October 18, 2016
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
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."
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.
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:
also at Largehearted Boy:
Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays
100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists
Word Bookstores Books of the Week (weekly new book highlights)