I’m reading a novel by a big-name author in which a character at the late end of his 20s fires himself up by blasting the Rolling Stones on his mp3 player. And it kind of knocked me out of the book.

I know there are people in their 20s and younger who are into the Stones. But it seems like a choice more suited to the author’s age than the character’s. I felt that way when the Stones were fired up in THE DEPARTED, too. Sure, the songs belong in a Scorsese film, but they didn’t feel quite right for a movie set now with Damon and DiCaprio as the leads.

As authors, how do you handle music in your books? Do you try to keep with current trends, say by having your twentysomethings listen to Linkin Park, knowing that in ten years that reference may date the book? Or do you stick with perennials like Mick and the boys? As readers, how do you respond to specific songs in the context of a book?

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I'm not terribly interested in music and use it sparingly in my books. I get irritated by writers (Rankin comes to mind) who go on and on about bands and artists I've never heard about. If Rankin does this to add some detail of the protagonist's character, he wastes way too much time on it. I suspect it's his own hobby. Then, of course, there is the matter of such references dating the novels in the future or being meaningless to readers in other countries.
I'm 27 and I love the Stones. I also like newer stuff... I think you just inspired me to post something, but I'll do it in another thread.
Reader chiming in here-music worked in to the novels can be good, but it can also be frustrating as well. The great thing about movies is that you hear the music when you're meant to. In the book, well, it's just words. If you want to check it out, you have to make a note, and look it up later. I don't like my reading interrupted that way (yeah, I'm high maintenance, what of it?)

On the other hand, I've enjoyed listening to different bands that I've read about so that's not so bad, and when I see them mentioned somewhere, a magazine, whatnot, I know who they are at least. My biggest complaint is that it seems like everyone is doing it and a lot times I can't say that I really care what kind of music the guy listens to or what song was playing in the club, ya know? Just get on with the story.


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