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Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  6,496 ratings  ·  900 reviews
The author of the national bestseller Love is a Mix Tape returns, with a different-but equally personal and equally universal- spin on music as memory. "No rock critic-living or dead, American or otherwise-has ever written about pop music with the evocative, hyperpoetic perfectitude of Rob Sheffield." So said Chuck Klosterman about Love is a Mix Tape, Sheffield's paean to ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 15th 2010 by Dutton (first published January 1st 2010)
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Please Kill Me by Legs McNeilLove Is a Mix Tape by Rob SheffieldChronicles, Vol. 1 by Bob DylanOur Band Could Be Your Life by Michael AzerradPsychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs
Best Non Fiction About Music
55th out of 815 books — 749 voters
Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsSpirit Bound by Richelle MeadClockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareLast Sacrifice by Richelle MeadRoom by Emma Donoghue
Best Books of 2010
175th out of 1,303 books — 2,396 voters

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Rob Sheffield's Talking With Girls About Duran Duran is less about Duran Duran and more about the ways boys in the 80s (and any era, really) accessed music to help them articulate what they can't quite say to girls or each other. The book also reads like the memoir of a polite, Catholic indie-rock fan who fears/adores his three sisters, sells ice cream from a truck, and really, really wants a girlfriend.

Sheffield likes to portray himself as a wuss with a weakness for shiny pop but he's way more
This week I was able to finish 3 books… dog days of summer and all that.

One was a rather depressing tale of orphanism and the south and people who chewed tobacco. I shudder. The other was that horrible Heathers like book Some Girls Are… (not horrible as in horrible writing, but ugh…) and then I finished up this book. I am all over the place. I have a cold and was told that I may be experiencing ‘premenopausal’ symptoms (fuck that shit. I am 41 years old. I’m sweating because I live in New Engla
Feb 27, 2015 Kristen rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ladies: the douchey guys in your life that talk down to you about music because of your ladyparts.
I should've known what I was getting into, but I found the intro to be extremely patronizing. "This is just the way we [men] dissect the things we love. But it's tougher to talk to women about the Clash. (They love "Stand by Me" but they don't care that it's really called "Train in Vain" instead of "Stand by Me.")" Yeah, he's not saying all women are like this, but it's sort of a sad attempt at humor through perpetuated gender stereotypes and it ends up angering any of us girls who LOVE the Clas ...more
Elly Lonon
You ever have someone try and turn you on to something that just doesn’t quite fit you, but you can still tell it’s really, really awesome? Even if you don’t enjoy it as much as you probably ought to? You know, like The Dave Matthews Band, or imported stinky cheeses, or anal sex.

Yeah. So I just read Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. That’s kinda how I feel about the book. It’s good. Very good! It’s just…well…I think I lack the balls to appreciate it fully.

I mean, based on the cover, it screams
Anthony Chavez
I grew up saturated with music in my household, my father could have opened a record store in our house with the amount of vinyl and cassette's he had (now cds omg... oh so many). All genres too, so I was exposed to everything, except Madonna and Prince he wasn't a fan of them whatsoever, so I could really relate to everything he says in Love is a Mixtape (80's & 90's) and Talking to Girls about Duran Duran (ALL 80's with a dash of 90's, minus the Madonna part). I can imagine his articles fo ...more
Marc Weitz
Being a fan of Duran Duran and being a fan of talking to girls, this book was right up my alley. It helped that I am an 80s kid who remains a big 80s fan. This is the type of book that I used to resent reading when it was about the baby boom era for the baby boomers. They always seemed full of obnoxious glorification of an era that was mediocre at best when viewed against the greatness of the eras that preceded it. However, this is my book, for me, that is glorifying my mediocre era, and I just ...more
I read Life is a Mixtape on the recommendation of a friend late last year, and found it to be a really poignant biography of life and loss with music as a tremendously powerful backdrop. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is similar in construct, but is more of a series of memoirs about growing up in the 80s, once again using music as the backdrop to all of life's lessons. While I found many of these stories funny, and in some cases even insightful, it never really came together for me as a unif ...more
This was a tough book for me to rate. I had to think long and hard about it as I wanted to be fair; it didn't seem right to write it off as a bomb just because it didn't fit my personal tastes. But after much consideration I did give it only 1 star, which equates to a Bomb/Skip It in my system. Here's why.

