Whenever you think of immense Hollywood success, political activist extraordinaire, or just the nicest person in the history of… well, ever, I’m willing to bet Tom Hanks is one of the first people to come to mind. (And if he didn’t, I don’t want to hear about it.) As a two time Oscar winner and box office king, I was once told in one of my classes as a teenager that “anything Hanks touches will turn into gold.” It’s something that has stuck with me as then-President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and as he made the same splashes as a director and screenwriter. So, what was my reaction when it was announced that Tom Hanks would be releasing a collection of short stories?
The book is titled Uncommon Type: Some Stories, and unsurprisingly, each story has a typewriter as a detail somewhere in the text. (The man owns over a hundred vintage typewriters.) Other than that, they vary widely on setting, character, and plot, which sounds familiar. Tom Hanks is particularly known for his versatility and range in his acting, and it sounds like these characters inspired his own writing. However, he let this accumulate for quite a while – he only started work on his book in 2015.
If you think about it, and know anything about writing, this is quite the achievement: it means that Hanks managed to write and rewrite a book in two years. He even shed light on how he did it: he wrote whenever he had breathing room. This meant on set, in quiet moments in hotels, planes, the office, and naturally, at home. He kept an admirable schedule from 9 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon when he could, but otherwise, he wrote on the go. Maybe this isn’t too surprising since he has written in the past before, such as this piece from The New Yorker, but never quite a book deal.
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