Music and books is a topic I see around but a topic I don’t understand and not for lack of trying. In general, I don’t listen to music and when I do it tends to be music I’m very familiar with; I don’t try out new music often. And I don’t try out new music while reading at all. The only place I regularly listen to music, and admit it’s for distraction purposes, is in the car while cursing snarled traffic. This doesn’t mean I don’t like music, because I do. I appreciate classical while cooking, I love songs I can sing along to in the car on long road trips, and when I see a song someone is listening to mentioned on their blog, I click on the link. I may not understand the connection but I’m curious as to why someone would pick that song.
Haruki Murakami is an author that falls into this topic. He’s been influenced by Western music and in particular jazz. Go ahead and google that if you don’t believe the woman who admitted in the previous paragraph to knowing nothing of music. Side note: I once saw Winton Marsalis play in Chicago. It was an interesting concert mostly because I didn’t understand any of it. Jazz is too discordant for me; I can’t find the rhythm. I spent the entire concert watching others to figure out why they were into it so much. I probably should have been paying closer attention to the concert itself though. What can I say; I was newly out of college and knew nothing. Anyway, while this Murakami/jazz connection has been made, and he’s admitted to enjoying jazz, I don’t get it. How can someone listen to something so random and write something so interesting? Maybe I need to try listening to some jazz while reading his books to understand it better.
Moving on to last night… We stopped at a friends’ house for a tree trimming party and were regaled with the sounds of Mary Poppins. They have a two year-old who knows and can recognize the different songs and was insistent on the one she wanted to hear. I didn’t recognize any of the songs. Yes, I was outshone by a two year-old when it came to musical knowledge. Shortly after, we stopped off at a bar to wish another friend a happy birthday. He loves music and his standards were played: Springsteen, U2, The Pogues. While flipping through the song list, I noticed several punk selections. I love punk. I know, I don’t get it either. You would think it would fall into the way too discordant category of music for me since I don’t understand jazz but I heart punk like you wouldn’t believe. And I have a most favorite song — Waiting for the Man by Nico and the Velvet Underground.
Here’s the connection I have to punk. And wait for it…it’s a book — The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The main character, Henry, loves punk. In one scene, he’s waiting for someone, who happens to be a drug dealer, and he starts singing the song to himself. (Yes, the song is about a drug deal if you’re not familiar with it.) I went and looked it up because, well, I don’t remember why I did but I did. And I loved it. I fell in love with the song. Each time I hear it, I remember reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. Oh, memories. So anyway, this is my one and only music/book connection I have ever made to this day.
It’s what you get with a tone deaf reader. You were warned.
But I’m going to ask anyway. Do you have recommendations? I’m willing to give almost anything a listen.
And with that, I’m off to enjoy the company of some friends. Happy Sunday.