We bumped into journalist David Fricke last week, and now its time to talk about another noteworthy Rolling Stone
columnist: Rob Sheffield. Hes the man behind Pop Life, which applies Sheffields literate, grad-schooled thoughts to such pressing issues as Greys Anatomy
s popularity and The Hold Steadys awesomeness. Hes the Chuck Klosterman of Rolling Stone
, albeit with less facial hair.
And like Chuck Klosterman, Sheffield has parlayed his journalism experience into a book career. Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time
may not be the best title for ones first novel, but this book is good. Really, really Good
. Were talking High Fidelity
levels of good, although Sheffield's piece is considerably more heartbreaking than Nick Horbys musical masterpiece.
begins with one of Sheffields childhood mix tapes (entitled Rumblefish, although the connection to author S.E. Hinton is never really explained) and eventually focuses on his relationship with, and eventual marriage to, a writer named Renee. When Renee dies unexpectedly, Sheffields relationship with music helps him reach some sort of peace even if hes lost some songs to her painful memory.
Sound cheesy? Its not. Its good
- so good that we caught up with Sheffield at Astor Places Barnes & Nobel, where he read excerpts of the book to a crowd that included Klosterman and assorted Rolling Stone
personnel. Sheffield's crazy about music, and it shines through in everything he does. When the reading ended and a joking audience member asked Sheffield what he was wearing, the writer launched into a mini-speech about his Rolling Stones pin, noting that the record it features (1969's Through the Past, Darkly
) is the only one to feature an octagonal record sleeve. Good call, Sheffield. And good book, too. We're lifetime fans now.