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Extended Audio Sample Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, by Rob Sheffield Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (13,822 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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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? "

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