Nostalgia Wars

Full disclosure: I have never been a Duran Duran fan, and I'm pretty sure that gets me my "child of the '80s" card revoked. However, I love music-themed "coming of age" stories. Rob Sheffield's Talking To Girls About Duran Duran and Marisa Meltzer's Girl Power take their respective authors (and readers) on a journey through their teenage and young adult years via the music that was important in their lives. Rolling Stone writer Sheffield, who had a bestseller with his first book, Love Is a Mixtape, traces his teenage years starting with 1980, the year he turned 13, through some of the decade's most popular -- and some lesser known -- songs. And yes, Duran Duran is in there. The end result is a charming memoir of sorts that anyone who grew up in the '80s, or is just enamored with its music, should love.

Marisa Meltzer's Girl Power starts where Sheffield's book leaves off, during the waning years of the '80s leading into the indie rock explosion of the '90s. The focus is solely on women -- as artists and fans. Although limited in scope, her book is a good primer on riot grrrl -- feminist, politically active punk rock -- and the culture that grew from that. I had no idea what riot grrrl was until the late '90s, and by that time the scene had pretty much become a parody of itself. I would have been the perfect audience for it, had it been more accessible. This was briefly mentioned in the book, and I do think it left the scene a little tainted. That being said, so few books about popular music are written by women it's a great addition to the canon.

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