Bill Gates discusses his history with reading and goes in-depth on which books helped to shape him as a child. Watch this interview to find out more!
Books can change the way you think about things; the right strand of words can strike something up inside of you. It’s not unlikely to feel uneasy, dizzy, overwhelmed, inspired, or full after reading the right essay, poem, story, or novel. (Words are, like, insanely cool.)
So, it’s no wonder so many musicians have drawn inspiration from within the pages of the books they read!
Stand up and jam out to these nine incredibly songs inspired by pieces of literature!
Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
An eighteen-year-old Kate Bush wrote this insanely popular classic after finding inspiration within Emily Brontë’s novel of the same name.
Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home. I’m so cold
Let me in-a-your window
Charlotte Sometimes by The Cure
Although not their first foray into slipping literary references into their songs, The Cure held nothing back when they wrote this song based on the Penelope Farmer novel of the same name.
Charlotte sometimes crying for herself
Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself
But it’s always with love
With so much love it looks like
Of Charlotte sometimes
So far away
Glass sealed and pretty
Suffragette City by David Bowie
Bowie never ceased to draw inspiration from his favorite literary works (Diamond Dogs was influenced heavily by George Orwell’s 1984) and for a large part of his Ziggy Stardust phase he drew from Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange.
Hey man, Henry, don’t be unkind, go away
Hey man, I can’t take you this time, no way
Hey man, droogie don’t crash here
There’s only room for one and here she comes
Here she comes
Off to the Races by Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey has drawn inspiration for much of her work from Nabokov’s Lolita, but the chorus of this song is especially Lolita-esque.
Light of my life, fire in my loins
Be a good baby, do what I want
Light of my life, fire in my loins
Gimme them gold coins
Gimme them coins
This Is Just A Modern Rock Song by Belle & Sebastian
Belle & Sebastian have always been big promoters of book love (i.e. Wrapped Up In Books), see if you can catch all the literary references hidden in this gem!
I’m not as sad as Doestoevsky
I’m not as clever as Mark Twain
I’ll only buy a book for the way it looks
And then I stick it on the shelf again
Tangled Up In Blue by Bob Dylan
Dylan has based much of his works off of F. Scott Fitzgerald and various poets, along with basing much of the lyricism on his Blood on the Tracks albums off of popular short stories by Anton Chekhov.
I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside
Baobabs by Regina Spektor
This sweet little single by Regina Spektor (and one of my personal favorites) was based off the popular children’s book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.
You have tamed me
Now you must take me
How am I supposed to be?
I don’t have my thorns now
And I feel them sprouting
They’ll grow right through if I don’t watch it
They’ll grow through even if I watch it
And a sunset couldn’t save me now
Catcher in the Rye by The Dandy Warhols
Listening to The Dandy Warhols is always a good time, and this 2016 song about the infamous J.D. Salinger novel of the same name is no exception!
Stop look around keep your head down and let the words stop it pass on by you
Words that are somewhere in told are cold if it’s not fun then it’s funny to show
With the advice like this what else could you want if a body need a body I know
Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell wrote this heartbreaking classic while reading Saul Bellow’s Henderson and the Rain King.
Moons and Junes and ferries wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way
Featured Image via Bustle
If you’re a writer out there then you know it can take time to finish a work of art. Whether its a short story or an epic novel, a lot of time and thought goes into finishing a story. I recently wrote an article about 12 challenging books readers struggle to finish and while researching it I learned that it took James Joyce 17 years to finish Finnegans Wake. I repeat 17 years. While that figure seemed shocking, it certainly wasn’t the only story that took a long time to see daylight. Here are 6 popular books that took at least ten years to write:
1. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
– 17 years
Image Via Amazon
When he wasn’t writing naughty love letters to his wife Nora or reeling from the success of Ulysses, James Joyce completed Finnegans Wake over the course of 17 years while in Paris, only two years before his death. Given the novels complexity, intricate language, and use of allusions, its no wonder it took the author a long time to write it. Joyce allegedly predicted that it would take readers an equal amount of time to read it and it looks like he was right, as the novels length and complexity make it one of the books readers struggle with finishing the most.
2. The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
– 12 to 17 years
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Though the actual figure has been debated, it’s generally accepted that it took Tolkien at least 12 years to finish his iconic trilogy. Tolkien worked on the series in varying degrees between 1937 and 1949 while also working as a professor at Pembroke college. Though it took ages to see publication, the time was clearly worth it as its success has shown.
3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
– 12 to17 years
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Since so much time has passed since Les Miserables was published, there is some debate as to whether it took 12 or 17 years to complete but either way, it took a long time. Hugo reportedly began working on the historical novel in 1845 but was forced to put it aside due to political tension and exile for a time until he was able to continue working on it and it was eventually published in 1862.
4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
– 10 Years
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This iconic American classic was written while Mitchell was recovering from an ankle injury and, interestingly enough, she never actually intended on publishing it. After a friend allegedly said something along the lines of “Imagine, you writing a book!” Mitchell decided to publish it after all and I’m sure her friend regretted saying anything in the first place.
5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
– 10 Years
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Though The Catcher in the Rye is Salinger’s only novel, and fairly short, it took the author 10 years between the time he started writing it and the time it was published. The novel has gone on to become one of the most read and banned novels of all time. Though it’s been successful, Salinger reportedly struggled with the criticism it received soon after it was published and spent his lifetime regretting having written it.
6. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
– 10 Years
Image Via Amazon
After spending five years working on this novel daily, Diaz apparently suffered from writers block and put the novel on the back burner until he returned and spent another five years finishing it.
