Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Soundtracks

I am old enough to remember a time when the marketing of a film's sound track sent a signal that the movie sucked had some major flaws.  Now, it's rare for a film not to market its soundtrack.

Salon reports that books now feature soundtracks.
Actually, it might be too easy. A much better sense of Emma's sensibility -- cool Britannia like Prefab Sprout, Cocteau Twins, Billy Bragg and Everything But the Girl alongside English major mainstays Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell and Joan Armatrading -- appears on author and screenwriter David Nicholls' website. Nicholls has imagined the two mix tapes Emma gives Dexter (one from 1989, the other from 2000) and created Spotify and iTunes playlists where they can be streamed or purchased.
Book soundtracks like these have become increasingly popular among authors and readers, especially as the connection between writers and their audience has become more interactive, and as the fast popularity of music-streaming services like Spotify have made it easy to share songs online. But while a song on a movie soundtrack might be there because of a licensing deal or to boost an artist on a label also owned by the studio, author playlists, when done well, can deepen a character and enhance a reader's connection.
"A big part of creating characters for me has always involved working out their tastes -- in clothes, fashion, music," said Nicholls, in an email interview. "I know what the leading characters like, what they wear, what they listen to, what they eat, and making playlists is, I suppose, a form of note-taking, a way of working without really working."
I don't see myself as a luddite, but I fear a reading future that exists of Kindles with links that allow readers to hear a song every time the title or lyrics appear on the screen.  That eventuality seems the next logical step.  Our society doesn't need more sound; it needs more time for quiet contemplation.


yanktonirishred said...

Andrew Vaachs often suggests music in his Burke series.

The amazing OGN Local has an entire soundtrack available at the end of each chapter from both writer and artist. It's available at the library and very worthy of reading.

I like the thought of a soundtrack to my books.

LK said...

George Pelecanos makes music part of his plots too. I don't mind a playlist. I might even want to listen to a soundtrack after reading, but I just worry that it will soon be part of the reading experience. I treasure quiet.

I certainly won't lobby against soundtracks.