DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jun 24 2011

ShareReads: Talk Show

by Ken M

ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.

A few years ago, I was driving home after visiting a friend, and happened to turn on the radio. I tuned in during a segment in which Dick Cavett was talking with an interviewer about the DVD release of some collections of episodes of the Dick Cavett Show. I didn’t watch his programs when they were on the air (I was too young), but I knew of his work. I was curious to see some of these episodes, and was delighted to find these collections available in the library catalog. Watching these, I became a new fan.

Not too long after that, I found that Mr. Cavett had a blog on the New York Times website. I don’t think it was promoted in the radio interview, and I can’t remember how I stumbled onto it. I followed the blog for several weeks, and then life got busier, as life tends to do, and I fell out of the habit of reading it. Recently, I was very happy to see the publication of Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary and Off-Screen Secrets. This is a compilation of many of those blog entries, with some additional editing and comments from Mr. Cavett. Now I could catch up on what I missed, without the aid of an electronic device, enjoying it in comfy book form.

The book revisits some of his shows, and includes reflections on Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal, Groucho Marx, Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Richard Burton, Bobby Fischer, Janis Joplin, and lots more. Some of the material about these famous folks is not from the shows at all; it comes from the author’s recollections of other conversations and encounters.

It’s not all about showbiz, rock stars and celebrities, however. There are articles on current events (well, current at the time they were written anyway), and topics which affect us all, like coincidence or depression. Laughter mixed with insight and intelligence can be found on most every page. In fact, I laughed at Mr. Cavett’s famous wit right to the very end of the book. Whether one chooses to dip into it an article at a time or read straight through, I hope there’s another reader out there who enjoys Talk Show as I did.

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