming the fortune of the Baudelaire orphans. Over the course of the series, he appears in each location the children find themselves in, from steel mills to a reptile zoo to a carnival. Each time, Count Olaf assumes a new disguise in his pursuit of the kids, fooling everyone but them with his distinct personas. He may be a murderer with a flair for arson but Count Olaf is always a lot of fun, hammy and over the top in his villainy. Yet, at the end of the series, he manages to become a sympathetic figure and even allies with the children against a worse evil before he meets his demise, showing perhaps that he was more complicated than we thought.
7. Big brother- ‘1984′
Image via Wikipedia
Less a character than a symbol of tyranny and oppression, Big Brother is nonetheless the ruling leader of Oceania in 1984. Never seen in person, Big Brother might just a symbol of the tyrannical Party but that doesn’t matter. People believe he exists and the Party reinforces this belief to the oppressed populace. Posters decorate the city that bear the now famous slogan ‘Big Brother is watching you’. The message is always clear: Big Brother sees all and if there is dissent, he knows. Big Brother becomes akin to God, a portrait of a tyranny realized at its terrifying conclusion.
6. Mr. Croup and Vandemar- ‘Neverwhere’
Image via Pininterest
Croup and Vandemar are a double-act, a pair of villains who are hired to track down the heroes in Neverwhere. It is not made entirely clear what they are but they’re not human, that’s for certain, as they have a habit of eating live animals and sometimes, chunks of furniture! Croup is a small fat man who is possessed with a verbose style of speech while Vandemar is his brutish partner who barely speaks and specializes more in killing things. The pair certainly make a memorable impression whenever they’re onscreen, serving as an excellent and terrifying pair of evil thugs who can’t be stopped by regular weapons.
5. Regal Farseer-‘The Farseer Trilogy’
Regal Farseer is a vain and cruel prince in line to acquire the throne in the fantasy kingdom of Buckeep. However, his plans of ascension are thrown into a snag when a bastard son of his father, Chivalry Farseer, called Fitz (the protagonist) comes to Buckeep. Regal is aware of Fitz’s heritage and plots to kill him. He eventually acquires the throne throughout the trilogy and Fitz is brought into conflict with his half-brother to get it back. Regal embodies jealously, cruelty, and arrogance, being one dark and vicious prince.
4. Randall Flagg-‘The Stand’
Described as Stephen King’s ‘ubervillain’, Randall Flagg appears through Stephen King’s multiverse to wreck constant havoc. He first appears in The Stand, as a demonic cult leader trying to establish a new society filled with his loyal followers after a plague has destroyed the Earth’s population. Flagg seemingly meets his end when his blown up by a nuclear warhead but reappears throughout further Stephen King works, revealing himself to be an immortal sorcerer who travels throughout space and time, his ultimate goal being to climb The Dark Towerto become a god. Assuming a vast number of identities, Flagg is always a manipulative, dark presence who strikes fear whenever he appears, no matter the setting or genre.
3. Professor Moriarty- ‘Sherlock Holmes’
Image Via Wikipedia
Even if you’ve never read a Sherlock Holmesstory, you know this guy. Moriarty appears in The Final Problem, becoming famous as the antagonist who would (temporarily) kill Sherlock Holmes. There, Holmes has penetrated his criminal organization and is forced to flee across the country from Moriarty’s wrath. The pursuit ends on Reichenbach Falls, where the two fight and seemingly plummet to their deaths. Moriarty never appears directly onscreen, as the novel is narrated by Watson who never crosses path with the criminal leader but he is practically an overlord of the London underworld, just as brilliant as Sherlock but uses his mind for evil. It’s no wonder Moriarty was promoted to Holmes’s archenemy, he became such an iconic figure that adaptations see fit to use him as Sherlock’s ultimate enemy.
2. Dolores Umbridge- ‘Harry Potter’
Image via Harry Potter wiki
Forget Voldemort, Dolores Umbridge is a far more evil character because of how real she feels. Seemingly a sweet little lady, Dolores Umbridge reveals herself to be sadistic, cruel, and hits all the buttons to make her hate throughout the series. She interrupts Dumbledore during the Feast, she speaks to the students as if they’re a bunch of small children, she punishes Harry for his misbehaving by making him carve the words “I MUST NOT TELL LIES” over and over again into his skin while she watches with a sweet smile. Dolores hides behind her position of authority to inflict her sadistic whims on Hogwarts and its a sigh of relief when gets what’s coming to her at the end, although some think it wasn’t enough for this woman.
1. Sauron- ‘The Lord of the Rings’
Image via LOTR Wiki
The titular Lord of the Rings, Sauron is unique among fantasy evil overlords in that he never appears directly in the trilogy but his presence consumes everything and he’s responsible for every evil act in one way or another. A former Maiar, a divine angel, Sauron turned away from the light in his lust for power and crafted the One Ring to rule Middle-earth. But the forces of men and elves fought against him, destroying his physical form. Sauron took years to establish himself again, confining himself to his tower in Mordor and building a dark army to conquer Middle-earth while searching to regain the One Ring to claim ultimate victory. Sauron is arguably scarier for how he never appears, only referenced by Gandalf, Saruman, and Gollum but the way they speak of him, how they describe what he is, leaves no doubt that he is one of the greatest villains in literary history. Sometimes, the imagination is more powerful than what we can see.
