For about as long as I can remember, my heroes have always been writers, and any kind of a look at a writer’s personal life has been a voyeuristic pleasure of mine. This book does everything just about perfectly…it touches on a number of different writers and offers a nicely capsulated look at some of the most intense moments in their private lives. By being brief, it makes the reading move along smoothly, never getting boring. And yet we never feel cheated, as though we didn’t get enough of the story and at the same time, we can take it on to read more if we’d like (authors Schmidt ad Rendon include a fantastic bibliography).
Despite the sub-title (“The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads”) not all literary relationships end with heartbreak or feuds, and that, too is part of the charm of this book…we don’t really know who comes out on top (so to speak) until we get through this.
I’m not convinced that writers are any more (or any less) inclined to scandalous living (affairs, broken marriages, unrequited love, homosexual affairs, etc) than any other group of people, but, with the exception of Hollywood stars and starlets, writers perhaps garner more attention than most. And unlike those Hollywood personnas, writers tend to be a bit better at wearing their hearts’ on their sleeves (or at least declaring their passions in writing).
And because we look at twenty-five different writers (with nice sidebars to touch on even more literary figures!) there is almost certainly some author to appeal to every reader. I wasn’t shocked by anything here … I think I’d heard/read rumor to most of this (and every writer was familiar to me) … but Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon clearly did their research on all of this and were masterful at condesning and relating the stories.
Looking for a good book? This is an all-around voyeuristic treasure.
* * * * * *
Writers Between the Covers: The Scandalous Romantic Lives of Legendary Literary Casanovas, Coquettes, and Cads
authors: Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon
paperback, 256 pages