Hello bibliophiles! Today, the 27th of October is a special day.
Exactly 238 years ago, a musical genius was born.
Niccolò Paganini, an Italian virtuosic violinist.
He started the violin at 7, started performing at 11 and became on of the greatest composers, having the reputation of composing the hardest and most impossible violin repertoire, which included many insane hand positions (he had an unusually wide hand span), various supersonic speed passages and a huge amount of techniques like left hand pizzicato.
His skill was unparalleled to the extent of people thinking he had made a deal with the Devil.
He was really an interesting composer with so much controversy about him… if this intrigues you, I highly recommend checking out this article.
Thus, in celebration of Paganini’s birthday, I bring to you my first book recommendation post, six books about music that will resonate with you. Not all these books are solely about music but have an important theme of music through them and they range in genres from historical fiction, to fantasy and to contemporary fiction…
These books truly did strike a chord in me and I hope some interest you! Let’s go…
1. A Thousand Perfect Notes (C.G. Drews)
genre(s): cotemporary fiction, romance
my rating: ★★★★½
A Thousand Perfect Notes tells of Beck, who is resentful and holds a deep hatred towards his whole life. His abusive mother forces him to play the piano. Every mistake warrants pain. But he doesn’t dare to stand up.
This book was truly a heartbreaker. Seeing how music became a pain for Beck when it had elements of passion was heart-rending. I loved the exploration of the meaning of music to Beck which was deeply meaningful for a musician like myself. This book also touched on themes of family love and hope despite how dark it may sound and reduced me to an ugly state of tears.
2. The Kingdom of Back (Marie Lu)
genre(s): historical fiction, fantasy
my rating: ★★★½
The Kingdom of Back is from the perspective of Nannerl, the sister of the famous Mozart (a classical composer). As a women in the 18th century in Europe, Nannerl is stripped of the opportunities her brother gets. She can’t compose, is not supposed to perform. She is equally talented but her younger brother far outshines her. That is, until a beautiful and mysterious stranger from a magical, fantastical world gives her a offer.
This book was a lot to take in. I felt injusticed by the treatment Nannerl got, I was touched by the bond between her and her brother, I was astounded by the vivid imagery of the magical realm Nannerl found solace in and my perspective was changed as I saw an overshadowed girl trying to make her mark in the world.
3. Daisy Jones & The Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid)
genre: historical fiction
my rating: ★★★
Taking a turn from classical music, Daisy Jones & The Six tells of the rise of an iconic band during the 1970s and the mystery behind the break up when they were at their peak.
Don’t let my lower rating deter you. Because the music part of this novel was just awesome. I loved learning about the dynamics in the band, witnessing how music could connect people (even enemies) and most importantly, how out characters used music as a way to express their hopes, dreams and promises… something I found really meaningful.
4. Sparrow (Sarah Moon)
genre(s): contemporary fiction
my rating: ★★★★
Sparrow is a girl who is just lonely, having trouble making friends and only able to confide in the librarian… until she is gone too. Which leads Sparrow to an attempted suicide. She is shattered, until Rock & Roll begins to seep into her life.
This book was another emotional rollercoaster, dealing with hard topics like suicide and loneliness and Sparrow’s apparent pain was so heartbreaking to read about. It was truly touching as to how music changed her life, that raw and rough music giving voice to her pain and emptiness. And infinitely hopeful as well.
5. This Savage Song (Victoria Schwab)
my rating: I haven’t read it yet!
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. (from goodreads)
I haven’t ventured into this book yet. But one look at the cover. And the fact that one of the characters can steal a soul with music, is enough to intrigue me.
6. Lovely War (Julie Berry)
genre(s): historical fiction, romance
my rating: ★★★★★
Lovely War is told from the perspective of 4 Greek Gods and follows 4 young people through a difficult time of WW2. It is so rich in themes of love, guilt, hope and of course music. (yeah, I know I talk about this too much)
We see both classical music and jazz/ragtime music in the form of piano playing and singing. It is just mesmerising how music became a way to bind people together, untie them and something of value and something like a reprieve whilst the war rages on. It is simply beautiful.
So, those are 6 books which revolve around music that I would highly recommend to anyone! You don’t need a musical background in order to appreciate them… the words will just whisk you away.