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Top 10 Essential Fiction Books About Musicians

fiction about or with music

If you don’t want to read the history of music, you can still enjoy stories of interesting characters in nearly every musical scene from jazz to pop.

These novels are a great introduction to the world of musical fiction and you’d be amazed just how many books feature musicians when you start looking for them.

Stick around to enjoy the very best of music fiction out there!

The Piano Teacher - Janice Y K Lee

The Piano Teacher

by Janice Y K Lee

Claire Pendleton is a piano teacher sent from England to Hong Kong to teach a rich family’s daughter about music and how to play.

But this is more than a book about popular music and soon Claire is thrust into a world of art lovers, music lovers, and dark secrets.

You’ll learn plenty about music from reading this book but you’ll also learn about love and betrayal.

It’s almost impossible to put down once you start it.

Find it online here.

A Visit From The Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan

A Visit From The Goon Squad

by Jennifer Egan

Bennie Salazar, once a star of the New York City punk rock music scene and now a record executive is dealing with the struggles of his post-divorce adult life when Sasha, a troubled young woman comes into his life.

He looks to prevent her self-destruction and fend off his own problems as they both seek redemption and escape in rock n roll music.

Find it online here.

Daisy Jones And The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones And The Six

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones and The Six are a rock band destined to find trouble and to deal with it through their music.

This is as much a coming of age story as it is a book about music and it’s one of the best books that we’ve ever read in the office.

Novels like this really bring the scene to life and just you just how much fun and how much hard work the life of a working band really is.

If you enjoy this, you may also enjoy Girl In A Band, which is a true-to-life memoir of a similar nature.

Find it online here.

High Fidelity - Nick Hornby

High Fidelity

by Nick Hornby

Rob’s a music junkie in this story which is not only one of the best books on the scene but also one of its most famous novels.

The story sees rob try to bury himself in music to escape the misery of his girlfriend leaving him but there comes a time when he realizes that it might just be time to grow up and get what he really wants out of existence.

Nick Hornby fans will also enjoy Kill Your Friends which is on our list of the greatest music books of all time.

Find it online here.

An Equal Music - Vikram Seth

An Equal Music

by Vikram Seth

Vikram Seth’s novels are serious literature and this tale of a successful violinist on the classical music trail is a moving account of how a love for music can also bring the kind of love that spans the eons.

In the end, it is music that threatens to divide the lovers in an emotional reveal of a dark secret. Fans of heavy literature won’t be disappointed in the payoff here.

And if you like this book, you will love. It’s Bob Dylan’s life story and also very literary.

Find it online here.

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

There’s a movie of this novel but watching it means missing out on the excellent writing on offer here. It would be like trying to appreciate hip hop from the liner notes rather than listening to the tunes.

This is all about the quest to find a secret gig and the two people seeking it. If you want something light and funny with a lot of rock and very little R&B? This is the must-read book for you, it’s a very well-written and enjoyable novel.

Find it online here.

Bel Canto - Ann Patchett

Bel Canto

by Ann Patchett

This is so well-written that it won the Orange Prize and the PEN/Faulkner award.

This story of an opera singer at a party where the event is hijacked by terrorists is absolutely compelling.

We loved the exploration of the culture of music and the people at the event too.

Find it online here.

Glitz - Philana Marie Boles


by Philana Marie Boles

This is all about a young aspiring musician and her friend and the long road between talent and success.

Ann Michelle chooses to accompany her friend Raquel on her journey to fame and along the way she becomes “Glitz” an alternative version of herself that she’s not entirely sure that she likes.

Find it online here.

Where She Went - Gayle Forman

Where She Went

by Gayle Forman

This is, in fact, a sequel to the musical novel If I Stay but for our money, it’s the better book.

This is all about Mia and Adam’s relationship and how their breakup propelled Adam to stardom and Mia to success, and now, they’re about to meet as artists on the world stage and their lives as stars may soon be about to be turned upside down as a result.

Find it online here.

Whale Music - Paul Quarrington

Whale Music

by Paul Quarrington

There’s some musical history in this book as the main character is based on a member of The Beach Boys.

However, even if you don’t know that, this story about a musician trying to finish his masterpiece is wonderfully entertaining and full of emotionally lifting moments.

Find it online here.

We hope that you find a story or two that you enjoy on this list and that they inspire you to make great music of your own.

Rock ‘n Roll!