9 books corresponding to your favorite musical genre



Music and books are the two great loves of my life. Music and books go so perfectly together, each seeking to explore life in their own way. Indeed, we often speak of music and books using the same words. Storytelling, lyricism, and beauty are all celebrated in both worlds, and both are art forms that can be enjoyed on their own – on intimate evenings with our own brains – or together.

I am one of those people who listens to music while she reads. (Damn, I listen to music while I do anything.) You’ll find me rocking AC / DC reading a love story, or playing Chopin while hovering over a thriller. The genres don’t have to match for me, honestly.

It’s interesting to me though, that even though they’re so similar, the way we understand musical genres and literary genres is so different. Musical genres tend to describe the way a song sounds, rather than its content, while literary genres are all about the type of story a book tells. You can have a romantic rock song or a romantic pop song; you can have a fast paced, thriller type sci-fi novel or you can have a methodical and dense sci-fi novel.

So I change things. I’ve taken some of your favorite genres of music, and found books that match. Your favorite genre of music says so much about you that I hope it’s a good way to lock you in to your next favorite reading.

1. Classic rock: Bullies: a friendship by Alex Abramovich

If you want Sons of anarchy, you will love this true story. When writer Alex Abramovich finds out that his childhood tyrant, Trevor Latham, had become the leader of a motorcycle club in Oakland, Calif., He ends up joining Trevor. This book is the result: a searing dive into the tumultuous world of Oakland motorcycle culture, and all the violence, classism, and attitude that goes with it.

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2. Rap: A brief history of seven murders by Marlon James

Okay, I know, this is about the Bob Marley assassination attempt, which was a reggae icon. But if you love rap, you probably love voice and language, and this book is packed with both. Plus, as it portrays the often violent lives of people in Jamaica and America, many of the issues often explored in rap come to light in this absolutely explosive read.

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3. Pop: American housewife: stories by Hélène Ellis

The women in this collection are all nightmares dressed as daydreams. (*Ahem *) These smart stories will make you wish you could sing them, and this book is filled with women who got to the bottom of it in the most comical way possible.

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4. Jazz: Tuesday evenings in 1980 by Molly Prentiss

Set in Soho, New York City in (you guessed it) 1980, it’s the story of a synaesthetic art critic and an Argentinian artist coming together. With brilliant writings on synesthesia, Argentina’s dirty wars and the nature of art, Tuesday evenings in 1980 is a book that any jazz lover will dig into.

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5. Country: Furiously Happy: A Fun Book About Horrible Things

“A Funny Book About Horrible Things” definitely describes the majority of country songs. But this book is less about dying dogs and stalling trucks, than about the odd, everyday life of living with mental illness. Lawson will make you laugh, she will make you think, then she will make you laugh again.

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6. Classic: Queen of the night by Alexandre Chee

This book is literally about opera, and Mozart himself would be moved by the twists and turns of this epic. Lilliet Berne, famous opera singer from 19th century Paris, has just discovered that one of her relatives has revealed to her all the sordid secrets of her past. As Lilliet tells you the story of her wild beginnings, you will find yourself swept away by this masterpiece.

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7. Punk: Your heart is a muscle the size of a fist by Sunil Yapa

Set during the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999, the characters in this astonishing reading all challenge the status quo. Centered on Victor, a runaway selling marijuana to protesters, this story is told from the perspective of seven people, including Victor’s estranged father, some of the protesters, the police, and the police chief. It’s amazing read and a book that will make your heart beat in new ways.

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8. Folk: Two years, eight months , and twenty-eight nights by Salman Rushdie

Folk is all about storytelling, and this novel is storytelling at its best. When a crack in the universe causes a rush of jinns, good and bad, to our kingdom, chaos erupts in Manhattan. A jinn princess sets out to save the humanity she has come to know and love. Filled with magical incidents, complex philosophy, and sarcastic witticisms, this book has everything a good folk song needs and more.

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9. Heavy metal: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Guess I’m breaking Fight Club’s first rule when talking about Fight Club . In this book, Palahniuk takes you to a world where you have to go deep into humanity to elevate yourself. Men from all walks of life meet in secret to fight, and the result is a unique exploration of the nature of life. (Pro tip: It’s a pretty different race from the movie.)

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Images: Dayne Topkin / Unsplash



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