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8 Songs That Perfectly Match Books

If the song fits, read with it. These eight book/song pairings are like a playlist for your eyes and ears.

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1. "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" by Leonard Cohen (covered by Lana Del Rey) / Just Kids by Patti Smith

harpercollins.com

THE BOOK: In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies.

THE SONG:

"Those were the reasons and that was New York,

we were running for the money and the flesh.

And that was called love for the workers in song

probably still is for those of them left.

...

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel

you were famous, your heart was a legend."

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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2. "Postcards From Italy" by Beirut / Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

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THE BOOK: From the moment it opens—on a rocky patch of Italian coastline, circa 1962, when a daydreaming young innkeeper looks out over the water and spies a mysterious woman approaching him on a boat—Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel. Hailed by critics and loved by readers of literary and historical fiction, Beautiful Ruins is the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962...and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.

THE SONG:

"The times we had

Oh, when the wind would blow with rain and snow

Were not all bad

We put our feet just where they had

Had to go, never to go

...

And I will love to see that day

That day is mine

When she will marry me outside

With the willow trees

And play the songs we made

They made me so

And I would love to see that day

Her day was mine"

© EMI Music Publishing

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3. "Criminal" by Fiona Apple / Tampa by Alissa Nutting

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THE BOOK: In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.

THE SONG:

"I've been a bad bad girl

I've been careless

With a delicate man

And it's a sad sad world

When a girl will break a boy

Just because she can"

© Universal Music Publishing Group

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4. "New Soul" by Yael Naïm / The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

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THE BOOK: Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel The Golem and the Jinni tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures.

THE SONG:

"I'm a new soul

I came to this strange world

Hoping I could learn a bit 'bout how to give and take

But since I came here, felt the joy and the fear

Finding myself making every possible mistake

...

See I'm a young soul in this very strange world

Hoping I could learn a bit 'bout what is true and fake

But why all this hate? try to communicate

Finding trust and love is not always easy to make"

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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5. "I Have Seen The Future" by The Bravery / Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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THE BOOK: The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley's legendary vision of a world of tomorrow utterly transformed. In Huxley's darkly satiric yet chillingly prescient imagining of a "utopian" future, humans are genetically designed and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order.

THE SONG:

"We are faster, faster than pain

We are a nerve ending without a brain

We have evolved, we have no feeling at all

It is a brave new world"

© CHRYSALIS MUSIC GROUP

6. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor / The Way of the Fight by Georges St. Pierre

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THE BOOK: UFC fighter, Georges “Rush” St. Pierre, shares the lessons he learned on his way to the top, in The Way of the Fight, revealing how he overcame bullying and injury to become an internationally celebrated athlete and champion. The reigning UFC welterweight champion, St. Pierre seemed untouchable until injury derailed him and jeopardized his title and his career. A compelling memoir that offers an intimate, gritty look at a fighter’s journey, told through inspiring vignettes, The Way of the Fight is a moving account of commitment and power, achievement and pain, dedication and conviction from one of the world's greatest champions.

THE SONG:

"Risin' up back on the street

Did my time, took my chances

Went the distance now I'm back on my feet

Just a man and his will to survive

...

Risin' up straight to the top

Had the guts, got the glory

Went the distance, now I'm not gonna stop

Just a man and his will to survive

It's the eye of the tiger

It's the thrill of the fight

Rising up to the challenge of our rival"

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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7. "Jessamine" by Darling Violetta / The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

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THE BOOK: The Perfume Collector explores the complex and obsessive love between muse and artist, and the tremendous power of memory and scent. Newlywed Grace Monroe doesn’t fit anyone’s expectations of a successful 1950s London socialite, least of all her own. When she receives an unexpected inheritance from a complete stranger, Madame Eva d’Orsey, Grace is drawn to uncover the identity of her mysterious benefactor. Weaving through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London, the story Grace uncovers is that of an extraordinary women who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers.

THE SONG:

"She'll make you feel

Like you've seen the muse alive

...

She's collecting memories

And putting them away

She's counting stars

In her perfume jar"

© Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, EMI Music Publishing

8. "I Just Wanna Be Happy" by Gloria Estefan / The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

harpercollins.com

THE BOOK: Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. In The Happiness Project, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

THE SONG:

"I'm a believer and I believe I'm free

I can be happy because I want to be

...

Made a decision to control my destiny

Don't wanna sit back watchin' life pass me by

I wanna get up, you know I gotta fly

Won't ever give up until I'm happy, joyous and free"

© Universal Music Publishing Group, Foreign Imported Productions & Publishing

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