HAMILTON. What is this “Hamilton” that I keep seeing, you ask? Hamilton is a musical. It’s a musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda about the life of Alexander Hamilton and those surrounding him.
I am a proud member of both the book community and the Broadway community. It is very rare that these two communities interact. However…
Hamilton has taken the book community by STORM!
I LOVE Hamilton. It’s amazing, guys. I was pretty surprised to see the mass obsession over this musical in the book community. I’m both ecstatic and confused about my two communities mixing, to be honest.
This has never happened to the book community with a musical before! Everyone here either LOVES it or hasn’t listened to it yet. There is no in between. What I want to know is why??? Why has the book community accepted this musical this way? With the exception of myself and a few others, people here aren’t typically musical fanatics. What is it about Hamilton? I’m about to explore that!
First, here are some bookish people obsessing over Hamilton to prove it’s takeover!
In a letter I received from you two weeks ago, I noticed a comma in the middle of a phrase. It changed the meaning. #Hamilton
— Amber (@YAIndulgences) December 21, 2015
Here we have blogger Amber quoting Take a Break, a song from Hamilton!
If anyone wants to fly me to NY and buy me tickets to see Hamilton as a Xmas gift, I'd be okay with that. Just sayin'.
— Evelyn Skye ⚡️?? (@EvelynSkyeYA) December 21, 2015
Here we have author Evelyn Skye expressing her want for Hamilton tickets!
I have Dear Theodosia struck in my head. I hope you like Hamilton, editors, because everything I'm working on alludes to it.
— K. Locke (@Bibliogato) December 20, 2015
Here we have author Katherine Locke commenting on how Hamilton is affecting her writing!
Instead of a revision of book 2, please find attached my John Laurens/Alexander Hamilton fanfiction.
— Mackenzi Lee (@themackenzilee) December 20, 2015
Here we have author Mackenzi Lee fulfilling my DREAM by writing Laurens/Hamilton fic!
Once you go #Hamilton you never go back.
— Rachel Patrick (@RachelllRaeee) December 19, 2015
Here we have blogger Rachel making a very, very true statement!
On my 3rd listen of Hamilton. Guys H E L P
— Shelly (ง'̀-'́)ง (@shellysrambles) December 19, 2015
Here we have blogger Shelly saying what we all are feeling!
A10 "You'll Be Back" from HAMILTON. ? Da da dada DA! Da dada da da dada. ? #RQWN
— Ashley Blake ? (@ashleyhblake) December 19, 2015
Here we have author Ashley Herring Blake mentioning King George’s fabulous song during #RQWN!
Confession: I love "It's Quiet Uptown" but sometimes I hear it and think GODDAMNIT IF YOU HURT ELIZA AGAIN I WILL CUT YOU HAMILTON.
— annie cardi (@anniecardi) December 17, 2015
Here we have author Annie Cardi threatening poor Alexander (ME TOO, ANNIE)!
— Rachel (@nerdherdreads) December 16, 2015
Here we have blogger Rachel quoting Hamilton in a book review because it is just so damn quotable!
I finally caved. I'm listening to Hamilton.
— Emma (@AwkwordlyEmma) December 14, 2015
Here we have blogger Emma GIVING IN TO PEER PRESSURE!
— Jenny Han (@jennyhan) December 19, 2015
Here we have author Jenny Han singing Satisfied to a very happy, adorable baby!
I love this shirt. pic.twitter.com/nufy4LhTjx
— Deanna (@deannareads) December 21, 2015
Here we have blogger Deanna (wait what that’s me?) wearing a Hamilton T-SHIRT that she bought online.
Now: the question. Why has the book community taken Hamilton in like this?
The obvious answer is the music.
However, I think there’s more to it than that. If it was just the music, we would’ve reacted this way to In the Heights, Miranda’s other musical, because it had similar music. Also, there have been soooo many musicals with great music and even (dare I say it?) more accessible topics that the book community hasn’t adopted this way. Next to Normal, Spring Awakening, Bonnie & Clyde, and Dogfight are some of my personal favorites to name a few.
SO WHAT IS IT ABOUT HAMILTON?
I believe there are many answers to this question. I’m going to discuss three: the feels, the music, and the story.
1. THE FEELS.
Think about the last book that made you cry. Think about when your favorite character died. Now, think about It’s Quiet Uptown. Think about Burn. Think about Eliza after Alexander cheats on her. Similar feelings, huh? People who aren’t huge musical fanatics like myself aren’t used to feeling this way just from listening to an album. We expect these feelings from books. We are used to getting these feelings from books. We like, love, getting these feeling from books! And now we are getting these feelings from Hamilton.
2. The music.
As I mentioned earlier, part of the reason why Hamilton is such a hit in ALL communities is the music. The music and singers are truly exceptional. It’s a great blend of genres! From the rap= song of My Shot, to the feminist powerhouse that is The Schuyler Sisters, to the jazzy hilarity of You’ll Be Back, to the heartbreaking ballad of Burn, there’s something for everyone. Every single song is catchy and absolutely fantastic!
3. The story.
Hamilton tells a story. Typically with musicals, it’s hard to know the full story without seeing the show. With Hamilton, the album tells the whole story. And it’s a DAMN GOOD STORY. Full of love and heartbreak and war and death and sex and gay gay gay and IT’S GREAT. Hamilton is like a book and being the BOOK COMMUNITY, we love books. It’s a full story with a climax and everything and it’s an entertaining, well written one at that.
“I think that HAMILTON exposes our own insecurities and ambitions as artists. Are we doing enough with our time? Are we “non-stop?” Are we creating enough? Are we “writing like we’re running out of time?” Is what we’re creating worthwhile? Will it “outlive us when we’re gone?” Are we writing “the other 51?” But at the same time, it reminds us that ambitions can blind us, undermine our work, make our legacy that of a rivalry instead of our art. It provokes thought, while pushing us to be better artists and better people in our communities of choice. It reminds us that as we are writing, we are writing ourselves into a larger narrative. That larger narrative is our legacy, our ‘seeds in a garden we never get to see.’ Are we making the literary community a better place? I hope so.”
-Katherine Locke, author of Second Position and Finding Center
That’s it! Now that you’ve read this post…GO LISTEN TO HAMILTON!