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Extended Audio Sample Avid Reader: A Life Audiobook, by Robert Gottlieb Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Gottlieb Narrator: Robert Gottlieb Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2016 ISBN: 9781524721725
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A spirited and revealing memoir by the most celebrated editor of his time

After editing The Columbia Review, staging plays at Cambridge, and a stint in the greeting-card department of Macy's, Robert Gottlieb stumbled into a job at Simon and Schuster. By the time he left to run Alfred A. Knopf a dozen years later, he was the editor in chief, having discovered and edited Catch-22 and The American Way of Death, among other bestsellers. At Knopf, Gottlieb edited an astonishing list of authors, including Toni Morrison, John Cheever, Doris Lessing, John le Carré, Michael Crichton, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Graham, Robert Caro, Nora Ephron, and Bill Clinton--not to mention Bruno Bettelheim and Miss Piggy. In Avid Reader, Gottlieb writes with wit and candor about succeeding William Shawn as the editor of The New Yorker, and the challenges and satisfactions of running America's preeminent magazine. Sixty years after joining Simon and Schuster, Gottlieb is still at it--editing, anthologizing, and, to his surprise, writing.

But this account of a life founded upon reading is about more than the arc of a singular career--one that also includes a lifelong involvement with the world of dance. It's about transcendent friendships and collaborations, "elective affinities" and family, psychoanalysis and Bakelite purses, the alchemical relationship between writer and editor, the glory days of publishing, and--always--the sheer exhilaration of work.

Robert Gottlieb photographed by Jill Krementz at his desk in his office at Knopf on September 26, 1972; all rights reserved.
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Quotes & Awards

  • “Remarkable for its intimate and revealing portraits of the most important writers of our time.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “Thick with instruction and soul and gossip of the higher sort.”

    New York Times

  • “Does a fine, fast job of evoking his 1930s and ’40s New York boyhood.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Gottlieb has had a career that could fill several memoirs.”

    Millions (Most Anticipated Preview for Fall 2016)

  • “Robert Gottlieb, legendary editor, graceful writer, and world-class balletomane, can add ‘wonderful narrator’ to his resumé. His warm, slightly sanded voice and cheerful delivery make him an absolutely charming audio companion and the best possible performer of his own memoir, since he knows how all the characters speak, plus exactly what the author meant by each sentence…This is a treasure trove for lovers of literary and performing arts in the American century.”


  • “The feast of names whose literature and/or personalities become skillfully illuminated by Gottlieb is vast and endlessly impressive…For lovers of literature and devotees of the New Yorker, this memoir is likely to prove endlessly captivating.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • "[A] canny, exuberant memoir…Gottlieb’s portraits of the literati are vivid, usually generous, and always clear-eyed…[His] depictions of editing sessions really shine as he describes helping each author sculpt a book into its ideal form, and he conveys the enormous energy and creativity of American publishing.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Washington Post Best Book of 2016
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