Love Is A Mix Tape
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Love Is A Mix Tape

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  18,564 ratings  ·  2,050 reviews
Sheffield, a veteran rock and pop culture critic and staff writer for Rolling Stone magazine, tells the story of his musical coming of age, and how rock music, the first love of his life, led him to his second, a girl named Renee. His feelings show through the window of the mix tapes they compiled.
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Published January 1st 2007 by Piatkus Books
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Kim
This review’s content may be confusing, annoying, trite or downright laughable to persons not born between 1965 and 1978. Hell, it may be all of that and more to just about anyone. Consider yourself warned.

Put your thinking caps on ‘cuz I’ve got some trippin’ down memory lane for you:
Where were you when you first heard ‘A Day in the Life’? What about ‘Wild World’? What did you think when you finally understood the meaning of ‘She Bop’? What does ‘My Heart Will Go On’ mean to you? Do you know whe...more
Caris
Sep 08, 2010 Caris rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: depressed people looking to intensify their feelings of depression
Shelves: 2010
This book is a giant ass trick.

I love mix tapes. Always have. And I wanted to read a book about mix tapes, or, as the cover blurb suggested, life surrounding mix tapes. Instead, I got a horrifically sad, depressing memoir.

Sheffield loves music. He also loves his late wife. This is the story of how he met her, lost her, and tried to cope with her death. It was awful. I felt so bad for this guy. Life hit him in the face with a shovel.

I’ve got a wife. I didn’t need to read this book to know that my...more
Heather
Love Is A Mix Tape just absolutely knocked my socks off.

I devoured this book in one weekend and enjoyed every single page, heartily. This is ostensibly a book about mix tapes, and looking back at a life spent seeing the world in a series of 45-minute vignettes (then, of course, you flip the tape over). Rob Sheffield has penned an honest (yet wildly entertaining) book that affected me more deeply than any book I've read in recent memory, woven throughout with a genuine and bleeding love for music...more
Diane
I fell head-over-heels in love with this book, just as Rob Sheffield fell hard and fast when he met Renee. The book is their love story, but it's also a love story about music. Each chapter opens with the song list from a mix tape Rob either made or received. It was fun to skim the titles, looking for tracks I had used in my own mix tapes.

One of my favorite chapters was when Rob got picked to play the music at his junior high dance. He screwed up big time. He filled his tape with power anthems,...more
JSou
I didn't really know what this book was about until I started flipping through it last night. I bought it as a last minute, bargain priced add-on from Barnes & Noble, pretty much just to bump up my total to $25 so I could get free shipping. The title caught my eye since making mixtapes took up a lot of time during my teenage years. Seriously, when the iPod was first introduced, I thought it was the greatest invention since the automobile.

Anyway, I was expecting this to be a humorous, dick-li...more
Emilia P
Jul 08, 2009 Emilia P rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: just the really cool kids
Oh man, shucks.
I loved this book.
I could say that the story arc could have been stronger or that he could have talked about mixtapes more (even though he talked about them a lot, I never get sick of it). But I won't. I don't care about those things.

I care that I basically love this book way too much. There are many reasons.

1) I am a sucker for exercises in love and grief, which a lot of this book is--his wife died suddenly after they were married for like 5 years, and most of the book is about h...more
Rory
I didn't like this as much as others have seemed to. And what I liked most was probably what others discarded--I liked hearing about the signifcance of all the songs and mixes and bands. But the love story? Sap-tastic and hit-me-over-the-head-repetitive.

Every tenth line of the first long chapter is heavy foreshadowing mixed with hipster melodrama--you know, "That music changed my life. But Renee was my life. And then my life went away." Then something like "Love isn't like a cassingle. It's lik...more
RandomAnthony
How come, when most authors write about music, they write as if they're trying to sound like scholars of the Pitchfork generation? And how did Rob Sheffield know he should skip all that and write a great book about the intersection of music, tragedy, and everyday existence?

Love is a Mix Tape is Mr. Sheffield's account of his marriage, wife's death, and the role music played in their lives. The couple were one of those with a musical cute meet (Big Star related, even) and a shared Pavement fanati...more
Buggy
Opening line:"The playback: late night, Brooklyn, a pot of coffee, and a chair by the window. I'm listening to a mix tape from 1993."

