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A Curious Career Hardcover – 8 May 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1st edition (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408837196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408837191
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.3 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Barber's recollections of her time as a celebrity interviewer follow the success of An Education, her memoir of her early life. It should be a delight, dripping with gems about her encounters with everyone from Rudolf Nureyev to Lady Gaga ( Sunday Times)

Packed full of incredible stories (Glamour)

The book of the career of the ferocious interviewer: what happens, she says, when a nosy child grows up to find her perfect job (Katy Guest Independent on Sunday)

Praise for Lynn Barber:

'Barber's elegant prose radiates love

(Jane Shilling Daily Telegraph)

Lots of fun ... very moving (Evening Standard)

Funny, bold, incisive, clever and interesting (Independent)

Candid, unsentimental and extremely funny. I read it in one glorious go, laughing and crying throughout (Zoe Heller)

The queen bee of the celebrity interview (Daily Mail)

For a guide [to journalism], there could be no better place to start than with Lynn Barber's second volume of autobiography, A Curious Career (Olivia Cole GQ)

Funny, thoughtful and beautifully written ( Glamour )

Barber's back with a candid and extremely entertaining account of her early career as a celebrity interviewer that's packed with anecdotes illuminating both her own and her interviewees' lives ... I read this in a sitting, unable to stop smiling ( Women & Home )

A riot of a read - funny, irreverent, artlessly frank (Decca Aitkenhead Guardian )

Barber turned the interview into an art form ... Like all the best conjurors, she relies on speed, practice, psychological insight, a powerful imagination and phenomenally acute observation. For nearly half a century she has held up a mirror in which her contemporaries see themselves reflected with a precision and panache most novelists would envy - and most biographers too (Hilary Spurling Guardian )

A terrific read ... Lynn Barber can take an over-interviewed, not-terribly-interesting celebrity and write 5,000 words about them that are so clever, bold and funny you want to read to the very end (Financial Times)

For fans of Lynn Barber, A Curious Career will delight and entertain. For anyone contemplating a career in celebrity journalist, it's absolutely indispensible ***** (Mail on Sunday)

Barber brilliantly nails the ghastly black-comedy irrationality of grief and the quietly heroic business of keeping-on keeping-in while everything simultaneously stops making sense ... Barber's wince-making eloquence on the pain of fresh widowhood lingered long after I finished A Curious Career. And then at the end I felt terribly disappointed; even having read it as slowly as I dared, at 211 pages it was all over far too quickly ... both on the page and in real life, Lynn Barber invariably leaves you wanting more (Sunday Times)

Incredibly satisfying and enjoyable: witty, mischievous, insightful, and, one occasion, elegiac ... A veritable masterclass in how it's done (Rachel Cooke, Observer)

She cuts, sparkles, is sometimes generous, never daunted, always full of verve ... Readers will love this pacy, absorbing book (Independent)

A hugely enjoyable read - the gold standard of professional prying (Evening Standard)

Book Description

A wonderfully frank and funny memoir of Britain's greatest and most ferocious interviewer, Lynn Barber

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By carroll lewis on 13 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover
An Education was witty and well written. "A Curious Career" is neither, It is merely a hotch-potch of Lynn Barber's already published interviews, hastily put together to make money from the success of An Education, both as book and film. Don't waste your money on this book. You will be disappointed.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
I'm going to have to put my cards on the table here. I'm from the same generation as Lynn Barber; I've reached the stage in my life when I know what I like and I'm not going to do anything anymore that I don't like. Well, not if I can help it anyway. One of the things I certainly no longer enjoy is reading interviews with actors. You trudge through yards and yards of newsprint only to *discover* that, yes, they love to play 'challenging parts' and, yes, they 'can't wait to work with the director again' and, oh yes, they prefer to keep 'their personal lives private'. And just like that, another half-hour of your precious life has disappeared down the plug-hole.

