Remember those books that came with a little colored vinyl 7-inch in the back flap? Remember that little bell that would chime when it was time to turn the page? I loved that little bell. And I loved all the sounds and music that went with the words. I used to hang in my room and listen / read Peter Pan and The Rescuers over and over again. I had a little orange fisher-price record player. The world of the book filled up that little room; the walls fell away.
This item from Gawker has me wondering why more books for grown-ups don't come with soundtracks. In case you haven't heard, besides being an author himself, 50 cent has launched an imprint for gangsta fiction. Some of the books are supposed to come out with an accompanying CD. Pretty hip, right? This reminds me of a feature over at Bookslut a few months ago about the rock novel. Soundtracks and stories just seem to go together. Just look at how many people buy the soundtracks for their favorite movies. Garden State anyone? Almost Famous? Lost in Translation? (mind you, I'm not saying I liked any of these movies-- just that the people who did seemed to also like the soundtrack). Anyway, I know we have books on tape, and that's great for car rides, but I like the idea of cd you can listen to while you read.
I'm not saying every book should come with a CD. Some books are best read in silence. But I have to admit, now that I'm writing this teen novel, I have this little dream of including a soundtrack. I hear the songs in my head when I write, and I'm including lyrics as I go along. Here's who is on my soundtrack so far: Bikini Kill, Tribe Called Quest, Sonic Youth, The Sex Pistols, Sebadoh, Heavenly, Missy, The Smiths, Jawbreaker, the Clash, Minor Threat, and Bratmobile. That's just who is mentioned in the book so far -- I'm sure that there will be more. The genre of teen fiction especially seems to go well with music. For so many teens, music is an elixir to the tedium of school, home, etc. Why not include that with the book?
As a thought experiment, who would you put on the soundtrack for your book? Have you ever read a book that you wished had come with a soundtrack? Have you ever made a soundtrack to go with a book?