Another Life

Korda, Michael. Another Life: a Memoir of Other People. New York: Random House, 1999.

Reason read: January is a selfish month so I’m reading a memoir…even though this is one about other people. Supposedly.

Michael Korda, through his position at Simon and Schuster, was able to come in contact with loads of notable and eventually, famous people. The cover of Another Life boasts of those notables: Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Larry McMurtry…the list goes on and on. But, fear not. Korda does the sensible thing and starts from the beginning, explaining his own rise in the world of publishing to editor in chief. The backbone of Another Life is the publishing industry itself; delving into the strange and often fickle elements that determine a bestselling author.

As an aside, before the age of the internet and Google the private lives of writers were not as well known. Their deep dark secrets could be kept as closeted as they wanted, as long as they behaved themselves. The over-the-top personality of Jacqueline Susann was not in the forefront of my mind when her bestseller, Valley of the Dolls was all the rage. Now I want to reread Susann knowing what I know now. In fact, it would be interesting to go back and read the books of everyone Korda has dished about in Another Life.

On a personal note, Korda mentions Dark Harbor, Maine. For those of you wondering, it is actually on Islesboro and closer to West Penobscot Bay…and nowhere near Monhegan.

Quotes I liked, “He seemed to be under the mistaken impression, thanks to Morris Helprin I felt sure, that I was a person of scholarly nature, prodigious learning, and refined taste” (p 31) and”It takes a lot of time and shared experiences to make a friendship permanent, to harden it…” (p 167). Very true.

Author fact: At the time of publication, Michael Korda was still editor in chief at Simon & Schuster.

Book trivia: the only thing missing from this dishy drama are photographs of all the celebs!

Nancy said: Nancy calls Korda’s style, “wonderfully affectionate” (p 152).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the very straightforward chapter simply called “Memoirs” (p 152).



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