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Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself: 07/17/08

Last month I read and enjoyed Never Have Your Dog Stuffed (2006), Alan Alda's first memoir. I eagerly dove into his second book, Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself. Unfortunately it didn't hold my attention as much as the first.

Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself starts with Alda contemplating his life after nearly dying from a bowel obstruction. So it begins promisingly as a sequel to the first book. Rather than following on the path of how he has continued to live his life, the book becomes a collection of speeches he has given and the reasons behind them. I suppose that's where the "talking to myself" part of the title comes into play.

As his speech giving is part of his public life, he also tries to discuss his role as a public figure and how disconcerting public perceptions versus his own internalized self are.

Had the book been more focused on the stories behind the speeches and less on the speeches themselves, Things I Overheard... would have been just as enjoyable as Never Have Your Dog Stuffed. Instead, the speeches, break up the natural flow of the memoir. The speeches, are by their very nature, very formal and very crafted. They lack the warmth and spontaneity of the first memoir. They are also typeset in a heavy calligraphic script that is hard on the eyes in long blocks of text.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Friday, July, 18, 2008 at 17:40:10

SmallWorld Reads says:

I have this on my TBR list. I won't be in a hurry to read it, but I might add his first one, too!

Comment #2: Friday, July, 18, 2008 at 20:52:25


It's not a bad book; it's just not as engaging as the first one.

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