Reading Music Station List

For the longest time I was convinced that I could not read while listening to music. The words in the lyrics would get in the way of the words in the book. I would either find myself drifting from my reading into the world the singer was rhyming about or find myself getting frustrated and blocking out the music to get lost in the world the writer was weaving on the page. I couldn’t find a happy medium and so often read in silence.

That changed about a year ago now when my husband happened to have Pandora playing on his computer and it hit on a run of three totally instrumental songs. The music, without words, flowed in the background and actually added to the story in a really great way. I immediately grabbed those songs and used them to seed a station of my own. The rest is history. I now have several instrumental music stations set up for different moods and different genres and I thought I would share some of my favorites in lieu of a book list this week.

Please feel free to thumbs up and down and make it your own. You won’t hurt my feelings!

Science Fiction

It took some tweaking to get my Science Fiction station the way I wanted it. Some days it’s hard to convinced Pandora I want no words in my music. I started with a base of classical inspired techno, a bit heavy on the piano some times with synth fx and “trippy soundscapes”. I also try to stick with slower songs because most of techno is breakneck fast and that can be exhausting to listen to hour after hour. I listened to this while reading the Neon Genesis: Evangelion series and Cinder and it gelled perfectly.

Dystopian and Post Apocalyptic

This is one of my favorite stations (because it’s my favorite genre this year) but it might drive movie buffs a little crazy. To get the grandiosity and darkness of a full society-wide revolution (for better or for worse) I chose dark contemporary symphony orchestra pieces, most of them from movies. Some dark and angry staccato action pieces are inter woven with more broad, slightly sad, orchestral pieces to make up the station’s sound track. Even I go a little crazy when I realize a piece is half familiar and then it ruins it a bit when I recognize the movie. I listen to this while reading Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse and Blood Red Road.

Romance and Contemporary

I have to say I like this station as just straight up, easy listening as well as background music when reading novels. I had this station on when hosting a tea party recently and several members of the Greatest Generation approved. The music is a little new age but it is primarily piano and string section music written in a melodic and harmonious way. Some of the songs are happy and uplifting while others are sad and a bit melancholy and that works well with a romance novel. Full disclosure, sometimes it’s a little too overwrought, but that’s true of many romance books as well, isn’t it? It’s good rainy day music. I listened to this while reading The Snow Child and The Captive.

Fantasy and Adventure

This is my one guilty pleasure, there are many words in these songs but I can’t bring myself to cut them out of the rotation. This is my True Geek(TM) station, props if you can recognize the geeky source for each song as it plays. This station has everything from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings, Legend of Zelda to an orchestral take on the Angry Birds theme. I often play it in the background while playing Magic the Gathering and other table top games with friends. That said it is good reading music as well! I listened to it, with minimal word problems, while reading Scarlet and The Scorpio Races.

Regency and Historical

This is my first reading station, one I created to accommodate the string of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen novels I was reading at the time. The songs on this station span the years from the mid 1700’s to the mid 1800’s and are all instrumental. I recognize a song every once in a while from one of the BBC adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels and it’s always a special moment when I do. It’s hard to find music that gels with historical fiction and I have found this station does that for me perfectly. I listened to this station while reading The Foundling and during my latest and greatest re-read of Pride and Prejudice.

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