Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

Uncommon Type: Some Stories

A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country's civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game—and then another and then another and then many

Title:Uncommon Type: Some Stories
Author:
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Edition Language:English

Uncommon Type: Some Stories Reviews

  • Sam

    Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC.

    Overly sentimental review ahead.

    This short story collection is warm, surprising and engaging. Each story envelops the reader with its own unique sense of place, time and character; the most endearing characters of all may be the typewriters who find their way into every story. Tom Hanks' vast perspective and experience is relayed with wit and warmth, leaving one craving an audio book with the clacking of typewriters in the background. He manages to capture what t

    Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC.

    Overly sentimental review ahead.

    This short story collection is warm, surprising and engaging. Each story envelops the reader with its own unique sense of place, time and character; the most endearing characters of all may be the typewriters who find their way into every story. Tom Hanks' vast perspective and experience is relayed with wit and warmth, leaving one craving an audio book with the clacking of typewriters in the background. He manages to capture what the American dream means for a recently arrived immigrant, a veteran, a newspaper reporter, and so many more. My favorites included the Hank Fiset columns, "These Are the Meditations of My Heart" and "Stay With Us."

  • Amalia Gavea

    I'm not a Hollywood fan, nor I enjoy wa

    I'm not a Hollywood fan, nor I enjoy watching films all that often. My tastes lean more on British and European Cinema. I don't read actors' biographies or books written by celebrities. However, in the case of "Uncommon Type", it's Tom Hanks we're talking about. I can't think of another actor who makes you feel as if you actually know him, as if every role of his is performed for each and every member of the audience. He is widely loved in Greece, he is widely loved everywhere and quite a few of his films are considered classics of the 7th Art. This collection of short stories is written in a simple, eloquent, flowing writing style. Humane, immediate, confessional. It is a brilliant token of the distinguished American writing, it is the voice of Tom Hanks, the Everyman, and if you don't like it, well....you need Jesus in your life.

    In 17 stories, Tom Hanks creates characters out of life. The inspiration seems to be the types of New York (mainly) residents, even some of the roles he has performed in his astonishing career. Each story is embellished with the photo of a typewriter that plays a characteristic part in many of the stories. The importance and joy of writing is everywhere, the need to communicate feelings and thoughts first to ourselves and to the people around us. His themes are universal and relevant to our daily lives. Love, companionship, the errs and joys of the past, self - dignity, immigration, togetherness and a deep, acute feeling of nostalgia. A journey through the USA, with the metropolis of New York ever present, in one way or another.

    So, without further ado, the 17 stories are:

    : Two best friends decide to become an item, but they seem to be highly incompatible. Poor guy starts feeling as if he has signed for the Olympics preparations or the NASA training. Anna is one of the most authoritative people to ever grace a book and this story is hilarious and nostalgic at the same time.

    A beautiful Christmas story that takes us back to 1953 and to 1944, the D-Day, its aftermath and the wounds, physical and psychological that are inflicted upon those who survived the inferno in the shores of Normandy.

    :A story about a rising Hollywood star and the ordeals coming from exhausting press junkets and over-demanding studios. Paris, during the night, provides the beautiful setting.

    : A glimpse into the conflict between the printed version of a newspaper and the coldness of reading your newspaper on a digital device.

    A sad tale of the bonding between a father and a son, a story full of the sun, the sea and surfing.

    : A story set in the sleepy suburbs, during the dog days of August. A divorced mother of two starts a new life in a welcoming, peaceful neighborhood. This is a text filled with the laughter of children, the soothing early evening atmosphere, and a certain kind of hope for starting anew.

    We revisit our unique couple of "Three Exhausting Weeks" in a story that brings "Apollo 13" to mind.

    : A celebration of New York in the form of an account from our grumpy (but sweet) journalist with a tiny bit of nostalgia for a more innocent era.

    The Big Apple is the city where dreams are supposed to come true. However, young Sue from Arizona, an aspiring actress who can act and sing and dance finds her dreams crushed all too soon. Until, a sudden appearance proves that possibly, dreams can still become reality...A beautiful story of youth and aspirations set in 1978.

    The story of a boy who loves typewriters and airplanes, living a difficult life after the divorce of his parents. I confess that the end gave me chills...

    A story of impeccable writing and immense beauty that reminded me -once again - how much I love typewriters.

    Our favourite reporter takes a trip down memory lane escorted by his trusted typewriter.

    This story was a true surprise. A combination of Historical Fiction and Sci-fi where a scientist travels back to the 1939 for the sake of a woman. An impressive look into a potential future and a tale that shows how closely linked the past and the present actually are.