I despise cooked onions. But I love liver. And 99% of diners everywhere serve it smothered with sauteed onions. If I don't specify "no onions" when ordering and am thus presented with a dish pi
Peter Derk
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield

Okay, before we get too far into this, everyone should know that this book doesn't come out for a whole week.
This is very exciting for me.
Not only did I hold the book in my hands before the unwashed, unshaven, apparently wholly uneducated about hygiene masses, but the version I held was special. And not just because it was an uncorrected proof. Not just because Steve Perry was named Stev
Jenn Estepp
alas, the text didn't live up to the totally awesome title. how sad it is when that happens ... as i mentioned whilst reading, the intro starts with some fairly stupid broad gender statements that i hoped would be limited to the introduction. sadly, not so much. the habit of saying things like "girls like this" and "boys do that" is repeated frequently and it was never not-annoying. i get it: you're making a joke. i think. unfortunately, it's not really funny. and that's maybe why, or at least a ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
This. Book. Was. Made. For. Me. :)

I loved it. I didn't want it to end. I related to it through the music.
I loved that music lyrics were used as sentences in here through his many stories of growing up during the 1980's. I loved his ingenious idea to name the chapters after his favorite songs from the fab 80's decade. Sheffield listed his 25 top songs. As a self proclaimed 80's freak. I will also share some of my favorite songs from the 1980's (in no particular order what so ever)!!

1. I Ran - F

It took me less than three days to finish Rob Sheffield's equivalent of a sophomore album - his second book, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. I was a huge fan of his memoir, Love is a Mix Tape, so I had high hopes for this book too.

Now I didn't live through the 80s, I'm not a Duran Duran fan, not Irish Catholic, and didn't recognize the majority of these songs by name, but I ripped through this book. I would get to the end of a chapter (each chapter title a different song) and think, "oh...ju

Jennifer Spiegel
I love this book because of two things: the writer’s voice is warm, sweet, and honest, and we’re talking about Duran Duran. I think it’s like comfort food, which I’ve heard includes things like biscuits and gravy. For me, it might be BBQ baby back ribs from Don and Charlie’s or a Peanut Buster Parfait from DQ. Though my own LOVE SLAVE is set just after the death of Kurt Cobain, the eighties were like the biblical breath of life for my beloved grunge-haunted characters. They might be struggling w ...more
As a fan of music myself - Duran Duran as well, though not all too passionately - and a female, I couldn't get over just how one sided this book really is. Quite often it seems like Sheffield is looking down on female listeners, making them seem as if they were incapable of understanding music, only ever focusing on the look and image of a band. Whereas male listeners, of course, sit down to discuss the music, the lyrics, the meaning and the connection to other happenings in the world. I am awar ...more
Sheffield's gift is the way he drops in cultural references without pointing to them -- if you get it, you get that shiver of recognition (oh! oh! I remember that song/movie/commercial!); if you don't get it, you don't mind because he doesn't serve them with heavy hands (although absent his cultural vocabulary, i.e. if you did not love music in the 80s, I don't know if you can enjoy this book). His weakness is that in his desire to quickly engage, he tends to lack subtlety (GIRLS SILLY! BOYS SER ...more
After reading Sheffield's first book, I was looking forward to reading this one. I thought his writing style evoked deep emotion, and - being a child of the '80s myself - I expected to identify with many of his experiences. It wasn't until I was about 75% through this book that I realized the problem. This book is not about THE 1980s; it's about HIS 1980s. We remember many parts of the decade quite differently. And he tends to be dismissive in a casual manner: "The Reflex" was Duran Duran's "fir ...more
I only wish I could blame my poor taste in music on my three Irish sisters...but alas, I have only one (of the Polish variety) and it is entirely likely I would have developed a liking for Duran Duran, Madonna, and Wham! without any female prodding. Hey, it was the 80's and nobody mocked Culture Club or Michael Jackson until many years later! :)

I could relate to this book on many levels -- maybe not quite as much as I did to Ready Player One, but still feel that this could have been the chronicl
This is a fun look back at the music (and culture) a lot of us grew up on. I enjoyed the chapters on Duran Duran, why John Hughes films are still relevant (one word: Duckie), and cassingles. I wasn't crazy about some of Sheffield's other musings, like those about religion and Morissey (from the Smiths), but I still liked the book overall. The best part was going to YouTube to look up the songs (and videos) and remembering what my life was like then. That is basically what Sheffield writes about: ...more
Though dedicated to his second wife, the book is more about Rob's love for ('80s) music and his sisters, above anything else. I can totally understand his obsession for '80s, music since I'm a sucker for it myself (I can totally kick your ass at SongPop when it comes to '80s and '90s, thank you very much).