Before I-pods and ripped CDs we all made mix tapes. I'm sure most of us over a certain age still have them safely hidden away somewhere, never quite having had the nerve to throw them out (broken cases and all) We named these tapes, gave them away to friends or lovers and assigned them different purposes. Remember the break-up tape, the I'm so infatuated with you t...more
Ana Rita is out in the wild -
This is only the second memoir I've read, the first one was Just Kids by Patty Smith, both made me cry. It's incredible how Rob Sheffield connects all these moments in his life to songs/mix tapes, there are tons of music references and interesting insights too, like the approach to the early 90's revolution in music and I loved his interpretation of "Heart Shaped box", in particular. This book is a touching tribute to his late wife and their shared reverence for music. Blunt, honest, funny, movi...more
Madeleine
I started reading this book during the two-day buffer between the beginnings of both 2012 proper and the working year, thinking that I’d have to look no farther than the other end of the couch if the story really destroyed me to the point of needing my myriad mostly-under-control-but-always-threatening-to-surface spousal fears allayed by husbandly hugs. Turns out, catching up on laundry and tidying up our soon-to-be-vacated first home ate into my reading time and I wound up finishing this about...more
Bryan
I really wanted to like this book, despite my mild dislike for Sheffield's writing in Rolling Stone magazine. While the story is heartbreaking -- he becomes a widower earlier than anyone should be allowed to -- I was expecting much more insight than what's provided in this slim tome (I read it in one sitting.)

The story boils down to this -- music nerd from Boston meets awesome Appalachian girl who is everything he isn't. You know where the story is heading after he is instantly smitten when she...more
soul
"Любовта е сборна касетка" определено не е литературен шедьовър, но е много по-затрогваща, топла и запомняща се от много набедени за такива заглавия. Тя е от онези книги, за които Селинджър казва, че "след като си я прочел, ти се ще авторът, който я е написал, да ти е страшно близък приятел, та да можеш да го повикаш по телефона когато ти се поиска".
Роб Шефийлд е написал тази за хора от своята кръвна група – оглушаващите без музика. На първо четене е като част от енциклопедия на популярната муз...more
jess
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shawn Sorensen
Now I know someone likes making mix tapes (and by extension mix cds) as much as I do. I also know someone's as crazy about the corniness and desperation of 90s music as I am about 80s music. When I embrace some of mainstream music's most desperate attempts to throw something profound into our pop culture - take Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" or Spandeau Ballet's "True" - I know author Rob Sheffield will join me in my heartfelt applause. And, like Sheffield, I think my generation of music -...more
Matt
This is the kind of memoir I'd like to have written (albeit without the deceased wife).

I've had a few conversations with friends in the last year or so about the long-lost art of the mix tape, which has been delivered a death-blow by the digital age. Burning a CD mix just isn't the same; for one, it doesn't take nearly as long to make a CD mix, which cheapens the sentiment attached to giving one to someone, especially when the hope is that the gesture and the songs themselves with make the reci...more
Frank
Any book that describes the summer of '94 as a series of drunken southern barbecues populated by mod-girls and indie rock dudes who always ended the party with the girls singing along to the entirety of Liz Phair's 'Exile In Guyville' on the back porch (word for word) while all the guys listened intrigued and obsessed and befuddled in the kitchen is A+ in my book. See also, the tragic passage inspired by Sleater-Kinney's 'One More Hour', the eulogy to the '90s, and the author's recipe for the pe...more
Annalisa
I picked up this book because of the title. I loved the idea of the intense power of music to draw on memory and expected my own memories to mesh with the story. But I found Sheffield's mesh of music unusual, sometimes jarring, and I found myself not connecting with it as much as I'd like. It was a bittersweet memoir with a few humorous moments, but there wasn't anything unusual or memorable in his story.

Quotable moments:

But most of all, I regret turning thirteen, and staying that way for the n...more
Malbadeen
Jan 27, 2011 Malbadeen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sentimental sappy headed sappy suckers
If you've lost someone that you cared deeply for you know the frustration in not being able to express who that person was to others. The on going loss that comes from meeting new people and knowing they will never know this person (this HUGE part of your life) can seem crippling at times. In some ways this book appears to be Sheffields attempt to make his wife known to us after her very early death. Personally, I don't think he succeeded. His short lived marriage to her seemed sweet in a teen a...more
Lavinia
I'm so excited about discovering Rob Sheffield, I can't even begin to tell you. For the first time in years, I didn't find about the book on websites, blogs, magazines or friend recommendations, I just stumbled upon it and decided I wanted to read it. OK, truth be told, it was his other book, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut that caught my eye first, but however...

