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Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

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Kathryn Spurr

Is there nothing that this man cannot do?

I have quite enjoyed reading this collection of short stories, even though it is not normally the type of book that I would buy. I usually read Non-fiction history books and historical novels so it was quite a change reading this. Although I was quite taken with one or two of the stories in the book and it would suit anyone who likes this type, of fiction, sadly, it is not for me and I will stick to what I know. Thank you however for giving me the chance to review the book.

Nigel Chetwood

I opened this book with a certain amount of trepidation – could someone with the ability that Tom Hanks has in communicating in the world of films be able to communicate through the written word? I needn’t have worried – Tom’s writing style has pace and good continuity.

There are many nice touches in the writing that shows an amazing level of observation of the human condition – as well as the ability to communicate this through words.

The book contains seventeen ‘shortish’ and varied stories that reflect quite a wide range of experience and observation that promises much for the future. Quite compelling reading!

Sue Leaman

I have always admired Tom Hanks as an actor, especially for the part he played in Forrest Gump. However, I have mixed feelings of him as an author. It was difficult to focus on the stories as my mind kept wandering back to their author, which rather spoiled things for me.

I have dabbled into the stories but have not yet completed the whole book(mainly due to Christmas festivities) and I'm not sure whether I will. It's a lot of short stories in one book and I feel the editor could have been more selective. I think Hanks is a fairly new author and it shows in his work. I don't think he will become a best seller.

The stories are certainly varied, linked by the typewriters (Hanks apparently is an enthusiastic collector of old typewriters!). On the whole not my type of reading material! Maybe Hanks should try a novel next time.

Margaret Cook

An unusual book. Normally I enjoy books of short stories but I had to persevere with this one. An odd collection of tales of normal incidents from someone’s life. I was disappointed.

Sue Jenkins

I was sent the Tom Hanks short story collection, Uncommon Type, to review.

I am not a great fan of short stories, as I feel that they do not give the reader enough depth of character or storyline. This was no exception! I did not really enjoy these stories as they seemed quite bland and unexceptional and I was not a fan of the many Americanisms used in the language throughout. I was expecting something written by such a great actor to be much better but I am sure that these stories will appeal to some people more than they did to me. I did not really get the way typewriters were apparent in the stories either. The problem with short stories is that you are just beginning to get to know the characters when the story ends. Maybe Tom Hanks would have been better advised to write fewer stories with more depth to them...Sorry but not to my taste.

Gillian Williamson

I very much admire Tom Hanks as an actor and have found him to be a personable and likeable interviewee. As an author, I found his style of writing somewhat difficult to read, requiring effort rather than affording a means of escapism, which I like to find in a novel. Hanks collects typewriters and each story I read featured one pictorially as well as a by-line somewhere within the text.

The subject matter is eclectic and three or four of the stories were quite endearing and entertaining with certain characters popping up in several, which did make this reader feel more comfortable. The main problem was the use of American names and colloquialisms which peppered the text and I found detracted from the story lines. Possibly this book is more accessible to Hanks’ American readers. I also felt that Hanks had thought too hard on getting each word right, which tended to interrupt the flow of the story rather than enhance it. In summary, a good first try but I wouldn’t wish to read a Tom Hanks novel, should one follow.

As a book to take on a river cruise, these short stories would be useful. Thank you, Viking, for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Katherine Soanes

The title of this collection of short stories ‘Uncommon Type’ refers not only to the characters having a sideways view of life but also to a typewriter featuring in each of the tales. Tom Hanks has melded his passion for typewriters (he collects them) and being drawn to characterising unusual personalities. Unfortunately, I found this a disappointing read, as the characters are one-dimensional.

I applaud the multicultural scope of the stories as this shows the diversity that makes up America. However, the unfamiliar names of some of the characters’ made them harder for me to engage with. Some of the characters appear in more than one story so the reader picks up with them again at another point. I was delighted to receive this book to review as short stories are ideal to read on a river cruise; I tend to not to want to take my eyes off the scenery for too long. I really wanted to like this book, unfortunately, I did not find it an enjoyable read and I would not recommend it. Stick with the acting Mr Hanks...!

Connor Delaney

I thought the book was a good read in spots although I did get bored of the everyday and monotonous commentary of suburban life in some of the tales. Some of the tales were well written and interesting with relatively complex scenarios and characters; others were boring and made me drop the book for a few days. It's tough to read the book cover to cover because of that so I'd recommend giving it more than one chance if you get bogged down in one of the more dull tales. What is interesting is that a Hollywood actor has written a compilation of stories and we try to get to know Tom Hanks through his writing rather than through his presence on the small screen.

It's not a book I'd buy and it won't be winning any literature awards any time soon but it does offer enjoyable light, easy-reading material and as the content wasn't taxing, it was an easy read.

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