Author Playlists

Molly Llewellyn and Kristel Buckley’s Playlist for Their Anthology “Peach Pit”

“Peach Pit is a collection of 16 stories centred around morally grey women and the stories are so varied, so with this playlist we wanted to try and create an immersive experience by finding songs that relate to each of the stories!”

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Lauren Groff, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Roxane Gay, and many others.

Peach Pit is an impressive anthology of stories featuring fierce and dangerous writers, including Deesha Philyaw, K-Ming Chang, Lauren Groff, and Sarah Rose Etter.

In their own words, here is Molly Llewellyn and Kristel Buckley’s Book Notes music playlist for their anthology Peach Pit:

Peach Pit is a collection of 16 stories centred around morally grey women and the stories are so varied, so with this playlist we wanted to try and create an immersive experience by finding songs that relate to each of the stories! We also thought it’d be a fun teaser of what the collection is about if you happen to be reading/listening to this before picking it up! 

Fuckboy Museum by Deesha Philyaw – Tipsy by Chloe x Halle

We wanted the opening story of Peach Pit to pack a punch and Deesha’s satirical horror story certainly does that. It follows a middle-aged Black woman who, tired of being chronically disregarded, disrespected and ghosted, exacts revenge on the men she meets on dating apps in a peculiarly artful way. 

Without giving too much away, the pre chorus and lyrics in general to “Tipsy” sum up this story and the main characters feelings perfectly! Do not mess with these women.

“Better, baby, better treat me better,
Better than those other guys who change up like the weather, yeah,
It is such a shame that they went missing, they can’t find ’em now,
Oh, I wonder how I accidentally put them in the ground”

Caller by K-Ming Chang – The Night We Met by Lord Huron

In ‘Caller’ we follow a young woman who becomes infatuated with a female scam caller- a fleeting ghost of a love that blossoms from strangeness and a story about the uncanniness of brief encounters, the depths of our memories, and the malleability of truth and disguise.

“The Night We Met” is such a heart-achingly beautiful yet painful song about longing, love, and the feeling of losing someone who wasn’t really ever fully yours that encapsulates K-Ming’s story of sapphic yearning perfectly.

“I had all and then most of you
Some and now none of you
Take me back to the night we met
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do
Haunted by the ghost of you
Oh, take me back to the night we met”

All You Have Is Your Fire by Yah Yah Scholfield – Firestarter by The Prodigy

Is this a little on the nose for a story about a teenage girl who finds solace in characters like Carrie and Corinne Foxworth and discovers a penchant for fire after a traumatizing childhood experience?? Maybe. But I think it’s safe to say when you think of fire and music, this has got to be one of the first songs that comes to anyone’s mind. 

“I’m the bitch you hated, filth infatuated 
I’m the pain you tasted, fell intoxicated
I’m a fire starter, twisted fire starter”

The Other You by Maisy Card – Miss Otis Regrets by Ella Fitzgerald

The Other You is somewhat of a prequel to Maisy Card’s debut novel These Ghosts are Family. We travel with Adele to Jamaica to confront her husband’s abandoned wife and to tell her the truth, that her husband is not dead, instead he is living as his friend and is in fact our husband now. To gloat, to confess, or simply to unload, it is not clear, but the story explores acceptance, our strange connections to those whom we may have done wrong, and cruel motivations we do not want to confront. 

“Miss Otis Regrets” is an old jazz number written by Cole Porter in 1934. It talks of a woman who murders her unfaithful husband and then is hung for her crime by a crowd. Though the storyline of this number doesn’t directly equate, the strength of the woman in the song, and the satirical use of the word ‘regrets’ encompasses the feelings of Adele, making a decision in full understanding of its selfish and unfair intentions, under a thinly veiled disguise of guilt. Yet it also demonstrates the apathetic acceptance of Vera, the other wife, and with Ella Fitzgerald’s vocals, a black female icon, we thought it was a perfect fit.

‘Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today
She is sorry to be delayed
But last evening down in Lover’s Lane she strays
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today’
She is sorry to be delayed
But last evening down in Lover’s Lane she strays
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today’

Maps by Vanessa Chan – Maps by Freya Ridings

Maps is an emotive story- one that reflects the all-encompassing nature of female friendships. How do you help your best friend when she doesn’t want to listen? What can you do when she’s gone apart from trying to find her in all the moments you shared? Can you ever understand what she went through? Can you fulfil the proper ending?

“Maps” by Freya Ridings told this story for us. The atmosphere of the song puts us straight into the depth of sadness our protagonist feels throughout the story and the repetitiveness of the music parallels the following of former memories. No one will ever love a friend as much as her best friend – but that love cannot always save them. 

