Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Up in the Old Hotel

"A bossy, yellow-haired blonde named Mazie P. Gordon is a celebrity on the Bowery. In the nickel-a-drink saloons and in the all night restaurants which specialize in pig snouts and cabbage at a dime a platter, she is known by her first name."

Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell.

Mitchell's portrait of Mazie -- who owned a low-rent movie theater and ran the ticket window day in and day out for decades -- is one of many absorbing stories about the colorful characters he studied while working as a reporter for the New Yorker from the 1930s through the 1960s.

My friend Bob from the fabulous Art Scatter blog left this comment about Mitchell and this wonderful book:
This book is just great, great personal journalism, and it brings back the flavor of a New York that will never be again. Mitchell was a staff writer for The New Yorker who spent the last 20 years or so of his life going to the office faithfully every day -- the routine became a legend at the magazine -- but, after an extraordinarily prolific career, never wrote another word. He'd simply written himself out.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.


  1. I like the style of his writing-it fits the scene/teaser so well. Love it!


  2. It sounds like a fun book to read. I hope you are enjoying it.

  3. Deb -- His style completely sucks me in. He captures his subjects so vividly, it is like being in the room with them.

    Ann -- I was daunted by its 700+ pages, but I enjoy it so much that it is speeding past.

  4. That sounds terrific. I love those kind of portraits of intriguing individuals.

    I'm also thinking to copy the way you introduce the rules of Teaser Tuesday. The intro is becoming unwieldy to me. I'll have to think about that, though.

    In the meantime, my teaser is here.

  5. I've been passing up this book for over 25 years now. How absurd can I be?

  6. Definitely one to add to my list. I love books like this.

  7. The reader's standing in ambiance here from word one.

  8. LKT -- It is terrific! And thanks for leaving your teaser link. I prefer the link to the main event page, so go ahead and cut and paste if you want it. But I don't want to drag you down to my scofflaw level. :)

    Bybee -- I understand completely! There are always books that we keep putting off. I'm just glad I finally cracked this one open.

    Vivienne -- Definitely worth adding to any wishlist. It is totally entertaining, and it feels like the original source for so many fictional characters.

    pussreboots -- It's great. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your link.

    SS -- Well put! "Standing in ambiance" is exactly right.


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