Music is something that is so personal and public at the same time. We look to music to recover from heartache. We look to music to pump us up before a big night. We look to music to isolate us and connect us and fill in the gaps. These two books revolve around music and its ability to do all these things and more.
Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
Man-o-man, I miss the days of a good mix tape. I think that there’s something so precious about someone laboring over the perfect group of songs to communicate a mood and then delivering that package of emotion to someone else. Seriously. Even mixed CDs seem to be a dying art. So, Rob Sheffield’s Love is a Mix Tape is a perfect convergence of my two favorite things: a great song mix and a great story.
Sheffield’s memoir is told in a series of mix tapes. The book reads in a way that feels like going through your high school bestfriend’s mixed cd’s and reminiscing. “Oh my god, this song,” one of you will say. The lyrics come back to you. You collapse in giggles and start talking about some half-remembered school dance. Without giving much of his story away, this book feels just like that. Except, this man’s life is far more interesting than most (Did I mention that Mr. Sheffield writes for Rolling Stone?). Sheffield chronicles the ups and downs of a very memorable and tragic point in his life through the music that surrounded him. And, this story will having you itching to go download some new-old music.
You’ll enjoy this if: you love a good dose of music history and want to combine it with an artfully told story.
Quote: “What is love? Great minds have been grappling with this question through the ages, and in the modern era they have come up with many different answers…Love hurts. Love stinks. Love bites, love bleeds, love is the drug. The troubadours of our times all agree: They want to know what love is, and they want you to show them. But the answer is simple. Love is a mix tape”
Public Secrets by Nora Roberts
Before you go all “whaaaat?” on me, this is one of Nora Robert’s least-known and least-romance-y of all her books. Ok, there are still some definite romance novel tropes, but this story mainly follows a family tragedy and the heartbreak that surrounds it. This novel doesn’t just cover the glory of the spotlight; it touches on really heavy topics like addiction, spousal abuse, and loss. The story spans across several decades and revolves around Emma, whose father just happens to be a rockstar.
If you’re looking for a boy-meets-girl-and-the-entire- world-revolves-around-their-life-together-type of story this is not it. There’s certainly a place for those kinds of books, but this book doesn’t quite do that. So, pick this book up expecting an interesting story about a girl with a far from usual upbringing and just enough sauciness to liven up your day at the pool.
You’ll enjoy this if: you’re an E! True Hollywood Story junkie, you’re a fan of the movie Uptown Girls, and you’re looking for something saucy-but-not-too-saucy to read on the beach.
Quote: “[Rock and Roll.] It’s restless and rude. It’s defiant and daring. It’s a fist shaken at age. It’s a voice that often screams out questions because the answers are always changing. The very young play it because they’re searching for some way to express their anger or joy, their confusion and their dreams. Once in a while, and only once in a while, someone comes along who truly understands, who has the gift to transfer all those needs and emotions into music.”