I’ve spent the majority of my summer reading. Everything from Hemingway to Franzen, my days have been eaten up by prose and frankly I wouldn’t want it any other way. While music has consumed the bulk of my adult life, my adoration of books has and always will reign supreme. It started simply enough as a child: there was the thrill of reading under the covers with a flashlight, the secrecy of passing along favorite books to friends with notes written between the lines. As I grew the love festered; my shelves became fuller with each passing year, I argued with fellow students on the importance of the oxford comma, and I consumed everything little thing I could get my hands on.
Then college came. Throwing myself into a number of literature and writing classes I soon found my love dwindling to near nothing. Yes, there were books. Good books. Great books, in fact. It was in college that I found Lorri Moore’s “Self-Help.” It was in college that I found prose in the most uncommon of forms thanks to books like “Bluets” and “Autobiography of Red.” But the consumption wasn’t nearly as sweet. There was a rush to it. A “move on to the next one” mentality. However, since finishing school in December I’ve gone back to my bookworm ways; one of the first things I did upon completing school was get a Chicago Public Library card. And use that card I did.
Now as I a take a quick break from reading Haruiki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore” I realize how thankful I am to be a book nerd. We’re a special breed, us coffee drinking library dwellers. When someone comments on a book I’m reading I take it as a higher compliment than “you look fabulous today” and you know why? Because I instantly take it as having something in common with this complete stranger. Knowing that they, like I, have read this book and that at some point they too had staggering emotions about certain parts.
This is where books and music connect. The lyrical content, the prose that finds itself nestled in-between the lines, the ability to break hearts and build them back up again. Writing in and of itself is something rather astonishing. Think about it: words on a pages creating new worlds to explore, new characters to love and hate. How can something so powerful be so foreign to so many people? What sort of imagination to they have, those which choose not to read?
Here’s ten tracks to help that vivid imagination.