Born to Run
Sung to “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
Isolated by Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.
My Sunshine Away
M. O. Walsh
Sung to “You Are My Sunshine” (traditional)
My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.
Stay with Me
Sung to “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith
Fifteen-year-olds Cece and Mack didn’t expect to fall in love. She’s a sensitive A student; he’s a high school dropout. But soon they’re spending every moment together, bonding over a rescued dog, telling their secrets, making plans for the future. Everything is perfect. Until Mack makes a horrible mistake, and suddenly the future they’d planned becomes impossible. In this stark new reality, both of them must find hope in the memories of what they had, to survive when the person they love can’t stay.
Sung to “Night Shift” by The Commodores
King’s first collection of short stories showcases the darkest depths of his brilliant imagination. Here we see mutated rats gone bad (“Graveyard Shift”); a cataclysmic virus that threatens humanity (“Night Surf,” the basis for The Stand); a possessed, evil lawnmower (“The Lawnmower Man”); unsettling children from the heartland (“Children of the Corn”); a smoker who will try anything to stop (“Quitters, Inc.”); a reclusive alcoholic who begins a gruesome transformation (“Gray Matter”); and many more shadows and visions that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.
Go Tell It on the Mountain
Sung to “Go Tell It on the Mountain” (traditional)
“Mountain,” Baldwin said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” Go Tell It on the Mountain, originally published in 1953, is Baldwin’s first major work, a novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy’s discovery one Saturday in March of 1935 of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a Pentecostal storefront church in Harlem. Baldwin’s rendering of his protagonist’s spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle toward self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.
Norwegian Wood (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Sung to “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles
Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
Recently, we found ourselves humming “Barracuda” and we wondered why that random (and awesome) song was stuck in our head. Then we noticed the copy of Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas on our shelf. Aha! So we asked some our bookish friends and colleagues if they could think of any more books with singable titles … and the suggestions came pouring in! We’ve collected books that deliberately pull their titles from famous songs (like “Go Ask Alice”) and books that evoke a mood by using a popular song as a title (like “Go Tell It On the Mountain”) and books that may have stumbled upon a song-related title completely by accident (we’ll let you guess which ones).
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