Books through songs/What to read during the holidays…

All the reading lists I have encountered so far were solely dull namings of titles and their authors, which never really made me get the atmosphere of the book. Thus I thought of a different approach to try to unveil the flavour of each particular work. The approach I had in mind was to express the ideas and emotions conveyed by one type of art by means of another. In other words, I shall endeavor to uncover the roots that give birth to several works of art (which nonetheless belong to the same tree), by highlighting the connections between them.

Now please bear in mind that these connections are not intended to diminish the other qualities that the specific artworks have, but to bring to light a few emotions or ideas that I thought mingle perfectly and enhance each other.

1. Dali’s “Diary of a genius” with Pink Floyd’s movie “The wall”

Indeed, this is a highly subjective link that I made based on an all-too-instinctinctive urge to compare several types of madness. That, and the fact that even though they are completely and entirely different, they made me escape my own mind as well as conquer it simultaneously: so awe-inspiring, it hurts. As you read/watch a sense of vertigo envelops you- isn’t insanity beautiful?

2. Stefan Zweig’s “Fear”(Angst) with Clint Mansell’s “Lux Aeterna” (The theme from Requiem for a dream)

Oh my, how far your own mind can take you! Just as Lux Aeterna shifts from long bow strokes to high eighths and sixteenths, Zweig allows a woman absorbed by her tedious life to indulge in a nerve-racking type of fear so as to draw her out of the quotidian boredom. First, she takes on a lover. Then, as she unexpectedly gets blackmailed she starts living through fear, going so far as desiring her own death.

Does fear have any limits? And why do we sometimes consciously choose it? Do we need strong emotions to conquer our whole being to escape the uselessness of life?

3. Nietzsche’s “Thus spoke Zarathustra” with his composition “Eine Sylvesternacht”

Since they are by the same person it is expected for them to transmit at least one similar idea/emotion, yet I still chose to mention it because in this case thay’d really aid you in deciphering them. Nietzsche himself asserted that in order to understand his philosophy, one must also listen to his music. True or not, that is for you to discover. Yet I can’t help noticing a lot of ‘Yes saying’ and ‘Amor fati’ sprinkled all over this somewhat luminous composition, regardless of the sadness one has to face in order to get to these ideas.

4. Milan Kundera’s “Slowness” with the Muse song “Time is running out”

Kundera’s novel draws a very unsettling line between the way in which people would prolong emotions in the past, relishing everything slowly, as opposed to the era of speed and pragmatism we live in. And as the Muse song brings to consciousness how little time we actually have to live everything we’d like to, there’s also the question of how you get around the fullfillment of all these things you long for. Speedily, since you know there’s not much time, or incomplete, but everything absorbed in its entirety, consumed thoroughly?

5. Kafka’s “The Castle” with Pink Floyd’s “Wish you were here”

“And did you exchange/ A walk on part in a war/ For a lead role in a cage?”

Just as K in that mysterious village, we can feel the absurd that reality and society are filled with by inhaling Pink Floyd’s metaphors. Will K ever get to the Castle? Is it really worth it? Does it even exist, or is it a convention that society settled upon to promote a sense of ‘justice’, but after a while it became so rooted in their minds that it took an existence of its own, becoming “normality”? Is everything we believe “normal” really so, or is it just a habit passed on from generation to generation?

“Do you think you can tell?”

6. “The Stranger” by Albert Camus with Nirvana’s “Smells like teen spirit”

Because there’s an undeniable taste of the absurdity of life being emanated from both. The illusion that we carry our lives in an entirely rational manner is destroyed both by the song and the book, giving way to our absurd instincts. His mother died? Oh well, who says that he must be sad?

“And I forget just why I taste
Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile”

7. Casanova’s “The story of my life” with AC/DC’s “Highway to hell”

No, not because they all ‘sinned’. But because they truly willed everything they did in their lives. They consciously chose actions that wouldn’t be regarded as “good” by society, knowing that they’re the ones who decide what to do with their lives. One page of Casanova is enough to make you go:

“Livin’ easy
Lovin’ free
Season ticket on a one way ride”

Don’t forget that this was done purely for our entertainment, and for that reason I strived to focus on just one idea in each of these assotiations. The books and the songs have way more to offer, my point being to give you just a sample.

Can you think of any such link between several artworks of any kind that you feel transmit at least one similar vibe? A painting with a song? A book with a dance? Some opera with a movie? Let us know in the comments below!

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