Discussion

Books and Songs

Music, alongside books, is another one of my passions. I’m constantly listening to it and trying to find new artists I enjoy. In my—admittedly short—time in the blogging community, I’ve come across a few blog posts linking books and songs; whether it was matching books with songs like Amy @ My Book Throne did, dedicating songs to wlw ships the way Maeve @ Books by Maeve wrote about, or tags such as The Selena Gomez Book Tag by Nehal @ Books and Words. All of these have inspired me to write my own. I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a while, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it and write something that would make sense to me personally.

Finally, I’ve decided to base this post on my “on repeat” playlist on Spotify, because that gives me a good starting point—and because, for some reason, this type of playlist fascinates me. I write this in the hopes that you not only get some book recommendations but also that maybe you discover some new artists!

Without further ado, here we go. This is a playlist I made—because the original one is constantly changing—of how my “on repeat” playlist looks at the time of writing this:

For the first 10 songs of the playlist—and because otherwise this would be endless—I will provide each one with a book recommendation, and link to the music video (if they have one), a live performance, or the song itself. Additionally, I will provide any translation necessary for the songs that are not in English.


1) LIVIDI SUI GOMITI by Måneskin

We’re starting off strong. If I’m being honest, Måneskin are the reason why I wanted to write this post in the first place, I just needed an excuse to talk more about this amazing band. Lividi sui gomiti stands for “bruises on our elbows” and it’s a song about revenge on those who try to put limits on us. The band has described it as “a slap in the face to those who doubted us and our abilities”.

Quindi tu resta con il tuo gruppo
Striscia, prega, confonditi
A noi il coraggio non ci manca, siamo impavidi
Siamo cresciuti con i lividi sui gomiti
Non ce ne frega un cazzo di te
So you stay with your group
Crawl, pray, get confused
We don't lack courage, we are fearless
We grew up with bruises on our elbows
We don't give a fuck about you

A book that fits this song is Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody. Enne lands in a new city where she knows no one and where everyone underestimates her. She has to build herself from the ground up, and defy the rules of a very dangerous game to come out on top. Like in Lividi sui gomiti she surpasses everyone’s expectations and proves them wrong.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

2) Butter by BTS

I really love BTS but I actually have no idea how this song made it into this playlist. Did I really listen to it that much? Apparently so (it might have to do with the fact that I learned the choreo, I guess). Anyway, this is a fun, fresh song about… well, basically self-confidence.

Smooth like butter, like a criminal undercover
Gon' pop like trouble breaking into your heart like that
Cool shade, stunner, yeah, I owe it all to my mother
Hot like summer, yeah, I'm making you sweat like that

The book I’ve chosen for this song is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee. The main character, Monty, is definitely extremely confident in himself and has a great number of conquests. He’s, like the song says, smooth like butter in most cases. This book is very fun and flirty, and genuinely a great time, just like the song!

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

3) Say My Name from Beetlejuice

This song is part of a musical so, without spoiling it too much, here’s what it’s about. Betelgeuse—a poltergeist—finds Lydia about to commit suicide. He tries to convince her to say his name three times and restore his power, with the promise to hurt Lydia’s dad. She, however, refuses the offer.

Go ahead and jump but that won't stop him
Here you got a solid plan B option
I can bring your daddy so much pain
All you gotta do is say my name

For this I’ve decided to go with Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. This book deals with ghosts as well as family dynamics and problems. Despite the tone of the book and the song being slightly different, I still think that it’s a good match.

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave. 

4) Los Tontos by C. Tangana and Kiko Veneno

Look, a song in Spanish! I usually don’t listen to music in my native languages (I need to work on that), but I really enjoyed this entire album. Los tontos translates to “the stupid ones”. This song is about being tired of being stepped on because you’re a nice human. He’s saying that perhaps he’s not too smart but that doesn’t warrant being treated badly.

