music to read by: 2. arcade fire
I don't always read with music. Some books require silence and total absorption and anything else intrudes on that, stomping all over that other place you inhabit when you read. There are exceptions though, where the music seems to come from the same place as the words on the page.
Recently I have been reading a lot of Markus Zusak. Fighting Reuben Wolfe and its follow-up Getting the Girl have an earthy, gritty energy. I could have chosen anything from my eclectic array of music to listen to while reading these wonderful books, but only something able to catch that earthy quality and the energy and hunger of youth would do. What better to accompany Zusak's books than Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. These tracks perfectly capture that sense of youth, suburbia, of kids in hoodies loitering.
Reading the words of the track 'Deep Blue': “Here, in my place and time, and here in my own skin, I can finally begin", it seems almost too big a coincidence when I hit the words of Zusak's Getting the Girl: “I can move on now, because here, at this moment, no matter how fragile it might be, I can feel okayness growing inside me."
Harking back to earlier tunes, the fast pace and raw drive of the band's earlier album, Funeral, works really well with David Nicholls' One Day, which seems to echo this pace from the outset as we, the readers, are thrown into the story and are urged on to the next page and the next. There's no holding back here as both music and words speed and pulse alongside one another, and even as the pace slows, in 'Haiti', and 'In the Backseat', the words on the page too seem to snuggle down, holding on to each precious moment.
WLTB editor Ed Wood picks Godspeed You! Black Emperor