Mixing words and music

A few weeks ago I read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I spent a couple of days on my sofa, mostly in silence, but sometimes with some music playing, just reading. This is my preferred way to read; far more satisfying than squeezing a book in during a 15 minute tube journey surrounded by aggressive Londoners, and I resorted to it after spending about a month carrying the (heavy) book on many disappointingly short journeys. As it happened, when I decided to commit to the book, I’d just bought the Antony and the Johnsons album I am a bird now, and really loved it, so played it a few times during my reading. It turned out that the two worked together really well, each adding to the ambiance of the other and increasing my enjoyment of both. The book is magical and slightly other worldly, just like the album, and both are original pieces of work with strong resonances of classical forms.

Now I’ve finished the book, I listen to the album and have the feelings inspired by the book, still enjoying the music more than I think I would have anyway.