When Tom Hanks spoke at the Portland Book Fest last November he was exactly the guy you expected and hoped to see. A regular Joe without pretense who still seems surprised by his popularity and appeal. What a rarity in the high profile Hollywood machine and in the literary world as well. Especially enjoyable were his down to earth, humble responses to the high brow NYT interviewer who was no doubt trying to impress with her vocabulary. It didn’t fly with Tom. In discussing his bestseller, Uncommon Type, he credited Nora Ephron for being the first to tell him he was a story teller and encouraging him to take up the pen. Or in this case, the typewriter. Ah, yes, the typewriter. An avid collector of antique and vintage typewriters, Hanks shared how he came up with the idea to weave them into his tales. So, each of the 17 fiction stories includes a typewriter. Some play a very integral part of the plot while others may get no more than a spot on the closet shelf. The fun part is to see where and how each will show up. Readers love the gentleness and intelligence that comes through in the writing. Romance, intrigue, nostalgia, futuristic experiments … something for everyone and at just the right dose. It’s a perfect book to pack in your suitcase and it’s easy to pick up for a quick escape read at home. It doesn’t pretend to be a great piece of literature. Uncommon Type succeeds at being a dependable, entertaining treat on all levels. Much like its author. Thanks, Tom!