Movies and television shows have soundtracks, why not novels? Occasionally I like soft music playing in the background while I read. Often, I listen to baroque when I’m writing. It’s supposed to reduce tension and enhance concentration. Your heartbeat slows down, you relax and the right and left sides of your brain synchronize. This must be true, I read it on the Internet. Actually, if you do a web search, you’ll find a Stanford University study that says essentially the same thing.
Rock music and specific songs play an important part in Death in Nostalgia City. Music is also featured in upcoming books in the series. More about them in a moment. I used names of songs in the novel to help set a mood and maintain the book’s retro theme.
I’m not suggesting you listen to a rock soundtrack while reading Death in Nostalgia City. Listening to Elvis, for example, doesn’t enhance any cognitive functions I know of. I have, however, put together a song list that could be background music for the book—were it to be translated into film. Some of these are mentioned in the book, others just fit the mood. Just as a movie soundtrack CD can bring back the story and characters to your mind, so my song list can remind you of key parts of the book.
Here are the songs I’d put in the CD for Death in Nostalgia City:
Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley
Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf
The Night Chicago Died – Paper Lace
White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues
Harper Valley PTA – Jeannie C. Riley
Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
American Pie – Don McLean
The Weight – A Group Called Smith
Crocodile Rock – Elton John
You’re No Good – Linda Ronstadt
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Riders on the Storm – The Doors
We Gotta Get Out of This Place – The Animals
New book announcement
Desert Kill Switch will be the next book in the Nostalgia City series and it’s due out later this year from Black Opal Books. Lyle and Kate are back in a mystery that takes them to Nevada, while Lyle tries to escape memories of a murder and Kate tries to avoid blame for another one. Lots of creepy, menacing suspects. No help from the police.
Imagine yourself in the middle of the Nevada desert in August. What classic rock songs come to mind? The soundtrack for this book would vary from light refrains to dark lyrics.
I’m currently working on the third book in the series and I’ve been listening to Ravi Shankar. Not exactly Bach, but it helped me get the feel of a 1970s headshop that’s the milieu for the story. Kate sticks her neck out for an old friend, and Lyle contemplates the business end of a semi auto just south of the Mexican border. More details to come.So, now, if you’ve been holding your breath while reading this, or saying, “but, but” and feeling superior, you’re right. There is such a thing as a soundtrack for a book. In fact, you can buy audio books and even e-books with sound tracks, although the latter might be a passing fad. I only just discovered this after writing the foregoing article. Who knew?
Some books with music tracks even include sound effects. And in most audio books now—it seems—readers try to do male and female voices, giving dramatic presentations, rather than just reading a book. Perhaps someone could even come up with video to accompany these expanded audio tracks. No, wait. They already invented motion pictures.
I can relate to and enjoy the music you’ve mentioned, but obviously don’t intend to listen to music while reading the book. And I know, you’re not suggesting that. I’m a sorta rock & roll buff and am very familiar with each of the songs you’ve mentioned. I think if’s very appropriate to use the names of the songs to set a mood. Most people probably have specific memories attached to songs from a genre they can relate to. I know that i do.
Nicely done Mr. B! Good choice of tunes and I love the idea of writing while listening to specific music to enhance one’s focus.