‘Wait, they don’t love you like I love you 
Wait, they don’t love you like I love you 
Wait, they don’t love you like I love you 
Made off Don’t stray 
Well, my kind’s your kind I’ll stay the same 
Pack up 
Don’t stray’

Aquafina by Chana Porter – State Lines by Novo Amor

Aquafina is a narrative poem that follows two girls’ road trip around the US. It centers around the perspective of Aquafina’s friend, and surrounds the awe that she has for Aquafina, from the way that she moves, speaks, and acts. Though Aquafina delivers hard truths bluntly, and gets her into difficult situations, she can never let go of her reverence of Aquafina. But is Aquafina actually there? The poem explores multiple answers to that question, but despite the endings, Aquafina is defined by her ethereal nature. 

We thought then that “State Lines” was a perfect choice. The song feels ethereal and beautiful in nature and the lyrics below encompass this unknown element of Aquafina and whether she was there at all as they travelled over state lines. 

‘Was it all any more faded after all?
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know
Are you sure, did you call, or did we ever really talk?
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know’

A Scholaship Opportunity by Megan Giddings – What the Hell by Avril Lavigne

In ‘A Scholarship Opportunity’ we follow Tiffani as she enters into a pageant to compete for the title of ‘Worst Girl in America’ alongside other teenage girls, with the prize being a scholarship. This story also explores themes of conformity, expectations placed on young women, teenage rebellion, the feeling of not fitting in and societal pressure. Avril Lavigne’s “What The Hell” is such an anthem of letting go of all expectations and I can definitely imagine Tiffani singing to it with her windows down!

“All my life I’ve been good
But now I’m thinking, “What the hell”
All I want is to mess around
And I don’t really care about
If you love me, if you hate me
You can’t save me, baby, baby
All my life I’ve been good
But, now what the hell”

Sick by Alicia Elliott – “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers

Sick explores a toxic mother-daughter relationship. The mother in this story is known for her narcissistic behaviours and the methods that she uses to control her daughters are not subtle, but they alway work on our protagonist. The story explores this complicated relationship and the lengths we go to for those that we love, even though they may harm us in the long run. 

This song talks about this kind of relationship, a relationship that keeps you emotionally in turmoil. You hate them but cannot get away from them, giving into them and staying on the ride, because you don’t know how to do anything else. The ending of the song reflects the ending of the story, does she break the cycle?

‘I hate you for what you did 
And I miss you like a little kid 
I faked it every time, but that’s alright I can hardly feel anything, 
I hardly feel anything at all…
I have emotional motion sickness 
I try to stay clean and live without 
And I want to know what would happen 
If I surrender to the sound 
Surrender to the sound’

Ms. Wrong by Chantal V. Johnson- All Up In Your Mind by Beyoncé 

The main character in Chantal V. Johnson’s ‘Ms. Wrong’ is a a wealthy woman willing to go to unconventional, and perhaps not entirely ethical, lengths to find her dream man and “All Up In Your Mind” captures that kind of desperation and willingness to go to whatever lengths necessary. Beyoncé’s more raw/growly tones in this song convey the vibes perfectly and once you’ve read ‘Ms. Wrong’ you’ll see just how well the lyrics fit.

“I try to get all up in your mind
Is my love a crime ’cause I wanna make you mine? 
(You know you’re mine)
I try to get all up in your mind 
I’ll go and do the time if it means I’ll make you mine”

Holes by Alice Ash- My Ego Dies at the End by Jensen McRae

Holes is a visual and atmospheric short story that follows a young biracial woman as she learns to navigate the world and what that means for her. She looks to her mother as an example, finding that her future is not what she might wish it to be. With each injustice she removes a piece of her, so it will not happen again, you cannot have that part of her, she has buried it. 

Jensen McRae is an artist who frequently talks about what life is like navigating the world as a biracial woman. “My Ego Dies at the End” is the perfect song for this story, as it reflects our protagonists feelings impeccably. She can see the ending to her story, and she buries herself piece by piece to escape from it. 

‘Leave my body and my ego early 
Kill it kind with a surgeon’s mercy 
Claim I put it out of its misery 
I have the dream again, 
I have the dream again 
My ego dies at the end, it’s ego death 
My ego dies at the end, it’s ego death 
I live the dream I guess still don’t know what it meant
Who am I? 
I’ve lost the thread’

Manifestation by Sarah Rose Etter – Mood Ring by Lorde

The main character in Etter’s story ‘Manifestation’ is a wealthy white woman who believes manifestation and crystals can fix everything- even homelessness and poverty and that those people just aren’t open/trying hard enough. Lorde has mentioned herself how this song is ‘a satirical look at the pseudo-wellness trend and industry’ and I feel like the main character in Manifestation would be unironically belting this out to herself in her fancy kitchen.

“I’m tryna get well from the inside
Plants and celebrity news, all the vitamins I consume
Let’s fly somewhere eastern, they’ll have what I need 
Ladies, begin your sun salutations
Pluto in Scorpio generation (love and light)
You can burn sage, and I’ll cleanse the crystals
We can get high, but only if the wind blows”

Buffalo by Alison Rumfitt- I Am Her by Shea Diamond

Can you step in and wear someone else’s skin? This story explores the trans experience of being othered and blamed for violence against women, simply because they are trans. Our protagonist owns many a skin suit, plastic ones of course. When women are found skinned in the woods where she lives, the people think there is a clear perpetrator, and begin with their attacks. Rocks thrown through windows display their anger, and our protagonist can do nothing. She already lives in solitude to protect herself, and she is innocent. But she is not safe. It is out there with her. 

