A soundtrack for Behave thanks to Largehearted Boy's Book Notes Column

March 17, 2016

In the Largehearted Boy "Book Notes" series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book. Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender,Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

 

In her own words, here is Andromeda Romano-Lax's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Behave:


While writing, I most often listen to music without lyrics, and in the case ofBehave, set mostly in the 1920s and early '30s, Gershwin instrumentals, some classical music from the Romantic era, plus a bit of jazz, fit the bill. In imagining a soundtrack for this book, it was fun to add more popular songs with lyrics that my characters, especially my narrator Rosalie, would have enjoyed, sometimes defiantly. In making the list, I loved discovering how the great songs of the period—often desperately romantic— could "talk back" to the book's principal subject, Behaviorism, a school of psychology that oversimplified the range of human emotions and maintained that the mind (and the soul) don't exist. My characters, scientists Rosalie and John Watson, pretend to be rational but in fact that they are emotional, impulsive, reckless, and passionate. Choosing these songs was a way to inject some irony and add another layer, beyond what these scientists could comfortably express about their own roiling desires.

 

Continue to Largehearted Boy for the full book notes and Spotify playlist.

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