Love Is A Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time

Phenomenal. I devoured this book, mixed and penned by Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield, in two late night reads, only because I forced myself to stop and savor the last half on a second night rather than read until the sun rose. Beautiful and anguished by turns, interwoven with the music of love and death and indie-pop music geekdom, Love is a Mix Tape is the brutally honest and tender personal narrative of shy-boy Sheffield’s discovery of his “noisy, juicy, sparkly” girlfriend Renee, their marriage, her sudden death five years later, and the painful aftermath. Each chapter leads off with the contents of a mix tape (that he made, she made, or someone made for them) which ties together the events and memories of each particular theme in the story, drawing from Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Big Star (Rob and Renee played “Thirteen” at their wedding), Meat Puppets, Madonna, The Smiths, Buzzcocks, Liz Phair, Weezer, The Grifters, Nirvana, Sleater-Kinney and hundreds more. Not only the music, but the movie references will let you know you are in the presence of a real live encyclopedic fanboy. Think Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity in real life and true love.

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