Top Ten Tuesday: Book Recommendations for Musicians

Posted August 15, 2017 by Madalyn || 8 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Top Ten Tuesday is finally back from hiatus, yay! This week’s topic is a recommendations freebie, so I decided to recommend some books for my fellow musicians. All of these really struck a chord (ha… pun definitely intended) with my musical side, and I think other musical folks will really enjoy them, too. Onto the list!

(Covers link to Goodreads.)

madalyn’s top ten

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones // My current read, and the one that inspired this post idea. Wintersong is a gorgeously written fantasy that weaves in retelling elements of so many different stories. It is primarily a Labyrinth retelling, but it also is partly a retelling of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. Plus, Liesl and her family are all musicians, and this book is structured like a musical work. Music plays a huge part in this story!

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee // Historical fiction that follows an opera star in Paris in the 1800’s as she solves a high-stakes mystery about the opera role that will make or break her career? Yes, please! I recommend this book to all my friends in the voice department at my university.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate // Y’all KNEW this book would be here. I mean, it’s my favorite read of 2017, and it’s about choir, which is my life. Music unites this cast of misfit characters, and I loved the way Redgate perfectly captured specific feelings I’ve felt so many times during performances or rehearsals. A capella + cross-dressing + boarding school setting + amazing bisexual rep made this the book of my goddamn dreams. If you need further convincing to read Noteworthy, go read my review. (Choir friends, if you’re reading this, GO BUY THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY. YOU WILL LOVE IT.)

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel // Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic story that follows a troupe of actors and musicians as they travel around the desolate country, bringing music and theatre to survivors. This book features so many excellent meditations on life and art, and emphasizes the power and the hope that can always be found in art. It’s a quietly powerful, gorgeous novel.

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills // Music doesn’t play a huge part in This Adventure Ends, but the main character is preparing for her college auditions throughout the book. I’ve never read a YA book before that summed up the audition stress and anxiety that made up my senior year of high school until now. The author definitely knew what she was talking about, because this process was portrayed so accurately.


The Diviners by Libba Bray // I obviously cannot make a Top Ten Tuesday list without featuring at least one Libba Bray book. The Diviners isn’t the most obviously musical book on this list, but a few of the characters are composers/musicians/performers. Plus, the creepy mudering ghost in the first book sings a creepy murdering song every time he takes a new victim. Libba Bray is a musician herself, so music works its way into all of her books somehow, and it’s always a welcome addition! (I totally recommend the audiobooks for this series if you want the most *~musical~* reading experience. The narrator sings all of Henry’s compositions! And she has a lovely voice!)

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab // A clear choice for this list! This Savage Song explores the idea of human violence breeding actual, live monsters. The Sunai, the most rare and powerful type of these monsters, can kill sinners by playing music. Our main character, August, is a Sunai, so he and all of his “siblings” are musicians.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord // Surprise! My other 2017 favorite! (Are we sensing a theme here?) The main character in Names, Lucy, is a pianist, and the love interest, Henry, plays the trumpet. Music plays a role in their initial friendship, and though it’s not one of the central themes of this gorgeous book, it does feature throughout the story.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales // The characters in this story aren’t musicians, but they are DJs, and the book explores how music can bring people together. This is one of my favorite contemporaries that I don’t talk about enough!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare // Honestly, if you haven’t read The Infernal Devices trilogy by now, what are you even doing? These books feature perhaps my favorite musician character– actual angel and precious cinnamon roll Jem Carstairs, a violinist. (Also, though I love both Will and Jem with all my heart, Jessa > Wessa and I will fight you on this forever.)

Have you read any of the books on my list? What books that feature music or musicians would you recommend to me?

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