Download Avid Reader: A Life by Robert Gottlieb PDF

By Robert Gottlieb

A lively and revealing memoir by way of the main celebrated editor of his time

After modifying The Columbia Review, staging performs at Cambridge, and a stint within the greeting-card division of Macy's, Robert Gottlieb stumbled right into a task at Simon and Schuster. by the point he left to run Alfred A. Knopf a dozen years later, he used to be the editor in leader, having chanced on and edited Catch-22 and The American manner of Death, between different bestsellers. At Knopf, Gottlieb edited an astounding record of authors, together with Toni Morrison, John Cheever, Doris Lessing, John le Carré, Michael Crichton, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Graham, Robert Caro, Nora Ephron, and invoice Clinton--not to say Bruno Bettelheim and leave out Piggy. In Avid Reader, Gottlieb writes with wit and candor approximately succeeding William Shawn because the editor of The New Yorker, and the demanding situations and satisfactions of operating America's preeminent journal. Sixty years after becoming a member of Simon and Schuster, Gottlieb continues to be at it--editing, anthologizing, and, to his shock, writing.

But this account of a lifestyles based upon interpreting is set greater than the arc of a unique career--one that still encompasses a lifelong involvement with the realm of dance. it truly is approximately transcendent friendships and collaborations, "elective affinities" and relatives, psychoanalysis and Bakelite handbags, the alchemical dating among author and editor, the honour days of publishing, and--always--the sheer excitement of work.

Photograph of Bob Gottlieb © by way of Jill Krementz

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It was called Birch-Wathen, having been founded by two ladies: Miss Birch, who presided over the high school, and Mrs. Wathen, who oversaw the lower school. Tiny Mrs. ). Every Friday she gave a poetry class during which we recited and memorized such sweetly pretty verses as “Ann, Ann! Come quick as you can! ” (Walter de la Mare) and “Up the airy mountain / Down the rushy glen / We daren’t go a-hunting / For fear of little men” (William Allingham). ” As for schoolwork, my favorite occupation was making maps to scale—my “Africa” was a masterpiece—and I liked arithmetic because it was so logical and trustworthy.

The crucial encounter was with Dick Howard (now Richard, but never to me). He was a year older and a year ahead, but that never really registered. Someone took me to his dorm room and there was instant and total connection. He was infinitely more sophisticated than I was, but not intellectually, the way that mattered; there we were on even terms, our interests coinciding and our literary excitements mutual. Immediately that afternoon we set off together for the Gotham Book Mart, the West Forty-seventh Street bookstore of legend (“Wise Men Fish Here”) reigned over by the formidable Miss Frances Steloff, always in her electric-blue smock and with her indispensable pencil poked through her white hair.

One day, against all odds, they would become an essential part of my life. In those days Birch-Wathen imposed on all the seniors an aptitude test administered by some outside agency, to help steer us along appropriate career paths. The school official whose job it was to discuss the results with each of us was openly unhappy about mine, making it clear to me that the preferred outcome was one that identified a single strong predilection—Bob would be a terrific accountant; Joan would be an excellent English teacher.

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