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After editing The Columbia Review, staging plays at Cambridge, and a stint in the greeting-card department of Macy's, Robert Gottlieb stumbled into a job at Simon & Schuster. By the time he left to run Alfred A. Knopf a dozen years later, he was the editor in chief, having discovered and edited Catch-22 and The American Way of Death, among other best sellers. At Knopf, Gottlieb edited an astonishing list of authors, including Toni Morrison, John Cheever, Doris Lessing, John le Carré, Michael Crichton, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Graham, Robert Caro, Nora Ephron, and Bill Clinton - not to mention Bruno Bettelheim and Miss Piggy.
In Avid Reader, Gottlieb writes with wit and candor about succeeding William Shawn as the editor of The New Yorker and the challenges and satisfactions of running America's preeminent magazine. Sixty years after joining Simon & Schuster, Gottlieb is still at it - editing, anthologizing, and, to his surprise, writing.
But this account of a life founded upon reading is about more than the arc of a singular career - one that also includes a lifelong involvement with the world of dance. It's about transcendent friendships and collaborations, "elective affinities" and family, psychoanalysis and Bakelite purses, the alchemical relationship between writer and editor, the glory days of publishing, and - always - the sheer exhilaration of work.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Steve M on 12-06-16
A Lifetime of Reading and Editing
Robert Gottlieb stumbled into editorial work in his early twenties and went on to become one of the most powerful and influential editors of the last 100 years. Anyone who is an "avid reader" will delight in his stories of authors such as John Le Carre, Joseph Heller, Robert Caro and SO many more. (I was delighted to hear about JR Salamanca and Robert Chrichton, authors I enjoyed in my youth who are rarely discussed any longer.) He's also revealing in talking about his work with Bill Clinton, Lauren Bacall, Balanchine, and other celebrities. Finally, the book is a window into the world of publishing as it existed when the written page was king. (Is it still? Not really.) Gottlieb's voice is wonderful, and he brings the material to life beautifully. I rarely read memoirs (I never believe them) but this was edifying and entertaining.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Gabriela on 01-09-17
Akin to a conversation with a witty friend.
Would you consider the audio edition of Avid Reader to be better than the print version?
I loved the fact the author was doing the reading. It's like having a delicious conversation with a very witty, interesting friend. Mr. Gottlieb is a superb narrator.
I have gone back to the book and re-reading certain favorite passages. It is that good.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Avid Reader?
His narration of his early years is very entertaining, but some of the best passages are his descriptions of how he managed his authors. Especially enjoyed Heller, LeCarre, Bacall, Tuchman, Caro. It is a fascinating look at the publishing business. He led a life any lover of reading would find ideal.
Any additional comments?
One of the best narrated books in Audible. Enjoyed it very much.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful