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What Is This Thing Called Love?
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What Is This Thing Called Love?

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  177 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
The actor and novelist answers this eternal question twelve ways, in stories that explore our most complicated emotion

This is a winning collection from an author writing on his favorite topic: love. Each emotionally involving story illuminates a different kind of love: star-crossed, intense, needy, eternal, unrequited, even comical. Wilder’s protagonists will be instant
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2010)
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Joy H.
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Added 10/25/11. Short stories.
I read this book in June 2015. Very enjoyable stories. You can almost picture Gene Wilder telling these stories. He's so entertaining!
"With a delicacy of feeling and a simple style that adds to the power of his fiction, Wilder creates memorable lovers and silly suitors, unexpected attraction and careful courting."
---from the book jacket
Isaac Miller
More likely than not you know him as Willy Wonka (hopefully better than that Johnny Depp/Michael Jackson abomination). You might also know him as the Waco Kid or Young Frankenstein (Fronk-en-steen!). Whatever the case, chances are you know Gene Wilder. What you might not know is he has retired from acting he has turned his attentions to painting and writing. In 2005 he published his memoir Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art. He followed that up with two novels, My French Whore, ...more
Abigail Monhollen
May 26, 2016 rated it liked it
This book actually made me laugh a couple of times. It was heart warming and fun to read. If your looking for something light this is good. It looks at different aspect of love through several different stories that don't seem to connect in anyway but each still just as good. A gem of a book. -A
Nov 17, 2010 rated it did not like it
I read better stories in my Intro to Nonfiction class in college. There are fleeting, fleeting moments of promise, but mostly these short stories are dull to the point of insult.
Dan Harris
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Let me tell you how primed I was to love this book. I'm a fan of Gene Wilder. I was vaguely aware that he had done some writing, but I hadn't read anything by him, and I stumbled on this collection of short stories in a used bookstore for $3.00. For that price, I'll give it a shot, right? After I bought it, I cracked it open and found--get this--it's signed. By Gene freakin' Wilder. Wouldn't the perfect end to this story be that it's also a really good read?

...Well, it isn't.

It is desperately,
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Sweet, but focused on love as a sexual aspect more than emotional or mental. Seemed more focused on pining for lost times than developing meaningful relationships.
Stephen Perlstein
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
What Is This Thing Called Love? by Gene Wilder

This is a collection of short stories written by the Waco Kid, Gene Wilder. And though Wilder has shown incredible writing ability in his memoir "Kiss Me Like a Stranger," this book does not deliver.

The short stories are all about love, which is nice, but after a certain point they all feel the same. Boy meets a girl, they hit it off, they have sex. Or, in the alternate version of the story, they don't have sex and the relationship abruptly ends.

Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great director of classic Hollywood movies, Ernst Lubitsch, was famous for saying a lot with a single image; no dialogue necessary. This was called the Lubitsch Touch. Gene Wilder has fashioned a second career for himself as a writer of books that take a Lubitsch-like subtlety to matters of the heart. In this collection of 12 stories he explores all kinds of love. This can be uneven but when it works (as in the stories "The Lady With the Red Hat" and "Passion") Wilder shows just how painful an ...more
Jan 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: shortstories
Gene Wilder introduces these stories by admitting that they're more or less schmaltzy and contrived, but if you like them even a little bit he'll be satisfied. So in that regard the book is successful. The stories are all about love (and most are about sex.) It's not the sort of book you want to pick up just because you love Willy Wonka. Overall they're cute, breezy and fun, at times somewhat poignant. The biggest problem I had was that too many of them were wrapped up too neatly in a way that f ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this collection of short stories incredibly charming. Short, sweet, and simple to read, Wilder’s collection was very relaxing. His stories weren’t frantic or formulaic. They were a breath of fresh air in the world of melodramatic dramas and fluff-tastic chick lit.

They deal with the idiosyncrasies of love and the various forms it comes in. Humans are flawed and so is the way we love. Wilder dealt with that better than many other writers I’ve read. Definitely worth a try.
Jun 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting collection of stories from Wilder surrounding the idiosyncrasies of love. Wilder paints men as desperate for love and companionship but often to dumb and selfish to see it for what it is. But he is also a romantic and understands that love breaks through and strikes when we often least expect it.

The stories are not particularly deep or literary but they have a lightness and a tragi-comic sense that comes from Wilder and makes them worth reading.
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Well, it's written by Gene Wilder, who has a beautiful and simple writers voice, so of course I like it. Short stories are not my favorite format, though. And these all seem a bit abrupt. I feel like Mr. Wilder writes a better story when he has more time and space to elaborate on it. I love his novels. His short stories are just okay to me.
T. Thomas
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have always enjoyed Gene Wilder movies. This book definitely was written by him. A collection of short stories. The stories deal with two types of men: One type is stupid and doesn't realize when he has a good thing. The other type isn't quite so stupid and eventually realizes that he has a good thing and holds on to it. Women who like to laugh at male stupidity should like the book.
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Some great short sweet husband gave me this book for Valentine's Day. I finally read it in April. Gave me nice sweet loving thoughts and enjoyed all of the stories. Wished it had gone on longer! But then it wouldn't have been SHORT stories! Great to have along to read while waiting for an appointment or such things where it's nice to get a good story while waiting!
May 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Gene hit it out of the park with this one. Perfect reading for someone needing a short story to fall relax prior to sleep at night. The stories were captivating and revealed just how romantic this man can be. Gene, when are we going out for that wine?
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it
This is not Wilder's best writing. A few of the stories felt rushed and somewhat haphazardly assembled. Overall a quick read that made me admire this artist even more.
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
A book of vignettes on love by Gene Wilder. As he got older, his love stories got more bittersweet, less idyllic.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
Every time I make a bad book choice I feel like shooting myself in the cranium. Yeah, that bad.
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
My first gene wilder. Not really in love with it. Not even in like with it. Very average storytelling.
Danielle Reily
May 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Completely sappy and I loved it!
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Gene Wilder is an excellent writer and has written some excellent short stories here.
Steve Moudry
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Charming little love stories, very entertaining and fun to read.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
A fun collection of short stories with a romantic theme. Not as awesome as Wilder's more famous work, 'My French Whore,' but enjoyable nonetheless.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly sweet/sad/funny little short stories.
Greg Converse
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I like the stories. I think they are well-written without being lofty, and they hold a simple charm and humor.
This is probably more of a 4.5 but I love Gene Wilder so I rounded up!
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Gene Wilder was an American Emmy Award-winning and twice Academy Award-nominated stage and screen comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author.

Wilder began his career on stage, making his screen debut in the film Bonnie and Clyde in 1967. His first major role was as Leo Bloom in the 1968 film, The Producers. This was the first in a series of prolific collaborations with writer/director Mel
More about Gene Wilder...