Title: Uncommon Type
Author: Tom Hanks
Page Count: 406
I’m going to go ahead and give this a four just because it’s Tom Hanks, and in my experience, celebrities don’t have such a great track record of writing books. Half of them are ghostwritten, and those that aren’t are usually published because they’ll sell rather than because of any literary merit. And actually, this probably wouldn’t have been published if Hanks wasn’t Hanks, purely because most publishers hate releasing short story collections. They’re a lot harder to market.
Hanks is a pretty good writer, although I’m sure that he was also hooked up with a talented editor to bring out something like this. That’s why I gave him the four, because he exceeded my expectations and actually made me kind of regret that I’d left this unread on my shelves for so long. If you own a copy, it’s worth getting to.
One thing that I did notice is that Hanks breaks the traditional structure of short stories quite often, and because I’m contrarian, I quite liked that. They don’t necessarily have a beginning, middle and end, quite often just consisting of a middle, with the result that each of the stories is more like a snapshot or a glimpse into someone’s life than a fully-fledged short story. And that’s just fine by me.
Because Hanks is Hanks, a lot of the stories have themes following life as a celebrity or as an unknown actor, but you can’t fault him for that because they do say you should write about what you know. I think that also helps to make sure that it really does feel like Hanks has his own voice. And if this came out as an indie novel, it’d be pretty impressive.
I don’t really have anything more to add. It’s a pretty decent little read if you ask me and I’d recommend going ahead if you’ve been thinking of picking It up. It’s also a pretty quick read, and I like the idea that it’s typewriters that link all of the different stories together. It’s one of those books that’s perfect for readers, writers and bookish folk, if only because we all nerd out on old typewriters and stuff.
So do I recommend it? Yeah sure, why the hell not? It’s on a par with a bunch of other mainstream short story collections.