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Meghan Ball

Five Amazing New Novels That Deserve Their Own Soundtrack

We are three months into 2020 and the world might seem pretty bleak at the moment, with spring still a couple weeks away in the Northern Hemisphere… Good thing your friendly neighborhood book DJ is back again to highlight five more amazing books that deserve equally amazing soundtracks.

There is nothing quite as soothing to the soul as good music paired with good literature, and this season has been an embarrassment of riches where great new books are concerned. Each one is more dazzling and inventive than the last and you are sure to lose a few hours of sleep if you make the mistake of starting these books before bedtime. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) There’s something for everyone here, everything from hair-raising cosmic horror to vigilante librarians and more!

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Series: Five Books About…

Five SFF Books That Demand a Soundtrack

There are two main obsessions in my life: books and music. You can usually find me hunched over a book with a pair of headphones slapped securely over my ears. Both obsessions have lead me to wonderful things; I am an avid writer and a truly abysmal guitar player. They’ve also started to mix together in my weird, wormy brain. Books have begun to take on soundtracks of their own as I read them. Words become notes and chords, narrative themes become bands, and soon I can’t read a certain book without having to pair it with an album or playlist, like pairing wine with a specific dish.

Some books come preloaded with music in their pages. Grady Hendrix’s excellent ode to metal, We Sold Our Souls, is all Black Sabbath and Slayer and Metallica. Catherynne M. Valente’s hilarious Space Opera is the very best of glam rock like David Bowie and T. Rex and the glittery disco-pop of ABBA. Science fiction and fantasy books specifically about music are relatively rare, though—it’s hard to distill a purely auditory experience into book form unless you’re actually writing about rock stars or the music business. And yet, some books still demand their own playlists, turning my brain into a Spotify algorithm gone rogue. Some books crackle with the same jangly energy as the Rolling Stones or have the same brittle pop charm as Taylor Swift. Some books dance or mosh or stage dive. Some books are a solo guitar and the reek of bad whiskey and cigarettes, while others thrum with the lyrical rush of a perfectly delivered rap battle victory.

Here is a small sampling of some recent books that, in my mind, evoke particular bands and music genres…

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Series: Five Books About…

Good Omens, Part 9: It’s the End of the World as We Know It, And I Feel Fine

Here we are. The final battle. It all comes down to this. Welcome, my friends, to the end of the world. It’s been my absolute pleasure to be your guide, the Virgil to your Dante, for the last few weeks as we traveled the winding roads of Good Omens that have led us up to this point. This is where it all goes down. It’s finally time to see which side wins. Are you ready? Here we go…

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Series: Good Omens Reread

Good Omens, Part One: The Very First Dark and Stormy Night

Hello friends, and welcome to the end of the world! My name is Meghan and it is my utmost pleasure and privilege to reread Good Omens with you. Written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens is a delight of a novel and has been a fan favorite for decades. It will soon be a six-part series airing on Amazon Prime in 2019. To prepare for that momentous occasion, we’ll be reading the book together over the next ten weeks and discussing what makes it so wonderful.

Without any further ado, let’s get started. This week’s discussion covers the first 35 pages of the novel (going by the 2006 paperback edition published by William Morrow).

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Series: Good Omens Reread

Introducing the Good Omens Reread!

At its heart, Good Omens is a story about friendship.

I mean, yes, it’s also about the end of the world, but mostly it’s about friendship. It’s about the friendship between an angel and a demon, between a young boy and his best friends, and it’s about the friendship between the authors themselves. None of this—the beloved novel, the fandom that embraced it for almost three decades, the highly anticipated television adaptation—would exist without friendship.

In the impressive new trailer for the six-part Good Omens serial, Aziraphale shouts that he isn’t friends with Crowley, which they both know is a lie. They’ve known each other since the very beginning of everything. After awhile, it’s nice to see the same face every few centuries. They may not have that problem anymore, though: the end of the world is coming, and they only have one week to stop it.

Welcome to Good Omens.

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Series: Good Omens Reread

It’s Time to Get Very Excited About Good Omens

Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s classic book about the Antichrist and Armageddon, is finally getting the TV treatment it always deserved. Fans have been begging for decades for this favorite novel to make its way onto our screens. Fancasts have been going around for years on Twitter, Tumblr, and even LiveJournal (that’s how long people have wanted this! It’s practically archaeological!).

For years the biggest names from British TV and film have been thrown around on various fan lists, and now I’m happy to say the real cast of the upcoming six-part series lives up to even the most exacting fan’s standards. Just based on the cast alone, Good Omens is already shaping up to be an incredible show. When you combine some of the best actors from every important genre show in the past ten years, how could it not be?

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Why the Animorphs Are Overdue for a Revival

The first thing that always caught your eye were the covers. They stood completely apart from the fantasy-heavy YA books of the time. Each cover was like a magnet, drawing you across a school gymnasium during the yearly Scholastic Book Fair or leaving you staring slack-jawed in awe at the display in a bookstore window. The first one stands out in my memory, in particular: a boy looks out from the cover, utterly plain and ordinary in every way—except that he was slowly changing into a lizard through the magic of the finest rudimentary photoshop that 1996 had to offer. It was a startling revelation of a cover, fueling young imaginations for years to come.

There was absolutely nothing like K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs series back in the late ’90s and there may never be another series like it again. So why has it been largely forgotten?

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Tamora Pierce Writes Fantasy That Changes Lives

Tamora Pierce should be a household name. We should all be crowded around our TVs every Saturday night watching The Song of the Lioness show on HBO. Her works should be considered a cultural touchstone that inspire generations. Prog rock bands should be creating epic concept albums based on her stories. There should be Funko Pops of Alanna of Trebond, Numair Salmalín, and Keladry of Mindelan.

But there aren’t. (At least, not yet.)

[There are times I wonder if I made her up…]

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