IBW (1)

16th June: "Books, records, films – these things matter. Call us shallow, but it’s the truth!”. Books and records have always gone hand in hand,  so to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week, we have asked some of our favourite record stores for their top book and record combos.  

Davids Music / David’s Bookshop  

Our perfect book and record combination would be Florence & The Machine’s 'Dance Fever' & Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales 

'Dance Fever' is sweeping and grandiose, steeped in elements borrowed from fairy tales and folklore. The very idea of the album was conceived as a ‘be careful what you wish for’ fable inspired by a medieval epidemic of involuntary movement, or “dance fever” understood then as a form of possession.

This album pairs like a fine wine with Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales – a fabulous collection of lyrical tales that eschew your quintessential ‘drippy princess’ and focus instead on the old crones, rascal aunts and odd sisters. In turns darkly gothic, disturbingly bloody and raucously funny, a true celebration of all things fantastical.  


Casbah Records 

Our favourite book and record combination would have to be The Jam’s Sound Affects and Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes.
If you're looking for a book about music, we'd recommend The Rotters’ Club by Jonathan Coe, which is based on the album of the same name by Hatfield and the North.  
Currently, I'm reading Wayward by Vashti Bunyan and I'm listening to Gather Up by Matt Berry!


Jumbo Records 

A current favourite book and record combo has definitely got to be Paul Majors 'Feel The Music: The Psychedelic World of Paul Major’ and his accompanying compilation album.

The book traces Paul’s singular trajectory that led him to his trailblazing career as a connoisseur of the weirdest records of all time. It’s fun, it’s strange and perfect for anyone interested in major record collecting! 

At the moment I’m reading Vashti Bunyan’s memoir ‘Wayward’, retelling her unusual nomad’s tale at a time of hippy ideals and counter-cultural romanticism. It’s quietly defiant whilst also being full of light and kindness. 

Some other great music books to read are:  

  • Bob Stanley’s ‘Let’s Do It- The Birth of Pop’ 
  • Saskia Holling’s ‘GIRLSVILLE: The Story of The Delmonas & Thee Headcoatees 
  • Graham Holliday ‘Are Your Dreams At Night 1985 Sizes Too Big?’ 
  • Eric Isaacson, Erin Yanke & Szim’s Dead Moon - Off The Grid’  
  • Tara Rodgers ‘Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound’ 


Square Records/ Westbourne Book Shop 

My favourite combination of a record and book is 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Steven Chbosky, and The Smiths. They're heavily referenced in the book, but they're also just the perfect melancholy and dooms-ville vibe for the story! 

I'd also recommend 'Eleanor & Park' by Rainbow Rowell. It's not so much about music, but music is consistently used as a device to build a voice for the protagonist and to illustrate connections to the world and to her best friend. It's a smashing YA: full of tension, heartbreak, and hope. A great beach read! 

At the moment I'm reading three books at once - eek! 'Heart Stopper Vol 3' by Alice Oseman - a ground-breaking graphic novel series about LGBTQ+ teens. Incidentally, the television adaptation on Netflix has a brilliant soundtrack for pop-lovers! 

I'm also reading 'Where the Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owens. And then my book club read this month is 'The House on the Strand' by Daphne du Maurier. I have my hands full at the moment! 

Recently I've been listening to Orla Gartland's debut album, 'Woman on the Internet' which has had me in a chokehold since its release. A stellar first album: mostly pop, but some heavy punk and rock influences in there. Amazing hooks, brilliant lyrical stories, and melodies that will get stuck in your head for weeks! 


Fish Records 

My favourite book and record combination would have to be Bruce Springsteen's 'Born To Run' autobiography and 'Chapter & Verse’ LP 

The best book that I've read based on music would be David Hepworth's '1971' or Bob Dylan's 'Chronicles'

The best album based on a book would be the 'Vinyl Detective’ LP soundtrack to Andrew Cartmel’s Vinyl Detective series of novels 

At the moment, I'm reading 'Borderland: A Journey Through The History of Ukraine' by Anna Reid and I can't stop listening to Wet Leg's self-titled debut album and Frank Turner's 'FTHC'


Book Stop Tavistock  

My favourite book and record combo is 'Candide' by Voltaire paired with 'The Garden by Rush' (on Clockwork Angels) 

The best book to read based on music would be 'Utopia Avenue' by David Mitchell 

The best album based on a book 'An Appointment with Mr Yeats' by The Waterboys which is based on The Poetry of WB Yeats.

Right now, I'm reading 'The White Rock' by Anna Hope and I can't stop listening to 'Dance Fever' by Florence + The Machine. 


Independent Bookshop Week is from Saturday 18th June to Saturday 25th June. Shop Local, Shop Independent.