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Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke (Music #2)

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,140 Ratings  ·  370 Reviews
An emotional journey of hilarity and heartbreak with a karaoke soundtrack, in the spirit of Rob Sheffield's bestselling Love Is a Mix Tape.

Turn Around Bright Eyes picks up Sheffield's story right after Love Is a Mix Tape. He is a young widower devastated by grief, trying to build a new life in a new town after his wife's death. As a writer for Rolling Stone, he naturally t
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by It Books (first published August 2nd 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Peter Derk
Jan 17, 2014 Peter Derk rated it liked it
After Love Is A Mixtape, I'll always have a soft spot for Rob Sheffield. That book was so terrible and sad. Being a widower at such a young age. I can't imagine.

There's a scene from that book. After the EMTs come to pick up his wife, he's in his house and there's EMT trash all over the floor. Plastic baggies that held all their stuff. All the stuff they used on his wife. I don't have the best memory, but that scene never leaves me.

Then Rob wrote Talking To Girls About Duran Duran, which took us
Aug 20, 2013 paula rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Apparently, I am a "Geddycorn":

"Guitarist Alex Lifeson has the best line... on their fan base: 'In the early stages, it was very young, almost one hundred percent male. And then, as the years went by, it remained one hundred percent male.'"

This book KEEPS making me laugh out loud.
Feb 28, 2015 Erin rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Now, I'm the first to admit that this was my "purse book" (the one I read while waiting in doctors' offices and sitting under the dryer at my hairdresser....far more of the former than the latter for this particular title) and so I read it in fits and starts over a three month period. However, the book is really just full of short little essays, so I don't think I missed any sort of thread by reading in pieces.

I really loved Love is a Mix Tape and enjoyed Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, but
Over the course of my reading it, this book slipped from four stars to three stars, and finally fell to two.

It's a got a cute, if slightly gimmicky, hook: he's basically telling the story of how he fell in love with his second wife after being widowed, using the conceit of the progression of songs you sing in a night of karaoke. Each chapter is titled something like "8:04 pm : Total Eclipse of the Heart" or "8:59 pm: Livin' on a Prayer".

The problem, I think, is that this reads like a series of
Oct 08, 2013 Casey rated it it was amazing
Have you ever sung karaoke with Rob Sheffield? If not, it's an experience I'd totally recommend. I went to his book event at Word in Greenpoint, and it was a great experience. Seeing the man bust out his best falsetto for "Toxic" by Britney Spears really helps to set the tone of the book.

I'm admittedly a bit of a karaoke novice, but I'm coming out of my shell. This is kind of like a glimpse into the future for me, though there are some passages of this book that have articulated so nicely things
Jul 19, 2015 Julianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me explain: I was informed this afternoon by the powers that be in the Music household that I needed to do the dishes and clean. So to help pass the time, I decided a short audiobook would keep me entertained. I selected the first audiobook that showed up on Overdrive which happened to be this.

This book is totally cheesy and so not my style. I loved it. It had some very quotable moments involving the meaning of the songs we sing and a very beautiful anecdote from the author about meeting hi
Kathy Leitle
Aug 21, 2013 Kathy Leitle rated it it was amazing
The title of this book is the only reason I even considered reading it. This line is from a Bonnie Tyler song I've always liked, even though I've never been sure what the song means. I've never sung Karaoke nor have I seen it performed in person, only on TV shows or in movies, but I do love music, so I thought I'd skim this book and find something amusing.

What I found was much more than that. I love the author's voice and he comes across as someone I would really like. He is a music geek and pro
Jun 03, 2013 Brittany rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chuck Klosterman / Rock Music Fans
How I Came To Read This Book: I got a digital ARC through Edelweiss. I also read Rob’s first book, Love is a Mix Tape, several years ago and was interested to read one of his follow-ups (I haven’t, however, read his second book, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran)

The Plot: The general format of Rob’s lineup of memoirs is to headline each chapter with a song, and then write an autobiographical essay that tie into some relationship, moment, or philosophy in his life. This time he uses karaoke – a
Chris Craddock
Jul 11, 2013 Chris Craddock rated it it was amazing
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not. We've got each other and that's a lot...

