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Book Notes Provides the Soundtrack to Contemporary Literature

by Jake Mohan 

Tags: books and publishers, creative nonfiction, essay writing, literature, novels, poetry, music, pop music, music writing, music blogs, book blogs, Largehearted Boy, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Klosterman, David Breskin, Christina Henriquez, Ander Monson, John Darneille, Mountain Goats, Jayhawks, John Vanderslice, Minnesota Reads,

headphones postitBeing a music fan and a writer, I am very particular about the music I listen to while writing, and am careful to note which artists and albums are most conducive to a good writing session. (This way, if I get blocked or my prose is lackluster, I can always blame it on the background music.)

It appears I’m not alone; many writers give ample consideration to the relationship between music and their own work, and their musings on the subject are gathered by Largehearted Boy, which stands out from the overpopulated music blogosphere with its thoughtful prose, guest columnists, and mp3 downloads. My favorite department at Largehearted Boy is Book Notes, wherein authors “create and discuss a music playlist that is in some way relevant to their recently published books.”

Book Notes includes some big names, like Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Klosterman, who have always made a point of incorporating pop music into their writing. But the roster is dominated by relatively obscure authors and poets (David Breskin, Christina Henriquez, Ander Monson) whose musical tastes are all over the map, from mainstream (The Eagles, Radiohead) to avant-garde (Arvo Part).

There’s also Note Books, which inverts the formula by having indie-rockers write about some of their favorite books. This list includes famously erudite artists like the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, the Jayhawks’ Mark Olson, and John Vanderslice.

(Thanks, Minnesota Reads.)

Image by el monstrito, licensed by Creative Commons.