2017 was a negative year for so many in so many ways, but it was also an incredible year for the arts. There were so many great books and songs released this year, for instance, that it only made sense to combine the two in one list of must-reads/must-listens. OK, so you've definitely heard all of the songs below; a vast majority of them were radio replays and award show favorites this year, and all of of them made
Billboard's 100 Best Songs of 2017. But I bet you never thought that your top song pick of the year could possibly relate to your TBR stack. But, in my opinion, all of the art we consume is connected, and the narratives that appeal to us in song form carry over into the TV shows and movies we watch and the books we read.
Below are a selection of hit songs and
best books of 2017, paired together for their similar themes in lyrics and plot, and similar vibes in character and performer. If you've been wading through all of those End of Year book lists and still have absolutely no idea what you should be picking up next, take a cue from the song you've had stuck in your head all year long. You might just be surprised.
Do You Love 'Bodak Yellow' by Cardi B? Read 'This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare' by Gabourey Sidibe
Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" was a breakout hit of the year, a timely trap anthem for women everywhere who own their bad-assery every single day and don't take s**t from anyone at anytime. Cardi B used her own journey (discussing her work as a stripper before breaking out with her debut single this year) as inspiration for the song, and actress Gabourey Sibide does the same in her book
This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare. Sibide has long been known for her unapologetic attitude about her past, her body, and her work in the face of naysayers and critics. Basically, if you're not blasting "Bodak Yellow" while reading Sibide's book, you're doing it wrong.
Click here to buy
This Is Just My Face.
Do You Love 'Praying' by Kesha? Read 'Moxie' by Jeniffer Mathieu
Kesha released "Praying," her first creative response to her harrowing experience of being sexually assaulted by her music producer Dr. Luke, it was seen as a powerful song about one woman's unique story. Little did we all know that by the end of the year the #MeToo movement would become so powerful that the women who took part would become TIME's Person of the Year. And this has only made Jennifer Mathieu's Moxie more powerful, too. As Vivian Carter and her ragtag group of girls fight back against the sexist atmosphere at their high school, you'll be raising your fist in solidarity. Click here to buy Moxie .
Do You Love 'Bad Liar' by Selena Gomez? Read 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love' by Maurene Goo
Selena Gomez's "Bad Liar" made it to number one on the
Billboard Top 100 list this year, in part because it was another unexpected departure for a pop star this year. The song samples from The Talking Heads for an uneven beat and pared back vocals that you wouldn't expect from a radio hit...but the lyrics are another story. "Bad Liar" is all about the overwhelming aspects of love, the idea that it comes with a certain amount of inescapable trepidation, obsession and fear. Maurene Goo's book explores this topic, too, as Desi Lee fights to fall, and then stay, in love...even as it takes over her entire life. Click here to buy I Believe In A Thing Called Love .
Love '1-800-273-8255' by Logic? Read 'We Are Never Meeting In Real Life' by Samantha Irby
2017 was a tough year for many people, but Logic's song "1-800-273-8255" was a powerful reminder that none of us have to go through our struggles alone. The song's title, which is the phone number to the National Suicide Hotline in the U.S., became an emotional release aimed at anyone struggling with their mental health, and anyone too afraid to ask for help. A huge part Samantha Irby's essay collection is her relating her own struggles with trauma and anxiety, and how she has learned to accept both in her daily life, ask for help when she needs it, and treat herself with kindness whenever she can. The message in both these works is that mental illness is not the end, and that, whether you have a supportive family structure or not, there are always people out there who will listen.
Click here to buy We Are Never Meeting In Real Life.
Do You Love 'HUMBLE'? Read 'How To Be A Bawse' by Lily Singh
For a while there in 2017, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing the catchy, braggadocious "HUMBLE" blaring from a car speaker. It's the sort of name dropping song that puts the competition in their place, that revs you up at the gym, or before work, or just when you want to feel untouchable. And Lily Singh's Goodreads Award winning creative manifesto
How to Be a Bawse did much the same for many readers this year. Her book seeks to teach people how to make all of their dreams come true through hard work, dedication and just the right amount of bad-assery. Play Lamar's song on a loop while you read for maximum results. Click here to buy How To Be A Bawse .
Do You Love 'Malibu' by Miley Cyrus? Read 'The Upside Of Unrequited' by Becky Albertalli
Miley Cyrus made her return to the charts this year with "Malibu", a song that was so far from her
Bangerz (and so close to Hannah Montana) days that she had music critics' heads spinning. But this ode to rekindled love and a refound sense of self was a little bright spot of sunshine in the year, a sweet summer song that evokes sunset beaches and blue skies. And while Becky Albertalli's The Upside of Unrequited isn't quite so saccharine, it explores the same emotions that unexpected love can evoke, and delves into what it really means when you finally find and accept your true self. Click here to buy The Upside of Unrequited.