Re: RARA-AVIS: Washington writers

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 02 Dec 2001

Mark B wrote:

"I'm presently into the third of George's books so I've been able to overcome my annoyance at all the music. I even knew one of the songs recently. If you don't, the music references are not going to mean anything and be annoying. Realistically, why don't people people in a book that is usually set in a short time period listen to the same song occasionally?"

I was thinking a bit today about the use of music in books. My unexamined impression had been that it is the equivalent of a movie soundtrack. However, once I thought about it, I realized that they are two different things. For instance, is it the same thing to say a stripper is grinding to a heavy funk tune as to say she is stripping to
"Cosmic Slop"? A movie viewer can get something from a song whether or not they have ever heard it before, but the same doesn't really apply to a book. If you don't know the Funkadelic song, you have little idea what it sounds like from the title, alone. Maybe the answer is to offer both the title and a description, "the steady electronic bass beat of Parliament's 'Flashlight,'" or something like that. Of course, then I wouldn't get to feel like such a know-it-all for recognizing all of the tunes.

I'm not the first to mention the real solution -- these books should be crossmarketed with accompanying CDs. Wasn't there a blues CD to go along with Vachss's "Safe House." And [S]Affiliated was supposed to issue CDs wrapped with books of the same size. As far as I can tell, though, only one of these came out, the awful "Street Sweeper." The far better "dark," by Kenji Jasper, was [S]Afilliated, but no CD and it was normal trade paperback size.


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