We chose “I Am Her” because it was really important to choose a trans artist, for no one would be able to understand the trans experience, but another trans woman. The song has an unapologetic strength to it that matches our protagonist, she knows that she has done nothing wrong, but here she is. She has an acceptance of how the people see her, of her villainy, and on the surface that makes her strong. She is happy to let them think she is the problem and she allows them to bully and attack without retaliation, but that is not a sign of weakness, but resilience in the face of blatant bigotry. We believe that is what this song stands for. 

‘There’s an outcast in everybody’s life and I am her
(I am her)
There’s a shadow in everybody’s front door and I am her
(I am her)
There’s a dark cloud in everybody’s sunlight and I am her
(I am her)
Oh you know I am her
All that glitters isn’t gold
At least that’s what I’ve been told
I’ve got so many issues and problems that I go through
Sometimes I can’t sleep at night if I had my face heaven for bid
It wouldn’t be the worst thing that I have a deal
It’s a hell of a world that we’re living in James: a sin is a sin
Don’t look at me immediately
And whisper behind my back thinking I’m naïve
It’s my southern hospitality
Tolerates more BS than even I can believe’

Composition by Aliya Whiteley – Death by Melanie Martinez 

This story connects us to nature and to the earth, and all the little things we do not think about. Fungi, insects and their power to kill. In this story we confront the small things that are reserved only for our corpses, and see them in front of us, ready to make us useful to them. They answer to their master, what will she do with that kind of power?

This was a difficult one for us to find a song that really told a similar story. We settled on “Death” by Melanie Martinez as the feel and themes of the song illustrate our protagonist in a way no other song quite did. Having that intimate relationship with death, its process and its people was something we found both in these lyrics and within the story.

‘When you aren’t around, I sink into the ground 
I try to pretend I’m closer to you 
Never understand it 
You’re always on my mind, I cannot help it 
I don’t wanna be carrying the weight on my shoulders 
Death has come to me, kissed me on the cheek, gave me closure 
Immortal by design 
I’ll be meeting you here every time’

The Monolith by Chaya Bhuvaneswar – Swish Swish by Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj

In The Monolith, we are transported to the competitive world of medicine. We explore what it means to be a woman in this environment, and how our competitive nature can come out against other women. We women can be cruel to each other, especially if the one we view as a threat is younger, prettier, nicer and smarter than we are. We follow a female doctor who has given up a lot to be in the position she is in, including not limited to, parts of her dignity, and resents her medical student for not having to do the same.

“Swish Swish” was a wonderful song for this because it is one of the few songs (thank god!) that really conveys the idea that the performers are above the woman they’re addressing. They undermine the woman they are referring to in all number of ways, pushing that woman down to keep their level of superiority. 

‘So keep calm, honey, I’ma stick around 
For more than a minute, get used to it 
Funny my name keeps comin’ out your mouth 
‘Cause I stay winning 
Lay ’em up like Swish, swish, bish 
Swish swish, aww I got them upset’ 

The Devils Doorbell by Amanda Leduc- Sappho by Delian 

You’d think a story about a disabled teen girl summoning the devil to her bedroom via masturbation and embarking on a sapphic relationship with her would be a kind of niche concept/hard to find a song that it correlates to but weirdly, the final verse of ‘Sappho’ by Delian sounds like it could’ve been written for this story!!

“That day she made my bedroom holy
Satisfied my passion slowly
Flowers were in her hair
Thought I dreamt that she was there
I asked, “Why’re you tryna kill me?”
She laughed and called me silly
“You’re not gonna die, but gee, you’re pretty when you cry””

Amaranth by Lauren Groff – Rage by Samantha Margret

Amaranth gains a purpose early in life- vengeance against the step-dad who killed her father, with her mother as welcome collateral. As the years pass into adulthood, this is her constant companion, her motivation, until she finally achieves it. A story of rage, loss, growth, and how they both can inform one another, with themes of hunger, haunting and vengeance, we knew we had to find a female rage song that fit perfectly and Samantha Margaret delivered! 

I know that you like my style
I look like this on purpose
You don’t wanna see me smile
I bite, I promise
Rage in the pen
In the now in the then”

For book & music links, themed playlists, a wrap-up of Largehearted Boy feature posts, and more, check out Largehearted Boy’s weekly newsletter.

Molly Llewellyn is a twenty-something queer, disabled book blogger from the UK. She is one half of the editing team for PEACH PIT, coming Fall 2023 from Dzanc, which is her first big editing role. She’s a big fan of “weird women” lit and anything that is the color green.

Kristel Buckley is an editor, publicist and former publisher from the Big Smoke! She is more than happy to talk your ear off about the unfaithful representation of women in history, and her passion is a more equitable, inclusive future for all stories from all voices.

If you appreciate the work that goes into Largehearted Boy, please consider supporting the site to keep it strong.