It’s just undeniable. There is magic in a good book. I love getting lost in a great book. You open the cover and dive into the pages. The book grabs you, pulls you close and takes up residence in your heart. From right where you sit, you can travel through time, travel the world or see a dream world come to life right before your eyes. If you’re already a reader, you know this to be true.
Here’s what I want to know. Do you listen to anything while reading?
I am sure that some people prefer the atmosphere to be silent, sterile and still. With nothing to distract them from the tapestry that the author has delicately woven. Whether it be at home, the library or another place of soundless solace, these readers prefer the sterility of a quiet environment.
Others, like myself, listen to music or background noise and drift seamlessly into their books with ease. Coffee houses often accommodate readers that enjoy the soft rumblings of an espresso machine or the sounds of a jazzy saxophone as the backdrop to their literary adventures.
In honor of these musical bibliophiles, I have compiled a list of my favorite music to read to. The genres change based on the book I am reading and my mood. Without further ado, here is what is on my go to playlist.
1. Mumford & Sons: Sigh No More (2009)
This band, based in the United Kingdom, plays a mix of folk/rock music. The album features electric and acoustic guitars, piano and banjo. With comfortable and casual beats, these songs will open your heart and allow you to really sink into a good book. My favorite song from the album is “Awake My Soul.”
Want to pair a book with this album? I’d recommend picking up “The Last Romantics” by Tara Conklin.
2. Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (1963)
This album created by two jazz legends features John Coltrane’s signature saxophone and Ellington’s prowess on the piano. With only seven songs and about thirty five minutes of jazz, it is not the longest album but it makes the perfect background music to read to. The songs are soulful and warm with notes of elegance that only these jazz idols could create. My favorite song on this album is “In a Sentimental Mood.”
Looking for a title to accompany this album? I’d recommend “Becoming” written by Michelle Obama.
3. Alain Lefèvre: My Paris Years (2019)
This album is a collection of songs by French composers played by the pianist Alain Lefèvre. It is graceful and full of resonance. The piano notes are beautiful, timeless and simmer in the background as the listener becomes enveloped in a novel. My favorite song on the album is “Satie: Gymnopédie No. 1.”
My favorite book pairing with this album is the novel, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” written by M.A. Shaffer and A. Barrows.
4. Chris Botti: When I Fall In Love (2004)
Trumpeter Chris Botti created an album of standards and enhances the original tracks with heartfelt notes and a beautiful finesse. The album is full of love songs that reflect quiet intimate moments. The music is slow, methodical and wonderfully sophisticated while unassuming. My favorite song on the album is “Nearness of You.”
Looking for a book to read with this background music? I’d recommend, “The Sun is Also a Star” written by Nicola Yoon.
5. Bear McCreary: Outlander: Season 1 Vol. 1
Soundtracks to movies and television shows either hit the bullseye or miss terribly. This album captures the allure of the highlands with bagpipes, stunning vocals and serenading string instruments. The album shows depth and precision through musical storytelling and song choice. My favorite piece from the album is “Dance of the Druids.”
This pairing is a rather obvious one, but if you’re looking for a literary adventure to the highlands of Scotland then “Outlander” written by Diana Gabaldon is an absolute must!
No matter what you choose to listen to or if you prefer the calming nature of silence, I hope this article finds you well and in the middle of fantastic book.