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Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

Uncommon Type: Some Stories (2017)

by Tom Hanks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
I've discovered how you really spell the word talented, it's T-O-M H-A-N-K-S! This was such an enjoyable book of short stories, yes there were a couple that weren't as good, but they were still well written. I like stories that I think about after I've finished them, that happened with so many of the short stories in here. I had a couple that I would label as my favorites, and find myself thinking about them during the day long after finishing them. This book is like taking a trip back in time, to a simpler place when life was not so hurried and people were kinder to one another. A time that has seemed to vanished in the past nowadays.
It was a big surprise to me to discover just how multi-talented Tom Hanks really is. His writing is better than some other authors that I've read, his descriptions are vivid and came to life in my imagination. Yes, I would definitely recommend reading this book.
( )
  LydiaGranda | Feb 15, 2019 |
I have so much respect for Tom Hanks as an actor, director, producer, etc. Not so much for his writing. The writing itself was not bad, the stories were encompassing, they just didn't go anywhere. There really were no endings to these stories. No cohesion. ( )
  JReynolds1959 | Feb 6, 2019 |
While on a Viking cruise in Europe last summer my wife and I had the chance to watch the documentary film “California Typewriter” about a variety of people, including actor Tom Hanks, who remain in love with the typewriter in the computer age. The film gives some perspective to “Uncommon Type,” a collection of short stories by Hanks published in 2017, a year after the documentary was released.

Although the stories, most of them at any rate, are not about typewriters, a particular typewriter (Remington, Royal Desktop, Hermes 2000, Olympia, etc.) is mentioned in each. A photograph of that typewriter (perhaps from Hanks's own collection?) appears at the beginning of each tale.

These stories are a varied lot. One is a screenplay. Several take the form of a newspaper column. They represent different styles, different time periods (although all after the invention of the typewriter, of course) and different levels of seriousness. All are enjoyable, but the best may be those that actually work a typewriter into the plot. I loved "Christmas Eve 1953" about a disabled war veteran enjoying "the theater that was his family" on Christmas Eve. The children type their letters to Santa on a Remington and go to bed, while their father returns to the war in his mind. Even missing a leg, Virgil feels blessed.

Another gem, "These Are the Meditations of My Heart," tells of a woman who buys a toy typewriter on a whim, more as an act of charity than because of a need for a typewriter. This leads to an attempt to get the typewriter repaired and then to the purchase of a really good typewriter, that Hermes 2000. Then, inspired, she begins to write.

It was a Smith-Corona portable that inspired me to write back in the late 1950s. Now I am content to use a computer. I make too many mistakes for a typewriter, but still this particular story, and to a lesser extent all the stories in the book, resonates with me.

I'm betting Hanks wrote them all on a typewriter. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Feb 6, 2019 |
I would give this a 3 and a half, if halves were allowed. But it's not quite a four star for me personally.

I am a huge fan of Tom Hanks the actor, so I was curious about Tom Hanks the writer, hence I gave it a read. And his fame has indeed been what has allowed this book to garner such success and become so well read. I don't believe it would attract much attention from publishers otherwise.

If you like light, short stories, that don't really have a lot to say and are just nice anecdotes about American life, then this is the book for you. The stories are a little 'beige' in my humble opinion, and many are forgettable.

The writing itself is good: it flows, it has its own style, there is a lot to build on. But I do believe editors have indulged Tom because of who he is. There are pieces that really could do with being reworked and tightened up, and characters developed better. But maybe that's my inner editor talking (after all it is my job).

I did enjoy many of the stories: Christmas Eve, A Month on Green Street, The Past is Important to Us (a great little sci-fi), Go See Costas, and Steve Wong is Perfect. The best appeared at the beginning and the end, the middle stories seemed to fade. I was always waiting for something to actually happen and nothing ever really did in many of the stories.

Some people thought it was going to be about typewriters, but the only connection is that one is mentioned in every tale. It didn't matter to me. It neither added or detracted from it.

I'd recommend it for light reading if you're interested in reading it, but really it isn't one I would shout about ( )
  purplequeennl | Jan 30, 2019 |
Listened to this on audio, read by Hanks. This might have made the book more of an experience, but I'm sure I would have liked this even in the dead tree edition.

This is a debut collection of 17 short stories by Hanks. I found them very endearing and engaging. Some are just simple human stories, and a few bordering on full-on science fiction. The first story is the story of a 3 week love affair that ultimately doesn't go to plan. I really enjoyed Alan Bean Plus Four, a preposterous tale of a bunch of kids who decide to go to the moon, as well as A Special Weekend, about a man traveling back in time to visit the 1938 Worlds Fair. Also liked Steve Wong is Perfect, about the bowling phenom in the local town.

There is a couple through-lines that roughly link the stories; there is a typewriter featured, some prominently, somewhere in each story. Also, there several interludes, called Our Town Today with Hank Fiset, opinion column in the local paper perhaps, plus some shared characters. It gives the impression that all of these stories could live in the same literary universe.

All the stories are read by Hanks, with the exception of the last (and not credited on my audio) story; Stay with Us, which is a play/radio drama about a very famous rich man finding peace of mind at a small town resort. Peter Gerety, Peter Scolari, Cecily Strong, Holland Taylor and Wilmer Valderrama provide the voices here.



S: 1/9/19 - 1/18/19 (10 Days) ( )
  mahsdad | Jan 21, 2019 |
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Twomey, KevinPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 bowl rolls a perfect game--and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN's newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!… (more)

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