Rob Sheffield is a music writer known for his work in Rolling Stone and Spin. You may have seen him on VH1 talking about pop songs on specials like 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders and the like. His two memoirs, Love Is a Mix Tape and Talking to Girls about Duran Duran, show how great a role pop music has played in his life and experiences, from the ecstatic to the deeply tragic.
Love Is a Mix Tape, his first book, is about his marriage to fellow music writer RenÃ©e Crist. Sheffield tells his story through his collection of mix tapes, a once-beloved means for music obsessives to share tunes with each other in the pre-MP3 era. In this romance, every tape tells a story: from their first meeting, to their wedding day, to the sweet and cozy life they shared in Charlottesville, Virginia and then, sadly, to RenÃ©e's sudden passing in 1997. The tapes don't end there, though-- they aid Sheffield through his grief and recovery as he begins to build a new life for himself.
Talking to Girls about Duran Duran is not nearly as heavy but still very personal. This book focuses more on Sheffield's youth as an awkward teenager in the Eighties, a time when MTV was ascendant and the only things girls ever seemed to want to talk about were the pouty pretty boys in Duran Duran. He writes reverently of the bands and songs he loved then and how they shaped his understanding of the world around him. Both books will stick with you long after reading them and will send you scurrying to Freegal to listen to the songs he writes about.
Brett @ Central