A Bookish Playlist: 10 Books Inspired By Famous Songs

August 2 2017
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Few forms of art affect us as thoroughly and movingly as music and literature. It only makes sense, therefore, to combine the two. Below is a melodious list of fantastic books that share their titles with classic songs by a variety of artists, from the Beatles to Nirvana. Curl up with a copy of these books and then check out their namesake songs on our Spotify list.

Norwegian Wood
by Haruki Murakami

Named after one of the character’s favorite Beatles songs, NORWEGIAN WOOD is a moving and evocative coming-of-age tale that has captivated readers around the world. It follows a young couple as they struggle with a friend’s suicide and civil unrest in 1960s Japan. This is a stirring story of first loves, the search for identity, and how our past changes our future.

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Norwegian Wood
Haruki Murakami

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Heart-Shaped Box
by Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s debut novel helped establish him as one of the great new horror writers. When an aging rocker receives a supposedly haunted suit, his life turns upside down. A story of revenge, magic, and poltergeists, this novel—sharing the same name as a Nirvana single—is a rollicking and terrifying ride.

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Heart-Shaped Box
Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s beautifully textured, deliciously scary debut novel delivers good old-fashioned skin-crawling terror when a jaded rock star is haunted by a ghost he purchased on the internet. (Stephen King fans take note: Joe Hill is one of his sons.)

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Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë

Inspired by the classic Gothic romance, Kate Bush was only 18 when she wrote her famous song. It’s easy to see the inspiration when you fall into the stormy, windswept, and romantic world of WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Following multiple generations through desire, vengeance, love, and hatred, this bold and impassioned novel has captivated countless readers.

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Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë

“Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
The turbulent and tempestuous love story of Cathy and Heathcliff spans two generations—from the time Heathcliff, a strange, coarse young boy, is brought to live on the Earnshaws’ windswept estate, through Cathy’s marriage to Edgar Linton and Heathcliff’s plans for revenge, to Cathy’s death years later and the eventual union of the surviving Earnshaw and Linton heirs. A masterpiece of imaginative fiction, Wuthering Heights (the author’s only novel) remains as poignant and compelling today as it was when first published in 1847.

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Close
High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby

When his girlfriend leaves him, Rob finds solace in his failing record store—staffed by eccentric oddballs—and his love of pop music. A witty, relatable, and sweet tale, this is perfect for those who still collect vinyl albums and enjoy arguing over which is Elvis Costello’s best song (perhaps it’s the one that inspired the novel’s title).

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High Fidelity
Nick Hornby

Who could forget John Cusack as the compulsive, list-making record-store owner Rob in “High Fidelity?” The novel shows bestselling author Nick Hornby at his quintessential best. This wise and hilarious novel about love, heartbreak, and rock and roll is a must-read for the nostalgic souls of Gen X.

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As Time Goes By
by Mary Higgins Clark

This absorbing thriller—named after a classic American standard—from the Queen of Suspense follows a TV journalist who believes she has hit the big time when she covers a sensational murder trial. Will she be able to prove that the defendant, a wealthy widow, is innocent, or will her stepson (and his inheritance) get in the way?

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As Time Goes By
Mary Higgins Clark

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Love the One You're With
by Emily Giffin

Folk rocker Stephen Stills told us to “Love the One You’re With,” and that is great advice in this bittersweet tale of the one that got away. When an old flame crosses paths with the happily married Ellen, she finds herself questioning just how perfect her marriage is and what her future holds in this genuine and sometimes painful love story.

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Love the One You're With
Emily Giffin

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Bright Lights, Big City
by Jay McInerney

Borrowing its title from a classic blues song, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY captures the zeitgeist of 1980s Manhattan. A nameless young man obsesses about his ex, loses himself in the yuppie nightclub scene, and develops a drug addiction. Sharply observed, witty, and iconic, this is a classic of its time.

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Bright Lights, Big City
Jay McInerney

Perhaps the quintessential ’80s novel, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY follows a young man as he weaves his way through the party scene, publishing offices, and pretty people of Manhattan. With nothing but illicit substances to sustain him, it’s a troubling but remarkable portrait of youth and New York life in this decade.

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1984
by George Orwell

David Bowie had planned on creating a theatrical production of George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, but he couldn’t get the rights. Instead, he released one song directly inspired by the timeless masterpiece. With a secret revolution brewing in a totalitarian state, one man risks everything to spread the truth about Big Brother and the powers that be.

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1984
George Orwell

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Baby's in Black
by Arne Bellstorf

A starkly and beautifully illustrated graphic novel, this explores the early days of the Beatles as they struggled to make it in Germany. Based on the true story of the tragic romance between the band’s original bassist and a German photographer—and borrowing its title from a mournful Beatles song—this is an enthralling and gentle love story.

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Baby's in Black
Arne Bellstorf

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Hungry Heart
by Jennifer Weiner

Sharing its name with a Bruce Springsteen classic, Jennifer Weiner’s first memoir—comprised of essays on womanhood—is relatable, clear-eyed, and warmhearted. With her sharp wit, Weiner effortlessly demonstrates that her writing can be as moving and hilarious as the late Nora Ephron.

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Hungry Heart
Jennifer Weiner

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Close

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