It’s World Book Day! To celebrate, we’ve compiled a playlist for this month which is entirely made up of songs which have works of literature as their main inspiration.
Have a listen to the playlist and see if you can guess the books that go with the songs. Feel free to make your guesses in the comments below. Then, after you’ve made your guesses (no cheating) for each song, head over to our Blog to get the full backstory (link) We’ll tell you more about the books behind the songs, give you the clues hidden in the lyrics, and if you’re looking for something to read, we’ll be telling you a little bit about each book, so that you can decide which one to dive in to next. Not a big fan of reading? No problem. The playlist can be enjoyed without knowing all the details and we think you’ll love it all the same.
The Artist and Song: Troye Sivan – The Fault in Our Stars
Any clues in the Song? The song title says it all on this one.
The Inspiration: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – If you’ve not heard of the Young Adult novel which this song is named after, you might want to brace yourself before delving in to it. Hazel Grace has terminal cancer. Her mother insists she needs to get out of the house and mix with people, so Hazel attends a Cancer Support Group. There she meets Augustus Waters and they fall in love. A heart wrenching tale of life and love in the shadows of sickness.
The Artist and Song: Kate Bush– Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Any clues in the Song? Again, it’s all in the title. No clues necessary with this one.
The Inspiration: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë - Wuthering Heights is a wild and passionate story of the powerful and self-destructive relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff. Brontë’s bold decisions in her characterisation of Cathy and Heathcliff are what grip the reader throughout the stormy conditions on the moor which mirror the tempestuous nature of their relationship.
The Artist and Song: Relient K – In Like a Lion (Always Winter)
Any clues in the Song? ‘It’s always winter, but never Christmas. It seems this curse just can’t be lifted. Yet in the midst of all this ice and snow, our hearts stay warm cause they are filled with hope.’
The Inspiration: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis – Evacuated from London during World War II Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy discover the land of Narnia when they pass through the back of a wardrobe. The arrival of the children seems to fulfil an old prophecy which sees the four destined to overthrow the curse of an evil witch which has plunged Narnia into 100 years of it being "always winter, but never Christmas". The children are soon adventuring to both save Narnia and their lives.
The Artist and Song: Ender Will Save Us All – Dashboard Confessional
Any clues in the Song? It’s all in the name on this one. Lead singer Chris Carrabba was a firm fan of this series of novels, which inspired a 2013 movie featuring Harrison Ford.
The Inspiration: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card– A 1985 science fiction novel which sees mankind pitted against an alien race bent on the total annihilation of our race. The survival of all humans, and the planet, fall squarely on the shoulders of a group of children being trained at the command school, including Ender Wiggin. Ender’s innovative tactical planning in the training and the battle simulations, put him ahead of the pack.
The Artist and Song: Grace Potter and The Nocturnals (Originally recorded by Jefferson Airplane.) – White Rabbit
Any clues in the Song? ‘And if you go chasing rabbits. And you know you’re going to fall. Tell ‘em a hookah smoking caterpillar has given you the call. Call Alice.’
The Inspiration: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking- Glass by Lewis Carroll – Alice is sleepily sitting on the riverbank with her sister, when she suddenly spots a white rabbit. A clothed one. One that’s running late. She follows this curious creature down the rabbit-hole into a world where things can make you grow and shrink, a Cheshire cat’s grin can be seen independently of the cat, and the stealing of tarts is taken very seriously indeed
The Artist and Song: China in Your Hand – T’Pau
Any clues in the Song? (A direct quote from the novel about the main character and his dreams) ‘Don't push too hard, your dreams are china in your hand.’
The Inspiration: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley– Arguably one of the earliest examples of the science fiction genre, and certainly one of the most well recognised. That guy you’re picturing with the green skin and the bolts in his neck. He’s not Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein is the creator of the monster and this is a story of broken dreams, betrayal, shame, revenge and the very human desire to be loved.
The Artist and Song: Dustbowl Dance – Mumford and Sons
Any clues in the Song? ‘There was no one in the town and no one in the field. This dusty barren land had given all it could yield.’
The Inspiration: The Grapes of Wrath by Tom Steinbeck – Set during the Great Depression, the Joad family are forced to search for work when the dust storms, known as the Dust Bowl, destroy their crops. With no income, they lose their home and are forced to join the swathes of people lured towards California on the back of promises of readily available and well paid work. It almost seems too good to be true. The Joads have a long journey ahead of them where they learn what they must do in order to survive and what others will do to you, when they know that you have nothing left.
The Artist and Song: Howl– Florence and the Machine
Any clues in the Song? ‘If you could only see the beast you’ve made of me, I’ve held it in, but now it seems you’ve set it running free. Screaming in the dark, I howl when we’re apart, drag my teeth across your chest to taste your beating heart.’
The Inspiration: The Gothic Horror Genre – vampires, werewolves, fainting heroines, castles, madness, and blood. These are the things that spring to mind when I think of all things Gothic Horror. Sinister and mysterious chills, rather than in your face frights. It’s only when you try to put the book down, that you realise that its hold has become vice-tight.
The Artist and Song: The Invisible Man – Queen
Any clues in the Song? It’s all in the name on this one.
The Inspiration: The Invisible Man by H.G.Wells – A classic cautionary tale in the importance of being careful what you wish for. Having discovered a way to make himself invisible, the scientist Griffin, soon finds that the difficulties of being invisible far outweigh anything he could gain from the position and in his desperation to discover a way to reverse the procedure, he struggles to maintain a grip on his humanity.
The Artist and Song: Alt-J – Breezeblocks
Any clues in the Song? ‘Please don’t go, I’ll eat you whole I love you so, I love you so, I love you so.’
The Inspiration: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – A fantastic childhood tale of retreating into the realm of your own imagination when the real world just isn’t recognising your very real importance. Mischievous Max is sent to bed without any supper, but what he ends up with instead is a crown and a bunch of unusual new friends. The 2009 film version is a must!
The Artist and Song: Ed Sheeran– I See Fire
Any clues in the Song? ‘Oh misty eye of the mountain below. Keep careful watch of my brothers’ souls. And should the sky be filled with fire and smoke, keep watching over Durin’s sons.’
The Inspiration: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (but the song owes its real inspiration to the movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug directed by Peter Jackson) – Follow the journey of Bilbo Baggins, the dwarves and Gandalf the Grey as they endeavour to reclaim Erebor from the dragon, Smaug. The movie lasts about 2 and half hours. Purists will recommend the book instead, but I say ‘Why not both?’