Avid Reader: A Life by Robert Gottlieb

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 used to be the editor in leader, having came across and edited Catch-22 and The American approach of Death, between different bestsellers. At Knopf, Gottlieb edited an superb checklist 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 pass over 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 remains to be at it--editing, anthologizing, and, to his shock, writing.

But this account of a existence based upon interpreting is ready greater than the arc of a unique career--one that still contains a lifelong involvement with the realm of dance. it is approximately transcendent friendships and collaborations, "elective affinities" and relations, psychoanalysis and Bakelite handbags, the alchemical dating among author and editor, the dignity days of publishing, and--always--the sheer pleasure of work.

Photograph of Bob Gottlieb © by way of Jill Krementz

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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.

Lad was noble, Lad was true. As I discovered on a recent rereading, among his many exploits Lad saved the life of a five-year-old paralyzed girl by flinging himself between her and a striking copperhead, not only almost dying from snake venom but somehow prompting the child to walk. I already loved dogs—so much easier to deal with than other children—and Lad was not just any dog, as we learn in the first paragraph: “He had the gay courage of d’Artagnan, and an uncanny wisdom. ” I tried not to show I was crying during Mrs.

What proved to be far more glamorous, more moving, more earth-shattering was the performance of George Balanchine’s latest masterpiece, Orpheus, just one week old. I was overwhelmed. Here was a reward for the years of dullness at school; here was a release of feelings and imagination that only certain books, and occasionally theater, had previously provided. It was May 1948, and within months Lincoln Kirstein’s Ballet Society would morph into the New York City Ballet and I would begin my undergraduate life at Columbia College, a quick subway ride to the City Center, where I would obsess over Balanchine and his dancers for the next four years.

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