A couple of years ago, while Will was singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” on the alphabet carpet for storytime at the base library, I browsed the shelves for new finds and nabbed a book because it had a great title and cover. I sat down and started reading and was 30 pages in when storytime ended. I finished it that night. Rob Sheffield’s Love is a Mix Tape: Love and Loss, One Song at a Time is a love story, equal parts mourning the loss of his young wife and cataloguing the music that has made his life worth living.
For my birthday this year, my dear friend, N, who is a very thoughtful gift giver scoured book blogs to find a book that I’d possibly not read. She came up with two possibilities and landed on Love is a Mix Tape. I had, of course, read it, but when I opened it, I almost cried because I had forgotten about it. (I liked it so much that I gave it to two friends who love both books and music for their wedding that year.)
A couple of days after my birthday, I picked Love Is a Mix Tape up and started re-reading, marking all the pages because this time it wasn’t a library copy. Here are just two of the passages I find particularly stellar:
“Falling in love with Renee was not the kind of thing you walk away from in one piece. I had no chance. She put a hitch in my git-along. She would wake up in the middle of the night and say things like “What if Bad Bad Leroy Brown was a girl?” or “Why don’t they have commercials for salt like they do for milk?” Then she would fall back to sleep, while I would lie awake and give thanks for this alien creature beside whom I rested.”
“I have built my entire life around loving music, and I surround myself with it. I’m always racing to catch up on my next favorite song. But I never stop playing my mixes. Every fan makes them. the times you lived through, the people you shared those times with--nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they add up to the story of a life.”
There is also a pages-long segment of the book that discusses the kindness of people that blew my mind. At 219 pages, this book is a quick read, but it’s brevity is made up by being jam-packed with moments that make you want to underline every word and put exclamation points at the end of every paragraph (which I did). Enjoy, and then PLEASE let me know what you thought. It will be like a book club except better.