Friday, January 4, 2008

Sidney Sheldon: A blast from the past

On the nonfiction side of things, in our professional and personal lives we sometimes come across great books to pass on as recommendations. Here's one: The Other Side of Me by Sidney Sheldon.

One of the iconic blockbuster novelists of the 1970s and '80s, Sheldon got around to publishing a fabulous memoir a little while ago. Sidney Sheldon was never pretentious and was the first to admit that he was no Proust. He was just a savvy storyteller with a deep background in show business in the 1950s and '60s to draw on for characters and plots that turned out to have near universal appeal in his heyday. The memoir starts out with a scene in which the young Sidney, growing up in New York City, is in despair over his poverty and lack of prospects as a writer and is seriously contemplating suicide. Right then, his father intervenes:

“Sidney, you told me you wanted to be a writer more than anything in the world.”

He suddenly had my attention. “That was yesterday.”

“What about tomorrow?”

I looked at him, puzzled. “What?”

“You don’t know what can happen tomorrow. Life is like a novel, isn’t it? You have no idea what’s going to happen until you turn the page.”

Thus begins Sheldon’s bracing and breezily told life story of plying the writer’s craft on Broadway, in movies and series television, and, finally, popular literature. I can tell you that virtually every page is entertaining. It’s now available in paperback. Check it out.


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