Tú te has creío' que por ser yo bueno
Que puedes ir pisando por donde friego
Crees que eres el sitio donde estoy cayendo
Pero con las mismas que has venío' te puedes ir yendo
You thought, since I'm a good guy
That you could mess up what I do
You think you are the place where I'm falling
But you can go back thе way you came

I’m choosing the graphic novel Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell for this. Freddy, the protagonist, keeps getting back with her girlfriend despite her treating her very badly. Eventually, she gets tired of this and stands up for herself.

All Freddy Riley wants is for Laura Dean to stop breaking up with her.

The day they got together was the best one of Freddy’s life, but nothing’s made sense since. Laura Dean is popular, funny, and SO CUTE … but she can be really thoughtless, even mean. Their on-again, off-again relationship has Freddy’s head spinning — and Freddy’s friends can’t understand why she keeps going back.

When Freddy consults the services of a local mystic, the mysterious Seek-Her, she isn’t thrilled with the advice she receives. But something’s got to give: Freddy’s heart is breaking in slow motion, and she may be about to lose her very best friend as well as her last shred of self-respect. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnist Anna Vice, to help her through being a teenager in love.

5) ZITTI E BUONI by Måneskin

Another Måneskin song, I’m not even surprised. For anyone not familiar with them, they won both the Sanremo Festival 2021 and the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with this song! Zitti e buoni is an Italian phrase that translates to “keep quiet and be good”—or “shut up and behave”—usually said to children. This song is about celebrating individuality and standing out, going against societal norms.

Sono fuori di testa, ma diverso da loro
E tu sei fuori di testa, ma diversa da loro
Siamo fuori di testa, ma diversi da loro
Siamo fuori di testa, ma diversi da loro
I am out of my mind, but I'm not like the others
And you are out of your mind, but you're not like the others
We are out of our minds, but we're not like the others
We are out of our minds, but we're not like the others

For this song, I’m going with The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta because this message of celebration of what’s different is loud and clear in the book. This is a story told in verse that deals with self-discovery and embracing one’s identity without shame.

Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he’s navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican—but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough.

As he gets older, Michael’s coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs—and the Black Flamingo is born.

Told with raw honesty, insight, and lyricism, this debut explores the layers of identity that make us who we are—and allow us to shine.

6) Still Into You by Paramore

Aaah, this is a song that I’ve loved for years. Paramore are probably one of my favourite bands and have been so ever since I was in high school (quite a few years have passed). This is a happy song about undying love and commitment to that one special person.

I should be over all the butterflies
But I'm into you
And baby, even on our worst nights
I'm into you
Let 'em wonder how we got this far
'Cause I don't really need to wonder at all
Yeah, after all this time, I'm still into you

The absolute perfect fit for this song is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It is hard to talk about this without spoiling the book, but at this point I think most people know what this is about. Regardless, in this book there is a romance that goes on for many years, with its ups and downs, and I think the song captures this story perfectly.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

7) All You Wanna Do from Six: The Musical

Another musical song. Six is the story of Henry VIII’s wives. This number in particular is sang by Katherine Howard. Here she starts by celebrating her various romances but slowly she realises how she’s been used by men all her life.

'Cause, all you wanna do
All you wanna do, baby
Is touch me, love me, can't get enough, see
All you wanna do
All you wanna do, baby
Is please me, squeeze me, birds and the bees me

I’ve decided to go with My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. This is a story of abuse and child grooming told in dual timeline: in the past when Vanessa is a child being groomed by her teacher, and in the present when allegations against him are coming out. This is definitely not an easy read, but it suits the song very well. Vanessa’s journey to realise she was abused is very turbulent, and for the most part she refuses to believe it. Both the song and book deal with the abuse perpetuated by men.

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. 

8) The Vampyre of Time and Memory by Queens of the Stone Age

A few days ago I had an urge to listen to this song on loop, hence why it’s made it into this list. It’s funny, because I really hadn’t listened to it in a long time. I think that, ultimately, this song deals with psychological damage and desperation. Wanting to be free of a situation and struggling to get there.