Rob Sheffield knows a lot about music and loves to sing Karaoke--but he's terrible. He is the kind of karaoke singer that I avoid at all costs. It is painful for me to listen to bad singers. But he doesn't let anything stop him, and I have to admire his tenacity. He writes for Rolling Stone and has an encyclopedic knowledge of music, yet chords, pitch, rhythm, and guitars mystify him. He went to Rock &
Brave Newworld
Aug 21, 2013 Brave Newworld rated it it was ok
This book is all over the place. It seems to be a collection of essays very loosely based on the same themes (karaoke and the author's relationship with his wife), but Sheffield jumps topics from one paragraph to another. Occasionally there's a good paragraph with a funny or insightful observation, but mostly it's Sheffield showing off his musical geek side. I often felt like I was reading the essays of an eighteen-year-old rock fan with ADD, but Sheffield is in his 40's and a professional journ ...more
Sep 27, 2013 Cynthia rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I really want to rate this book better than I did. There are flashes--no, huge chunks, chapters--of brilliance, poignancy, and hilarity, but I feel the book needs stronger editing. There are entire chapters (the best, in my opinion) that seems to have little to do with the karaoke theme of the book. The more autobiographical chapters, about the author's family, relationships, and attending rock fantasy camp, really shine but don't have much to do with karaoke. In fact, the karaoke thr ...more
Aug 28, 2013 Melissa rated it it was ok
It's possible that I don't really like Rob Sheffield's writing as much as I think I do. I'm looking at removing him from the Trifecta of People Whose Music Writing I Enjoy. Maybe I'll replace him, at least temporarily, with 1995-96 Spin magazine era Liz Gilbert. Perhaps I'll just dismantle the Trifecta altogether, since Mikal Gilmore hasn't written anything in ages & Chuck Klosterman's last book was kind of a wheeze. This is certainly better than Nathan Rabin's new book, which I read concurr ...more
Apr 05, 2014 Christine rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
Music has always been an important part of Mr. Sheffield’s life. As a writer for Rolling Stone magazine he had transformed that into a profession as well. In 2001 Mr. Sheffield was a young widower, had recently moved to New York City and by his own admission was still in the depths of mourning the sudden death of his wife. On a rare night out with friends he was introduced to karaoke and a new love story began … not only with karaoke but with the woman who would, due in large part to her own lov ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Joe rated it liked it
Parts about Karaoke & Rob's courtship with his new wife: fantastic.

Random essays about Rod Stewart that contain little more than platitudes and gushing: not so much.

Be advised that this book is not about karaoke in any sense besides being Rob's personal memoir of times he has sung karaoke. There is no substantial discussion of its history and no in-depth analysis of its cultural impact beyond speculation. This is not necessarily bad; but you should know it going in.

Tracey Sinclair
Jan 24, 2015 Tracey Sinclair rated it it was amazing
Started a little slow but once I got into it, I was enchanted: Sheffield writes with deceptive simplicity about love, family, masculinity and music and this is ultimately a lovely, optimistic, romantic book. Probably helped that I read the last few chapters while listening to an 80s station and, with weird synchronicity, the songs he was writing about started playing on the radio...
Sep 18, 2013 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Rob Sheffield has officially become someone whose books I shall buy upon release. All three are fantastic memoirs of music & love & loving music.
Jan 05, 2016 Drew rated it really liked it
Disguised as a cultural history of the way Americans interact with karaoke, this is actually a much-needed sequel to Sheffield's first book, the absolutely devastating memoir Love Is A Mix Tape. That story, of Rob's first wife and her tragic death at the age of 31, was a good read, but one I never wanted to return to after I finished it. It was just so hard to experience those events through his eyes, no matter how well-written the story was. To some extent, Turn Around Bright Eyes is the story ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Kellyflower rated it liked it
It's okay, really. Go ahead sing as much of the song as you can. See that's what this book is about. Being able to let go and just SING! Even if you can't carry a tune, Karaoke makes you feel like it's okay to suck and still be on the stage singing to a bunch of strangers.

"It's a spiritual quest.
This spiritual quest, like so many spiritual quests, involves Bonnie Tyler."

This book is not just a book about karaoke, it's actually a biography, which for some reason I didn't realize until after I st
Katy Wight
Jul 03, 2013 Katy Wight rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since I felt compelled to read passages from a book out to anyone around me who would listen. I loved so many things about this book. I laughed out loud, I teared up (though avoided the full on crying that went with Rob Sheffield's first book), and I had horrible, annoying, fabulous pop songs stuck in my head for days. Maybe it's just that Sheffield is the same age, and grew up with the same music, so his pop references are my pop references. Maybe it's that he's had really ...more
Aug 15, 2013 Nora rated it it was amazing
I laughed, I cried. This book was a real tonic for me. (Results not guaranteed for you.)

I loved Rob Sheffield’s previous memoir, Love Is a Mix Tape, which was all about his first wife and all the mix tapes they made and her death. This one starts right where the last one left off. Love Is A Mix Tape had a very low-key style and comic touch that made it seem fluffy and lightweight even though it was about being widowed (widowered?), but then it haunted me (in a good way) and I ended up re-reading
Oct 25, 2013 Amy rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013-finished
At some point, perhaps, our culture will realize that "OMG! LOL! Cheesy 80s songs! Bonnie Tyler! OMG Journey!" is neither funny nor incisive. It hasn't happened yet.

