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review 2016-01-22 21:40
Suddenly I'm obsessed with journalism and I blame James Spader
My Ears Are Bent - Sheila McGrath,Dan Frank,Joseph Mitchell

Remember when I read The 40s which was a collection of articles from The New Yorker? Remember how I talked about how this book came into my life because I read an article on the NYPL website that James Spader was currently reading it? Well, from that spawned an untapped obsession with journalism. To get my fix, I turned to My Ears Are Bent by Joseph Mitchell who was a longtime writer for the esteemed literary institution mentioned above. However, this collection of articles is from his time before when he wrote for The World-Telegram and The Herald Tribune. It's split into categories with such titles as Sports Section (self-explanatory), Drunks (all about the culture of speakeasies and saloons), Cheese-Cake (not what you'd think and maybe my favorite section), Come to Jesus (religion in NYC), and more. This is the kind of book that makes you want to go out and grab history books of this time period (1930-40s) so you can give more context to the snippets that Mitchell gifts the reader. I made notes on a few key people (Sally Rand, William Steig, and Joe Louis to name a few) so that I could look at their pictures. If you enjoy nonfiction, history, and New York in the 1930s then this is the book for you. Now excuse me, I've got a scoop that I need to explore.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2015-08-13 00:00
Up in the Old Hotel
Up in the Old Hotel - Joseph Mitchell Introduction, by William Fiennes
Author's Note

McSorley's Wonderful Saloon

--The Old House at Home
--Hit on the Head with a Cow
--Professor Sea Gull
--A Spism and a Spasm
--Lady Olga
--Evening with a Gifted Child
--A Sporting Man
--The Cave Dwellers
--King of the Gypsies
--The Gypsy Women
--The Deaf-Mutes Club
--Santa Claus Smith
--The Don't-Swear Man
--Obituary of a Gin Mill
--Houdini's Picnic
--The Mohawks in High Steel
--All You Can Hold for Five Bucks
--A Mess of Clams
--The Same as Monkey Glands

--Goodbye, Shirley Temple
--On the Wagon
--The Kind Old Blonde
--I Couldn't Dope It Out

--The Downfall of Fascism in Black Ankle County
--I Blame It All on Mamma
--Uncle Dockery and the Independent Bull

Old Mr Flood

--Old Mr Flood
--The Black Clams
--Mr Flood's Party

The Bottom of the Harbor

--Up in the Old Hotel
--The Bottom of the Harbor
--The Rats on the Waterfront
--Mr Hunter's Grave
--Dragger Captain
--The Riverman

--Joe Gould's Secret
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review 2014-01-28 11:13
"McSorley's Wonderful Saloon" by Joseph Mitchell
Up in the Old Hotel - Joseph Mitchell

Up in the Old Hotel is the complete collection of Joseph Mitchell's New Yorker journalism and includes McSorley's Wonderful SaloonOld Mr. Flood, The Bottom of the Harbour and Joe Gould's Secret

I had to return Up in the Old Hotel to the library before completing the other books, so - for now - can only review McSorley's Wonderful Saloon

Each of the articles by Joseph Mitchell contained in this book is wonderful: beautifully written, and chronicling the mavericks, the marginal, the unusual and the idiosyncratic from the New York City of the 1930s and 1940s. 

Each story lovingly brings to life some extraordinary characters. I will never forget Joe Gould, aka Professor Sea Gull, who was writing "The Oral History" that was already 11 times the length of the Bible; or Lady Olga the bearded lady who had appeared in "Freaks"; or Commodore Dutch; or the King of the Gypsies; or Mazie P. Gordon who presided for 21 years over the ticket cage of the Venice Theatre. Really, this stuff is solid gold. 

Next time I visit New York I shall visit as many of the places detailed in this book as I can, if only to gaze wistfully at the spot with the vivid recollections of Joseph Mitchell's wonderful articles to imbue each location with a special and magical significance.

I will be returning to Up in the Old Hotel to read the rest of these wonderful articles - I recommend you do the same.

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review 2011-10-08 00:00
Shard Mountain - Joseph Mitchell Shard Mountain - Joseph Mitchell Every time I pick this up to try to read it, I hear the echo of my boyfriend's mocking laughter and am reminded of his response to this book's title: "Sounds like a pile of shard to me...."....and I put the book down again.
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review 2011-07-30 00:00
McSorley's Wonderful Saloon
McSorley's Wonderful Saloon - Joseph Mitchell,Calvin Trillin I wanted to find a copy of a collection of short stories from the New Yorker about New York. It’s an older book, but it’s not out of print. Nevertheless, I couldn’t find it at any of the bookstores I tried while I was in New York.Instead, a kindly bookseller directed me to this book. It turned out to be exactly the type of book I was seeking. It’s a collection of pieces that Joseph Mitchell wrote about odd New Yorkers he ran across in his work as a journalist during the thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties. It is actually a book within a book, in a recently published collection of out-of-print books by Mitchell, titled Up in the Old Hotel.I was fascinated by a little story that I discovered about Mitchell that I ran across while researching his life further. Mitchell interviewed a down-and-out fellow back in the thirties who claimed to be writing an enormous book, compiled in many volumes, about New York that consisted solely of conversations the fellow had had with people he met. A number of literary figures befriended this fellow over the years. Many years later, in the sixties, after the fellow passed away, Mitchell searched for the volumes of the book and he was dismayed to discover that the book was a figment of the fellow’s mind, that nothing had ever been written. After writing this piece, Mitchell never wrote another word for publication, though he went into work every day for many years.
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