My cousin has a great blog called Books and Beverages. Every so often, she’ll have a discussion about pairing beverages with book genres. For example, I think a nice a sweet red wine with chocolate undertones would be perfect with a contemporary romance or a steaming cup of Earl Grey to accompany a Regency romance. The pairings are endless. Personally, I stick to water-based products, namely coffee and tea.
If I’m going to pair books with anything, it would be with music. I love to listen to all kinds of music, but I’m particular about what I listen to while I’m reading. I can’t listen to any current Top 40 music because…well, I just can’t. Without the risk of sounding like a curmudgeonly old woman, I’ll leave the Top 40 music to those under 40. It’s better suited for them anyway. On that same token, I can’t listen to some of my favorite old school artists either as they can be rather distracting. I’d have to sing along, dance in my seat, do an online search to see where they are now, basically do everything but read.
Even with these exceptions, my listening choices are still wide open. 9 times out of 10, I put my iPod on shuffle and let the music play. However, on the rare occasion that I want to listen to a particular type of music to suite whatever I’m reading, I usually pair as follows:
Romance – Pop/R&B – a romance novel needs to be accompanied by smooth-silky balladeers such as R&B crooners like Marvin Gaye, Barry White or John Legend. Mix it up with some Pop crooners like Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick, Jr. or Michael Buble for an excellent romantic read.
Non-Fiction – Jazz/Classical – instrumental music works best with this genre. I’m partial to Jazz greats like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and some of my hometown (NOLA) favorites like Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty.
Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit – R&B/Pop – almost the same as romance, but no boys allowed are here as this is all about Girl Power! Think VH1 Divas meet Lilith Fair. A strong mix of empowering females and girl groups such as Whitney Houston, The Supremes, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Alanis Morrissette, to name a few, provide an excellent score for this genre.
Young Adult – Electric/Dance – I don’t venture into this genre often, and the books that I have read are set in a dystopian future. Despite that, there’s usually a glimmer of hope and a positive outcome. Therefore, the music should be modern with a futuristic appeal and uplifting beats. Groups like Daft Punk and Disclosure fit this description.
Mystery/Thriller/Suspense and Paranormal/Fantasy – Chill/Lounge or Electronica – this is the type of music that you’ll hear playing in the lobby or the bar of a boutique hotel. It can be dark and foreboding or sexy and alluring, like what Massive Attack or Thievery Corporation produces.
Just as the musical score can enhance the narrative or emotional impact of a movie, the same can be done with a book. The right pairing will make for a much better read as the story will come alive. So, if you like to listen to music while you read, what’s your score?
Featured links include:
- Marvin Gaye – I Want You
- Barry White – Playing Your Game, Baby
- John Legend – All of Me
- Frank Sinatra – The Way You Look Tonight
- Harry Connick, Jr. – Come By Me
- Michael Buble – Haven’t Met You Yet
- John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
- Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain
- Kermit Ruffins – Happy Talk
- Trombone Shorty – Hurricane Season
- Whitney Houston – Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
- The Supremes – Keep Me Hangin’ On
- Janet Jackson – The Pleasure Principle
- Madonna – Express Yourself
- Alanis Morrissette – You Outta Know
- Daft Punk – Get Lucky
- Disclosure – F for You
- Massive Attack – Teardrop
- Thievery Corporation – The Richest Man in Babylon