Book Tag: The Piano Playlist

Title in white on book pages

I was tagged in this by Emma (Turn Another Page), and as someone who loves classical music (I basically listen to classical and movie scores), it’s the perfect tag for me! it was created by Moi (Bookish Blunders). For more info on the tag, click here.

Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata

A book you read that had an unexpected twist near the end

Anyone who hasn’t listened to this piece all the way through really should (youtube link here). It’s the sort of piece that most people probably recognise the very calm start, but is less likely to know the ending.

I’m usually pretty good at spotting upcoming twists in books. I think I’ve just read so many that I expect there to be one, and so am looking for the clues (there needs to be clues in the build up or it’s not satisfying, in my opinion). I love twisty political books, where the plot is constantly shifting, but I expect there to be big changes, and I’m taking this tag to mean something that was utterly out of the blue. (Does my stalling for an answer tell you how hard this one is to answer, and I’m only on question 1!?)

Book cover for THE SILENCE OF THE BONES; title in white above a panting of a face all int blue/green

One of the revelations in THE SILENCE OF BONES, by June Hur, near the end was a pretty big surprise. Obviously, it would be a big spoiler to explain what it was and why it surprised me! Maybe others spotted it and I’ll kick myself on a re-read, but I wasn’t expecting it because of the tone of the book.

It was a book that constantly surprised me with where it was going, and the rather grim tone that was achingly melancholy at the same time. Yes, the twist did suit the book perfectly, and did match the tone, but I thought if the book dealt with that thread, it would be too hopeful for the book.

Lizst: La Campanella

A book that you couldn't even finish

La Campanella has a reputation for being really hard to play – sounds lovely and eerie to start with, then gets pretty frenetic before suddenly ending, but the notes are in pretty horrible intervals to play. Lots of people five up on it! (Youtube link here)

I am not very good at DNF’ing books – I am the sort of person who likes the closure of getting to the end of a book, and I read so fast that I usually know I can push through the books relatively fast. I had to go into my spreadsheet to find a recent DNF, but I probably should have DNF’d more books than I have.

Book cover for LIGHTBRINGER: title between crossed gold and red swords and flames on white

LIGHTBRINGER, by Claire Legrand, is the final instalment in her Empirium trilogy. I fought my way through reading the first two books, and then gave up on my eARC of the final book. It’s just… I don’t like the characters, and the “twists” of the previous book made no sense at all, which meant I was starting off on a very confused foot.

Then there was an issue of the POVs not being linked enough for me – I like them to be integral to each other, otherwise I simply don’t care about any not linked to whoever I consider “the lead” – and when you hate both POVs… it gets tricky.

Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumblebee

A book that was crazy and chaotic that you couldn't even figure out what was happening

A piece everyone probably knows, it really does sound like a bumblebee! (Youtube link here).

My gut reaction was the same as Emma’s – ILLUMINAE, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman, (except I didn’t really like them because they were too chaotic), but in the interest of not pinching her ideas, I’ve picked something else.

Book cover for CITY OF THE UNCOMMON THIEF: title in yellow on greyscale images of animals with bones

CITY OF THE UNCOMMON THIEF, by Lynne Bertrand, is a book where I just could not follow what was going on. The synopsis was unclear, the main character was not who I was expecting, and then the character the synopsis seemed to say was dead/on the run was… not for ages, just popping up randomly. Except he was supposed to actually be on the run the whole time?

The narrator, Odd, had no depth as he seemed to exist purely as a storytelling vessel for the actual main character Errol. What did he want? What were his motivations? What did he look like? There was nothing to connect me to the narrator.

Motzart: Rondo Alla Turca

A book that is so over-recommended that everyone and their grandma has read it (and is still good).

You might not recognise the name of this piece, but if you listen to it (youtube link here), you will roll your eyes at the tune because it’s one of those pieces you hear everywhere (and is on the sample of every digital piano)

I read very little in common with my mother or Nana or Grandma, so I’m not sure how literally I can take this prompt! My brain is rather stalling here, as I rarely read “general fiction” (what is probably the widest read), and when I do, I miss magic.

THE SONG OF ACHILLES, by Madeline Miller, is one of the rare “general fiction” books that I’ve read and loved. Given it’s a prize-winner, a lot of people have probably also read it! My family haven’t actually read this one (though my mum did read, and like, CIRCE. Haven’t tried her on this one and might not.)

This book reimagines the Trojan War through the eyes of Achilles’ companion Patroclus. I read maybe a year after reading Homer’s Iliad, and it was fun to see a reimagining of that (minus the LONG lists of how many ships and how many spears on each one!)

Beethoven: Für Elise

A book that has been one of your favourites for ages.

Another piece you will know! I admit to being a bit sick of this piece (youtube link here) as both my sister and a friend at school were learning it about the same time and playing it incessantly.

THE PAIN MERCHANTS, by Janice Hardy, is the first book in the Healing Wars trilogy, a book series I’ve loved for the decade or so it’s been published, coming back to it time and time again.

I think I can trace my love of political fantasy back to this Middle Grade series (now out of print, boo hoo). It’s not a prominent aspect of the books, but you can certainly see the threads underpinning the struggle for power and control over healers and the metal that can absorb or release pain. It’s a well written, fast paced story of family, loyalty, and the need to survive a world that wants to exploit you.

Chopin: Fantaisie-Impromptu

A book that is high up on your to-be-read list

A piece I can’t recall hearing before, but I doubtless have (hi long journeys in the car listening to Classic FM!) (youtube link here)

My TBR is enormous, and ever growing. I have a pile of books that I’ve been trying to read for a year, but I’ve consistently ended up in the wrong city due to lockdown. Instead of rehashing one of those books, what about a book that’s on my TBR but is under “I cannot read yet”?

I can’t read books that are too similar to what I’m writing while I draft. In edits, sure, but not when I have to get the first words down. Which means I have acquired quite the pile of Shakespeare and British Medieval History inspired books over the last few months.

Book cover for LADY HOTSPUR: title in red on white above a hand holding a crown

One of those books is LADY HOTSPUR, by Tessa Gratton. I didn’t really like her other Shakespeare retelling (THE QUEENS OF INNIS LEAR, a King Lear retelling as you might have guessed) at all. However, this is retelling of probably my favourite Shakespeare play (Henry IV Part One). Which, unfortunately, is a play that inspires the third book in the series I am currently drafting the first book of.

I don’t want to read anything linked to the Henriad right now even if this retelling is very, very different (f/f, genderbent, in a secondary world) to mine. Still, it can be a reward for getting to the end of my draft!

Beethoven: Sonata No.17 “Tempest” Third Movement

A book that you love but isn't that well known

I do actually know this piece! But that’s because I am writing a Tempest retelling with a friend, so I naturally listened to all the pieces of classical music inspired by the play! (Youtube link here)

A recent read I loved that clearly wasn’t well known based on the number of ratings on Goodreads is THE TESLA LEGACY, by K. K. Perez. It’s such a pity as I loved it and I want another book – the ending left so much space for there to be a sequel – but if a book doesn’t perform well, there won’t be another.

This is a modern day sci-fi set in New York about a girl who discovers she has electric powers, and is drawn into an age-old struggle between two alchemical factions who want to control her abilities – or kill her. Plus it has a focus on real science too!

Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

A book that is extremely long, but you still like it

Another one you will probably know, and my goodness, it is so long. OK, I have actually sat through longer things, but this one just feels so long. (Youtube link here) I was listening to it as I wrote this, and every time I thought it had ended, oh no, they launched into a new bit of it!

Again, the instinctive answer here is THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE, by Samantha Shannon, but Emma already said that.

Book cover for THE MASK OF MIRRORS: title in white below person in elaborate blue and gold mask

Instead, have THE MASK OF MIRRORS, by M. A. Carrick. This chonker of a new release is the first in a political fantasy trilogy set in a world of deception and nobles in a ruling council. No monarchy, which sets it apart, but there is a hereditary nature to the council seats. The world is somewhat Venetian feel in terms of city on water, but the language and names doesn’t feel Italian at all.

This book is big (over 600 pages), and being political fantasy is a slower pace than typical in fantasy. I loved the rich world building and the twisty story, and more pages meant I could really immerse myself in it. I’m looking forwards to the next already!

Debussy: Clair de Lune

A book that was wonderful from start to finish

The interesting thing about this tag is learning other people’s music tastes! This is one that I think is rather overrated, but it’s quite slow and melancholy, which is not a musical style I’m particularly fond of. (Youtube link here) To be honest, I’m more fond of big orchestral pieces, where there are a LOT of instruments!

Book cover for THE HIGHLAND FALCON THIEF: a red steam engine with two kids hanging off the side

When I think of “delightful” book, I usually think of MG. They’re much lighter and usually so full of whimsy. If I need something easy that’s pretty much garenteed to pick me up, I head for that age range.

THE HIGHLAND FALCON THIEF, by M. G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, is one such book. The first in the Adventures on Trains series, it is about a boy (Harrison) and his uncle (Nat), and the many train journeys they go on that also just so happen to involve a mystery to solve. Think Murder on the Orient Express, but for children, and with illustrations as Harrison draws to help him think (and map out the crime scene.)

I am scrolling up to the top and proof-reading, and sorry it’s so long! I am tagging anyone who wants to join in. What pieces of classical music do you love?

2 thoughts on “Book Tag: The Piano Playlist

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