    This story is written in the form of a film script and therefore, it really flows. Departing from Las Vegas, a wealthy, kind hearted businessman and his personal assistant find themselves in the middle of nowhere and change the lives of the residents, while finding a new meaning in their own. This is a story full of happiness, camaraderie and trust.

    In this story, Mr. Hanks celebrates diversity, multiculturalism and companionship, without whitewashing the problems and the fears faced by the immigrants. His love for Greece is more than well-known, and here we find Greeks, Cypriots, Bulgarians. Set in the heart of the era of immigration to New York, this story is a hymn to the abilities and persistence of hardworking people who desire a better life, without forgetting their principles and without resorting to shady means. A tale that shows that people may come from different backgrounds (economical, educational, ethnic), but these factors mean very little when we are faced with adversities. In the end, it is the heart that matters. A story that couldn't be more relevant to the chaos and conflicts of our times.

    The grumpy reporter gives the spotlight to Esperanza who reminds us that there is actually life without a smartphone, Facebook and the like.

    The last word belongs to the insane gang of the beginning and to bowling. Hilarious and nostalgic.

    This is a collection to be cherished and kept as a good friend to whom we may return when in doubt and in need of a comfort. Not because the writer is named Tom Hanks and heralded as one of the finest actors to ever grace our screens. This is a book of simple, unpretentious beauty. 17 stories of people who could be our neighbours, our friends, our lovers, our parents, written in the immediacy and clarity that characterizes the majority of American Literature, a trustworthy volume like a trustworthy Royal typewriter. Let it carry you away....

    Many thanks to Penguin Random House, Tom Hanks and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    My reviews can also be found on

  • Linda Quinn

    This is a wonderful collection of short stories. Some are whimsical, some nostalgic, some have more depth but they are all one thing, smart. I would be angry at the amount of Tom Hank's talent if he didn't seem like such a nice guy. Even if you don't care for short stories, pick this book up and savor it.

  • Elyse

    Audiobook.....narrated by none other than Tom Hanks himself.

    I was looking forward to Tom Hanks debut unveiling for months....having pre-paid for the audiobook the ‘second’ I learned Tom Hanks was reading HIS STORIES.

    I was especially excited to ‘listen’ to Skyline High School celebrity classmate render imagery, illuminate and spotlight juicy details with a wide range of textures - feelings and thoughts. I wanted him to dramatize - flaunt - personify - exemplify all of his greatness.....and for m

    Audiobook.....narrated by none other than Tom Hanks himself.

    I was looking forward to Tom Hanks debut unveiling for months....having pre-paid for the audiobook the ‘second’ I learned Tom Hanks was reading HIS STORIES.

    I was especially excited to ‘listen’ to Skyline High School celebrity classmate render imagery, illuminate and spotlight juicy details with a wide range of textures - feelings and thoughts. I wanted him to dramatize - flaunt - personify - exemplify all of his greatness.....and for me: he did!

    I’m not sure I would recommend racing to hear story-after-story-after-story - as I did —a hungry glutton. It’s 10 hours long. I finished it in 2 days....a two day Tom Hank intensive audiothon. I didn’t think I would tire of listening to Tommy Hanks....

    but I admit.... I did need a few breaks.

    What stands out the most for me is HOW CREATIVE and BRILLIANT is mind is.

    I’ve already shared this a few time: A few of the stories I ABSOLUTELY LOVED!.....

    and even the few I wasn’t as crazy about - they were often the stories I most admired.

    Hanks utilizes language - plots - characterization- emotions - gadgets - landmarks- history - foods - nature- entertainment- relationships- family - friends - and the vintage typewriter to enhance - enrich his stories.

    *17* stories is an ambitious undertaking for his first collection-of-fiction. Tom Hanks is as well-qualified to show his writing skills to the world as any other seasoned author.......

    .....actor, screen writer, director, producer, Hanks has written before. His writings have appeared in ‘The New York Times’, ‘Vanity Fair’, and ‘The New Yorker’.

    So - he’s not that much of a newbie to the craft.

    I was laughing hysterically in one of the stories where Anna - LITTLE Ms.BOSSY in

    “Three Exhausting Weeks” .....keeps her lazy-loafer-boyfriend -running ( literally), doing yoga, stretching, drinking almond milk ( doesn’t he realize milk can kill him), cleaning her yard, painting walls in her apartment, taking scuba diving lessons, - being his jump-to-it-errand boy ... all for the pleasure of good sex.... ( no naps however) —6am sharp: time to GET TO WORK! This story is soooooo funny and soooo exhausting! Classic FUNNY!!!

