I guess we all listen to music and recall many tunes that resonate with a particular period in our lives whether that be in time or emotion. I know there are many early David Bowie and Rod Stewart tracks that will always strike an image or moment within me whenever I hear them. I know most of us are the same.
I was listening to such a tune the other day and it got me to thinking whether books have the same power. My conclusion is that they have; plus much more.
As much as I love listening to music that takes me to a place in time, the music is always exactly the same each time I hear it. Now that is not in any way a critisim of those talented creative minds who enrichen our souls with their melodic masterpieces; but by its inherent nature it is a fixed thing. It may sound as different to each individual ear as the memory it evokes, but a novel, a work of fiction, can achieve even more.
Each reader of the same piece of fiction, will read it differently. Each will engage in a different experience, bespoke to that individual reader. Each will have a slightly different perception of the characters, no matter how skilled the writer has been at his or her crafting of them. In fact, I always prefer to write with a limited descriptive, an incomplete exposition, so that the reader has enough information to understand, but with sufficient gaps to allow their own imaginations to fill in the blanks in a wondrous personal way.
Therefore, as much as I love listening to music, there will always be an added magic in reading a work of fiction, as the author speaks to me in a different way that he or she speaks to others.