Avid Reader

  • by Robert Gottlieb
  • Narrated by Robert Gottlieb
  • 12 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A spirited and revealing memoir by the most celebrated editor of his time.
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.

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What the Critics Say

"Robert Gottlieb, legendary editor, graceful writer, and world-class balletomane, can add 'wonderful narrator' to his resumé. His warm, slightly sanded voice and cheerful delivery make him an absolutely charming audio companion and the best possible performer of his own memoir." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Steve M

Book addiction

Where does Avid Reader rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have listened to so many wonderful books, but this is the story of a boy/man/person
who inhales books from an early age


What was one of the most memorable moments of Avid Reader?

Reading War and Peace in 14 hours


Which scene was your favorite?

Playing with a yoyo while standing outside his building after being ordered outside to play as a child


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes, but can't


Any additional comments?

This is the sort of book for people who devour books

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- Marianne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-13-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio