Twelve Bookish Songs That Rock

Posted by David Winnick

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Bibliophiles all over the world spend their times pouring over the stacks of books at libraries and book stores, looking for that next classic book that will become an instant favorite. It can be hard sometimes to determine which books to read. There are so many options and they all have their pros and cons. How to choose is the question.

It occurred to me just the other day that a simple look at my playlist would point me in the right direction. I know it sounds a bit bizarre but by listening to some of my favorite rock songs, I have a perfect guide to some of the best novels ever written.

Plug in your earbuds and prepare for one hell of a read.


Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police: This song is one massive warning. If you are a teacher, keep away from your students. You don’t want to end up like Humbert Humbert, the lead character of Nabokov’s Lolita.
The Call of Ktulu by Metallica: Based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, this is one of Metallica’s rare instrumental tracks. Listen to the song and imagine a winged lizard beast with tentacles and a beak for a mouth and try not to cower in fear.
1984 by David Bowie: Sharing the title of George Orwell’s science fiction classic, Bowie’s song gives us a quick glimpse into a very disturbing future.
Who Wrote Holden Caulfield? by Green Day: The answer to this question is, of course, J.D. Salinger in his novel A Catcher in the Rye. This combination may seem strange but Salinger and Green Day go hand in hand as the voices of disaffected young men around the world.
Yertle the Turtle by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers: Who thought that a Dr. Seuss tale could turn into such a fantastic song. This song gives Yertle a whole different swagger.
I Am Ahab by Mastodon: Play this while reading the end of Melville’s Moby Dick. It adds a level of intensity to the destruction of The Pequod.

The White Rabbit By Jefferson Airplane: “One pill makes you small.” in Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This song hits many of the key characters and aspects of the novel it is based on and as an added bonus, it sounds great.

The Battle of Evermore by Led Zeppelin: I want to visit Led Zeppelin’s version of J.R.R Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Even if I had to fight Ring Wraiths, it would be well worth it. Zeppelin fans can also hear references to The Lord of the Rings books in the bands song “Ramble On.”
Just Like Romeo and Juliet by The Reflections: Not Shakespeare’s greatest play I like this song because I feel its tone misses one of the most important aspects of the lay. Though the song briefly mentions tragedy, it doesn’t state that by the end almost EVERYONE DIES.
Pet Sematary by The Ramones: Stephen King’s novel about dead pets coming back to life has a great song named after it. This song combines the powers of masters in music and horror fiction.
The Trooper by Iron Maiden: This is an Iron Maiden Classic. Based on “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson this song is an Iron Maiden fan’s bread and butter.
Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: This song has been used in practically every horror movie known to man. The title of this song is a reference to John Milton’s Paradise Lost. The phrase “red right hand,” can also be found in Cave’s “Song of Joy.