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October 18, 2016

Book Notes - Diana Wagman "Extraordinary October"

Extraordinary October

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Diana Wagman brings her estimable skills to her fascinating YA debut Extraordinary October.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"In an auspicious debut for teens, adult author Wagman proves particularly adept at mixing genres and maintains a terrific balance between fantastical (and occasional macabre) happenings and genuine teen perceptions."

In her own words, here is Diana Wagman's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Extraordinary October:

I was thinking about this playlist and I realized I am not much of a music nerd. I mean—I love music. I often have it on while I'm cooking or cleaning or driving or exercising (not writing or reading) but I listen to whatever's on the radio or the same CDs over and over. Accordion music mostly. I knew people in college who prided themselves on knowing which drummer played on which track and who produced a particular version. I never know what's on the flipside. I don't usually choose what I listen to – I absorb.

October, my main character in Extraordinary October, would be like me. She has eclectic taste and she doesn't worry about what's popular—or not liking something that is. She likes what she likes. This is a book for young people, a coming of age story, and she goes through an emotional journey during its course, so rather than tag a song to a character, I put together a soundtrack for her journey.

At first she thinks she's nobody, nothing special, average in every way. She's a loner. She has no real friends. It's fine. She's looking forward to graduating from high school and getting the hell out of Dodge.

"You and I" Local Natives, from Hummingbird

She has a terrible itch. Feels weird all over. Her dad is being hypnotized by a woman who literally gives October a rash. There are two new guys suddenly wanting her attention and she's never had anybody interested before. One of them makes her tingle.

"Can't Feel My Face" The Weeknd, from Beauty Behind the Madness

Things get weird. She is changing and it's hard to trust anything. She's confused, worried, even scared. But then she finds a kind of freedom in that. She sees things she's never seen before and tries things she's never done before.

Arabesque No. 1, Debussy

She gets in a car with a girl named for a mushroom, Enoki, and leaps out at breakneck speed. She is finding her strength – even if she is scared to death.

"Reichpop" Wild Nothing, from Life of Pause

She ends up in a club, a strange club with pastel-colored dancers in cages.

"Up Up Up" The Givers, from In Light

She discovers she has a friend, a real friend, Luisa. Luisa cares about her and she cares about Luisa and her boyfriend, Jed.

"Love Me Like you Use To" Class Actress, from Rapprocher

She's worried her mom is dead and her father will never be the same:

"Mania" Keenan O'Meara, from Awful Creature EP

She gives up everything to make her family and friends safe again. But it doesn't work out exactly as she planned.

"We Have A Map of the Piano" mum, from Finally We Are No One

She lets the guy she really likes go. He's small minded, old-fashioned, intolerant, but also sweet and considerate and brave. She's never loved anyone before and it isn't easy, but she does the right thing and leaves him behind.

"All The Pretty Girls" Kaleo, from All The Pretty Girls

At the end – she finds where she belongs and that she isn't nobody. She is extraordinary – just like all of us.

"Home" Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Heroes, from Up From Below

If you listen carefully to "Home," you'll hear the accordion!

And just FYI, here's the link to the book's teaser. My daughter composed and performed the music. Very October-esque.

Diana Wagman and Extraordinary October links:

the author's website
video trailer for the book

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

BookCulture interview with the author
Largehearted Boy Book Notes playlist by the author for The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets
Lisa Loves Literature interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

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