Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Literary playlist

partly cloudy, humid, temps 28

Lots of thunderstorms and heavy rain in last couple of days - we needed the rain!

I can't overstate how important music is to me when I'm writing, or planning, a book. Now, when I'm actually sitting at the laptop writing, I don't listen to music. I don't listen to anything, including, as Michael will tell you, him. Bu...t one of my favorite things to do when away from the computer, but still immersed in the story, is go for a drive and put my playlist into the CD player. Or, when I'm on a flight, I plug into my iPod, stare out the window, and clear my mind. I'm convinced the best ideas come in those moments. Music seems to open a channel, help make connections I wouldn't normally see. Music makes me a better writer than I actually am, and creates a better book than I could possibly write without it.

Each of the Gamache books has its own playlist, though some songs repeat from book to book.

When I was writing and thinking about THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY music became even more important, since the power of music is one of the themes, and indeed, one of the central mysteries. How music can inspire creativity, courage, can trigger memories, emotions. And music works on the brain - its remarkable resemblance to narcotics.

Well, music is definitely my drug of choice.

THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY is set in a remote and forgotten monastery in Quebec. A place of quite contemplation and plain chant, singing the words of God in the voice of God. And what happens when that harmony is shattered by murder.

Of course, while writing and considering the book, I listened to Gregorian Chants. The classic chants, but also some remarkable re-imagining of them. But I also listened to a lot of modern music.

If you have Spotify, click through the link ( If not, have a look at the playlist here:

*Requiem for a Tower - performed by the London Symphony - written by Clint Mansell
*The Pretender - Foo Fighters
*Fallin' - Alicia Keys
*An American Trilogy - Elvis Presley
*Ali in the Jungle - The Hours
*À distance Andrée Watters
*Crime of the Century - Supertramp
*Iam Christus - Dom Minier & La Schola - Splendour (monks of St-Benoit-du-Lac, Quebec - an updating of traditional Gregorian Chants)
*An American Theme - Irish Film Orchestra - Long Journey Home
*Love the Way You Lie - Eminem
*Not Afraid - Eminem
*PAX - Gregorian Chants on the Theme of Peace - Monks of St-Benoit-du-Lac
*Chant - The Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos
*Someone Like You – Adele

since Spotify is not available all over the world, the wonderful Lauren at Minotaur Books in the US (with St Martin's Press) has made a playlist on YouTube - you can try that. Here's that link...

What music transports you? I'd love to hear about your favorite pieces of music.


Laura Fry said...

Your choices in music is pretty eclectic. :) I listen to music while I weave - it is the wind beneath my wings.

Linda said...

Wow! That's quite the playlist! I have to admit, some of the pieces didn't touch me at all, but some were so moving, especially Adele's "Someone like you". I cannot imagine a world without music - it is a part of us. I love how you always challenge us, Louise. A couple of my favorite pieces that move me to tears every time I hear them - k.d. lang singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". So, so powerful. And I always feel uplifted when I listen to Chopin's Polonaise Op. 53 in A flat major.
Thank you.

A Novel Woman said...

I like Hildegard Von Bingen for setting a mood, also Ralph Vaughn Williams like The Lark Ascending or Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. I also love Charles Trenet Boum! 1938 if I'm baking something. Makes me inexplicably chipper!

Anonymous said...

Queen of Hearts....

The Archies, SugarSugar
The Stories, Brother Louie
Vivaldi, Four Seasons
Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey
Sly and Family Stone, If you Want me to Stay
Marilyn Manson, Dope Show (or Elvis' Suspicious Minds, In the Ghetto)
Everlast, What it's Like
Ratatouille, Soundtrack
Karen Carpenter, Superstar
Electric Light Orchestra, Livin' Thing
Eminem, Stan
Stevie and Lindsey, Silver Springs
Stevie and Lindsey, Gold Dust Woman
(oh for heaven's sake, RUMOURS!)
..and not to forget a touchstone temple: Glen Campbell, Wichita Lineman (..I hear you singin' in the wire..and I want you for all time..and the Wichita still on the line..) --In there, each time is like the first time with the doom-and-soar, the wrench-and-bleed, the sweet surrender(Bread?) to someone else's "way it is.." (..maybe I'm beat..but oh what a sweet surrender..)
thanks for this, Ms. Penny

Anonymous said...

Queen of Hearts,

Oops, one big-fat Oops:
John Fred and His Playboy Band, Judy in could I forget?? ("lemonade pie with a brand new car..")
How could I forget..

Elizabeth Cox said...

I love variety. One minute, I'm listening to Beethoven, then the next it's Within Temptation. Rap is the only music I won't listen too.

VT Slajer said...

Just to mention one item: Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde - namely, for starters, the Ouverture and the final Isolde's aria Mild und leise.

I now have to admit that I would put those on during a "critical moment" when reading the most exciting passages of your books to enhance privately the dramatic effect. And I got the result, making me pour a glass of double scotch, but I digress...

Now I am awaiting the shipment of A Trick of the Light.

Have a great summer!

Anonymous said...

Very nice Louise. Always good to hear what you are up to. What I like is your open-ness.
Anyways, what I wanted to say is that we havve a place near Pinnacle and live in Ville St Pierre. My girlfriend is French, from France and I have bought her all your books in that language. However, She wanted to enter a photo, but from what I have discovered one has to be a member of Facebook, something neither of us are willing to do, for many reasons.

As well, last week my conjoint was reading a book by Auguste Le Breton, Riffifi a Montreal. Perhaps it is the translator, but she mentioned that there were a lot of similarities in expression, idiom and word usage. Forgive me if I repeat things.

I have yet to come to your books. However, I will soon. As someone said to me a long time ago, it is better to live either right in the country or in the big city because small towns can be claustrophobic. My girlfriend assures me that you address this situation in your books and I replied that perhaps you gain release from the celebrity through the writing. Discipline will make one free.

Have a good day and thanks again got the open-ness.


Susan Milton said...

Have you heard the soundtrack from the movie "Rudy"? It soothes, inspires and energizes.

David Kenny said...

Does your cell phone have new ringtones?
Your ringtones are old and boring. Ringtones are not good. I will introduce you to high quality and famous ringtones that you can install easily without wasting time. Here are the ringtones you can refer and install:
Free ringtones for people around the world. Leave a comment for my post to improve better. Visit the home page below for more ringtones: ringtonesmobile