Another gauntlet has been hurled by the staff at The Broke and the Bookish! I decided to pick it up and answer the challenge. Therefore, I give you my list of “The Top Ten Books I’d Give A Theme Song To and Why…”
1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby—“My Body is a Cage” (Peter Gabriel’s Cover). It is a heartbreaking book, but one that is rich and rewarding all the same. It forces you to sit down and truly contemplate not only what is said but how arduous the saying was. Gabriel’s version of Arcade Fire’s hit song is a perfect match.
2. Hamlet by William Shakespeare—“Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim. Hamlet’s always waffling between options in this play, and his indecision leads to his downfall and that of several of the other characters. For a protagonist who ponders the choice between “To be, or not to be,” the greatest weapon is choice. Plus, I love this song and awesome video!
3. Anthem by Ayn Rand—“That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings. Granted, it’s a little too peppy for the content of the novel, but the main characters are named “Equality 7-2521” and “Liberty 5-3000” but choose new monikers for themselves–“Prometheus” and “Gaea” respectively. Since they search for identities not defined by a collectivist society, this little ditty just seemed to fit.
4. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James—“Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies. Ah, the delightful madness that is The Turn of the Screw. Specters that may or may not be there, an empty house, and a half-cracked governess who’s convinced her pupils are more than they seem.
5. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas—“Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones. What better song for a man who’s so broken and controlled by a burning need for revenge? “I see a red door, and I want to paint it black” is the perfect summation of how Edmond Dantés feels about his love for Mercédès Mondego.
6. Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier—“Cold” by Annie Lennox. For some reason, I adored this book. Perhaps it’s the bristling sexual tension caused the forbidden love between people who share the same vision of the world but not the same social rank in it…or perhaps it’s because Colin Firth played the male lead in the movie version. Maybe both. 🙂 The same tension is in Annie Lennox’s ballad, and it includes many references to color and sensations.
7. Lord of the Flies by William Golding—“Goodbye Blue Skies” by Pink Floyd. Whether it is war or two tribes of boys on a desert island, we’re always far too willing and ready to tear one another apart, aren’t we? I thought something from The Wall was a fitting choice considering the schoolboy elements of the movie, “Another Brick in the Wall” being the most obvious musical connection.
8. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer—“I Honestly Love You” by Olivia Newton-John. I can think of no better song for this piece of literary tripe than this vapid little ballad. And to quote Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
9. Cane by Jean Toomer—“Strange Fruit” by Billie Holliday. There’s a lot to this book for sure. Half of the stories are set in the South, half in the North. The final story, “Kabnis,” combines the two by bringing a black northerner face to face with his Southern heritage in, of all things, a root cellar. Beautifully structured and far ahead of its time–we’re just now beginning to understand this short but powerful work. It pairs well with Holliday’s pained voice singing of lynchings and the “Strange Fruit” that Southern trees grew at the time.
10. The Collector by John Fowles—“To Wish Impossible Things” by The Cure. For those of you expecting something like The French Lieutenant’s Woman, look elsewhere. This book is a far departure from this author’s more well-known work. A young college student is kidnapped by an obsessive would-be lover and kept much like a butterfly pinned to a board–forever on display in a prison she can neither see out of nor escape. It’s a amazingly tense read, one it’s easy to put yourself in the middle of and experience what it would be like to be completely at the mercy of another. I think this song from The Cure would work well—for what she could have been had he never “collected” her and what he could have been had he never given into his darker urges.