By Robert Gottlieb
A lively and revealing memoir by way of the main celebrated editor of his time
After enhancing 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 was once the editor in leader, having found and edited Catch-22 and The American means of Death, between different bestsellers. At Knopf, Gottlieb edited an mind-blowing 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 working America's preeminent journal. Sixty years after becoming a member of Simon and Schuster, Gottlieb remains to be at it--editing, anthologizing, and, to his shock, writing.
But this account of a lifestyles based upon studying is ready greater than the arc of a novel career--one that still features a lifelong involvement with the realm of dance. it really is approximately transcendent friendships and collaborations, "elective affinities" and relations, psychoanalysis and Bakelite handbags, the alchemical courting among author and editor, the honor days of publishing, and--always--the sheer pleasure of work.
Photograph of Bob Gottlieb © via Jill Krementz
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Extra resources for Avid Reader: A Life
Awards were given out at the end of the summer, and there was nothing I could win an award for except acting, although one year I did get one for volleyball (which I had never once played). The last of my four years at Meadowbrook Lodge (in the Berkshires), I never once went down to the lake but lay on a blanket outside our bunk reading Norman Douglas’s scandalous South Wind—not that I understood what made it scandalous. Obviously, I was not made for summer camp, but what were my parents to do with me?
Every performance was sold out. And, to our amazement, Stephen Spender reviewed us in the Manchester Guardian, though how he knew about the production I have no idea.
My parents went to the theater occasionally, the movies rarely, out to dinner never. Sometimes we played gin rummy, but mostly, like me, my mother and father read. My mother had had a genteel upbringing in Boston and New York on no money, her favorite novel George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss. As a girl, she worked hard at the piano (Czerny exercises, the easier Beethoven sonatas), and she and her family loved going to the Met (Caruso, Farrar, Ponselle), sitting way up in the family circle. Because Grampa was an artist (unsuccessful), there were etchings and drawings and reproductions of paintings in our home, and as I grew older my mother took me to museums occasionally, and we went to hear the most famous musicians of the day—once each: Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, Jascha Heifetz, Marian Anderson, Toscanini.