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Publisher's Summary

What is love? Great minds have been grappling with this question throughout the ages, and in the modern era, they have come up with many different answers. According to Western philosopher Pat Benatar, love is a battlefield. Her paisan, Frank Sinatra, would add the corollary that love is a tender trap. Love hurts. Love stinks. Love bites, love bleeds, love is the drug. The troubadours of our times agree that they want to know what love is, and they want you to show them. But the answer is simple: love is a mix tape.

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 also a time when a shy music geek named Rob Sheffield met a hell-raising Appalachian punk-rock girl named Renee, 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 15 mix tapes to tell the story of his brief time with Renee. From Elvis to Missy Elliott, the Rolling Stones to Yo La Tengo, the songs on these tapes make up the soundtrack to their lives. This is Rob's tribute to music, to the decade that shaped him, but most of all to one unforgettable woman.

©2007 Rob Sheffield; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

A sad story in a happy wrapper.

I really enjoyed this book. Music is the way i relate to people or memories and this author just gets it. You follow his life through the mix tapes he made and even though it is a story of loss you cannot help, but smile. You fall in love with Renee and you feel Rob's emotions through out the story. You are in love when he is and you are at the point of tears when he is grieving. This is a must read/listen. Oh and for a similar book, for you fellow audiophiles I recommend Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ladonna
  • Round Rock, TX, USA
  • 02-18-07

Best love story I've ever read

This book is a must have for anyone who has ever been in love. I don't typically read and couldn't stop listening. I listened to the whole book in one night! Check out more reviews for the book don't just take my word for it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Performance

While I understand the prestige of having the author read, and sometimes it does work like Toni Morrison reading Beloved, this was a terrible idea for this book. Rob is a fantastic writer, but him reading ruins this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Get this book!

This book is full of the magic that music brings to your life. The good things, the bad things, and the things we wish we could forget all have playlist attached to them. I've read this book in paperback at least twice a year since I bought it years ago and it hasn't lost any of its magic. There is something special about listening to Rob read this very personal book to you. Get this book, you won't regret it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mon
  • San Francisco, Ca
  • 06-13-12

Mixing it with lots of sweet love

I finished this audio last night and already told 2 friends to read/listen to this book. It's heart felt and heart breaking. It is a country song, a ranchera - it's a story full of emotions that will send you running towards a Kleenex box. Rob Sheffield's wife dies before his eyes, literally dies in less than 1 minute and this is the story of them. His reverence, and story telling through music gives you a glimpse of their lives together and how much he truly adored her. It's heart wrenching because it is real. It's one of those books that gets to the real deal of life: it's unexpected, it's sweet and painful. It is a love story wrapped in a cassette tape with musical memories taking you from one vignette to the next. It is an honest and reflective experience about loss and the grief and pain that follow losing your heart and soul. Sheffield takes you into his reading circle and shares an event so tragic and so sad but somehow still makes you laugh and smile. Through mix tape memory lane he introduces you to his family, his awkwardness, his love of music, his humor, his wife and musical co-conspirator Renee. He celebrates her, grieves for her and figures out a new life without her. It is a very brave and honest book. This is FOR SURE worth the time especially if you EVER mixed a tape. If you mixed a tape back in the day, you will get it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking

Rob Sheffield has done it again with this

beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking book. Highly recommended for anyone who loves 90s music, or pop music in general!

  • Overall

If you love Grenadine you'll love this book

Reading the description of this book, I was glad that it didn't turn out to be what I was worried it might be. Clearly this is a sad story, losing your wife and best friend at a young age. But I enjoyed the book more because of how much of it focuses on, and celebrates their brief time together. This is a great ride through the late 80s into the 90s for any of us who scoured our little indie stores for 7" records and didn't know what to think when Kim Deal and Evan Dando were suddenly being played on the radio. If that last sentence makes sense to you, I think you'll enjoy this book. Even if it is sad.