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September 10th, 2018

Soundtrack considerations

What to listen to while reading Book [X]?

I wouldn't want the music I put on to distract from whichever book I'm reading; plenty of books I can listen to with the radio playing songs, but I try to avoid that when I'm early in a book I'm reading, and trying to see what the book's tone is. Recently I started Joan D. Vinge's The Snow Queen; this afternoon I was ready to sit down to read more, but I was playing a film score that, I realized, was too aggressive for the book. I'd put on the expanded 2-CD version of Starship Troopers, by Basil Poledouris. It's, I've said before, a bonkers score for a darkly funny, satirical film. And not what I wanted to listen to while reading. So I waited to read more of the book.

The Snow Queen has a poetic feel in parts, so the first thought I had was: lush. And a good choice for that was the score Danny Elfman wrote for the 1993 film Sommersby. Good film, though it seems a little forgotten. It's a retelling of The Return of Martin Guerre, set in a small Virginia town after the Civil War. And Elfman's music is lush, lovely, and disturbing, which is what the film needed. And, it turned out, it was a good fit for The Snow Queen. At least tonight.

Next I'll read more with something else lush playing: still Elfman, this time 1995'a Dolores Claiborne, another score of his that I look back on fondly. Good film, as well, based on its own good novel.

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