We’ve compiled a book guide to what should be on the top of your TBR pile, depending on your favourite Swift Era.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve spent the past few weeks combing Instagram for clips of Taylor Swift’s new Eras tour – and tried your best to secure a ticket for her Australian shows – but most of us will have to satisfy ourselves with listening to Swift’s discography from the comfort of our own homes.
But whether you choose to dance around to ‘22’ or wallow with ‘All Too Well (10-minute version)’, we came to realise, as we do, that there’s a book for that song, one that complements its lyrical themes and is tailor-made (Taylor-made?) to scratch that same musical/literary itch.
In ‘Our Song’, Swift asks her boyfriend why they don’t have a song and he says they do: it’s the slam of screen doors, sneaking out late, and tapping on each other’s windows. It might sound like a cop-out, but Swift thought it was romantic.
However, if she had wanted a real song, she should have met Daniel from Jane Sanderson’s novel Mix Tape. Daniel and Alison were childhood sweethearts who bonded over their love of music. Now, they’re adults leading separate lives—that is, until Daniel sends Alison a song that brings back memories of their past.
Swift’s Fearless era is full of first loves, growing up, and the casual cruelty of teenage boys ('Fifteen' anyone?). Every year Isabel spends a perfect summer at her favourite place in the world - the Fisher family's beach house. It has everything a girl could want: a swimming pool, a private stretch of sandy beach . . . and two boys.
Swift might as well have been talking for Isabel when she sang: “Can’t you see that I’m the one who understands you, been here all along so why can’t you see that you belong with me?” Fans of the friends-to-lovers trope will fall in love with this story.
(Plus, we can’t not mention Romeo and Juliet!)
With songs that explore heartbreak and love, and start to leave behind youthful optimism, Speak Now is an introspective reflection of past relationships. In The Girls of Summer Rachel is forced to reflect on her memories of a golden summer when she was 17 and confront the truth about her relationship with Alistair, a wealthy businessman 20 years her senior.
The Girls of Summer is a compulsive and searching exploration of the complicated nature of memory and trauma, power and consent, victimhood and shame.
If we were to sum up Dolly Alderton’s best-selling 2018 memoir in one line, we would probably say it’s about being happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. In Alderton’s book, she reflects on her twenties – the relationships, jobs and friendships that have shaped her, and how she learned to love herself. Swift’s album also has female friendship at its core; after all, isn’t every night an opportunity to “dress up like hipsters, and make fun of our exes”?
We already knew that Swift was a master lyricist when 1989 was released, but it was the song ‘Blank Space’ that showed an edge we had never seen before. In this song, Swift satirises the claims from tabloids and trolls that she has a “long list of ex-lovers” who run because she is “insane”.
Victoria Mas’ novel, about women who have been confined to an asylum in 1885 and must attend a ball to entertain the Parisian elite, raises the same question: who gets to decide if a woman is “mad”?
OK, yes, Swift directly mentions Gatsby in the lyric: “feeling like Gatsby for that whole year”. But this era also paints a vivid picture of lavish parties that evokes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel about an enigmatic man whose wealth can’t buy him happiness – he still pines for his ex-lover, Daisy, who is now married to someone else. Not to spoil the ending, but both Fitzgerald’s novel and Swift’s ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ involve a betrayal that means their extravagant ways of life can’t continue.
Lover is many things but at its heart it’s about a new relationship that feels so fragile that one wrong move could break it. This fragility, combined with a strong sexual attraction, could easily be describing the main characters of Emily Henry’s novel. Nora and Charlie run in the same world of book publishing, but neither have ended with their happily ever after. She's no heroine. He's no hero. So can they take a page out of an entirely different book?
Go as a River is a soaring, heart stopping debut novel of female resilience and becoming. Along with its exploration of love and sacrifice, it resonates with the dreamy and introspective qualities of Taylor Swift's Folklore era.
A sweepingly tragic story that is somehow still full of hope, faith in human nature and natural beauty.
Secrets, obsession, friendships are all hallmarks of the iconic Secret History, and Swift definitely fits that description in her Evermore era.
This novel follows a group of eccentric students at an elite college as their search for the transcendent leads them down a dangerous path, beyond human constructs of morality. Swift’s character in ‘No Body, No Crime’ crosses boundries when she takes justice into her own hands and avenges her murdered friend.
“It's me, hi. I'm the problem.” It’s hard to say who the problem is in Hello Beautiful, but everyone at some point claims it as themselves.
With Midnights being made up of midnight moments and memories, what better book to pick than Hello Beautiful, a book made up of moments and memories of the Padvano family’s lives? Joy and tragedy, the deep trust and devastating betrayals – are we talking about Midnights or Hello Beautiful? And everyone is the [Anti-]hero of a story.
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