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Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,600 ratings  ·  312 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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Peter Derk
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
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.
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
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
Kathy Leitle
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 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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 &
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
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
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
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...
Rob Sheffield has officially become someone whose books I shall buy upon release. All three are fantastic memoirs of music & love & loving music.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Brave Newworld
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
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
Nick Burka
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
Absolutely wonderful.
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Another great book by Rob Sheffield. I really enjoyed Sheffield's work for Rolling Stone Magazine first two books, Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut. This book was just as humorous and interesting as the other two.

This book touches on the enjoyment that the author and his girlfriend, now wife, find in performing karaoke. For three minutes the average person no matter their singing
Gretchen Hunter
This book picks up after Love is a Mix Tape and Rob Sheffield's grief after becoming widower at a young age. But this isn't a sad book. I laughed aloud at the the chapter on Lifetime Movies and loved the cathartic nature of rock & roll fantasy camp. I feel I met a kindred soul in Rob Sheffield as his love of music is deep. It's a part of his DNA. I know I bore co-workers with my insistence they read his books. I also bore them with trying to listen to new or different music. On the other han ...more
Rob Sheffield is so endearing. I love music nerds. Especially ones who can shout out Teena Marie and talk about wearing their Yeah Yeah Yeahs T-shirt. He is not a pretentious music snob.

Rob has inspired a new years resolution. I want to go out and sing karaoke. Like at a karaoke bar. I have never done it before as I am the kind of girl that is sensitive and embarrasses easily. I have shame. But I will say that in the privacy of my home I have a few favorites. It all started when that awesome P
I am a complete sucker for Rob Sheffield's sentimental music fan nerddom. His latest memoir/ode to karaoke is an homage to classic rock, love, and loss. He may lose you if you're not one who pines for college radio, but for those of you who may cry upon hearing the first chord of the song that was playing when your junior high boyfriend broke up with you or who kept your cassette tapes set to record songs on the radio, then this is the essay collection for you.
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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...
Love is a Mix Tape Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut

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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.” 4 likes
“Trying to live in the past didn't work for me, and it's only now that I fully realize I'm incredibly lucky it didn't. Because it would have been all too sad to miss out on right now. That would have turned the past into a fraud. It would have meant all my happy memories were a lie. It would have meant all that time and all that love was a waste, leading up to a wasted future. It would have been the ultimate betrayal of everything I thought my whole life was about and everyone I cared about. All the people who loved me, in all the times and places of my life—all the people who made a lover out of me—they would have all been wrong about me. And it could have happened easily, just like that. It's scary to think of how I could have gotten stuck pining for the past. I was lucky to get a second chance. I thought I was too late, but it turns out I was just in time.” 3 likes
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