Hidden Bookshelf 3: Your Next Read Based on Your Favourite Taylor Swift Album
Hello and happy February! Last month, we’ve all been stuck in total lockdown, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been coping with it by listening to copious amounts of my favourite music and reading anything I can get my hands on. In case you hadn’t guessed, that’s actually what inspired this article. If you’re like me and a huge Taylor Swift fan, then this is the article for you. Even if you’re not a huge fan, you could be, if you take my advice and listen to these albums and read these books together.
When I was eleven, I loved Love Story. When I was about fourteen, I went through an I’m-not-like-other-girls phase and told everyone I hated her because all she wrote about was her relationships (which artist doesn’t?). Now that I’m older and (slightly) wiser, I’ve realised that she actually writes some great songs, especially when you consider how young she was when she started out.
So, without further ado, here are my reading recommendations for you based on your favourite Taylor Swift album. If you haven’t listened to much of her stuff, then pick your favourite book/the one that sounds the most appealing, and give the paired album a listen!
If this is your favourite T-Swizzle album, I feel like it’s safe to say you loved your time at school. You romanticise it because of the nostalgia, which is why this album is perfect for you! Did you have a first love that you look back fondly on? Thought so.
Your next read should be Curtis Sittenfeld’s coming-of-age Prep. It tells the story of Lee Fiora, dropped at a prestigious American boarding school, she is a girl who feels that she does not fit in with the rest of her classmates. It’s all told from her perspective and focuses on classic high school figures; the cool girls, the loners, the boy who’s more than a crush but less than a boyfriend. If you’re looking to re-live your high school experience, then this is the book (and album!) for you.
For a long time, Fearless was my favourite album too. The songs on there sum up your teens so well, before you get into the All Too Well stage of life. If this is your favourite, then you’re definitely a romantic. You love a fairy-tale ending and I’m guessing that you were a huuuuuge Bridgerton fan.
To get yourself through lockdown, you should pick up When You Were Mineby Rebecca Serle. It’s a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, set in high school. The twist? It’s from Rosaline’s perspective (the girl that Romeo was originally hoping to marry). Not only is this YA escapism in its finest form, but it’s the perfect story of love and longing to get you through the coming months. Enjoy!
Okay okay, so I know I said that the Fearless fans were romantic, but you’re on a whole new level. With the title song of this album being based around a wedding, it’s safe to say that you believe in true love – have you planned your wedding already?
This choice is fully endorsed by Taylor herself, who’s a fan of the film version. William Goldman’s The Princess Brideis as romantic as it gets. In case you’ve missed this masterpiece, it tells the story of Buttercup, the most beautiful girl in the world, separated from her true love Westley. Full of fighting, fantasy and miracles, this is a cult classic and the best way to get out of lockdown!
You ok hun?? If this is your favourite album, then you’ve been through some shit. Who hurt you??? I’m guessing that if you like this album you also like embracing pain instead of ignoring it and moving on (I do it too, don’t worry). You should be reading Sally Rooney’s Normal People, which tells the story of Marianne and Connell, lovers who cannot stay with each other, yet cannot fully escape either. If you saw the BBC adaptation of it in 2020, you’ll know that it’s heart-wrenching and filled to the brim with love and loss (mainly loss). It’s been heralded as a modern classic and it’s no surprise why; Rooney’s writing is beautifully touching, and the characters who grow up throughout the book are relatable both in their personalities and the experiences which they face.
1989’s first track is Welcome to New York, and this sums up Tara Isabella Burton’s Social Creature well. This album always reminds me of Gossip Girl, and Burton’s book has all of the indulgences that you’re looking for. 1989 lovers are here for a good time not a long time. Even the emotional ballads on here are poppy and fun, and that’s exactly what you are too.
Social Creature is centred around New York’s elite. It tells the story of Louise, an outsider who slowly makes her way into the heart of society, using socialite Lavinia to do so. The consequences? Deadly. This is such a great read – it’s light enough that it doesn’t take too much time or heavy concentration, but it will definitely make you laugh, and most importantly make you think of something other than being stuck inside!
If reputation is your best album then you’re a bad bitch and that’s that. Tough as nails, you know your worth and you’re not about to let anyone tell you otherwise. Proud of you. Boy Partsby Eliza Clark should definitely be your next read.
This is a dark story with dark humour, which is probably what you’re looking for if reputation is your most played. It tells the story of Irina, a photographer living in Newcastle, who takes (consensual) photos of fetishized and tortured men. When preparing for a show in London, she begins to look back on her past, and everything slowly starts to unravel…
Aaand we’re back to the romance! Taylor has said herself that this album is the direct opposite of Reputation with the most heartbreak, and this album filled with the most love. Inspired by her relationship with Joe Alwyn, this album is definitely the happiest. Even Death by a Thousand Cuts, one of the saddest songs on the album,wasn’t inspired by real life, but by a Netflix rom-com, which I think sums up quite how secure the album is.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a book which really reminds me of Lover, purely because of the strength of the love within it. Set within Old Hollywood, Evelyn Hugo is a reclusive icon who agrees to tell the story of her multiple marriages. With each section devoted to a different lover, the intensity of feeling throughout is overpowering and proves that the truest loves can be the most unexpected ones. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo made me laugh and cry, it’s a must-read for any Lover fans.
Folklore is SUCH a great album. It combines Taylor Swift’s amazing storytelling skills with a really mythical theme, which leads to something truly magical. Folklore fans who are into reading are definitely lovers of magic realism and fairy tales, as well as dare I say it, folklore (lol). Thinking of this recommendation actually took me a hot moment – although fairy tales were a good starting point, something as dark as The Bloody Chamber wouldn’t have quite fitted, and whilst other retellings could have worked, I wanted something truly original for this one.
One of the books that first made me fall in love with reading was Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. Set within a circus which only appears at night, two young competitors have been placed inside within a challenge against each other, which can only end one way. As much a romance as this is a fairy tale, the descriptions of the circus are truly magical and will definitely help you to forget about anything else going on.
Which brings us to the final album! I think of evermore as folklore’s big sister; still magical but with more experience and loss under her belt. If this is your top album, then either you’re a more recent fan (no hate – these two albums have really widened her fan base which is a great thing!) or you’re the kind of person that I’ve just described; hopeful, but weary (me in lockdown).
Before the Coffee Gets Cold would be the perfect read for you. By Toshikazu Kawaguchi, it is set within a café where in one certain chair, time travel is allowed. The rules? You must stay in the chair, and nothing in the present will change. There are two books within this series, each made up of short story-esque chapters which focus on individual cases. Some of the most poignant of these is a man visiting the woman he could never marry; a daughter visiting her deceased mother; two best friends meeting for the first time in years. The perfect combination of escapist and emotional reads, these are ideal for evermore, enjoy!
So there you have it! Your next read based on your favourite Taylor Swift album. If you have any recommendations for us (for reference, my favourite album is 1989 and Aysel’s (our lovely blog manager) is Speak Now), let us know, we’d love to hear them!
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