Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Always on my mind : singable titles.

Earworms happen to me all the time. I have often wondered about how much grey matter is taken up by that radio station in my brain. In case you are not familiar an earworm is defined as “a catchy song or tune that runs continually through a person’s mind.” God knows that lyrics can paint a picture or weave a tale to the listener, for example Don Mclean’s “American Pie.” The songs’ original manuscript recently sold for $1.2 million at auction! I am surprised how many book titles will bring tunes to my mind. Enjoy humming while you select which ones to read:

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas, song by Heart. Most readers might by familiar with this author via his novel and television series “The Slap". Barracuda is the coming of age tale of an Olympic hopeful and the cost of success.

Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert, song by Donavan. Winner of The Book to Talk About: World Book Day Award 2009. Gabriel Blackstone is a computer hacker by trade, yet his special talent is one of a remote viewer; someone whose gifts enable them to see the thought process of others.

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb, song by Spandau Ballet and by Tears for Fears. The 1998 Oprah Winfrey book club selection to which she stated “It’s not just a book, it’s a life experience.” The novel is a heartbreaking multigenerational saga dealing with mental illness and the struggle of survival.

Born to Run by James Grippando (number 8 in the Jack Swyteck series), song by Bruce Springstein. Jack Swyteck is called to Washington to work with his father where he gets caught up in a dangerous web of intrigue and murder.

Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie, song by Hedley. Mind you, the earworm I caught was “Crazy on you” by Heart. Cruise’s second contemporary romance is a smash –literally when heroine Quinn McKenzie gets involved with the local mechanic, Nick Zielger.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, song by the Beatles. This semi-autobiographical novel transformed its author into a pop-culture icon and sold more than 4 million copies. The Beatles song is the catalyst in the coming of age tale of Toru Watanabe in 1969-70 Japan.

Dance with Me by Luanne Rice, reminds me of the song “Cheek to Cheek” by Irving Berlin (sung by many artists). Rice presents the story of a man and a woman who have to battle the past that haunts them and the love that won’t let them go.

Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks (but often credited to Anonymous) , inspired the song “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane. A cautionary tale chronicling a young teen’s struggle to escape the pull of the drug culture.

Love the One You’re With by James Earl Hardy, song by Stephen Stills. “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”. Mitchell Crawford faces this challenge in Hardy’s 4th book in his B-Boy Blues Series about gay black men in New York City.

Night Shift by Stephen King, song by the Commodores, but I often think of Bob Seger’s “ Night Moves” instead. This is the first collection of short stories by the master of horror. It received the Balrog Award for Best Collection in 1980 and was nominated in 1979 as best collection for the Locus Award and the World Fantasy Award.

You Must Remember This by Joyce Carol Oates, chorus of the song “As Time Goes” By Herman Hupfeld. Mind you, I first heard a take-off of the film Casablanca as “Carrot Blanca” on Bugs Bunny! Enid Maria has a passionate and obsessive relationship with her uncle, a professional boxer, who is twice her age.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, not really a song but a poem by Robert Burns but is often sung. One of, if not the most famous novel of teenage angst and alienation. It has been translated into most of the world’s major languages with around 250,000 copies sold each year. Holden Caulfield has become the poster child for teen rebellion.

Long Time Coming by Sandra Brown, song by Sam Cooke. Law Kincaid, world famous astronaut, receives an anonymous letter claiming he fathered a son? When he meets him he can’t remember ever sleeping his mother, Marnie Hibbs. Brown presents the question of who is a parent and what role genetics play for a child’s life.

Sympathy for the Devil by Justin Gustainis, song by the Rolling Stones. Senator Howard Stark wants to be the President of the United States and if he gets there all Hell will break loose. Occult investigator Quincey Morris and white witch Libby Chastain are determined to prevent this.

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin, 1865 song by John Wesley Work, Jr. This semi-autobiographical novel examines racism and repression in the lives of African American in the 1950’s. In 1998 , the Modern Library ranked it as 39th on its list of the 100 best English language novels of the 20th century. Time magazine included it in its Time 100 Best English –language novel from 1923-2005.

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