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Reading with Soundtracks

Friday, September 02, 2011| Permalink

Posted by Alyssa Berlin

Obviously, since I work at the Jewish Book Council, you can figure out that I am a huge bibliophile. But what you might not know is that my love for music rivals my love for literature. They both have this magical ability to take me out of my own mind and transport me to a place without stress, schoolwork and my everyday nuisances. My music can often be heard floating, maybe too loudly, through the halls at the office while I do my work. (I am currently listening to Like Ships in the Night by Mat Kearney). Music and books are usually non-synonymous with one another, because, well,  one produces sound and the other is a silent activity. However recently there has been a revolution called Reading with Soundtracks that takes the emotional interaction one gets from listening to the music that plays in the background of movies, and adds it to books.

Companies, such as Booktrack,  have been popping up and building playlists around books. They set music to the words that are already coming alive on the paper, and try to add another dimension to reading. As the founders of Booktrack put it, ”It’s almost like having your own personal conductor directing you as you’re reading.”

Blogs such as the Largehearted Boy have also begun to appear, which allow authors to post their own soundtracks to their books. Some of our own JBC authors have even shown up on this website such as Myla GoldbergJoseph SkibellEvelyn Toynton, and David Bezmozgis, just to name a few. I even decided to take a stab at this myself by thinking of a great song that would go with our Twitter book club book for this month, Home in the Morning. It’s called Back Down South by Kings of Leon and it’s one of my favorite songs in general. So anyone reading the book take a look!

As much as I love both reading and listening to music, I personally think I will continue to keep them separate. I have a hard time focusing on what I am reading when I listen to music at the same time, and find myself rereading the same paragraph 10 times to understand it. While Books with Soundtracks is a great idea I still believe that there is an emotional reaction to the words and story inside the book that is just impossible to recreate with music. But who knows, maybe in a few weeks I’ll be back here posting my own book playlists!




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