Diary of a Bookworm: 10 songs and artists to listen to while reading

Intense instruments, powerful vocals and a multitude of songs

Illustration by Mercy Sosa. Graphic created in Canva.

Mercy Sosa

Illustration by Mercy Sosa. Graphic created in Canva.

Julie Blunt

Dear diary, reading is fun on its own but when listening to music, it can be an entirely different experience. 

Listening to music with heavy orchestral instrumentals, melancholic lyrics or powerful vocals creates enhanced emotions while reading fight scenes, love scenes and moments of female empowerment. Here is a playlist of songs and artists that can enhance your reading experience. 


Most often in my reading playlists there aren’t repeats of artists or albums. I tend to only like specific songs due to their listening aesthetic and not every artist or album keeps  that same aesthetic with their other songs. 

However, a few artists do keep a consistent tone in one playlist and most of their songs fit the vibe I’m looking for when reading. These artists include 2WEI and Cody Fry.


German composers Christian Vorländer and Simon Heeger, also known as 2WEI, are a key part of my “music for reading” playlists. Their covers of “Gangsters Paradise” by Coolio and “Toxic” by Britany Spears create a feeling of power perfect for listening to in the middle of a battle scene of a fantasy novel. 

Their cover of “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child is another song that is great to listen to during intense battle scenes with the lyrics and vocals of the song creating a feeling of strong feminine power. 

It’s best to listen to 2WEI songs when the climax of the story is reaching its peak and the scenes are more tense than ever. Their music can dramatize a story completely. 

Cody Fry

Cody Fry is an American singer, songwriter and composer who grew in popularity on TikTok after his song “Eleanor Rigby” began trending on the app. I immediately fell in love with the dramatic breakdown and instrumentals after hearing the song for the first time.  

The climax of the instrumentals and the lyrics emphasize those heartbreaking emotions created when you read a plot twist in a book and it automatically makes your stomach drop.. 

Cody Fry’s song “Underground” starts as a happy melody with sweet lyrics. However, as usual with his music, the instrumental climax of the song takes you out of reality. At first the song starts with acoustic instrumentals but slowly grows more orchestral with different string instruments until finally, the song reaches its peak. 


Individual Songs

“Bad Girls” by M.I.A

M.I.A is a British rapper who is most popularly known for her song “Paper Planes” which blew up in the late 2000’s. The song “Bad Girls” is great to listen to when there is a female main character who displays strong heroine characteristics. 

Whether she’s in a fight scene or making snarky comments to her enemy, the song embodies her “kickass” personality.  

“As the World Caves In” by Sarah Cothran and Matt Maltese

This song has two versions that both work for experiencing different emotions while reading. The original song by Matt Maltese should be listened to when there is a moment in a book that feels like “the world caves in;” when a beloved character dies or a hero has been defeated and there’s no saving anyone. 

However, the cover by Sarah Cothran is more for the romance readers. Her cover of Maltese’s song is for when the two main love interests reach the breaking point in their relationship. Playing this song when the main character’s heart gets broken is a perfect way to feel the heartache for yourself.

“Can You Feel My Heart” by Bring Me The Horizon

“Can You Feel My Heart” by Bring Me The Horizon creates a perfect feeling of heartbreak and anticipation for romance books in particular. It creates that feeling you get when watching two people who like each other dance around their insecurities and uncertainties in order to get together. It also works well for books with the enemies to lovers trope, where two enemies suddenly discover their shared feelings for one another.

“Achilles Come Down” by Gang of Youths

The book “The Song of Achilles” by Madaline Miller is a reimagined story about the love between the Greek hero Achilles and his close companion Patroclus. After reading the book, I listened to “Achilles Come Down” by Gang of Youths on repeat, reliving their heartbreaking relationship while crying into my pillow. 

The book is from the point of view of Patroclus while the song goes between what I imagine to be both Achilles and Patroclus’ thoughts. In the novel and in the mythology, there are moments when Achilles acts irrationally after Patroclus is killed during the Trojan war, causing people to worry for him. The lyrics in the song act as the spirit of Patroclus talking to Achilles in hopes that he’ll listen, making the song even more heart wrenching.   

“Skyfall” by Adele 

Adele has one of the most powerful voices in the music industry. Her song “Skyfall,” which was written for the movie 007, is a song that could be listened to during multiple scenes in a book. The choir’s background vocals create a more dramatic sound that would fit best with betrayal in a novel; when a friend becomes an enemy.

Some people may find it difficult to read and listen to music at the same time, but for me it’s one of the best experiences that comes with reading. 

Sincerely, a bookworm.