Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Music

My Favorite Music References in YA Literature

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If there’s one thing I love as much as books and reading, it’s probably music. I was raised in a family of wonderful music nerds, and as a result, music has grown to be an integral aspect of my life.

And so, it always brings me a rush of joy whenever I find music references hidden inside books I love, and by proxy, authors with similar musical taste. I thought I might compile a few of my favorite books with music references in them, just for fun.

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  1. The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, David Arnold

Amazon.com: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik ...

Artists referenced: David Bowie, brief joke about Wilco/Jeff Tweedy

I mean, one can sort of tell from the get-go that this book is very Bowie-centric; The title itself (a reference to a lyric from “Changes”), and the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt in the ‘I’ in “Fascinations”. (On another edition, it shows Noah with the bolt across his face, just like the Aladdin Sane album cover!) Other than that, there’s a continual respect for Bowie throughout the novel. Other than the general wondrousness of the novel, I’m just glad to see that someone else holds Hunky Dory as highly as I do.

Also, the mention of Wilco is very brief, but it was still pretty funny to see. Even if it was poking fun at them.

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2. The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert

Amazon.com: The Hazel Wood: A Novel (9781250297327): Albert ...

Artists referenced: The Beatles, Nirvana, T.Rex, (!!!), David Bowie

Though music doesn’t play (no pun intended) as big a role in The Hazel Wood as it does in some of the others in this post, there’s wonderful references aplenty in this one, from a minor character being described as reminiscent of David Bowie to a discordant, chaotic scene in which the main villain sings an off-key rendition of “Yellow Submarine”. Also, I’m frankly so impressed that Albert slipped in a T.Rex reference in there. COME. ON. That’s the deep cut to end all deep cuts!

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3. The Final Six and The Life Below, Alexandra Monir

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Artists referenced: Radiohead

Weirdly enough, though I’d heard Radiohead here and there before reading The Final Six,  but seeing the reference was ultimately what convinced me to listen to Radiohead! This is easily some of the best utilization of references I’ve seen in a novel, period. First off, in The Final Six, there’s a particularly chilling scene in which Beckett, the main antagonist, glimpses Naomi sneaking around, and after a tense conversation, he sings part of “Paranoid Android.” (“When I am king, you will be first against the wall/With your opinion, which is of no consequence at all…”) Already veeeery spooky, but the song’s title hints that Beckett knows more than what he let on. (No spoilers)

In The Life Below, Monir also uses “Sail To The Moon”–in particular, its musical structure–as the center point of one of the main subplots in the novel. And boy, it’s FASCINATING.

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4. The Looking Glass, Janet McNally

The Looking Glass - Janet McNally - Hardcover

Artists referenced: St. Vincent, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac (I don’t really care about the latter at all, but hey)

Another dip into the realm of magical realism!

Music plays a semi-important role in this one, as part of the novel is set on a road trip; there’s a running joke where Sylvie’s friend’s brother (I can’t remember his name for the life of me) listens to one specific artist in the car for the month. His pick of the month is Fleetwood Mac; there’s a line (which I can’t find) where Sylvie makes a remark something along the lines of “why can’t we listen to something good, like David Bowie?” to which the other character responds that he’d already listened to him for all of April. And though the St. Vincent reference was brief, McNally perfectly captures the nature of her music.

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5. Ziggy, Stardust, and Me, James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon: 9780525517641 ...

Artists referenced: David Bowie, Pink Floyd

Again, another Bowie-centric book. I related to this one in particular because Bowie is Jonathan (the main character)’s hero; the book is set in 1973, so it’s at the heyday of his Ziggy Stardust era. As someone who similarly worships him, this novel hit the sweet spot for me. There’s also a wonderful scene where Jonathan and Web soundtrack a school presentation with Pink Floyd’s “Time”, easily my personal favorite of their songs.

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So what do you lovely people think? What are some music references in literature that you love? Tell me in the comments! 

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Since I’ve already posted today, head over to today’s Goodreads Monday to see today’s song.

 

Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Music

On Bowie

(NOTE-The reason I’m posting this a year later is because I never ended up doing on close to the actual date. I admit, I was kind of flustered.)

Sure, yeah, it’s been a year.

But somehow, it feels  like yesterday.

David Bowie, for me at least, was one of the saddest deaths in 2016. He just meant so much to me and was a pretty big part of my life. Of course, it’s pretty obvious that I wasn’t born in the 70’s or 80’s, but even so, I grew up with him. In fact, one of my first memories (I consider it to be around my second memory) involved David Bowie.

All I know about it are these things:

-I was in the car

-My whole family was with me

-“Kooks” was playing

I remember listening to “Kooks” a lot when I was little. Though it isn’t one of his most famous songs, it is definitely high up on my “Nostalgic Childhood Songs” list. And that’s just the beginning. I’ve heard so many Bowie songs in my life, and a huge number of them have some sort of sentimental value for me. For instance, I remember having a phase when I was about eight where all I wanted to hear was “Changes”. My dad also showed me live videos of David Bowie performing it, and I always enjoyed it. I remember when I was nine, when my family stayed in Mexico for three weeks, going to sleep and listening to “Space Oddity” on my brother’s iPod (then hearing another version on the car ride from the airport). I remember hearing “Blackstar” in the car for the first time. I was really weirded out at the time, and the fact that it was nighttime enhanced that. There are so many more, but…

….now we come to January 11, 2016.

It was destined to be like any other drab Monday. I got in the car, and I waited for my brother and dad to follow. They did, and then my dad broke the news.

I remember a feeling of total speechlessness and shock. I don’t recall if I said anything or not, but then we pulled out of the garage, and my dad turned on “Lazarus”. We listened to David Bowie the whole ride to school.

At school, my best friend and I, who share a love of Bowie, made a memorial on a whiteboard. It was shaped like a tombstone, and it read:

R.I.P. David Bowie

There was never a better king of the universe.

{We signed our names here}

Then, we wrote “WHY” a bunch of times around the tombstone. Sadly the memorial was later erased for a math class. *hisssssss*

I’ve hinted multiple times this year that I couldn’t get over it. I doubt I ever will. But I will always remember him. We all will. He changed the world in such a wonderful way, and gave us the beauty of his heart, mind, and soul in music. One thing’s for sure, though…

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I hope you’re having a wonderful time far above the world, Starman. Goodnight.