A sweet, funny, sad love story

We were all set to ignore Valentine’s Day until we came across Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, by Rob Sheffield, a Rolling Stone writer. It’s the sweetest, funniest, saddest nonfiction book about love that we’ve read in ages.

A self-described geeky Bostonian, Sheffield met Renée, the charismatic Appalachian chick who would become his wife, when they were both 23. They bonded over music and mix tapes — specifically the ones they made all their lives and then for each other. (Mix-tape lists open each chapter of the book; see below.)

On May 11, 1997, Renée died suddenly, at age 31, of a pulmonary embolism. Much of this book has a heartbreaking intensity as Sheffield copes with life as a widower, unable to listen to music in quite the same way without her.

“I was lucky I got to be her guy for a while,” he writes. We’re lucky he wrote this lovely book.

“>VIEW sample mix-tape lists from Love Is a Mix Tape

“>BUY Love Is a Mix Tape

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.

A sweet, funny, sad love story