Sunday, December 27, 2009

What's on my Nightstand

Due to space limitations, this short book review was even shorter in today's Plain Dealer. Here's the complete version.
This is a really good read, I recommend it.

“Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time.” by Rob Sheffield

We all know how music, the proverbial “soundtrack of our lives,” can stir our emotions. But in his 2007 memoir, Rolling Stone contributing editor, Rob Sheffield, offers the...


reader more than a mix of memories on a cassette tape. It’s a pop culture love story void of a happy ending, but satisfying nonetheless. Sheffield takes us on a musical journey comprised of songs that enriched his life, while introducing us to the people that music gifts him with, including his wife, Renee. “When the bartender at the Eastern Standard put on Big Star’s Radio City, she was the only person in the room who perked up.” In 1997, six years into their marriage, Renee collapses one afternoon, dying from a pulmonary embolism, leaving the author a widow at thirty-one. At first he finds comfort in their shared love of music, “My mix tapes were the life rafts that I held on to.” Still, there are times when music can’t make it all better. One night as he’s driving along a highway, he switches on the car stereo. “The radio was playing ‘American Pie,’ but I only made it a few seconds before I had to change the station. I got Jerry Lee Lewis on the oldies station. He’s still alive, I thought. Reagan is, too. The Pope. I turned off the radio and left it off.”

While many of us haven’t experienced his kind of pain, we can relate to it.

Love is a mix tape, indeed.

And as Sheffield ultimately learns, while not always a happy note, it's still a worthy listen.