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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

April Book of the Month

Books+through+music.+Comparing+novels+that+must+be+read+in+school+to+popular+and+well+known+songs.+
Made in Canva by Madison Aboud
Books through music. Comparing novels that must be read in school to popular and well known songs.

For this Book of the Month, I have decided I am going to try something new. Along with being a massive bookworm, I also have always had a major love of music of all genres. I decided to attempt to connect the two through this article.

Here’s the plan: I am going to talk about some books, pair them with songs I believe best fit the vibe of the story, characters and plot. However, here is the twist. All the books I will be talking about will be books I have had to read for school. Let’s get into it!

“Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare: 

Yes, the quintessential story of the star crossed lovers is the first on my list. Truthfully, I could’ve used a song from the movie soundtrack but that felt like cheating, so I refrained. After much thought, I decided to go with the song “Somewhere” from the movie musical “West Side Story.” 

Although any song from “West Side Story” could be used due to it being based on “Romeo and Juliet,” the reason I chose “Somewhere” was for one simple lyric, “There’s a place for us. A time and place for us.” What could better describe the tale of lovers who were never meant to be? 

Personally, I didn’t enjoy “Romeo and Juliet”; however, I can deeply respect the impact it has had on literature, pop culture and society. “Somewhere” represents that even when it feels hopeless, someday, sometime, somewhere, we will find the person we are meant to find who will lead us to the happiness and fulfillment we long for. 

“Romeo and Juliet” rating: ⭐⭐

“Somewhere” song rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

“The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu: 

This short story is one of the most impactful and emotional stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  Between the traits of the characters and the family dynamics displayed as the plot unfolds, the story affected me more than I ever anticipated. 

For this one, I wanted to find a song that represented emotional and familial conflicts shown throughout this story. “The Paper Menagerie” covers many difficult topics, but the main theme is that the main character has a strained relationship with his mother because of societal expectations placed on him and his family due to their ethnicity. 

The song I chose is “Family Line” by Conan Gray. Along with being a personal favorite song of mine, some of the lyrics in this piece just connect perfectly to the story of “The Paper Menagerie.” Some of those lyrics include: “She took the punches, but she never fought,” as well as, “I say they’re just the ones that gave me life” and “All of my past, I tried to erase it, but now I see, would I even change it?” 

Overall, “The Paper Menagerie” is one of my favorite short stories that I’ve ever read, not just in terms of school. 

“The Paper Menagerie” rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Family Line” rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald: 

I’ve mentioned this book before in a Book of the Month, but “The Great Gatsby”  is one of my all time favorite books. I knew from the moment we started reading it in English class that it would become a book with a lot of meaning for me. 

Like “Romeo and Juliet,” I could’ve used one of the songs from the movie (“Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Ray), but I decided to dive a little deeper. After much contemplation and a lot of music listening, I came to my conclusion. 

“Happiness” by Taylor Swift is the perfect song to describe the story, but more importantly, the characters of “The Great Gatsby.” A personal favorite album and a favorite book go perfectly.  

I choose “Happiness” because it perfectly reflects the emotions and the inner turmoil that our main characters, Daisy and Gatsby, face over the course of the story. It shines particularly well with the lyric, “There’ll be happiness after you, but there was happiness because of you,” along with the lyrics “Haunted by the look in my eyes that would’ve loved you for a lifetime” and “No one teaches you what to do, when a good man hurts you and you know you hurt him too.”

However, the major reason I chose this song for “The Great Gatsby” is because “Happiness” makes direct reference to the novel, with the lyrics, “I hope she’ll be a beautiful fool” and “All you want from me now if the green light of forgiveness.” 

Truthfully, I could talk for hours about my love of “The Great Gatsby,” but there is still one more play I want to talk about before I wrap up this Book of the Month. 

“The Great Gatsby” rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Happiness” rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

“The Crucible” by Arthur Miller: 

I just recently read “The Crucible”, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. 

The story is centered around the Salem witch trials, a metaphor for McCarthyism prominent in American society at the time the play was written.   

This was the story I found hardest to compare to a song. I wanted a song that fit the emotion and hysteria that the characters within the novel were feeling while also representing the relations between our main characters, John and Elizabeth Proctor. 

In the end, the song I decided to go with was “Me and the Devil” by Soap&Skin. I’ve known about this song for a while, and I always enjoyed listening to it. It wasn’t until I looked at the lyrics for the purpose of connecting it to “The Crucible” I discovered how perfectly it fit the bill. 

Aside from the obvious (witches and the Devil), the lyrics hold a deeper connection to “The Crucible.” Some of the major lyrics that stuck out to me were, “And I said hello Satan, ah

I believe it is time to go,” along with, “Me and the devil walkin’ side by side.” 

Although the song is repetitive, that is exactly what makes it stick out to me as the best representation of “The Crucible.” The story and the history of the Salem witch trials, though they haven’t occurred again since, repeat in the sense of public hysteria and corruption. “Me and the Devil” encompasses these ideas flawlessly. 

Reading books for school isn’t always fun, or engaging. Sometimes, it can be incredibly boring. However, with a little bit of music mixed in, any experience can be made worthwhile. 

“The Crucible” rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Me and the Devil” rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

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About the Contributor
Madison Aboud
Madison Aboud, Associate Editor
My name is Madison Aboud and I am a sophomore at AAHS. This is my second year on Mountain Echo staff and my first year as an Associate Editor. In Jr. high, I was a reporter on the AAJHS Livewire. In my free time, you can find me reading or singing along to my favorite show-tunes. I’ve always had a passion for writing. My ultimate goal after high school is to become a professional journalist. Outside of Mountain Echo, I am in band, chorus, vocal ensemble, student council and Friends of Rachel. I strive to make sure students of AAHS are finding out everything they need to know within a timely manner. I can’t wait for another great year! 

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