One interviewer I always do read however, even when she's interviewing an actor, is of course the Demon Barber. And in this book we learn why her interviews always prove to be so interesting. Firstly, it's because she does her homework, spending a huge amount of time on research before the interview (so she won't ask the interviewee something they've been asked a hundred times before). She wastes not a second of precious interview time and refuses to do less than a one hour interview (she explains how nowadays even serious interviewers get trapped by the PR machine into flying half way round the world for a 15-minute slot with a star.) She always tapes her interviews (so perhaps 'a bouquet of wired barbs' would be a more accurate header) and spends at least a week writing them up.

This book contains the background to a selection of interviews, all of which make fascinating reading, even the ones where people I like or admire come off rather badly (Martin Clunes and Rafa Nadal). A Curious Career also updates the reader on Barber's terrific memoir An Education.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Please note - this is a revised version of my earlier review; I read the book a second time and found myself much more uneasy about the content on a second reading.

I was one of the minority of readers who disliked Barber's memoir 'An Education' but decided to give Barber another go when I learnt this book was about her journalism. I have enjoyed some of her articles in the past and admire her dedication (though the atmosphere of worship that surrounds her can get irritating to read about).

On the whole I found the book a more enjoyable read, and even warmed to Barber a bit more. True, there's still plenty of the annoying self-aggrandization, false modesty and rather pointless provocativeness that made 'An Education' so irritating. Barber enjoys boasting about her beauty as a young woman and her success with men (apparently she didn't like interviewing other women when young as the non-glamorous ones were 'bound to hate her' for her good looks, while the glamorous ones would have kept her in awe of them), the fact her husband was an old Etonian and had lots of rich friends, her numerous press awards, her great success with 'An Education' and her high-profile glamorous friends such as Tracey Emin. For someone who claims she's never worried about being 'cool' she's remarkably keen to tell us how much she smokes and drinks, how she 'adores' pop stars and Brit Art, how she loves partying, how many celebs she knows and how anti-establishment she is. She's much given to provocative remarks, often made seemingly just to get attention.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SilentSinger TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
I'd previously heard of Lynn Barber via her book and the subsequent film concerning her late schooldays entitled 'An Education' which led to me becoming aware of her excellent celebrity interviews in The Sunday Times Magazine. Tying into her appearance on BBC2's 'The Culture Show' I decided to begin reading this memoir straight afterwards and I'm so glad that I did. Pithily written as you'd expect, this book charts Barber's memories of past interviewees including such luminaries as Rafa Nadal, Martin Clunes and Robert Redford. Filled with huge insight and sarcastic wit about her subjects it provides a masterclass on how interviews should be carried out without of the usual brand of sycophantic style that many journalists seem to churn out these days. I was also interested to read how much preparation goes into the early stages of the process to ensure that Barber doesn't cover similar ground to previous interviews.

My only complaint that it was far too short, but I'll seek out the author's other titles as a result. Brilliant stuff.
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Format: Hardcover
There’s no end to the number of interviews available to us at the minute but many of them are deeply unfulfilling, with celebrities wheeling out the same anecdotes about whatever it is they happen to be promoting. Lynn Barber’s work always gives us a good insight into people and she goes through the various stages of her career in journalism in A Curious Career.

She says it’s hard for her to be a guest at dinner parties as she always wants to know everyone’s business. This nosiness has got her a long way as she’s not afraid to ask the questions that some would see as being out of bounds. She’s got admiration for celebrities as she admires the courage it takes to become a star, the will to do something different with their lives. Readers are very interested in them and she still gets a great buzz when she gets the chance to interview them. She’s got preferences about which type of celebrity she goes for though, finding actors to be repetitive and boring.

She’s not snobby about the tabloids, finding them enjoyable and loving a juicy scandal. Her own fame after An Education has given her some knowledge of how celebrities feel about being in the public eye. She treats all of them with respect, making sure she does a significant amount of research before meeting people and can’t wait to write up the interviews with interesting guests. She has a desperate time of it with Marianne Faithfull and Rafael Nadal but getting this form of juice is always better than having a thoroughly dull interview with little to put on the page.

She gets to the parts of people that many don’t even dare approach and comes out the other end with great tales.
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