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Book Tour: Tom Hanks’ ‘Uncommon Type: Some Stories’

Uncommon Type CoverTom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks, Sleepless in Seattle) visited the Warner Theatre recently for an interview with Ann Patchett, the owner of Parnassus books and writer. Politics and Prose Bookstore hosted the book tour event in Washington, D.C. The celebrated actor released his book Uncommon Type: Some Stories, his collection of short stories that creatively feature a typewriter in some capacity.

These machines of another era comprise a supporting character in Uncommon Type. The plot device is an easy go-to for Hanks, who owns a large collection of vintage typewriters. As a clever touch, typewriter keys appear prominently on the cover, as if declaring their aspirations to stay relevant with number sign or hashtag key.

Hanks credits the late filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron with helping him find his voice. “She turned me into someone who understood that you’re never quite done writing,” he told Patchett.

Another interview topic was nostalgia for the past, which Hanks identifies as “dangerous.” He cautions that books highlighting the past should “somehow be a comment on today.”

“If you are disgusted with the present, read history,” he remarked. “…At the time people were living in history, they were disgusted with the present.”

Hanks also discussed his World War II film, Saving Private Ryan. He describes the filming as “a constant search for the authentic details … it altered all our consciousness to a degree.”

Roles models and caretakers in his life described their lives in “3 distinctive acts” such as before, during and after the War. Additionally, he sought to understand what they had gone through. The War was “like the kraken that came out of the sea and wreaked havoc on their lives,” he said.

What’s Next for Tom Hanks?

As for writing another book, Hanks didn’t confirm that in his plans. However, there’s a lot to keep the Oscar winner busy. One pursuit is donating typewriters – “I don’t want to burden my children when I’m dead,” joking about his collection.

Staying in the realm of typewriters, he is promoting an app called Hanx Writer, which lets users have a typewriter screen on their iPads and iPhones. Early next year, Hanks fans can look forward to seeing him in Steven Spielberg’s The Post.

About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros earned a B.A. in Art History on a full scholarship at the University of Virginia. Pat is a frequent reviewer of all things Washington, D.C., but she's also covered events in Canada and London. Highlights in her work include articles on Simon Callow, Ian McKellen, and Mark Rylance. Pat particularly enjoyed interviewing Lawrence Gowan of Styx, Ndaba Mandela, and Sir Derek Jacobi & Richard Clifford.

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