The Ultimate Reader’s Playlist

Image Credit: Jonas Jacobsson

Heather Slevin offers her recommendations for the ultimate readers playlist, with songs to add to the mystery, action, and sadness.

For many, listening to music while reading heightens the experience - especially if you’ve chosen the right songs to match the genre you’re reading, or the right music to act as a backdrop to the chapter. When reading a chapter about the main character’s horrible upbringing or a character who faces a deeply upsetting fate, you'll need to listen to something softer, something to match the reading atmosphere. But, for those moments of epic, action-packed fighting, heisting, or even the moment that all those subplots and loose ends tie together, you’ll want something big to add to the reading experience. 

Well, lucky for you, we have the Ultimate Reader’s Playlist - with song suggestions and artists all sorted into different reading moods. Read and listen with pleasure! 

Music for those Action-Packed Scenes

Okay, so it’s the scene in which the pirate protagonist has just looted the ship they’ve been following for chapters, or you’ve reached the part when the murder suspect finally meets the detective. Whatever the genre of book, there is always a moment, whether big or small, of conflict and fights. Perhaps tables are being thrown or it’s words that are being hurled over glasses of wine. Either way, you’re going to need the right music and artists to fully immerse in what you’re reading. And, if you’re a visual reader, the effect is just the same (or even better!) than the joy of watching a movie in 3-D. Here are a few songs, and some artists, to suit you in those moments: 

Whatever the genre of book, there is always a moment, whether big or small, of conflict and fights. Perhaps tables are being thrown or it’s words that are being hurled over glasses of wine. Either way, you’re going to need the right music. 

Music to Suit the Action: 

“The Game is Afoot” by Daniel Pemberton 

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” by James Newton Howard 

“Just Ask” by Joseph Trapanese and the Budapest Art Orchestra 

“Agni Kai” - Epic Version by Samuel Kim 

“Guilty of Being Innocent of Being Jack Sparrow” by Hans Zimmer

“Enola Holmes (The Future is Up to Us)” by Daniel Pemberton 

“Dragon Racing” by John Powell and Gavin Greenaway 

“White Winter Hymnal”by Fleet Foxes

“Better in the Morning” by Birdtalker 

“The Valley” by Nadiiife 

“Loud” by Feed the Birds 

“Pomegranate Seeds” by Julian Moon

“Ah bad d’accord” by Juniore 

“fan behaviour” by Isaac Dunbar

“Athletic Theme (From Yoshi’s Island)” by The 8-Bit Big Band 

“Run Llama Run - From the Emperor's New Groove” by John Debney 

Suggested Artists: 

John Powell 

Danny Elfman 

John Williams 

Nicholas Hooper 


The Clash 

Music to Suit the Sad Moments 

Alongside action, violence, and arguments, there are always sombre moments, and of course, you’re going to need music to fit those, too. A great album to listen to during these moments is The Fault in Our Stars movie playlist. 

Music to add to the tears

“You’re in Love” by Joe Hisaishi 

“Love Me Like You Used To” by Lord Huron

“Meet Me In The Woods” by Lord Huron

“Sunlight” by Hozier 

“Simple as This” by Jake Bugg 

“Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy 

“Sentimental” by WMD 

“Leaves from the Vine” by Samuel Kim 

“Neither Do I” by Motherfolk 

“Reverie, L. 68” by Claude Debussy 

“Timshel” by Mumford & Sons 

Suggested Artists: 


Noah Kahan 

Ricky Montgomery 

Conan Grey

Girl in red 



Billie Eilish

Music to Fit the Filler 

We all know that the majority of novels aren’t action-packed or overly emotional; much of reading is simply moving from chapter to chapter. Learning more about the characters as you go along, and fitting the pieces of the story together. With that in mind, here are some songs and artists for those in-between moments, when you’re running the race to the end of the mystery. 

Music for those in-between Moments: 

“Mr. Fox in the Fields” by Alexandre Desplat

“Along the Way” by The Hunts

“Soldier, Poet, King” by The Oh Hellos 

“Redwood Tree” by Jamie Drake 

“Kingdom Dance” by Alan Menken

“Northern Attitude (with Hozier)” by Noah Kahan and Hozier 

“Flowers in Your Hair” by The Lumineers 

Suggested Artists: 

The Happy Fits


Kings of Leon 

Saint Motel 



Ezra Furman 

The Last Dinner Party 


1989 (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift 

Lungs by Florence + The Machine

Dear Wormwood by The Oh Hellos 

Reading a book with music pounding in your ears is perhaps one of the world’s greatest joys; especially if you find that the pace of the music aids your reading. You can feel yourself walking in the footsteps of your character, hearing the same beats as them. A majority of these songs are from film scores, and there are a number of incredible artists and musicians who create epic scores that fill the listener with exhilaration, excitement, and suspense. With that in mind, feel free to take your pick of the songs above, add them to your reading playlists, and jump right back into your book!