Can Books Be Like Music?

B6sf4_dCQAAzIS-This time of year in Santa Fe, we can get gorgeously warm days. On Tuesday we ate lunch on the patio in shirtsleeves and the kitties stalked the restless gophers. Good times were had by all. Of course, today it’s cold, stormy and overcast, but I’m ensconced in my cozy chair with a teapot on the warmer and life is still good.

A funny thing – I use Tweetdeck to sort my Twitter feeds, to help manage the flow of information. I also have columns devote to searches for mentions of my name or of my book titles, so I can see when people are talking about them. A couple of my titles overlap with album titles – particularly THE TALON OF THE HAWK and COVENANT OF THORNS. I think this is kind of cool, that I title musically, in a way.

The upshot is I see conversations – and fan enthusing – about these, especially Talon of the Hawk by The Front Bottoms. I’d never heard of this band, but I impulsively bought the album so I could listen, since we have this serendipitous artistic overlap. I like it. And wow – do other people love, love, love this album! People tweet about it all the time, say how he listened to it over and over, sang all the song with her sister on a road trip and expressing all the love. They discuss how awesome this album is. And tons of them want to get tattoos of the knife on the album cover.

It just makes me think.

Readers do this to an extent, but not nearly so many and not to the same extreme. I think there are a few reasons for this. A lot more people listen to music than read books. In 2013, 76% of American adults had read at least one book during the year and the typical American reads five books a year. Compare that to the stat that the average American listens to four hours of music a DAY. An enormous difference, huh?

Also music is social in a way that books tend not to be. Listening to music can be a gregarious event, from singing while road-tripping with your sister to attending a massive stadium rock concert. Books, even if we discuss them at length, tend to be a fairly solitary experience with a huge internal involvement.

Still.

I clipped this quote from Kurt Cobain once, which I have not been able to find. It’s probably floating aimlessly around in some forsaken file folder. At any rate, it’s amazing because he’s talking to an author about how he imagines readings are like rock concerts, with screaming fans and a mosh pit. It’s kind of adorable, how mistaken he is – and also enlightening. I read it and thought, why CAN’T it be like that? Wouldn’t it be great if it was?

I dunno – maybe I’m dreaming. What do you guys think?

 

 

6 Replies to “Can Books Be Like Music?”

  1. I often compare rereading a book again and again with listening to a CD again and again when people are surprised I reread books. And to me it is the same: if a book is beautifully written I enjoy the flow of the words, like I enjoy the flow of a beautiful melody.

    It might be said that I am no fan of most concerts: I enjoy listening to music in private, like I do my reading.

    1. That’s such an interesting comparison – I can totally see that, though I’ve never heard anyone make that analogy before. It did occur to me, though, that a lot of dedicated, enthusiastic readers are people who don’t like concerts and such like. 🙂

  2. I’m just realizing that one of the reasons I love running, is because I can lose myself to moving to the rhythm of my music without other people crowding me and stepping on my toes :-p

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