Bookish Playlists

Normal People by Sally Rooney

One of my favourite books of all time is Normal People, the best seller by Irish author Sally Rooney. Here’s a glimpse into the playlist I made whilst reading it & the specific lyrics that made me choose that song!

Goji Berry Sunset- Jealous of the Birds

Lyrical reason- “Your name, fizzes on my tongue”

These lyrics really remind me of how Marianne and Connell can’t seem to get each other off of their minds, they have a love for each other that spans multiple years and even different countries.

Irish Exit- Eliza McLamb 

Lyrical reason- “I’m every mother’s favourite but my own” 

In the book, Marianne has a pretty rough relationship with her mother (and her brother too) but is completely loved and welcomed by Connell’s mother, Lorraine. 

Funeral- Phoebe Bridgers

Lyrical reason- “Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time”

When Connell begins struggling with depression after the death of one of his close school friends, it is clear to see that he gets frustrated with how he feels. I think this lyric perfectly sums up how much it starts to affect him.

You & Me Song- The Wannadies

Lyrical reason- “It’s always you and me, always and forever”

Connell and Marianne are a pair that cannot be split. Even when they are not in a relationship, they’re extremely close with one another, and just want what is best for the other person.

The Only Thing- Sufjan Stevens

Lyrical reason- “Everything I feel returns to you somehow”

When they’re apart, the only love they want to feel is from the other person. When Marianne gets into a toxic relationship in Sweden, she misses the gentle nature of Connell- similarly, when Connell gets into the relationship with Helen, he secretly desires Marianne.

Tobacco Sunburst- The Neighbourhood

Lyrical reason- “Looked in those brown eyes/ I thought I found myself”

Marianne has deep brown eyes and when I listen to this song, I find myself thinking about the emotions and feelings that Connell experiences when he looks into them.

K. – Cigarettes After Sex

Lyrical reason- “Stay with me, I don’t want you to leave”

This lyric reminds me of the final chapter of the book, in which Connell has received an offer to study in New York. Marianne is supportive of him and wants him to go and be successful, but I can’t help but think that they are both uncertain about their future together.

by Laura Mae

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

She’s Lost Control – Joy Division

Despite finding more fame as a film, Welsh’s original novel of Trainspotting has been a cult classic since its release. Set in late eighties Edinburgh, Trainspotting follows a group of young heroin addicts as they experience the gritty horrors of Thatcher’s Britain. Much like the film, the book is sound tracked by many musical references and, despite the daunting Scottish dialect, is an essential read for any fans of old school alternative music.

Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

Anne of Greens Gables is a delight of a book which never fails to remind me that much like the changing of winter to spring, darker times in life will eventually give way to brighter periods, just as Anne discovers them on Prince Edward Island after her many years of heartache as a lonely orphan. This children’s classic is bursting with joy and hope, and is a must read during the transition from winter to spring.

by Charlotte Harris

Normal People by Sally Rooney

For me, a soundtrack is very important to anything I watch or read. Normal People is a book in which music was very significant to my experience, and with inspiration from the series adaptation of the novel, I thoroughly enjoyed creating a playlist to listen alongside reading.

Prelude – Lizzie Reid

Kisses – Lomelda

Hope You’re Not Holy – Chartreuse

Any song by Sharon Van Etten or Siv Jakobsen

I feel that these songs all compliment the prominent feeling of nostalgia and longing within the novel, as well as the sometimes dark and melancholy connotations that it possesses. The original score to the series is also beautiful, and I would definitely recommend listening to this whilst reading this book. Overall, I think this novel is ideal for a sense of comfort and any song which brings that feeling will be well suited.

by Mira Kabir