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But what do the critics say…..?


Because nothing in art really happens until critics weigh in on it, I share with you this canonical list of reviews of “Paul Newman: A Life,” ranked, as one would rank them, from kindest to least kind.

As someone who plies the critical trade, I shan’t comment further. But I can tell you this: I see what my brothers and sisters in critique have done here, all of ’em.

“Book details Paul Newman’s charmed, and charming, ‘Life'” — USA Today, May 5

On Bookshelves: “Paul Newman: A Life” — Movieline, May 5

“‘Paul Newman,’ in Shawn Levy’s new biography, gets a rich, readable, respectful treatment” — Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 3

“Shawn Levy: ‘Paul Newman: A Life'” — Willamette Week, May 6

Publisher’s Weekly, March 30 (you need to scroll down a bit for it)

“Inside Track On Newman’s ‘Life'” — Hartford Courant, May 3

“Cool Hand Paul” — Chicago Sun-Times, May 3″

ALSO: A q-and-a interview which Ray Pride of Movie City News conducted with me via e-mail — May 6. (Here’s an altered and expanded version of this from the Chicago New City alt weekly.

ALSO: The Daily Mail of London has run four heavily edited (and, frankly, salaciously packaged and clumsily headlined) excerpts from the book. They are here: May 2, May 4, May 5, May 6. (I can’t really recommend these as good reads — if I’d wanted to rearrange my sentences the way these folks have, I’d’ve done so in the book — but they do offer fascinatingly strange examples of the way the tabloids and the English journalistic sensibility operate.)

Newman Newsiness

“Paul Newman: A Life”
drops, as the cool kidz say, on Tuesday, May 5, and I’m going to gather up little bits of this and that from around the web. Up until now it’s been gossip leaks and little previews like my appearance at Cinema 21 to introduce “Hud” last weekend. But this first week of proper publication is going to be fairly busy.

First, here’s a pirated video of my appearance on “Inside Edition” which I’d neglected to post previously.

On Tuesday morning, publication day, I’ll be appearing on “AM Northwest” on Portland’s KATU (I can’t tivo because DISH Network and KATU are involved in some sort of financial blinking contest). That evening, I’ll appear on KGW’s nifty “Live @ 7.”

On Wednesday during the day, I’ll be on WMJI’s “Lanigan & Malone” program in Cleveland (NOTE: This one actually happened Tuesday), then on KPOJ’s morning show here in Portland, and then on WDWS’s “Gary O’Brien & Friends” in Champaign, IL.

On Wednesday night, I’ll be presenting the book at Powell’s City of Books in downtown Portland and then repairing to the nearby Blitz Bar to enjoy a malted beverage and the company of friends. If you’re reading this, you’re invited.

Finally, for this week, on Thursday I’ll be on the radio with Maurice Boland, who broadcasts throughout Europe from Mallora, the lucky so-and-so.

I’ll post reviews — even the unflattering ones — as they appear.

Newman Time

pnal-hb1Nearly four years after I first had the idea to write it, my latest book, “Paul Newman:  A Life,” is entering the publishing phase.  In this case, this means watching tabloid media grab the tiniest bits of scandal in the book and declare my sober, nerdy, reverential book an “explosive,” “edgy” “tell-all.”  (To be called a sensationalist by Page Six and Inside Edition is an astounding experience, let me tell you.)

Anyway, here’s a blog entry from Mad About Movies discussing the bizarre tabloidization of the book, and here’s a Publisher’s Weekly review by someone who actually read it and isn’t trying to sell papers or commercial time by distorting its content (it’s about halfway down the page), and, finally, a story from Aaron Mesh at Willamette Week, who also read the book and chatted with me about this madness the other night.

More insanity to come, I’m sure.

LATE ADD:  Phil Nugent, a flim critic and blogger whom I don’t know from Adam, has written about the tabloidization of the book — for which I thank him.

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