Music and the New Reading Experience + Giveaway

In my room I have a wall hanging that says, “Music is what feelings sound like.”  It is my absolute favorite quote.  Music enhances a person’s feelings by touching the soul.  At least, that is how I hear it. 

I am constantly listening to music; especially when I’m reading.  I love it when my iPod is on shuffle and a song comes on that fits the scene that I’m reading in my book.  For example, the other day I was reading Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas.  I had finished it and wanted to reread the ending.  So I did, but this time I was listening to The Blower’s Daughter by Damien Rice.  As I was reading the scene, I began to tear up (happy tears!).  Yes, I get emotional when I read.  Emotionally speaking, listening to music is a great way to become even more engrossed in the novel. 

Many authors find inspiration for their writing in music.  Some have even written their own soundtracks.  Jennifer DeLucy, author of the Light series, has written several original songs for her books, all of which can be found on her website.  In addition to these, she has posted playlists for each book.  According to her website, these playlists had a “powerful impact” on her writing.  YA author Alexandra Monir is also a recording artist.  With the publication of her novel, Timeless, she released an album on iTunes (all original songs) meant to compliment the story.  Even Dorchester’s own Phyllis Bourne listens to music when she writes.  “For each of my books, I’ve had ONE song that I replay over and over (and over) again until the book is done.”  For Operation Prince Charming, she listened to “Fascination” by Kem. Likewise for By New Year’s Day in The Holiday Inn anthology, she listened to “Lonely” by Jaheim.  “I Can Change” by John Legend influenced her while writing A Moment on the LipsSecret Legacy author Anna DeStefano created a playlist, which can be found on her website

When asked if she likes to write in silence, Dorchester author, Marie-Claude Bourque replied, “I usually write with music. Music drives the strong imageries that I translate in my writing. I have a playlist for each of my projects. Ancient Whispers was written to Nine Inch Nails and Loreena McKennitt.” 

Romance fiction author Paula Rose discusses the impact of music on the writing process, both her own as well as others: “When I played the songs that called to me, I had instant recall of emotion and purpose every time, which quickly centered me in my story and conflict.   This realization prompted me to make a playlist for each of my books…” 

With the popularity of listening to music when writing and reading, I wonder if the two could ever be paired together commercially. Publishers may begin incorporating music into e-books what with the enhanced e-book already on our doorstep. Could book soundtrack deals between authors and publishers and recording studios be right around the corner?  The marketing possibilities abound.  Companies like Sony, which sells music as well as e-readers, could already be heading in that direction.  In September of 2008, Sony BMG released a soundtrack for Brad Meltzer’s novel Book of Lies.  The album can be bought on both iTunes and Amazon.  Cathedral Rock Publishing has actually developed a tool for authors to embed music into the e-books themselves called “Book Is the Store.”

How awesome would it be to listen to the music the author used to help her create the world you had just visited?  By listening to the author’s soundtrack or playlist, the reader can be pulled into the author’s imagination even more.  If you don’t like to listen to music as you read, then you don’t have to.  You can listen to the songs another time.  Either way, the reader can be drawn deeper into the author’s world.

With the rise in popularity of e-books, e-book soundtracks, and digital entertainment, I wonder what will be next.  There’s already a Netflix for books called BookSwim and a Pandora for books called BookLamp.  We’ll just have to wait and see. 

Signing off,



Giveaway: Do you ever make playlists for the books you read? Have you ever listened to an author’s playlist for a book? What are some songs you think would compliment your favorite book? Let us know what you think and be entered to win an assortment of trade and mass market paperbacks worth over $25!

11 Responses to Music and the New Reading Experience + Giveaway

  1. Anne Marsh says:

    That’s a fascinating idea. I know that, for “Bond with Me,” I played dance music almost constantly– I liked the energy and the pacing of the music. I wonder, however, how purchasing the rights to include certain songs would work? For example, I listened to quite a bit of Lady GaGa for “Bond”– and I’m sure rights to her songs don’t come cheap. For a contemporary I just finished, I listened to country music on an iTunes channel.

  2. Sandra M says:

    It never occurred to me to combine music with books until this last year, when, in talking with a few authors, I discovered they listen to all kinds of music when they write, which at first seemed it might be too distracting, but after reading this Kathryne Kennedy post,, I can see the appeal. But since the concept is so new to me right now, I’ve not thought about songs might compliment some of my favorite reads. Now I’m curious, though – I’m a country music fan and wondering if there’s something out there that would enhance Moning’s Kiss of the Highlander, which is my all-time fave. LOL I’ll have to do some research!

  3. Christy says:

    I’ve never made a playlist or listened to an author’s playlist ~ but now I’m intrigued and think it really is an interesting idea. I love the quote used in this post: “Music is what feelings sound like.”

  4. Cory W. says:

    I’ve listened to music a lot when reading. ( I tend to do the same thing when working on math homework.) I’ve never listened to an author’s playlist for a book before though. This is something I will have to try in the near future.

  5. Jen says:

    I can only listen to wordless songs while I read (e.g., classical music). That way I can concentrate entirely on the text of the book and still let music enhance how I feel as I read.

  6. Lad Castle says:

    The word stands on its own. Music covers it and bends the truth towards emotional instability.

    I said that!

  7. I’ve never played music to read by. I’ve had the TV on in the background, but I don’t think I’d like music on while I read, even if it fit the story. I like to sing along (badly) and would be too into the music to concentrate on the book, or vice versa.

  8. I have always thought music would distract me from reading, but I may have to try listening while reading soon!

  9. To me, background music sets the tone and elevates the mood. If I want a powerful, concentrated read I play soft and soothing music. If I read a fluffy flip through the pages book, then I play music with a little jump to it. I play music most of the time and love to change the mood with different kinds of music.I have never listened to an author’s playlist, but I think it is an awesome idea and would like to know more about the concept. Donna

  10. JR. says:

    You could add music to the book and then you could also add moving pictures to the book and “Walla” then you would have a movie…True that the movie is never as good as the book. “So back to square one”.

  11. Allison Carroll, Editorial and Web Coordinator says:

    Congratulations JR—you’ve been randomly selected as the winner of the giveaway! Shoot me an email at with your shipping address and I’ll get your prize in the mail. Also, do you have a preferred genre you like to read? I’ll do my best to stock the goodie bag with like-titles.

    Thanks to everyone for the great discussion! I will definitely be checking in with my favorite authors’ websites to see if they’ve got any recommended playlists.

    Happy Reading,
    Allison Carroll
    Editorial and Web Coordinator
    Dorchester Publishing

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