    “Welcome to Mars”..... is a different type of story altogether about a surfer who was celebrating his 19th B’day at his favorite beach with his dad.....

    It’s a heartbreaking story and left a lasting impression with me.

    “Christmas Eve” .... is a sad story about a World War II veteran....Santa Claus - children - even the tooth fairy....also a lasting gut wrenching story.

    “Our Town” is FUN.... ( back to laughing again).... in New York City..... Great characters.

    17 stories in all..... that include families, neighbors, community gatherings, men and women dialogues, starwar curtains, A flea market outing in Alameda, dating wars, dinner in the old spaghetti factory, A woodpecker, flip flops, kids dog piling on their father, ex-boyfriend and ex-husband, margaritas, telescopes, space program stories, a PLASTIC typewriter,.....ha: many typewriter stories, chili dogs, kennel corn,

    tunafish sandwich without lettuce, bowling, a Broadway actress, yummy popsicles......

    all inspired by punching the typewriter keys: a tribute to THE TYPEWRITER.

    I’ve heard the mixed reviews already. A full range of ratings are coming out.

    It was a smiling-joy for me....

    Tom Hanks got a great start at our old Skykine High School —� he is not talented, kind, lovable, but a VERY SMART COOKIE!

    I’m satisfied......and will indulge listening to Tommy again!

  • ☮Karen

    When my husband picked this up from the library for me, he expressed skepticism that Tom Hanks could write; and I said that if Steve Martin can do it, so can Tom.

    The first story was clever, about a guy and girl, friends who decide to become more than friends. Their three week whirlwind relationship was very funny. Wishing my initial instincts had proven true, I told my husband, "This guy can write!"

    But from that point on, I couldn't find another story that I felt like finishing. I skimmed them

    When my husband picked this up from the library for me, he expressed skepticism that Tom Hanks could write; and I said that if Steve Martin can do it, so can Tom.

    The first story was clever, about a guy and girl, friends who decide to become more than friends. Their three week whirlwind relationship was very funny. Wishing my initial instincts had proven true, I told my husband, "This guy can write!"

    But from that point on, I couldn't find another story that I felt like finishing. I skimmed them up to page 200, the halfway point, and decided to call it quits. It's not that he can't write, he can. But the subjects he chose to pursue just did not interest me. Some reminded me of his films. I think if you count Hanks' films among your all-time favorites, you will probably like this book.

  • Truman32

    Thomas Jeffery Hanks it seems can do just about anything. He has won so many awards for his acting that he uses Golden Globe statues to tenderize the chicken breasts for his world famous, and yet nutritiously responsible Chicken Cordon Hanks dish. The hit at many Spielberg potlucks. He produces, writes, and directs films. He is always very funny and his David S. Pumpkins character is recognized internationally for it’s technical genius and it’s subtle and clever insights into the human condition

    Thomas Jeffery Hanks it seems can do just about anything. He has won so many awards for his acting that he uses Golden Globe statues to tenderize the chicken breasts for his world famous, and yet nutritiously responsible Chicken Cordon Hanks dish. The hit at many Spielberg potlucks. He produces, writes, and directs films. He is always very funny and his David S. Pumpkins character is recognized internationally for it’s technical genius and it’s subtle and clever insights into the human condition. Hanks is also politically active, he creates apps for your iPhone, and has been known to create low fat and low calorie recipes (that still has your family demanding second helpings) for Cooking Light magazine in his down time.

    But that down time might just be getting a little shorter. With

    , Mr. Hanks has whipped his raincoat open, hollered out a brazen,

    and exposed himself with no shame as one fantastic writer. One no doubt to be reckoned with.

    The stories are all marvelous. Some are funny; there are three that involve the same group of friends ("Three Exhausting Weeks", "Alan Bean Plus Four", and "Steve Wong is Perfect") that would make even the crankiest curmudgeon give those neighborhood kids a break, allow them to recover the baseball that landed onto his yard without threatening their lives with his cane, and crack a smile. Other stories such as "Christmas Eve 1953" or my favorite, the immigrant tale "Go See Costas" will stick with you like for many many days after consuming. In this way, it is similar to my Aunt Gertrude’s meatloaf, but with way less burning sensations in the bowels, violent breaking of wind, and hallucinations. All 17 stories in this collection are thoughtful, smart, and absorbing.