Feature Image Via Literary Hub
The YA (Young Adult) Genre spawns some of the most popular and influential books around. YA books manage to capture the trials and tribulations of being a teenager which nearly every teen can relate to as well as provide comfort to adults who were able to bypass their teenage troubles thanks to books in that genre. Whether its been a few years or a few days since you last read a YA book, revisit your teenage angst with these ten reads!
1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
While there has been some debate as to whether Salinger’s novel is technically a YA Book or not, it certainly conveys teenage angst through the portrayal of the angsty-est teen in the literary universe, Holden Caulfield. Caulfield’s obsession with acknowledging the “phony” nature of his peers along with his rejection of conformity really captures the issues of identity and fitting in that many teenagers face.
2. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Written in an epistolary style, The Perks of Being A Wallflower captures the social isolation felt by teenagers who can’t find their footing on the high school social ladder. From the hidden traumas that hold teenagers back from progressing to the inability to be whom everyone else wants them to be (while marinating their true self-image), this book is a must-read to understand teenage angst.
3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Hinton’s book The Outsiders has been celebrated for decades for its ability to convey the quintessential fight teenagers face. From fighting to maintain their identity in a community that prides conformity, to fighting to survive the social and economical strongholds in their culture, to fighting to protect those closest to them, to fighting against the negative voice in their heads that tries to hold them down, The Outsiders shows the external and internal struggles so many teens face.
4. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
With the success of Netflix’s adaptation of 13 Reasons Why, now is better than ever to read the book that started it all. Jay Asher’s haunting tale of depression, suicide, and the world left over is a must-read for those wishing to understand what could possibly drive someone, especially a young adult, to suicide. Moreover Asher’s ability to sensitively yet realistically portray the influential realities of high school including bullying, ostracism, peer pressure, and sexual assault makes 13 Reasons Why a must-read.
5. Looking for Alaska by John Green
John Green’s award-winning book captures the desire many teenagers have of chasing the thrills of life and to stop holding back. Of course, living to the fullest often comes with strings attatched as Green’s protagonist soon learns after encountering an alluring new girl who promises to fulfill the excitement he seeks – while also, unbeknownst to him, will be his downfall. The complexity of love, gain, and loss which teens face is perfectly depicted in Looking for Alaska.
6. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (Beatrice Sparks)
Though the authorship has seen controversy since its release, Go Ask Alice has often been cited as one of the most influential YA books in history. With it’s powerful recollection of teenage drug use coupled with an anonymous narrator, Go Ask Alice manages to depict relatable teenage issues that every reader can relate to and is so believable that readers can easily see themselves as “Alice.”
7. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Fitting in is the goal many of us have in order to achieve acceptance, friendship, and a place for ourselves. unfortunately, fitting is often a synonym for conformity. High School (or life in general, to be honest) is a place where ecocentrism and individualism is often looked down upon. In Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli captures a haunting journey of achieving what you desire while trying to reject conformity and stay true to yourself.
8. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
I read this for the first time in the eighth grade and let me tell you, it blew me away. Ellen Hopkins is the master of teenage angst, using her unique and poetic writing style to depict the complexity of teenage sexuality, peer pressure, body image, drug use, trauma, dysfunctional family relations, and more. Crank introduces readers to Kristina, a character inspired by Hopkins’ real-life daughter, whose life is turned upside down when peer pressure leads to a drug addiction. Crank‘s ability to challenge the way we think about addicts by humanizing a teenage drug user, creating a character whom readers can empathize with, makes this a must-read.
9. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Sandra Cisneros’ lyrical yet emotional vignettes provides eye-opening glimpses into self-discovery and sexual maturity. With her portrayal of a young Latina who fantasizes about escaping her poverty-stricken neighborhood and achieving freedom from the oppressive social and cultural forces that are ingrained in her, Cisneros captures the desire for freedom and escape that plaques young adults who are figuring out who they are and what they want (and deserve).
10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie is a writer most known for his examination of race and role in one’s culture. He honors his writing style in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, in which he’s depiction of a young Native American teen who leaves his reservation for a mostly all-white school raises the question of how one can own up to who they are while rejecting the negative cultural stereotypes and expectations assigned to them. Alexie’s book is a must-read for anyone who has struggled with their identity and to those who never had to who could benefit from understanding the struggles of others.
Featured Image Via Unsplash/Aziz Acharki. All In-Text Images Via Amazon.
If one could describe Holden Caulfield in three words, they’d probably be: Angsty, obnoxious, and anti-phony.
The sixteen-year-old protagonist of J.D. Salinger’s iconic and only novel, The Catcher in the Rye, has annoyed, baffled, and offended readers since its release in 1951. His manic antics, obsession with calling out society, and sensitive statements have managed to make The Catcher in the Rye one of the most read novels (and most banned novels) of all-time. While some of his statements are indeed offensive and bizarre, this angsty teen has some pretty on-the-mark views about life.
Here are ten of Holden’s quotes about life that are pretty darn accurate.
1.“People never notice anything.”
2.”Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.”
3.“That’s something that annoys the hell out of me- I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t.”
4.”I’m always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to someone I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.”
5. “It’s partly true, too, but it isn’t all true. People always think something’s all true.”
6.“That’s the whole trouble. When you’re feeling very depressed, you can’t even think.”
7.“Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.”
8.“Lots of time you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking about something that doesn’t interest you most.”
9. “People are always ruining things for you”
10. “I don’t care if it’s a sad good-bye or a bad good-bye, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.”
Featured Image Via ‘Wired Reader’