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Extended Audio Sample Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time Audiobook, by Rob Sheffield Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.52 out of 53.52 out of 53.52 out of 53.52 out of 53.52 out of 5 3.52 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rob Sheffield Narrator: Rob Sheffield Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2007 ISBN: 9780739333532
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In the 1990s, when "alternative" was suddenly mainstream, bands like Pearl Jam and Pavement, Nirvana and R.E.M.--bands that a year before would have been too weird for MTV- were MTV. It was the decade of Kurt Cobain and Shania Twain and Taylor Dayne, a time that ended all too soon. The boundaries of American culture were exploding, and music was leading the way.

It was also when a shy music geek named Rob Sheffield met a hell-raising Appalachian punk-rock girl named Renée, who was way too cool for him but fell in love with him anyway. They had nothing in common except that they both loved music. Music brought them together and kept them together. And it was music that would help Rob through a sudden, unfathomable loss.

In LOVE IS A MIX TAPE, Rob, now a writer for Rolling Stone, uses the songs on fifteen mix tapes to tell the story of his brief time with Renée. From Elvis to Missy Elliott, the Rolling Stones to Yo La Tengo, the songs on these tapes make up the soundtrack to their lives.

Rob Sheffield isn’t a musician, he’s a writer, and LOVE IS A MIX TAPE isn’t a love song- but it might as well be. This is Rob’s tribute to music, to the decade that shaped him, but most of all to one unforgettable woman.

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Quotes & Awards

  • • ?;"No rock critic- living or dead, American or otherwise- has ever written about pop music with the evocative, hyperpoetic perfectitude of Rob Sheffield. Love is a Mix Tape is the happiest, saddest, greatest book about rock'n'roll that I've ever experienced. Chuck Klosterman, bestselling author of Fargo Rock Cty, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Killing Yourself to Live and Chuck Klosterman IV
  • This is a lightly-handed, skillful and sincere celebration of pop, of love, sad songs, bad songs and the long, nearly unbearable ache of being a young widower. Witty and wise; a true candidate for the All-Time Desert Island Top 5 Books About Pop Music. Kirkus, starred review
  • I can't think of many books as appealing as Rob Sheffield's Love is a Mix Tape; Sheffield writes beautifully about music, he's hilarious, and his story is alternatingly joyous and heartbreaking. Plus, everyone knows there's no better way to organize history and make sense of life than through the mix tape. Haven Kimmel, bestselling author of She Got Up Off the Couch, A Girl Named Zippy and The Solace of Leaving Early
  • “A celebratory eulogy of life ‘in the decade of Nirvana.’ Publishers Weekly « starred review
  • Sheffield's description of Renée’s brilliant eccentricity and lovable quirkiness causes the reader to fall in love with her just as he does. Library Journal « starred review
  • A glorious elegy to a pop culture-blessed decade and a tender, unforgettable tribute to the power of love The Miami Herald

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanie | 2/18/2014

    " Engaging with lots of great music selections (Each chapter began with a mix tape collection). A sensitive portrayal of grief. I can't quite put my finger on why I think of it as "lightweight," but there you have it. Still, it's a fast read with some good moments. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ron | 2/17/2014

    " Sheffield's love of music is evident, but his tastes are incredibly bland and pedestrian. Most of his work has come during the most moribund period of both rock history (he ludicrously claims the 90s as the best decade in rock based on his love for Pavement, the band he more ludicrously claims made the Feelies dispensable) and for the most moribund magazine of the period: Rolling Stone. His tale of woe and the transformative power of love is thus a mixed bag, inspiring us with the music that helped him get through the turmoil, and causing us to cringe whenever he attempts to use drugs, baseball, or film as metaphor. In the end, his fey and precious tastes paint him as a twee, modern hipster who never really opened up to the world in the way he suggested--only to that one particular girl--and that is a precious and cliched tale. Worse, he plays the tragedy for all its worth by suggesting that the doctor told him that his wife was 'young and healthy' and had merely been unlucky to die of a pulmonary embolism. This might have been easy to swallow if he hadn't shown the couple--despite huge efforts to minimize it--as extremely unhealthy, both being chain smokers, borderline alcoholics, and junk food junkies (Renee had started to become obese) whose idea of exercise was to watch the dog take a crap in the back yard. Despite whatever genetic predisposition she may have had to have this episode, there is no doubt in the minds of any who know biology that environment played a huge role in her demise. She was not, as he suggests, 'young and healthy' and he consequently loses our sympathy for his tragic tale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dx-xb | 2/12/2014

    " Surprisingly depressing, but still very good. I enjoy the way he mixed in music references. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 2/7/2014

    " I knew I was destined to love this book the first time I touched it at the library. It combines two of my favorite things: love and music (and mixes, no less). I found myself reading the track listing at the beginning of the next chapter even if I wasn't planning on reading it right away. The last few chapters were depressing and harder to get through (and understandably so), but overall the story gave me a better appreciation of life. The message that we need to cherish the relationships we have because we don't know how long we will have them shined through. It also reaffirmed my belief that I will never be able to marry a man who doesn't share my passion for music. And it made me want to make a mix, but what doesn't make me want to make a mix? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandi | 2/6/2014

