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It is no secret that Taylor Swift has a knack for referencing literary works, especially within her new album “The Tortured Poets Department.” In her new album, Swift references works such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and Patti Smith’s “Just Kids.” 

So, for all those who are still listening to all 31 songs in “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology,” maybe consider taking a break and picking up a book.

“Fortnight”: “Cleopatra and Frankenstein” by Coco Mellors

“I love you, it’s ruining my life,” can perfectly describe the relationship between Cleo and Frank in “Cleopatra and Frankenstein.” The book follows Cleo and Frank as they attempt to navigate their new relationship. Since their relationship reminds me of “Fortnight” lyrics you can imagine their relationship does not function well which is true as their relationship consists of a 20 year age gap and Cleo’s struggles with mental health. The story switches from being told from Cleo and Frank’s perspectives to their close friends and family’s. This then demonstrates how their relationship not only affects them but those around them, too. Now, there is a chance I may not be interpreting Swift’s lyrics like everyone else; however, “Fortnight” reminds me of “Cleopatra and Frankenstein” as it focuses on the struggle of a relationship, regardless of how good it may seem, and the idea that it should end to help those involved in it move on.

“Who’s Afraid of Old Little Me”: “The Little Friend” by Donna Tartt

Not only does “The Little Friend” include “little” in the title but also within the book, Tartt creates an ambitious character in Harriet that perfectly embodies the song. “The Little Friend” follows Harriet as she attempts to solve the mysterious murder of her older brother with the help of her friend Hely. Throughout the course of the novel, Harriet proves to be a force to be reckoned with as she is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with those older than her and issues much bigger than her. Harriet embodies Swift’s song as she proves to others that they should be afraid of little old Harriet as she inches closer to potentially discovering the truth of her brother’s death.

“But Daddy I Love Him”: “The Song of Achilles” by Madeliene Miller

Both “But Daddy I Love Him” and “The Song of Achilles” feature a blossoming romance disapproved by parents. “The Song of Achilles” follows the tale of Achilles and his well-known fate to battle in the Trojan War. The book also focuses on the love story of Achilles and Patroclus. Unfortunately, Achilles and Patroclus’ love is met with many challenges such as Achilles’ mother’s constant intervention as well as the impending fate surrounding Achilles. These challenges mirror those Swift describes in her song regarding the disapproval she receives for who she loves.

“Down Bad”: “Romantic Comedy” by Curtis Sittenfeld

“Romantic Comedy” possesses a more happy ending compared to the Swift song “Down Bad,” but both perfectly capture falling in love so quickly. In “Romantic Comedy,” Sally Milz is a writer for “The Night Owls,” a fictional sketch comedy show similar to “Saturday Night Live,” where she meets famous pop artist Noah Brewster–side note, he reminds me of Noah Kahan. While Brewster hosts “The Night Owls,” he and Sally grow closer until mixed signals cause the two to go their separate ways. But that doesn’t prevent either one from thinking of what could have been. With the mixed signals and longing for what could have been, the book echoes sentiments of “Down Bad.”

“Cassandra”: “Elektra” by Jennifer Saint

“Cassandra” was arguably one of the easiest songs to recommend a book for. For those who don’t know, in “Cassandra” Swift retells the myth pertaining to how Cassandra was cursed with being able to see the future and Troy’s downfall. In “Elektra,” Saint retells the tale of Cassandra as well as the story of Helen’s sister, Clytemnestra, and her daughter, Elektra. In her book, Saint focuses on the missing female perspective from the original Greek myth. This missing perspective mirrors that of Swift’s lyrics in “Cassandra” as she highlights the struggle of Cassandra attempting to warn people of the potential fall of Troy in the following lyrics, “You can mark my words that I said it first/ In a mourning warning, no one heard/ No one heard, not a single word was heard.” Also for fans of Laufey, “Elektra” was previously chosen as the January 2023 book of the month for The Laufey Book Club.

Now Swifties have a few good reasons to maybe take a break from listening to “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology” on repeat and to pick up a good book that can relate to it! Happy reading!

Adriana Gasiewski

Kent State '26

Adriana Gasiewski is sophomore Journalism major with a minors in Italian and English. Besides being the Philanthropy and Community Events Coordinator and on the editorial team for Her Campus, she is also a cultural and diversity beat reporter for KentWired. Some of her favorite things to do besides writing include reading, drawing and listening to music.