Talking With Tom Hanks About His New Book 'Uncommon Type'

 Pat Mitchell and Tom Hanks backstage at the MJCCA book festival. Each story in the Hanks’ book includes a typewriter, a thread that ties the collection together.

Pat Mitchell and Tom Hanks backstage at the MJCCA book festival. Each story in the Hanks’ book includes a typewriter, a thread that ties the collection together.

Tuesday evening, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Tom Hanks about a new book of short stories he’s written, entitled Uncommon Type: Some Stories. The event was held at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta as part of its annual book festival and nearly 1,400 people turned out to listen to Hanks talk about his film career, his love of books and why he decided to become a writer at the age of 62.

“There is no reason to write anything except to scratch an itch that does not go away,” he told me. He said on vacation while reading short stories in the New Yorker, he became inspired and wrote one about kids going to the moon. And The New Yorker printed it. When a publisher approached him and asked him if he could write more, he said, why not?

“There’s a tactile pleasure that comes from holding a book, reading a book, owning a book, sharing a book,” he observed. “As Carl Sagan said, a book is the most magical creation ever made. It’s two dimensional and made of pressed wood and has big black squiggly lines that can enter a mind of a human being just like my book ‘Uncommon Type.’”

I told him I was writing a book myself and invited him to come back to the MJCCA Book Festival next October and interview me! It's doubtful his full and creative life of films, plays, TV series, and now books, will allow that to happen, but I'm typing out the invite right now as a reminder — on my old Royal manual!

You can read more about what Hanks had to say at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

- Pat

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