Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

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These are well-written, good stories, with likable, real characters and some excellent dialogue. But what else would you expect from Tom Hanks?  There is nothing nasty or bitter here, it is instead a charming view of an America that in these brash self-centered Trumpian times, we might have forgotten existed. Hanks’ America is one of opportunity for immigrants, women and non-whites. There is time travel (to 1939), travel to the moon and a return to small town America, and all in the balanced voice of Hanks. If there is a criticism it’s that everything is a little too nice, a little too much like a Hanks film — well done but menace-free and lacking in much depth. But, over all, good stuff.

No. 1 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2020.

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Patrick Sherriff, an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at his conversation school in Abiko, Japan, with his wife, he writes and illustrates textbooks for non-native speakers of English, releases Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good fiction published in English about Japan. Saku’s Random Book Club is his latest project to spend more time with books.