I never made a mix tape. Because I was never into making them, you know, t...more
kristin
I was constantly giddy through the first 160 pages as all sorts of awesome band names were dropped. They were mentioned mostly to relay memories of his dead wife, but there was a definite love story with the music itself. Once his wife is gone his musical taste takes a turn for the worse. All hip-hop/rap/R&B, all the time. It’s fine if it’s your thing. It’s just not my thing so the guy totally lost me. Anyway, here’s a bunch of the stuff that held my attention:


Pavement, The Replacements, The...more
Anya
*so many feelings*

Okay, so this review is pretty much going to be a tribute to the 90's and I'll-tell-you-my-feelings-you-tell-me-yours sort of thing, SO all non touchy-feely persons, exit right.

I admit, I'm quintessentially a 90's kid. I love everything about this decade- be it the irrational exuberance, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, The Lion King, My So-Called Life, listening to music on cassette tapes, the music itself, growing up without Facebook or the internet etcetera etcetera. Basica...more
Kevin
Anybody who grew up in the 80s and 90s remembers making mix tapes. You made them for yourself, you made them for friends, you made them for her (or him, as the case may be). You took songs from records, cassettes, CDs, and the radio and mixed them into the order you wanted and, sometimes, you even had running commentary in the form of your own voice during the gaps or the DJ from the radio station from which you recorded the track.

But have you ever defined your life based on these recordings?

Tha...more
Phyllis
Holy Smokes . . . if you've never had a heartbreak where a CD / tape / or album didn't get you through, then this book isn't your calling . . .

Yet, have you ever lost one you've loved and that damn tune makes you shutter when you believe you've escaped the loss, but to have it be relived with recall . . .

This book made me think so much of my college roommate / & high school friend, Amber . . . we swore the only reason we got such crappy grades in college is that we had too many song lyrics...more
Hillary
any memoir that references the band Pavement as a touchstone band in their lives is off to a pretty good start as far as I'm concerned. humorous, endearing, witty pop culture references, the book definitely checked off some boxes. and while this wasn't the most perfect book from cover to cover, it still managed to be highly evocative to me in terms of the role that music plays in my life and my relationships. At the same time, it's also a very endearing love letter to the author's wife.

My husba...more
Karla
I didn't expect this to be as deep of a memoir as it turned out to be. I expected a nostalgic journey about music and memories of others. I should have read the back of the book before I read it but, I don't typically read the back of books because I don't want any of the story ruined. I had tears rolling down my face last night and had to try to go to bed for an early morning wake up. This is comic and hopelessly sad at the same time, no small feat. My heart ached for Rob for having to grieve f...more
Jehs
This book broke my heart.

I cried several times reading this book. I think it hit a little too close to home in some aspects. This idea of being connected to one person through music and that forming a base for your relationship and the growing into a beautiful love - that hit home.

The book is about Rob, and how he met his wife - Renee - and the all too soon moment of her death. The interesting part is that he tells this story through mix tapes. A tape they played while driving, a tape they play...more
Shanna
Jun 20, 2007 Shanna rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: music dorks, mixtape lovers, young widows
Shelves: music, biosmemoirs
One of my friends told me to read it and said I would enjoy it.
I liked parts of it a lot: the discussion of the nature of mix tapes v. other mediums and the way that music can define relationships, the fun new songs I found for the first time/remembered, and the really poignant description of his wife's death. This was in some ways more unsettling for me than The Year of Magical Thinking, mainly because they were both so young. They didn't get a chance to live their lives together. It was very,...more
Stephanie
I dare you to try and not like this book. I guarantee you'll fail. This book is a beautifully crafted mix of everything. It's about music, yeah. There's talk of some pretty sweet tunes in there and anyone who grew up in the 80's and 90's knows the significance of the mix tape. The book is also one of the greatest unconventional love stories I've ever read.

Reading Love Is a Mix Tape is like listening in on the soundtrack to Rob Sheffield's life. He takes you through the music of his youth, failed...more
katie
someone once very astutely described van morrison's "brown eyed-girl" to me as a song that every girl wants someone to put on a mix tape for her and I feel like, appropriately, this book is the literary equivalent of that idea. the way that sheffield writes about his wife, falling in love with her, being married to her, and losing her is evocative and both captures the way you can feel about someone you love, as well as being exactly the way you would want someone to describe you/being in love w...more
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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
More about Rob Sheffield...
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke

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“It’s the same with people who say, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Even people who say this must realize that the exact opposite is true. What doesn’t kill you maims you, cripples you, leaves you weak, makes you whiny and full of yourself at the same time. The more pain, the more pompous you get. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you incredibly annoying.” 653 likes
“When we die, we will turn into songs, and we will hear each other and remember each other.” 557 likes
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