It’s Thirsty Thursday, and Bookstr is bringing you Booze & Books, our newest weekly feature dedicated to drinking games and booze-book pairings. This week, we’ll be changing it up with a booze-book pairing. Our recommendation? Any booze and any book. Since that’s a little too general, we’re going to be paring classic books with soon-to-be-classic beer. So, friends, read up & drink up. By the end of this list, these pages won’t be the only thing turnt.
Lord of the Flies is about a classroom full of boys getting trapped together and resorting to savagery, which sounds to me like just about every frat party I’ve ever attended. The parallels don’t end there: we can assume they didn’t have a wide variety of beverage options. And that’s what Natty Light is: not your top pick, what happens to be there, preferable to cannibalism.
Let’s get real: Less Than Zero pairs well with just about any intoxicating substance, both because that’s what the book is all about and because you might need a buzz to handle some of this violence and apathy. A disturbing tale of debauchery and indifference, Less Than Zero warns that the only thing you might want to have in common with these characters is a drink (or more). By the time the book reaches its horrific conclusion, you’ll have reached the bottom of the bottle.
Unlike poor Anna, let’s hope that this Baby Daddy isn’t the reason for your untimely demise. Actually, let’s just say we hope a Baby Daddy is the only thing you and Anna have in common. Just remember that too much of a good thing is definitely, definitely a bad thing… especially if the ‘good’ thing is an extra-marital affair, in which case, it probably wasn’t that good of a thing to begin with.
The truth is that 1984 wasn’t that far off, and that would be a good punch line for a joke if it were a joke at all. Flying Dog’s concept behind this popular beer is unabashed capitalism: “Full Disclosure: This beer came to fruition because we saw a gap in our portfolio and we wanted to increase our market share. Sometimes the truth hurts. But most often, it’s damn refreshing.” Is this less a concept and more a statement of fact? Sure. But the idea of psychological manipulation and control is prevalent throughout 1984, making it an excellent pair. Also, this drink is as strong as you’ll want it to be.
“Sit down, son,” is possibly what The Road’s unnamed father said to his unnamed son as he explained that he would, potentially, one day shoot himself with one of the family’s two rounds of ammo to avoid being eaten by cannibals. Let’s hope that this experience (that of having a beer and knowing that you’ll never force anyone to strip naked at gunpoint) is much more enjoyable.
The Hobbit pairs perfectly with this fun, fruity ale, a comforting yet sweet taste to remind you of all your nostalgic feelings towards Tolkien’s beloved series. The beer also comes in an unusual color: a particularly vivid pink sure to remind you of summer days and the beautiful sweep of that New Zealand landscape. Hobbits pretty much live to chill with their friends, and why shouldn’t you? Crack one of these open and get (lit)erary. No one would stop you from adding some pipeweed.
Although Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas was released in the 1970s (so, before disco, you may note) it was actually written during the 1960s. The novel depicts an intense spiritual death, the end of the hippie zeitgeist and the senseless space between generations. While the novel contains little actual death, it’s filled with an annihilation of ideas, from hotel rooms to fast cars—American symbols broken open to reveal the ugliness inside. There was plenty of death after and during disco, too, but little of it has captured so vividly. I’ll drink to that.
Explosive books lead to explosive sales, as British bookseller Waterstones can prove with whopping year-to-date figures: a 50% increasein political book revenue. The explanation? A frightened—and growing—mass of writers and readers “urgently seeking to understand this scary new world.” Though hot, controversial releases like Michael Wolff‘s Trump exposé Fire and Fury and Tim Shipman‘s Brexit commentary All Out Warhave been driving these sales, the relationship between divisive politics and modern literature is hardly a new phenomenon.
Image Via Lifenews.com
These new figures are only a continuation of an ongoing trend, with political literature moving to the forefront after the “twin surprises” of 2016, Trump and Brexit. As early as January 25, 2017, just days after Trump formally took office, George Orwell‘s 1984sales spiked as Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway infamously coined the phrase “alternative facts.” Many compared Conway’s comment to 1984‘s concept of “doublethink,” a relevant term to describe the acceptance of contradictory truths. While always a political text, activists continue to cite the book during protest, with signs such as “1984 is a work of fiction, not an instruction manual” grabbing headlines.
Image Via Twitter
Fear over restriction of women’s rights took hold early in the Trump administration, leading to a February 2017 spike in sales of Margaret Atwood‘s The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood speaks to its timeless relevance: “when it first came out it was viewed as being far-fetched; however, when I wrote it I was making sure I wasn’t putting anything into it that human beings had not already done somewhere at some time.” In the wake of the #MeToo movement, works with similar themes have burst into the public consciousness. Naomi Alderman‘s prizewinning The Powerdepicts a reality in which women have the power to cause pain by violence and consequently live without fear.
“What the raw numbers don’t communicate,” comments Waterstones politics buyer Clement Knox, “is a larger belief permeating through the publishing world that the present poses questions that must be addressed and that writers have an obligation to turn their attention to those questions.”