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!

Alyssa Berlin is a senior at North Shore Hebrew Acad­e­my High School. Along with being an avid read­er, she is the edi­tor-in-chief of her school news­pa­per. Alyssa worked as an intern for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil this past sum­mer (and will hope­ful­ly con­tin­ue again next spring).