Pop Culture

Classic Book Pairings for Every Song on Adele’s “25”

Alice Burton

Staff Writer

Chicagoan and aspiring cryptozoologist Alice Burton has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and is an Archives Assistant with the Frances Willard Historical Society. When not booking or historying, she is singing soprano wherever people will have her. She will watch any documentary on Neanderthals or giant extinct animals, and has a Stockholm Syndrome-like love for Chicago and its winters. Blog: Reading Rambo Twitter: @itsalicetime


Adele has a new album out, so obviously Book Riot’s immediate concern was “BUT WHAT BOOKS GO WITH EACH SONG?” So here are classic book pairings for every song on Adele’s “25.”

1. Hello/Wuthering Heights.

Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times

Cathy is on the other side and no one can tell me this song isn’t about a ghost making a phone call no matter how correct they might be.

rebecca2. Send My Love (To Your New Lover)/Rebecca.

Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We’ve gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain’t kids no more

This is the kind of bitchy thing Rebecca would say, but also, I’m not totally convinced she was what Max said she was. I don’t trust him.

3. I Miss You /Their Eyes Were Watching God

I wanna step into your great unknown
With you and me setting the tone

Omg. Tea Cake feelings.


4. When We Were Young/The Odyssey

You still look like a movie
You still sound like a song
My God, this reminds me
Of when we were young

PENELOPE AND ODYSSEUS WHYYYY. This especially kills if you pair it with Tennyson’s super-bummer of a poem Ulysses.

5. Remedy/Jane Eyre.

No river is too wide or too deep for me to swim to you
Come whatever I’ll be the shelter that won’t let the rain come through
Your love, it is my truth
And I will always love you
Love you, love you

I could just quote the whole song. If someone hasn’t already made a Jane Eyre fanvid to this using the Ruth Wilson adaptation, get on that stat.

6. Water Under the Bridge/Wuthering Heights

And if I’m not the one for you
You’ve gotta stop holding me the way you do
Oh and if I’m not the one for you
Why have we been through what we have been through?

Wuthering Heights gets two on this list. I don’t even like that book. That’s how appropriate the lyrics are.

7. River Lea/Heart of Darkness

There was something in the water, now that something’s in me
Oh I can’t go back, but the reeds are growing out of my fingertips

Try thinking about Heart of Darkness without thinking of that dark, terrifying water. You can’t, it’s checkmate, congratulations, Joseph Conrad.

anna karenina8. Love in the Dark/Anna Karenina

Take your eyes off me so I can leave
I’m far too ashamed to do it with you watching me

This is never ending, we have been here before
But I can’t stay this time ’cause I don’t love you anymore


9. Million Years Ago/Les Miserables.

I feel like my life is flashing by
And all I can do is watch and cry

I miss the air, I miss my friends
I miss my mother; I miss it when
Life was a party to be thrown
But that was a million years ago.

THIS IS FANTINE’S SONG. I mean, y’know. Other than that one that was written for her.

10. All I Ask/Carmilla

If this is my last night with you
Hold me like I’m more than just a friend
Give me a memory I can use
Take me by the hands while we do what lovers do
It matters how this ends
‘Cause what if I never love again?

Nobody can tell me Carmilla isn’t a sympathetic figure and that she doesn’t love Laura the only way she knows how. BECAUSE I WILL FIGHT THAT PERSON.


11. Sweetest Devotion/Persuasion

I wasn’t ready then; I’m ready now
I’m heading straight for you
You will only be eternally
The one that I belong to

Persuasion (and this song) are an excellent testament to the notion that two people can be perfect for each other, and the timing can just be way off.

Have other suggestions? Along with lyric evidence to support your theory? Leave it in the comments and we can have a scholarly debate, hopefully in emotional GIF form.