Saturday, May 26, 2012

Writer gossip

I'm not sure what made me think I'd actually like Writers Gone Wild: The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature's Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes by Bill Peschel. I like writers, and I like learning things about their lives. But I don't like celebrity gossip, and that's basically what this is. Most of the anecdotes shared in this book are about writers' bad behavior. I know, I should have realized that from the title. I decided to give it a shot. By the time I was halfway through and still didn't really like it, I decided I'd better finish, because I'm behind on my 50 books and needed this one to count!

The book is well written and an easy read. There are a few stories that aren't about lying, fighting, or sex. There were a couple of interesting stories of writers in prison without committing crimes. For example, Dashiell Hammett was sent to prison for not cooperating with the Communist witch hunt happening at the time. He served 5 months. Each of the chapters has a one-sentence summary under the title. Those were occasionally interesting. For chapter ten, Fight Club, it read, "Out of hatred, rivalry, or orneriness, these writers got along liked bagged weasels." The best part of the book is the bibliography at the end.

I'll be dropping this in the donation bin for someone else who might enjoy a little gossip.

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