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In our *Bookish Era*: Forge Books as Taylor Swift Eras!

‘Tis the damn season for all things Taylor Swift-related! In honor of Taylor bringing her Eras tour to New York tonight and all through this coming weekend, we decided to pair each of her iconic eras with one of our Forge books. Happy, free, confused, lonely, miserable, magical—no matter what you’re feeling, there’s a Taylor Swift song that fits the mood…and we have a book to match it. Here’s a roundup of what to read that’ll compliment your favorite T-Swift album! 


TAYLOR SWIFT (self-titled album) – An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor

Taylor Swift (album) - Wikipedia

An Irish Country Girl

This OG album calls for an OG Forge book, which would be paired perfectly with anything by the wonderful Patrick Taylor (yup, his last name is coincidentally her first name!). But I think this book in particular is the best choice because it has the words ‘country girl’ right in the title, and this album is known for being the height of Taylor’s ‘country girl era!’ 

FEARLESS – The Instructor by T. R. Hendricks

Taylor Swift - Fearless [Enhanced] - Amazon.com Music

The Instructor

The Instructor is a perfect fit for this era because, just like the album name states, the main character Derek Harrington is a fearless retired Marine Force Recon and SERE instructor! In her written introduction to the album, Taylor says: ““FEARLESS’ is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. FEARLESS is having fears. FEARLESS is having doubts. Lots of them. FEARLESS is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” And this pulse-pounding, gripping  thriller absolutely aligns with that sentiment and is a true testament to that statement. Not to mention, The Instructor was T. R. Hendricks’ debut novel, and Fearless is considered to be Taylor’s debut into the world of stardom!

SPEAK NOW- The Picture Bride by Lee Geum-yi; translated by An Seonjae

Taylor Swift - Speak Now - Amazon.com Music

The Picture Bride

There is no better fit for this incredibly heartfelt, poignant album than the masterpiece that is The Picture Bride. In her forward to the album, Taylor says: “There is a time for silence. There is a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel and you so clearly know what you need to say, you’ll know it. I don’t think you should wait. I think you should speak now.” In the inspiring story of The Picture Bride, main character Willow does all that she can to make the best of her unexpected circumstance of becoming a picture bride. But it isn’t long before her dreams for this new life are shattered, first by a husband who never wanted to marry her in the first place, and then by the escalation of the Korean independence movements. Braving the rough waters of these tumultuous years, Willow forges ahead, creating new dreams through her own blood, sweat, and tears; working tirelessly toward a better life for her family and loved ones. Willow is an incredible example of a strong woman who learns how to face adversity and speak now. 

RED – The Bell in the Fog by Lev AC Rosen

Red (Taylor Swift album) - Wikipedia

The Bell in the Fog

Yes, let’s state the obvious: Red is the name of the album, and red is the color splashed all over the stunning cover of The Bell in the Fog. Aside from Red being a bold color, this was a bold Era for Taylor. She transitioned into the pop genre and experimented with charting unfamiliar territory musically-speaking. The Bell in the Fog is nothing short of a bold story–one of growth for the main character, finding one’s place in the world despite choppy waters, and learning how to navigate an old flame from the past returning to your life after they broke your heart (all with a splash of murder and noir, of course). On releasing Red, Taylor said: “In the land of heartbreak, moments of strength, independence, and devil-may-care rebellion are intricately woven together with grief, paralyzing vulnerability and hopelessness. Imagining your future might always take you on a detour back to the past.” And this is exactly what happens in The Bell in the Fog. This book literally–and figuratively–screams Red. 

1989 – The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton

Taylor Swift - 1989 - Amazon.com Music

The Last Beekeeper

Named after the year of her birth, 1989 was Taylor’s way of defining and owning the music she was making. It was the brave intention of defying anyone who tried to steer her away from the music she felt was true to her. The idea was to embrace what felt genuine to her heart and soul, despite being told “no.” In The Last Beekeeper, it’s been more than a decade since the world has come undone, and Sasha Severn has returned to her childhood home with one goal in mind—find the mythic research her father, the infamous Last Beekeeper, hid before he was incarcerated. There, Sasha is confronted with a group of squatters who have claimed the quiet, idyllic farm as their own. While she initially feels threatened, the group soon becomes her newfound family. But just as she settles into her new life, Sasha witnesses the impossible: She sees a honey bee, presumed extinct. People who claim to see bees are ridiculed and silenced for reasons Sasha doesn’t understand, but she can’t shake the feeling that this impossible bee is connected to her father’s missing research. The Last Beekeeper is an exploration of truth versus power, and the triumph of hope in the face of despair—and the same can be said for 1989. Both Taylor Swift and Sasha had to be headstrong in their endeavors and not let anyone silence or judge them for their work. Truly a ‘rebirth era’ all around!