You think the worst of all
 is far behind
The vampyre of time and memories
 has died
I've survived. I speak, I breathe, I'm incomplete
I'm alive, hooray!
You're wrong again 'cause I feel no love

I know it feels like a joke at this point (because I mention this book in almost every post), but for this song I can’t recommend any book but A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson. This is the story of how Constanta—along with her fellow consorts—manages to kill her husband after centuries of being trapped in this toxic relationship.

Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.

With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.

9) LA PAURO DEL BUIO by Måneskin

Final Måneskin song on the list, can you tell I’m obsessed with them? La paura del buio translates to “fear of the dark”. This song specifically tells the relationship between the artist and the music which is both a disease and a cure. But in a broader sense it can be interpreted as any relationship that can be great but also very dark and toxic.

E quindi sputami, strappami i vestiti di dosso
Continuerò a non avere la paura del buio
E quindi comprami, vendimi, fammi di tutto
Sei soltanto tu ad avere la paura del buio
So spit me out, rip my clothes off
I will continue not to be afraid of the dark
So buy me, sell me, do anything to me
Only you are afraid of the dark

For this I’ve chosen a classic, the poem Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. In this story, the goblins offer the forbidden fruit to a pair of sisters. This fruit is obviously delicious but it also brings about the downfall of all who taste it. Just like in the song, the protagonist would do anything for another taste of this damning fruit.

Experience the temptation, pleasure, punishment, and redemption of Christina Rossetti’s brilliant poetic masterpiece in this classic keepsake edition, gorgeously illustrated with Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Christina’s brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Published in 1862, this phantasmagoric tale of two maidens seduced by lewd goblin men provides a startling glimpse into the depths of the Victorian psyche.

10) everyday we fight by Day6

And finally, a song by another one of my favourite bands! This song talks about the importance of “fighting” as a form of communication. It highlights how fighting, or arguing, can actually make things clear and help us become closer. It’s definitely better than keeping issues bottled up.

Let’s fight
아픔은 잠깐이겠지만
우린 더 단단해져
It’s fine
있는 힘껏 털어낸 순간
가까워지는 우릴 느껴
꾸밈없는 모습이 좋아
That’s how we love
Let's fight
The pain will be brief
But we will get stronger
It's fine
The moment we shake it off with all our strength
You will feel us getting closer
I like the way we are opеn
That's how we love

For this song, I’ve chosen The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. During this series there are a couple of fighting scenes, specifically between Gansey and Adam. Despite being very harsh with each other, these fights help them have a better understanding of one another and become closer.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


Do you usually associate songs to books? What are some of your favourite artists? Did you know the ones I mentioned?

13 thoughts on “Books and Songs

  1. Aah, this was such a post idea, Maria!! And I am so happy it was influenced by my tag- the selena gomez tag, in any way. You playlist is so cool!! I definitely need to check out some of those books you recommended.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Putting three Måneskin songs in a post is a very good way to make me love it! 😍 A very creative post! I love music a lot myself so I also often wonder how I can combine it with books so I think this is a really great post.

    Like

  3. I love this post so much, Maria! 🙂 I’m currently listening to the Maneskin songs you shared here and I love them a lot. I’ve wanted to check out more songs by them after becoming obsessed with Zitti e buoni and liking I Wanna Be Your Slave, but I never did, so your post gave me the push to do it. 😀 Pairing Evelyn Hugo and Still Into You was such a good choice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You cannot imagine how happy I am to hear that! I’ve truly fallen in love with their discography and I want to share it with everyone. Also, because none of their slower song made it into this list (which is pretty surprising considering I listen to them non-stop) let me recommend Coraline and Le parole lontane! They’re some of my favourites 🤗

      And Evelyn Hugo and Still Into You was an epiphany moment so I’m glad everyone agrees that they work perfectly together!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s