I envy people who can identify themselves with a musical decade. I can't call myself a kid of the '80s, since I was still a bit too young to listen to their music on purpose (let alone what wa
Gretchen Alice
In the movie version of High Fidelity, Rob Gordon mentions that he's organizing his albums autobiographically. In TtGADD, Rob Sheffield goes one step further and writes essays for his defining songs and moments from the 80s. The result is a deeply surprising and emotional book about 80s pop and new wave. In Love Is A Mixtape, a book which I absolutely adored, Rob discussed the unbreakable relationship between love and music. In Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Rob talks about why he loves his ...more
Here's the issue: it's fun to read about the 1980s and 1990s, even if you were there the first time. But beyond bar chatter, if you don't have actual points to make about your activities during these decades (or any decades) then you are just writing down your memories. Rob Sheffield has written about music for a long time, which means he has interviewed many, many musicians. And yet, he spends most of this book talking about gym class and girls that he had crushes on when Spandau Ballet was sti ...more
People discredit the music of the 80s. One comedian—who I’ve purposefully and successfully forgotten the name of—says 80s tunes are what Satan listens to while using the bathroom. Others dismiss New Wave and 80s dance as fashion-and-video-obsessed crud. This is also the music I grew up with.

Rob Sheffield grew up with it, too; he’s a very clever, insightful writer from Rolling Stone. He doesn’t apologize for the music. He writes humorous and touching stories about what it meant to him. He lets it
Monica Albright
Okay, I'm a Durannie...I know all 5 of the guys...all three unrelated Taylors, Simon and Nick....I'm a child of the 80' of course I had to read this book. Plus I've read a lot of good reviews too.
I've spent equal time reading and going on YouTube watching the videos that match the music in the book. Some of the titles I didn't remember. Some I didn't know. It's fun. Some of the references I just didn't get...maybe it was the "boy's perspective".
If you loved Duran Duran...pick it le
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is Rob Sheffield's personal story about being a teenager in the 80's and the effect 80s music had on his life. He begins the book when he is 13 years old and each chapter's title is a song from the 80s. He holds nothing back no matter how embarrasing it might be, his awkwardness around girls, his years living as a hermit listening to The Smiths, his glory days as the ice cream man, all are discussed in the book with the music he loved mixed in to help tell the ...more
Red Fields
I was 22 - 31 in the 80s. I lived in lower Manhattan. When it was first released I watched ''Planet Earth'' on a huge screen in a downtown club and was suitably impressed. I wanted to like this book but found it uneven. It's not a good sign when you keep wondering if you should put it aside because you have so many other books you want to get to and don't want to waste time on something you aren't that into. But I persevered because I knew it wouldn't take that long, and hey, I still like some 8 ...more
Maybe if the songs he chose to frame each chapter around were nearer and dearer to my heart this would have been a 5 star, but probably because they weren't, I valued the stories even more. Duran Duran was my first big concert in 6th grade for the Seven and Ragged Tiger tour (thanks mom for letting me go!) and I had a poster of them on my bedroom wall, and even loved nick rhodes and john taylor, but I don't consider myself ever to be the infamous "Duranie," as Rob Sheffield likes to call them... ...more
If we could choose half stars this would get a 3.5 but I'll round up because I'm not afraid to admit that I play favorites. This book doesn't have the same emotional wallop as Love is a Mixtape and understandably so considering that book's subject matter. This a more casual collection of memories and as a result some of the chapters are hit or miss. Also, it's about the 80s and while I was alive for most of the decade I hadn't yet developed my obsessive music gene at 8 years old. I think the aut ...more

I was excited to read this, as I really liked the author's previous book, Love is a Mixtape. Plus, I like 80s music and reading memoirs about music. However, this book rubbed me the wrong way from the start, and I gave up pretty early on. Perhaps I didn't give it a fair shot, but all of his observations seemed to be based on ridiculous gender stereotypes about music. I got particularly annoyed when he was talking about The Clash (a band that boy's like, according to the author), and says how gir
I liked several of the essays very much. Most of them were just okay, though, and I think the book went on too long. I loved reading about Sheffield's totally awesome sisters. I think he should write a straight memoir about growing up with them shepherding him through life, it would be such fun. I remembered nearly all the songs, but with considerably less fondness than the author did, so that perhaps contributed to my overall sense of malaise regarding the majority of this book. Sheffield also ...more
Of course, loving Duran Duran, I am going to love this book...but even more so due to the fact I have never really left the 80's. Rob Sheffield has a real gift at bringing that time back to those who have not only lived through it, but those who are of the younger generation and haven't. It makes you want to go out and try to recapture that happy-go-lucky time in our lives. I would love him to write a book on the 90's.
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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...

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“My sisters were the coolest people I knew, and still are. I have always aspired to be like them and know what they know. My sisters were the color and noise in my black-and-white boy world-how I pitied my friends who had brothers. Boys seemed incredibly tedious and dim compared to my sisters, who were always a rush of energy and excitement, buzzing over all the books, records, jokes, rumors and ideas we were discovering together. I grew up thriving on the commotion of their girl noise, whether they were laughing or singing or staging an intervention because somebody was wearing stirrup pants. I always loved being lost in that girl noise.” 64 likes
“But bringing people together is what music has always done best.” 23 likes
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