stopped at the stoplight,
“Hello Goodbye Hello” is as much a collection of short-stories (of real meetings between famous folks) as it is an experiment in formatting. The author, Craig Brown, tells 101 tales of encounters between the famous, the infamous, and others. Each story is exactly 1001 words, and daisy-chains from one story to the next (for example, Ernest Hemingway meets Ford Madox Ford, then Ford Madox Ford meets Oscar Wilde, then Oscar Wilde meets Marcel Proust – you get the idea).
Honestly, I was so-so about this book. It was interesting, some of the stories; others, I didn’t know who either of the participants were. The saving grace was that it >is< an easy read. At only 3-ish pages per story, there’s not much commitment to any narrative. So, for me, it was a pretty perfect bedtime book…read two, maybe three stories, and move on to another book for a chapter, come back to HGB the next night, and putter on along.
I’ve been real slow in finishing books lately, but am churning along, reading 2-4 books at the same time, and tons of comicbooks, too. So, I guess that might be slow me down a bit. I guess I like to keep a lot of “literary balls in the air” at the same time.
I finished my second Dale Carnegie book last week – “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” The first book of his I read, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” was actually the second book he wrote, while “How To Win…” was his first book. One of the reasons I find Carnegie’s writing so interesting is in trying to imagine how his books fit in his milieu, when he was writing. “How To Win…” was written in 1936…while the US was still working its way out of the Depression. “How To Stop Worrying…” was written in 1948…not long after the end of World War II.
His writing is suffused with an endless stream of optimism, a “can do” attitude, and a “if you just give it your best shot” approach to success. I can see how his books would have had an appeal at the time of publishing. Heck, I can see why they are still read. For me, I enjoy his suggestions as much as I enjoy his “okey-dokey” approach to things. Chapters are titled like “How to Make People Like You Instantly”, “The High Road to a Man’s Reason”, “How to Dig Your Marital Grave in the Quickest Possible Way” and “Give the Dog a Good Name”.
Dale’s writing is easy to read and he makes his points clear with a simple style of writing and lots of examples. I love his examples because they usually begin something like this, “I recently received a letter from Gerald Turnkey, an executive at an air-conditioning firm in West Greenlake, New Jersey. Gerald was having some hard times with his salesmen…”. I enjoy these anecdotes he shares and their specificity. .
So much of the wisdom in Dale’s books are pretty common sense, but as is so often the case “common sense ain’t that common”, and so we can all benefit from a reminder or two!
looking east to west,
the variety of clouds
made me deeply sigh
as the miles passed by,
I became less distracted
by my exertion