Uncommon Type

Uncommon Type

Some Stories

Book - 2017
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UNCOMMON TYPE contains seventeen stories, each in some way involving a different typewriter (Hanks is an avid collector of vintage typewriters and owns over one hundred of them). The stories feature an immigrant arriving in New York City after his family and life have been torn apart by his country's civil war; a man who bowls a perfect game (and then another, and another), becoming ESPN's newest celebrity; an eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant on the hunt for something larger in America; and the junket life of an actor.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780735273832
Characteristics: viii, 405 pages :,illustrations ;,21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Twomey, Kevin - Photographer

Opinion

From Library Staff

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country's civil war. A man who loves to... Read More »


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AnnabelleLee27 Oct 05, 2018

A collection of short stories, some of which are quite insightful and many are poignant and charming. The characters were interesting but I found myself increasingly wanting fewer stories that lasted longer and dug deeper. However, listening to Hanks read his work was so delightful that it felt like a visit from an old friend.

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HollyHertel
Aug 07, 2018

Wow! What a writer. It's not fair, because Tom Hanks is such a great actor, how can he be both? He has a wry, tongue-in-cheek quality. This book of short stories has some real gems. Highly recommend this! I want to listen to the audiobook; Hanks is probably a fabulous reader. How can he not be?!

l
LindaMarion
Jul 25, 2018

glad tom hanks can write but i lost interest after a bit. stories and characters not strong enough for me.

p
pkerr
May 03, 2018

I really enjoyed this book after seeing Tom Hanks on CBS Sunday morning, showing his typewriter collection. I only realized after a few chapters that each was a story on its own. I was a true fan of Stuart Mclean and Hanks' writing is in the same universe.

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/tom-hanks-typewriter-enthusiast/

1
1_Great_Book
Apr 09, 2018

Thoroughly enjoyed the idea of weaving a typewriter into each and every story in this collection. That is the only thing tying the stories together thematically. After I read this I saw the book translated into French, and learned that Hanks is on a worldwide mission to keep the culture of the typewriter alive amongst those who feel that it is truly helpful to the act of writing, putting a thought through a machine to the tangible object of paper.

I grew up with the culture of the typewriter and thoroughly enjoyed this - especially the story of the typewriter repairman who won't sell his jewels to just anyone - he basically chooses the person to match one of his machines.

If you have never used a typewriter, may this help to describe the process of active creation in a different era. There was a book out recently on Hemingway's lost stories, and there are photos of his original typed manuscripts, complete with manual edits and strikethroughs so you could imagine the thought process during the act of writing. I also recommend that book.

m
minnesota007
Mar 19, 2018

Audio book was nicely done, some stories better than others.

w
wmtlady
Feb 22, 2018

Knowing a few things about the author, I chose this book to see if Hanks could also write. I read the first 4 stories and can confirm, yes, he can write in the sense of being able to put down coherent sentences and with good grammar and spelling. But I had no incentive to care about the characters or sense a plot that I wanted to see concluded. Maybe I am ignorant/naive as a reader and that applies only to novels. My world-view is moralistic and eternal and I was put-off by the overall self-centeredness of the characters. That's very subjective and other readers may enjoy these stories much more.

mxm0290 Jan 08, 2018

DNF - Made it halfway through
Hanks is a decent writer with the beautiful description and emotion he brings as an actor conveyed on the page, but I could not stay engaged with this style of storytelling. Each short story is a small window into someone's life. Each vignette feels real and poignant but does not have the satisfying story arc I seem to prefer. So, I found myself wanting more than a window view because the stories seemed pointless or lacked resolution or built to nothing, which is an accurate depiction of life but was not something that kept me turning pages.

In other words, this is a good version of what it is, but is not my style. I would recommend giving it a chance if you have time.

b
behere
Dec 29, 2017

Hanks employs the five senses in his writing. I enjoy his description of objects from the different time periods he writes about. My favorite short was "The past is important to us."

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nbaquino
Dec 28, 2017

Tom Hanks' writing style(and humour) is as good as he acts. Although it falls short of any Jeffrey Archer plot twists. I like the way the entire book has a theme (the typewriter) and yet the stories are a bunch of short stories.

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