Thursday, June 30, 2011

Musical Novels

There's been much ado lately about technology boosting book sales, or rather story sales. Kindles, Sony Readers, iPads, and other electronic forms of experiencing literature are reacquainting a new generation of dumb-dumbs to the printed, or rather transmitted word. People like shiny bells and whistles. Their attention spans require hokey fun to stay tuned. These handheld devices seem to do the trick. Maybe the print publishing industry should wire all books with songs so when a novel is opened, a kick ass tune starts playing. Kind of like musical greeting cards. Fucking brilliant. Here's some novels and the theme songs that I think should accompany them when opened. I can see FSG selling at least a hundred or so more literary novels this way.

Portnoy's Complaint, Phillip Roth

A continuous monologue about a young, Jewish man's schlong, dong, cock, and yes, balls. Portnoy is an oedipally complexed bachelor who sometimes jerks off with raw liver. Think Ron Jeremy on a shrink's couch wearing a pair of Woody Allen glasses. I couldn't think of a better opening theme song for this protagonist than AC/DC's "Big Balls."

White Noise, Don DeLillo

A charming satire about death and a toxic chemical blast that occurs just outside an all-American suburb. Eerily, the only thing that seems to result from the blast is that the local sunsets become more spectacular due to added chemicals in the atmosphere. Watch the ending of the Postal Service's video and don't tell me the director didn't have the Gladneys in mind when filming the final scene.

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

Post-apocalyptic fable about a father and son's struggle for survival in a sunless, environmentally ravished America. They're constantly on the run from squads of man-eating militiamen as they head south in search of a warmer climate and remaining "good guys." The father carries a gun for both defense and/or suicide in case they are captured by the cannibals. It's a hell-on-earth scenario and I can't think of a better theme song for the novel than the Misfits' "Night of the Living Dead." Writer and New York Tyrant editor/publisher Giancarlo DiTrapano is currently working on a rewrite of the novel in which the son eats the father at the end. Keep an eye out for that.

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

I hate Led Zeppelin and I hate people who claim John Bonham as a genius on drums, but the song does have some sort of seafaring determination to its rhythm and beats. Plus, the song is an instrumental so dumb-dumb readers won't get distracted by lyrics while trying to comprehend Melville's metaphorical and highly stylized language.

The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros

Okay, so The House on Mango Street has done fairly well for a novel in regards to sales, but I think it could do even better. Sure every white, college freshman has read the book, but why not get lower/working class white kids reading it? Nothing sells Latin America to uneducated white folks like J. Lo. The lyrics and themes to "I'm Real" perfectly suit the plights of Esperanza's coming-of-age conflicts. I've included the "I'm Real" remix with Ja Rule because uneducated black people could also get something from reading The House on Mango Street.