    Yes, it would be easy to hate Hanks. The guy is so flawless. He is talented and it seems he really can do it all. He’s the Tom Brady of Hollywood. However, put aside those hurtful negative feelings, grab a copy of

    and jump on the Hanks Train! This is a great collection of tales and a fun read!

  • Lori

    A collection of pleasant, though unremarkable, stories - all tethered to one another by typewriters. I believe most of them were written while Tom was out and about travelling for work, which would account for the vast array of locations and settings. Among my favorites were the stories that featured Anna (atta-baaaaby) and Steve Wong. At least, they were the most memorable for me.

    But who am I kidding. For the past two weeks, I got to listen to Tom Hanks read to me on my commute to and from wor

    A collection of pleasant, though unremarkable, stories - all tethered to one another by typewriters. I believe most of them were written while Tom was out and about travelling for work, which would account for the vast array of locations and settings. Among my favorites were the stories that featured Anna (atta-baaaaby) and Steve Wong. At least, they were the most memorable for me.

    But who am I kidding. For the past two weeks, I got to listen to Tom Hanks read to me on my commute to and from work. That was pretty fricken awesome!

  • Bookdragon Sean

    Tom Hanks clearly loves typewriters. He wrote this up on one, which is really quite cool if you think about it. He made me want to get one just for the sake of it, which, for me, demonstrates a large part of the effectiveness of his writing:

    The best story in here

    Tom Hanks clearly loves typewriters. He wrote this up on one, which is really quite cool if you think about it. He made me want to get one just for the sake of it, which, for me, demonstrates a large part of the effectiveness of his writing:

    The best story in here was “These are the Meditations of my Heart,” which is where this quote came from. It’s a brief story about a woman who falls in love with typewriters and what they can bring to someone’s life. As such Hanks recognises the power of words throughout along with the power of literature and the power of communication. I feel like this was the strongest element of his writing. Typewriters are used through many of the stories and they are deeply emblematic of what words can achieve. Sometimes they just do what spoken language can never do and for the woman in “These are the Meditations of my Heart” they have the power of salvation and refuge.

    As a recurring trope this is narrative gold; it really did help to make the stories feel like a collection rather than a load of random bits shoved together, which many writers fail miserably to do. However, I did have a few issues with the book. I just don’t think Hanks can create male characters very well. The women he writes about are all complex individuals, often dealing with some repressed history and using every ounce of energy they have to get on with their lives. They almost all seem to be going through some sense of internal crises with a big smile on their faces.

    There’s much more beneath the outward appearance of the women. They are well-rounded and I do feel like they have lived a troubled life. The men, on the other hand, are plain and ridiculously straight forward. They all felt flat and simple. I feel like they walked on the page the moment I read them, having not experienced life until the moment of that story. It might be that Hanks just preferred to write about women and chose to give the men the backseat in their passivity here. For me though it felt unbalanced and a little careless, especially from a collection that appeared to be striving towards a presentation of the realities of life.

    There is no denying the fact that Hanks can write, and he can write rather well, though I think he needs a touch more imagination when devising his plots. Many of them felt rather ordinary and a little bland, flavourless is the word I am thinking of. He also needs a little bit more forcefulness when delivering his endings. Although this is a collection of short-stories, and they do go very well together, I think the characters needed a bit more of a distinguishable voice. Without the type-writers, this would have all fallen apart.

    Overall though, there are some entertaining stories in here (some less so) though I think Hanks’ inexperience as a writer often diminishes them. I feel that many could have been a lot better than they were. If anything, Hanks shows us the potential he has to be excellent over time. And I give him my whole-hearted respect for this venture. His name will sell the book alone; however, his skills just need a little bit of sharpening to get him to the next level.

  • Mohammed Arabey
  • Roxane

    These stories are aggressively competent and aggressively bland. There is a very old fashioned feel to them as if the author yearns for simpler times. The present day stories make sure to note things like iPhones and podcasts as if to remind us that he knows technology exists. The stories also portray a pleasant, multiethnic world where everything has gone the way of Benetton ads and all is well among all of us. But the stories have no teeth. They aren’t memorable. They are aggressively competen

    These stories are aggressively competent and aggressively bland. There is a very old fashioned feel to them as if the author yearns for simpler times. The present day stories make sure to note things like iPhones and podcasts as if to remind us that he knows technology exists. The stories also portray a pleasant, multiethnic world where everything has gone the way of Benetton ads and all is well among all of us. But the stories have no teeth. They aren’t memorable. They are aggressively competent but they aren’t necessarily good and they certainly aren’t bad. They just are. Alas.

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