REPUTATION – Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Reputation (album) - Wikipedia

Her Perfect Life

Every Swiftie knows that Reputation was Taylor’s ‘comeback era’–the one where she went AWOL on all her social media platforms and had to “rise up from the dead” (as she so aptly says in track 6, Look What You Made Me Do) in order to begin again and reclaim her good name. She was raked over the coals, and the whole facade she built of having a seemingly innocent and perfect life came crashing down at warp speed. The album was a reflection on her Reputation and what it means to be defined by other people. Her Perfect Life is a dead-ringer for this infamous era. Everyone knows Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all—fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret–her own. Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips—but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he—or she—know the truth? Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world—and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear. Both Lily and Taylor fit a narrative that questions how much is one person willing to risk in order to keep her perfect life, and her perfect reputation?

LOVER – Midnight on the Marne by Sarah Adlakha

Lover (album) - Wikipedia

Midnight on the Marne

Lover is Taylor’s ‘soft girl era,’ where she comes out of the darkness of Reputation with a plethora of pastels and butterfly imagery. I would personally describe this as her most romantic album of all, not only because of the title, but because she so perfectly encapsulates what it means to really be in love. So this album definitely deserves to be paired with a book that has a love story that transcends time. Set during the heroism and heartbreak of World War, Midnight on the Marne explores the responsibilities love lays on us and the rippling impact of our choices. France, 1918. Nurse Marcelle Marchand has important secrets to keep. Her role as a spy has made her both feared and revered, but it has also put her in extreme danger from the approaching German army. American soldier George Mountcastle feels an instant connection to the young nurse. But in times of war, love must wait. Soon, George and his best friend Philip are fighting for their lives during the Second Battle of the Marne, where George prevents Philip from a daring act that might have won the battle at the cost of his own life. On the run from a victorious Germany, George and Marcelle begin a new life with Philip and Marcelle’s twin sister, Rosalie, in a brutally occupied France. Together, this self-made family navigates oppression, near starvation, and unfathomable loss, finding love and joy in unexpected moments.

FOLKLORE – The Net Beneath Us by Carol Dunbar

Folklore (Taylor Swift album) - Wikipedia

The Net Beneath Us

Folklore is branded as Tay’s ‘nature girl era’–the one where she flings herself into the woods and never looks back. The album cover (and all other Folklore-related photography) depicts Taylor out in the woods, feeling as one with the natural world around her. And my oh my, do we have the perfect book to pair with it. The Net Beneath Us vividly describes life off the grid. It’s a lyrical exploration of loss, marriage, parenthood, and self-reliance; a tale of how the natural world—without and within us—offers us healing, if we can learn where to look. Folklore is undisturbed, private, and a lyrical portrayal of escapism with an emphasis on the importance of storytelling. The parallels between the two are quite compelling!

EVERMORE – The Last Deamwalker by Rita Woods

Evermore (Taylor Swift album) - Wikipedia

The Last Dreamwalker

This sister album to Folklore is a bit heavier content-wise but is laden with incredibly strong imagery and many touches of magic (the music video for Willow is one of the most magical creations I’ve ever seen. It truly captures wonder, enchantment, and struggles women face). And a book that reflects this same level of magic is The Last Dreamwalker. It tells the story of two women, separated by nearly two centuries yet inextricably linked by the Gullah-Geechee Islands off the coast of South Carolina—and their connection to a mysterious and extraordinary gift passed from generation to generation. Much like the Evermore album, The Last Dreamwalker is a gripping, contemporary read about power and agency; family and legacy; and the ways trauma, secrets, and magic take shape across generations.

MIDNIGHTS – Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber

Midnights - Wikipedia

Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe

Midnights is Taylor’s most recent album. It touches upon topics such as anxiety, insecurity, self-criticism, self-awareness, insomnia, self-confidence and love. Not only does the title of the book fit incredibly well with the title of the album, but I think Taylor’s Midnights Era has strong similarities to what happens in Midnight at the Blackbird Café. This book is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm. Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café. It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about. As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly. Best song on the album to pair it with? Sweet Nothing. It’s got ‘sweet’ right there in the name (like the yummy looking pie on the cover), the song literally mentions Wicklow in the first verse (which is the setting of the book), and it’s such a heartfelt, charming ode to a happy, quiet kind of love. 

Bonus! SOUNDS OF THE SEASON: THE TAYLOR SWIFT HOLIDAY COLLECTION – A Dog’s Perfect Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron

The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection - Wikipedia

A Dog's Perfect Christmas

Yes, Taylor indeed released a Christmas album featuring covers of some classic holiday tunes, along with a few originals of her own! A perfect little Christmas album like this calls for an equally as perfect Christmas-themed book, and there’s no better fit for this than A Dog’s Perfect Christmas. It’s a beautiful, poignant, delightful tale of what can happen when family members open their hearts to new possibilities. You’ll find love and tears and laughter—the ideal holiday fit for the ideal holiday album!

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