    " Not in-love with this yet. Maybe it's a slow start. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allie | 2/1/2014

    " You don't have to be a music buff or know everything about the 80's, punk rock or early 90's bands to love this book. It's funny, fast-paced and enveloping. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill Williams | 1/22/2014

    " Fantastic book for all music lovers. Anyone who appreciates the way their favorite songs and musicians can bring back memories and emotions that might otherwise be forgotten, will love this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennyb | 1/20/2014

    " Cute read if you were born in the late 60s/early 70s and like music. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annaliese Rozos | 1/18/2014

    " This book is perfect for all music lovers. It can be sad and funny at the same time. He writes so well, like the kind of guy I'd have a crush on; socially awkward, quiet, music geek. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Meg | 1/17/2014

    " I was really excited about this book, but unfortunately, it just couldn't pull me in and I lost interest and gave up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caitlin Buehler | 1/10/2014

    " I laughed and I cried. This book was great from the very first line. I had high expectations of this book and they were definitely met. If you love music, read this book. If you love love, read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly | 1/3/2014

    " loved this book written by a self depreciating romantic infused with great music, specifically from the 90s. can't wait to read his other book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cassandra | 12/21/2013

    " One of the best books I read in 2009. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shannon | 12/19/2013

    " A touching memoir about love and music. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 11/25/2013

    " This was much better than I expected. About becoming a widower at a young age. Quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 11/9/2013

    " A little depressing, but like how he using songs to tell his story "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Devin | 6/25/2013

    " It has a nice conceit - mix tapes as the structure of the book and of life. The best parts were him dealing with the death of his wife, while their courtship, marriage, and his early life all felt too ironic, jokey, and self-conscious. Also, the music "criticism" is populist, but random. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy Kalomiris | 6/9/2013

    " I could relate to some of this book quite well, and it did make me laugh, but overall I found myself a little bit bored. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 2/2/2013

    " For anyone who has ever made a mix tape, particularly in hopes of snagging a significant other - this is a must read book! I loved this book, I can't wait to read it again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shauna Noah | 1/10/2013

    " This isn't just a book, it's real love in paper form. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie | 9/9/2012

    " If you've ever lost someone important to you and want to feel like you're not crazy, read this book. It's not the best writing, and he could have developed his story better, but it's honest and heartfelt--which goes a long way toward making a book last. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hae-In | 5/17/2012

    " Sheffield writes for Rolling Stone and music mags and this is a memoir about his relationship with his wife set to the music of the 90's, which I am all about and while I read it I went back to my middle school mix on my ipod a lot. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Terri | 4/3/2012

    " did not like this at all, can't believe I finished it. maybe it was a generational or gender thing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin | 6/30/2011

    " Sometimes you lie in a strange room, in a strange person's home, and you feel yourself bending out of shape. Melting, touching something hot, something that warps you in drastic and probably irreversible ways you won't get to take stock of until it's too late. (pg. 63) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ariele | 5/17/2011

    " I laughed, I cried, it was better than.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hala | 5/15/2011

    " Absolutely one of the bests.
    completely dilutes the whole modern day music and actually gives us (the youth) thought on just how significant classic music was and how it can bring happiness to each and every individual. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shona | 5/10/2011

    " Initially it is hard not to confuse Rob Sheffield with Rob Gordon, but as his story of loss and immense grief unfolds, this thought fades. Started out as a 3, because of the Nick Hornby comparisons, but in the end I'm giving it a 4. So heartbreaking. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 4/27/2011

    " It was okay. I felt the grief but the stories were sort of contrived. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Misha | 4/25/2011

    " I had high hopes for this but what i thought would be a nostalgic music recount was a widows mourning... and i don't mean to take anything away form that, learning about Renee was nice, but i thought it would be different. 2/5 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna | 4/14/2011

    " Thought this would be a quick throwaway read. Not so, dear readers. Rob Sheffield will make you cry. Read and see if you don't wish someone loved you like that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanie | 4/14/2011

    " Engaging with lots of great music selections (Each chapter began with a mix tape collection). A sensitive portrayal of grief. I can't quite put my finger on why I think of it as "lightweight," but there you have it. Still, it's a fast read with some good moments. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherry | 4/14/2011

    " LOVED IT!!! except for some cussing - grr. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 4/6/2011

    " I don't follow Sheffield's writing- so I don't know if he fits the mould of pretentious rock journalist- but this story is wonderful. the guy knows his stuff, and it is both sweet and incredibly jarring. puke, I know. "

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About the Author
Author Rob Sheffield

Rob Sheffield has been a music journalist for more than twenty years. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he writes about music, television, and pop culture, and regularly appears on MTV and VH1. He is the author of the national bestseller Love Is a Mix Tape, Talking to Girls about Duran Duran, Turn Around Bright Eyes, On Bowie, and Dreaming the Beatles.