Here’s one for the iPod: author and musician Rob Benvie has recorded a soundtrack for his second novel, Maintenance (Coach House Books), which he hopes will augment readers’ experience.
Originally, Benvie, who has played in Canadian indie bands Thrush Hermit and the Dears, thought he could set the entire novel to music. But he soon realized the resulting soundtrack would be hours long, and so I took it really loose and had fun with it. Although there’s no right way to enjoy the music, Benvie suggests reading a few chapters, then listening to a couple of tracks, alternating between the two media.
The 18 mostly instrumental tracks have an atmospheric, cinematic mood, owing to Benvie’s experience working on film soundtracks. He suggests the music is more sombre than the book, which delves into 1990s pre-Y2K anxieties. It’s hard to adapt what I like to think is the funnier stuff in the book, and adapt that musically without it being circus music, he says.
This year, Coach House has been giving away unusual reader gifts. Publicist Evan Munday says promotional buttons for Gabe Foreman’s A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Types of People (Pervert, Doormat,” “Late Bloomer), were something of a hit. For the release of Li’l Bastard, David McGimpsey’s collection of pop-culture-inspired poems, the publisher gave away custom guitar picks, and in the New Year there are plans to produce promotional condoms for Maidenhead, Tamara Faith Berger’s new novel of literary smut.
A free zip file of the music for Benvie’s book can be downloaded from the Coach House website.