Earworms: Why Do We Get Songs Stuck in Our Heads?: Background information when reading The Wrong Heaven

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The Wrong Heaven

by Amy Bonnafons

The Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnafons X
The Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnafons
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2018, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 14, 2020, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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Earworms: Why Do We Get Songs Stuck in Our Heads?

This article relates to The Wrong Heaven

EarwormIn one of The Wrong Heaven's most memorable stories, the narrator feels she is gradually losing her mind when she cannot get the song "Hand in My Pocket" by Alanis Morissette out of her head. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as an "earworm." The word has a multi-strand history: Apparently, in ancient times, dried and ground earwigs were used to treat ear disease, and became known as auricula, which is the Latin name for the outer ear. This practice became misunderstood to mean that earwigs - or earworms as they were also called - crawled into people's ears. Later the definition of earworm shifted to refer to a moth larvae that burrowed into corn. At the same time, the German word for the insect earwig is ohrwurm - ohr ("ear") +‎ wurm ("worm") which is likely the inspiration for the modern English usage of the word to describe a song stuck in one's head--the earliest known reference in this context is in author Desmond Bagley's 1978 novel Flyaway.

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