Soundtracking Life, a new monthly feature created by Lior Phillips and co-developed with Matt Melis, aims to pair everyday life with the music that underscores, speaks to, and enhances our experiences. This month, the CoS Staff soundtracks 10 of our favorite books.
There is a long-held belief about books: they’re silent by design and singular in experience. Unleashed by the authors’ words, you are able to run with their voice and expose yourself completely—as if dragged into a state of emotive groupthink you can’t possibly kick out of. Every so often, a book can get right under your skin, just like music, and you’re left feeling auxiliary yet completely submerged.
To put a human myth mildly, Blaise Pascal shook his fist reminding us that “the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.” Unfortunately, reality is slightly grayer than that. It’s become near impossible to wade through the aural sludge: this Internet, that public transport, those paper-thin apartment walls! It’s 2014 and they still haven’t managed to invent a “life-remote,” and while some books seduce us in silence, others, if paired with the correct music, can make words promenade around the page like a choreographed waltz.
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” ― Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays
A soundtrack can punctuate reading, shut out that incessant gurgle in the world, and provide a way for us to take a page out of an author’s book and live in it for a little while. At some point in our lives, we all have a stack of books organically bound to the music we listened to when reading them because sounds can bring haunted figures into being, romantic characters into fruition, and amplify moods or heighten intensity. Miles Davis soundtracking William S. Burroughs, Patti Smith dancing around Sylvia Plath, Four Tet buried in Chuck Palahniuk, Iggy spiraling over Irvine Welsh, and Morrissey squalling with Oscar Wilde… Poetic isn’t it? Plug into your Life Soundtrack.
–Lior Phillips Staff Writer