This book is just bad. The author seems like a nice guy and all, so I feel a little uncomfortable heaping this much scorn on his work, but if the most notable thing about you is that you wrote a memoir (or, God help us, more than one memoir), you probably didn't need to write a memoir. The writing's nowhere near good enough to make
Penny McGill
Sep 22, 2013 Penny McGill rated it it was amazing
I knew I wanted to read this book before it even arrived on the shelf. Past titles - "Talking to Girls About Duran Duran" and "Love is a Mix Tape" - would have driven me to read it anyway but I was curious to know how much of the karaoke idea could be in this book. In any book. Can an author keep a theme as unusual as karaoke alive for more than 40 pages? Rob Sheffield's writing in Rolling Stone and on their web site is always funny and supremely clever. You can't help but laugh and then think a ...more
Sep 02, 2013 Aimee rated it really liked it
This was such a fun book to read, I found myself laughing out loud several times. I had read Talking to Girls About Duran Duran and liked it but I think I enjoyed this one even more. Sheffield really lets us into his life during a difficult time while living alone as a widower and the isolation and sadness that he experienced. He then goes on to talk about finding an emotional outlet in karaoke and finding a new person to share his life with.

What I liked the most was Sheffield's writing style an
William Torgerson
I listened to this book read by the author, who did a great job. I could hear him getting into it more as he went and, I think, growing more comfortable with the act of reading as he got deeper into the pages. Enthusiasm is important in both reading and karoake.

Since I listened rather than own a copy (yet), it makes it hard to list my favorite lines. I wanted to take a lot of notes about songs to sing and some of the karaoke joints mentioned in the book.

My two go-to songs are Rod Stewart's "Do
Jo Coleman
Jun 22, 2015 Jo Coleman rated it really liked it
Much as I think Rob Sheffield is lovely, I was pretty sure the world didn't need a THIRD memoir by him. Wrong! He still has lots of good things to say about pop music and relationships, and my only problem with this book was that it made me realise there is not enough karaoke in my life.
Marck Rimorin
Mar 19, 2016 Marck Rimorin rated it really liked it
I loved "Love is a Mixtape." This is Sheffield's sequel of sorts, and this book has the same appeal to me as the first one (which is both a good thing and a "bad" thing). Although the karaoke bits—from Bonnie Tyler to Depeche Mode to Bon Jovi—are really great gems in this book.
Nick Burka
Jan 06, 2015 Nick Burka rated it it was amazing
excellent read for music lovers and performers, real, imagined, or closeted wherever you may roam. open up that mouth, warm up those pipes, and let it out.
Sandy Irwin
Love. That is the essence of this book, and of Rob Sheffield himself. His love of music,his wife, his family - it all comes through in this book. He is not afraid to explore his low points or celebrate his high ones. His sheer passion for the things he loves is infectious. And, more than anything, he makes you want to sing karaoke. To just lose yourself in the music you love. But, Rob Sheffield, you have nothing to fear - the Rush haters are still out there, and are sharing our lack o' love with ...more
Michael Webb
Nov 20, 2014 Michael Webb rated it really liked it
Absolutely wonderful.
Jun 23, 2014 David rated it liked it
this book was parabolic for me, progressing from:

(a) 1 star (wait? are you kidding? it's really going to be all about how much you love to sing karaoke, and your wife does too, but you're not a good singer, and then you're just going to name lots of songs and quote their lyrics? for almost 300 pages?) to...

(b) 5 stars (glad I stuck with it. Really touching love story about how, as a young widower, he met his second wife and overcame dispositional shyness and self-proclaimed geekiness to build a
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Rob Sheffield is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine. In addition to writing music reviews and profile stories, Sheffield also writes the Pop Life column in the Mixed Media section of the magazine. His work has also been featured in The Village Voice and Spin. A native of Boston, Sheffield attended Yale and the University of Virginia, and is six foot five.

His first book, Love is a Mix
More about Rob Sheffield...

Other Books in the Series

Music (2 books)
  • Love Is a Mix Tape

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“You have blundered into an adult existence you don't understand, and you can't tell whether you planned it this way or whether you screwed up big-time, though it's too late either way.” 9 likes
“The things that bring couples together will always terrify me more than the things that tear us apart. They will always be harder to explain. They will always keep me up later. Love gone wrong has inspired so many great songs, but somehow, love going right is what's bizarre. It exposes deep freakcraft in the universe. As far as I'm concerned, 'some people are very kind' is the scariest line Bob Dylan ever wrote. Compared to that, his breakup songs are kid stuff. Some people are very kind and there's nothing in the universe to explain why.
It's a mystery how people lose each other--but to me, it's an even stranger mystery we manage to stay together, or to collide together at all.”
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