Do you read songs/poems that are inserted into a book (novel)?

The question is in the title. I mean things like in Lord of the Rings, with the dwarf songs and such. I’ve always just skimmed past these segments and gotten back to the action on the other side. I am just wondering if other people do the same or if you read the song or poem.

If you do read it, and it’s a song, do you actually try to sing it in your head to some sort of tune, or do you just read it as prose?

Poll in a minute because what the hell, I can and it makes it easier to see the trend.

Lord of the Rings, definitely, I read them and try to make up an appropriate tune. Most other authors, I skim them and get back to the story toot pronto. So it depends on both the talent of the author, and the tone of the book.

Yes, I read them, but I just read it as prose. I generally dislike songs and poetry planted in literature. It rarely adds anything to the story. One exception would be “The Bear and Maiden Fair” in A Song of Ice and Fire…it’s kind of funny to see that song pop up from time to time.

Even if I tried to read the poem as prose, sometimes my brain makes up a tune anyways.

If it’s just a couple of stanzas I’ll read them, and I’m not at all musical so they turn up as prose in my head.

If they go on for a page or pages, I skip right over.

My answer: Yes, I read them as verse.

I don’t usually sing them in my head, because I don’t have a melody for them; but I don’t read them as prose, because I do pay attention to the meter and rhyme.

At least in the hands of someone who’s good at that sort of thing (Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, A. A. Milne) they definitely add something to the book that it would be poorer without.

I do read them. It may not always work, but they’re in there for a reason.

I usually read them as verse, without making up a tune (despite being a musician). Though sometimes I’ll get annoyed if there are a lot of them in a book. It really depends on the “vibe” I get from them —

Do the songs/poems bear some relation to the plot, and advance the plot in some way? For example, is the song or poem a bit of ancient writing that contains some kind of clue that the characters need to decipher in order to complete their quest? I’ll read and enjoy it, and attempt to ferret out the clue myself. It’s always fun when I read through a poem and then, later in the book after the plot has progressed further, I recall the poem and my brain starts putting things together. Especially if I can do this before the connection is actually revealed in-story.

Do the songs/poems feel like they’re inserted simply because the author thinks a fantasy story needs to have songs and poems in it? I’ll just skim them, or skip them altogether. I just finished reading the adventure the characters have returned from; I don’t now need a bard to recap the whole thing for me. I was “there” with the characters and “saw” everything happen.

I voted “Yes, always, but I read the songs as prose in my head,” but since you specifically mention Lord of the Rings, I did make up a tune for the “Troll sat alone on his seat of stone” song when I first read the book (age 12) and enjoyed singing it to myself. I probably thought of the other LOTR songs only vaguely in terms of actual melody.

I usually try to read them, whether they are in the story itself, or used as chapter headers or whatever. But I don’t usually get much out of them. I just don’t really get much from poetry in general. But I feel the author put it there for a reason, so I at least try to see what it is.

I normally attempt to read them, but always end up skipping them. Glad I’m not the only one.

I think I used to, but not any more. They’re never worth it.

This is the only song in a book that I’ve ever imagined as a song. I tend to read the poetry, and at best skim songs.

It depends on the author, the length and the story. Some are worth reading for clues, or simply for the pleasure of it. What bothers me though is many authors seem to have no grasp of meter or beat and just write songs a prose. Drives me up the wall.

This question is only tangentially related to the OP, but I didn’t want to start another thread, and they’re related.

Who writes the music when a song from a book is sung on an audio book? For example, I listened to The Hobbit as an audio book years ago (full cast performance, too) and I’m pretty sure they sang all of the songs. I don’t think Tolkien wrote sheet music to go with the books, did he? So someone had to create a melody. Who does that? Is there any method by which a given melody becomes “canon”? Or would any future audio (or video) presentation of said book write their own melody?

Sometimes. Often they’re excruciatingly bad; my eyes will automatically read it a little, so I’ll notice if it’s actually worth a proper read. Same goes for dream sequences - in real life it’s nearly always extremely boring being told someone else’s dream, and it applies almost as often in books.

It really varies a lot. When I was reading Dean Koontz he’d have these awful, awful poems at the beginning, and I’d read every word because they were so entertaining. But for the most part my eyes glaze over when I see eight verses of italicized verse coming up.

Not usually. Not even in Tolkien - I love his stories, but his poems and songs were just excruciating. And boring. I usually skip 'em. Especially when the author is Jean Auel. Oi.

An exception are the short excerpts some authors (like Stephen King) put in front of chapters. Sometimes these are short snippets of a song, sometimes a few verses of a poem (either written by the author or someone else). I generally do read these.

Well, in the case of Tolkien, there were actually records of J.R.R. Tolkien reading/singing his own works. My parents have some on vinyl (who knows how long its been since anyone listened to them.) Things like this and this. Having never heard any of these, I cannot comment on the actual content.

The first time through Lord of the Rings, I read them. The second time through I skipped all of them and didn’t seem to miss anything.