In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Alix E. Harrow’s novel A Spindle Splintered is a fierce and imaginative feminist take on the Sleeping Beauty myth.
Booklist wrote of the book:
“…Harrow revives and rejuvenates the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale with a feminist twist in her latest… Harrow uses her excellent skill as a storyteller to give agency back to the passive princess.”
Making a playlist always feels like taking a test I didn’t study for. It’s a quietly competitive performance of identity which, when done properly, communicates that the maker is chill, tasteful, unaffected, trendy but not too trendy, opinionated but still broadminded, and above all, cool. But neither I nor A Spindle Splintered are especially cool. We’re earnest, effortful, hearts-on-sleeves types, of the kind who put too much cream in their coffee and lip sync to Taylor Swift in the grocery store.
Luckily, I’m over thirty, and no longer obliged to care.
Scared of the Dark by XXXTENTACION, Lil Wayne, Ty Dolla $ign
It would be easy to blame my kids for the number of times I’ve listened to the Spider-Verse soundtrack, but it would also be a lie. The entire thing is the perfect coming of age playlist, effervescent and angsty and full of heart. There are more fun tracks, but this is the one for a dying girl staring down the infinite dark of the multiverse, unafraid.
Die Young by Sylvan Esso
Man, listen: this is Zinnia’s song. Misanthropic but romantic, sharp but sweet, a tender love song camouflaged by irony and a synthy beat. I was gonna die young/Now I gotta wait for you, hon. God bless the ones who keep us waiting.
Somewhere in Between by VÉRITÉ
There had to be at least one painfully on-the-nose dreamlike song about drifting between worlds. I like this one for the ache in it, the suggestion that the space between the universes is nothing compared to the distance between two people.
The World We Made by Ruelle
This song is way too cool for this story—it’s the track they use in Old Guard when Charlize Theron is doing something especially badass—but I can’t help it. It sounds to me like a claiming of agency, like a girl standing on the bloody ruin of her fairytale ending and smiling: this is the world we made.
Homemade Dynamite by Lorde
A top-tier f*ck-it anthem, which perfectly channels the energy of a twenty-one year old with nothing to lose and less to win. Our rules/our dreams.
This is Not the End by MILCK
There’s something about a protagonist defying their own plot that hits me right in the ribcage. The wolves are out/Their teeth are on my tail/And I don’t care/This is not the end.
A former academic and adjunct, Alix E. Harrow is now a full-time writer living in Virginia with her husband and their semi-feral toddlers. In 2019 she won a Hugo Award for her short fiction and published her first novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January.