August 22, 2006

The lovely intersection of literature and listening

This week’s Contrast Podcast is such a lovely topic, combining two of my favorite things in this life: music and books. The topic for the podcast this time around was to pick a favorite book and a song to soundtrack that book. I know, cool, right?

Once you start thinking about this topic, you realize that there are endless options if you love to read as much as I do (you know, growing up, if you ever read The Babysitters’ Club? I was Mary Ann – total bookworm. Yet somehow also effortlessly cool — or so my mom told me as she trimmed my hair into a modified feathered mullet).

Anyways, the book & song I finally ended up with is Nick Hornby’s Songbook (also called 31 Songs in the UK edition), which you eagle-eyes will recognize from the quote over there —> on stage right. The song is The Beach Boys’ “Add Some Music To Your Day” from their Sunflower album — an absolutely wonderful gem of a song celebrating all the music in the world and how once you start listening, you hear it everywhere.

There’s no way that I could call Songbook my favorite book, but it is one that I greatly enjoy and it lent itself so well to the song choice. If I were to sit myself down by my tall shelves there in the living room and go through all my books, I would surely find about 20 more favorites and with enough thought would greatly enjoy soundtracking them as well.

LISTEN: The easiest way to listen to it is to head over to Tim’s Contrast Podcast page and click the little play button to stream it in a seamless burst of loveliness.

You can also download the podcast as one big ole mp3 here, so you can listen to it later on your iPod or whatever.

And if you are in a commenting mood today, I’d love to talk more about what songs complement your favorite book. Comment link at the very bottom of this post.


(00:00) The Smiths – William It Was Really Nothing
Book: Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse

Tim from The Face of Today

(02:37) The Buff Medways – Troubled Mind
Book: Notebooks of a Naked Youth by Billy Childish

FiL from Pogoagogo

(06:09) The Beach Boys – Add Some Music To Your Day
Book: 31 Songs/Songbook by Nick Hornby


(10:38) Van Halen – I Am The One
Book: Crazy from the Heat by David Lee Roth

Chris from Culturebully

(14:52) d_rradio – Never Slept Better
Book: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Mike from Nothing But Green Lights

(19:27) LN – It Don’t Matter If You Bleed
Book: Vârt behov av tröst by Stig Dagerman

ZB from So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away

(24:40) Spaceman 3 – Revolution
Book: Karl Marx: Selected Writings edited by David McLellan

Colin from Let’s Kiss and Make Up

(31:29) Serge Gainsbourg – Sorry Angel
Book: Les liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Ambroise François Choderlos de Laclos

Marianne Dissard

(35:35) The Cure – Killing an Arab
Book: L’Etranger by Albert Camus

Simon from You Can Call Me Betty

(38:36) Golden Smog – Fear of Falling
Book: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Natalie from Mini-Obs

(42:44) The Decemberists – Los Angeles, I’m Yours
Book: The Replacements “Let It Be” (33 1/3 Series) by Colin Meloy

Bethanne from CTASLS

(47:53) Susan Cagle – Shakespere
Book: Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde

Jamie from

(52:35) Manic Street Preachers – The Intense Humming of Evil
Book: The work of Primo Levi

Jamie from The Run Out Groove

(58:24) Mr Bungle – Squeeze Me Macaroni
Book: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Brian from The Rant

(01:04:15) Leonard Cohen – Came So Far For Beauty
Book: The Favourite Game by Leonard Cohen

Charlie from Nerdlitter

Don’t it make you wanna head to the library?


  • Great idea for the podcast, I’m such a big fan of books and music and when the two collide, I’m even happier. I love everything Nick Hornby has written and it was so fun reading ‘Songbook’ to hear someone else who loves music that much. Great Beach Boys song as well. One of my favorite books is ‘Dandelion Wine’ and theres a rare song by Greg Brown called ‘Canned Goods’ that reminds me of summers as a kid in the same way. I love reading about music and what inspires people, Thanks for the continual literary ties in your love of music.

    Stephen K. — August 22, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

  • Hmmm, I recently read ‘All The Pretty Horses’ (on your recommendation) and whenever I listen to Ray LaMontagne, I think of that book

    Sarah N — August 22, 2006 @ 10:13 pm

  • simply brilliant! i am going to have to give this some serious thought and get back to you. so many book/music to choose from!

    Lux Lisbon — August 23, 2006 @ 2:53 am

  • I’m not accusing anyone of anything, but I started something quite like this recently… here, here and here for example. But I won’t hold it against anyone. Mainyl because I like this blog.

    shane — August 23, 2006 @ 6:10 am

  • Have yet to listen to the podcast or go through the given list properly..

    But Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ matches perfectly with Kings of Convenience’s ‘Cayman Islands’, off the top of my head right now.

    Anonymous — August 23, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

  • While I don’t have a song/book combo selected, I think Haruki Murakami is spot-on when he uses music in his books.

    He’ll drop in music references into a scene to set the tone, pulling from multiple genres. Some of it is easliy recognizable and some is a little (a lot to my ears) more obscure.

    The man gets it.

    szg — August 26, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

  • (1) Portishead must always ALWAYS accompany a laet night reading of MacBeth. Freaking always.
    (2) ThePaganAgenda just published his list to Demons this weekend, here (
    (3) We threw down last year composing playlists for Wuthering Heights, too – Pagan (, me (
    (4) This was a good read, and thanks for the link to the podcast!

    madpercolator — August 27, 2006 @ 9:08 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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