Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What We're Reading Now: Mixtape Nostalgia

Cassettes From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves edited by Jason Bitner (306.4842 Cassette)
If you happen to be a music fan who came of age in the '80s or '90s, chances are you remember a period of time spent dubbing your favorite songs on cheap cassette tapes to trade with your friends and crushes.  Music lovers and hopeless romantics alike will dig this book from FOUND Magazine co-creator Jason Bitner, featuring the stories behind actual mixtapes near and dear to the hearts of sixty different journalists and musicians.

Contributors include Billboard editor Joe Levy, author Rick Moody, This American Life's Starlee KineThe New Yorker's Ben Greenman, The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia GonsonImprov Everywhere's Charlie Todd, and former Rolling Stone writer and MTV2 veejay Jancee Dunn

Punctuated with photos of these beloved mixtapes, scrawled track lists, and little love notes (those tiny lines on the blank tape inserts were always impossible to write on, weren't they?), this book has a voyeuristic, "found object" appeal. Reading about other couples' courtships, breakups and the cherished music both left behind made me nostalgic to listen to my own collection of mixes -- though most of mine, admittedly, are now burned onto CDs.

This book is fun to browse, filled with humorous stories, heartbreak, and healthy doses of sex, drugs and rock n' roll.  What struck me most about the stories inside is how many of the contributors admit that listening to these mixes now would simply be too painful, yet they can't bring themselves to part with the tapes and the memories they hold.

During this summer of Reading to the Rhythm, it only makes sense to read books steeped in an appreciation of music. Check out our Read to the Rhythm book display on the 2nd floor for more music-fueled reads.

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