Combining your appreciation of different media can be tricky: You probably shouldn’t be watching a movie on your iPhone as you stroll through an art gallery, and you wouldn’t want to spend a night furtively reading a buzzy new novel at a play. But there are two art forms that go perfectly together: literature and music. For a bibliophile, there are few better ways to spend an afternoon than with one’s head stuck in a book — and the best way to enhance that escapist experience is to pair your tome of choice with an album that complements it. After the jump, we’ve teamed ten great books and records that are delightfully simpatico, whether through theme, mood, or atmosphere. Add your pairings in the comments, and if we get enough good suggestions, we’ll collect them in a follow-up post.
The most obvious book pairing for The Velvet Underground’s debut is, of course, the S&M classic Venus in Furs — which Lou Reed went so far as to write an entire song about. But the mood and overarching subject matter of The Velvet Underground and Nico make the album an even more appropriate companion to Naked Lunch. There is, of course, the heroin addiction that serves as the inspiration and subject matter for both. Then there’s the atmosphere: languid but paranoid, and somewhat Eastern. Burroughs’ mysterious, Tangier-like settings mesh perfectly with those opium-den bells at the beginning of “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” Both are best consumed in a room full of embroidered pillows, with a hookah handy.