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Writers Gone Wild: The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature's Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes
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Writers Gone Wild: The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature's Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  225 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Truth is stranger than fiction.

If you've imagined famous writers to be desk-bound drudges, think again. Writers Gone Wild rips back the (book) covers and reveals the seamy underside of the writing life.

Insightful, intriguing, and irresistibly addictive, Writers Gone Wild reveals such fascinating stories as:

* The night Dashiell Hammett hired a Chinese prostitute to brea
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Perigee Trade
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Bill Peschel
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm a bit biased since I wrote the book, so even though it's not out until November, I'm happy to recommend it to all of my Goodreads friends who are interested in true, strange, sad and sometimes funny stories drawn from the lives of famous writers.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
This was a crazy book about what authors have done in their lives. Some was good, gunny, bad and pretty ugly. An interedting book to read all the short tell all stories.
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have been decking those halls and ringing those bells trying to get ready for Christmas so I haven't had a lot of spare time to read. This book is perfect. The short anecdotes about famous writers are in turn hilarious, amazing, sad, and a touch scary. Even great writers couldn't make up some of these episodes. One of my favorites was Virginia Woolf dressing up as an "Abyssinian potentate" and tricking the Royal Navy into giving her, and several friends, a VIP tour of a warship--complete with ...more
David Meyer
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This was fun. The book goes through stories (often shocking and vulgar) about famous literary figures. Each story is only about a page or 2, if not less. I read it all the way through, but if you like reading multiple things at once, this is a good book to leaf through a few pages at a time.
Airiz C
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: literature buffs, writers
Everybody knows that skeletons of the past fill up an average person’s closet, usually up to the brim. When I got my hands on this gossipy compendium of anecdotes centering mostly on the foibles of a bunch of well-known, well-loved wordsmiths, I was given a peep through the keyholes of their closets. That’s when I realized that some people’s closets are not only choked with ghosts of yesterday, they also provide portals to places that are way crazier than Wonderland or Narnia.

But this is non-fic
Terry Cornell
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
An amusing work of some of histories greatest writers and their exploits. It doesn't have to be read from cover to cover, as each writer's story stands alone in chapters collecting that particular type of antic--whether it be drinking, affairs, war stories, etc. Incredible amount of research went into Peschel's work. Most writer's chronicled seem to be from the distant past, some from more recent history (1950s, 1960s) very few present day. Does this mean more current writers aren't as crazy? Ma ...more
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
I wish this book were as good as the title. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you want to read dish about your favorite drunken authors doing the craziest shit imaginable, please skip this title and go straight to A Drinking Companion by Kelly Boler. I'm afraid I've spoiled myself forever on authors' drunken antics by having read ADC first. Only Hunter Thompson continues to impress me post mortem with his lunacy. And I get the feeling that if I read more about Mailer, he'd surprise m ...more
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best "fun reads" I've ever picked up! A must-have for any literature lover (or hater).
Lucy Hay
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Eye-opening and fun read about the various sexploitations, daring and downright outrageous antics of our favourite and iconic authors, journalists and screenwriters. I was a big fan of the short, themed chapters taking into account such things as extramarital affairs, society scandals, war time heroism and deaths; there were interesting snippets rounded up at the end of each one too. I was also gladdened to see gay relationships were also covered, as well as behaviour of various writers who may ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Mostly enjoyable. I especially enjoyed the first part. As it went on, it got a little sensationalist for my taste. As a lot of the same writers were mentioned throughout and it was clear they were familiar with each other, it made me interested in the more complete story of those relationships.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow! Everything you wanted to know ~ and some things you didn't ~ about favorite famous and infamous authors.

This reminds me of the book "An Alarming History of Famous and Difficult! Patients: Amusing Medical Anecdotes from Typhoid Mary to FDR" by Richard Gordon.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful fun. Amusing, saddening, and incredibly eye-opening. An entertaining collection of short stories that any well-read reader will enjoy.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I thought this would be more fun than it was. It was really just seedy and made you feel like you needed to take a shower. It was reasonably short at 217 pages as it was section after section of short vignettes but it was just too much to read all at once. Way too much drinking, drugs, and sleeping around in every sexual configuration - so add to that way too much syphilis. Made me sad to discover that some of my favorite, and our most respected, authors are/were real degenerates. I also didn't ...more
Ingrid Spera
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Who knew?! What a fun collection of stories and random tidbits about our favorite (and not so favorite) authors! The book is divided by theme and then within has little anecdotes lasting anywhere between a paragraph and a page giving a bit of insight about the writers. Who knew some of this went on behind the scenes?! Some of their stories make so much more sense now... I wasn't expecting this book to read as quickly as it did, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was a tad dry at times, bu ...more
Sam Quixote
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Malcolm Lowry's mysterious death. Boswell's lasciviousness. Simone de Beauvoir's relationship with Nelson Algren. Hemingway's pettiness. Fitzgerald's drunkenness. Joyce and Proust's only meeting. Jack London's secret to writing. Edith Wharton's snobbishness. Rimbaud's fiction and gun running. Mishima's dramatic death. HG Wells' numerous affairs. Plath's spicy seductress.

As you can tell from the list above, this is a book full of anecdotes about the greats of literature. Each anecdote is a page
Sam Quixote
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Malcolm Lowry's mysterious death. Boswell's lasciviousness. Simone de Beauvoir's relationship with Nelson Algren. Hemingway's pettiness. Fitzgerald's drunkenness. Joyce and Proust's only meeting. Jack London's secret to writing. Edith Wharton's snobbishness. Rimbaud's fiction and gun running. Mishima's dramatic death. HG Wells' numerous affairs. Plath's spicy seductress.

As you can tell from the list above, this is a book full of anecdotes about the greats of literature. Each anecdote is a page
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked this up during my semester break because I was looking for something light and fun to counteract the stress from finishing my thesis. Typically I really enjoy books like this, and I really did enjoy it. But, there were some areas that caused me frustration when all I wanted was something light.

Generally I like to be able to sit down and read through a chapter or two without stopping but I didn't have that luxury with this book. Every other story I had to stop and Google someone mentione
Pretty fun book about writers and they troubles they've gotten themselves into over the years. Each chapter covers a different sort of trouble, and I thought it was pretty interesting to see, for instance, how many writers have dealt with insanity, or violence, or have been thrown in jail for blasphemy or whatever. A lot of the writers included here are folks I've never read, and in some cases never even heard of, but even so, I found their stories interesting as well. I can see how this book co ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I'm a literary geek and writers are weird people. Thanks to that combination, I found this book to be a lot of fun. Sex, drugs, egos, quirks, and full-blown neurosis are on display as Peschel takes you through some of the oddest moments in literary history. Some of the names are more obscure than others, and some writers show up often. But I had a lot of fun with it. If you are a literature fanboy, you could do worse. It's a quick, easy read, and is actually shorter than the page count if you do ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
Okay so this book! THIS BOOK!. I thought it was a little rude and unrealistic at first but then I got the memo, the book was unabashedly the truth and then I couldn’t stop turning the pages.
How can these people get into so many exciting, shocking and awe-inspiring situations! I mean I knew writers were eccentric at times but I didn’t know some of them were completely bonkers!
Peschel has done an amazing job of collecting and writing these short anecdotes, mostly limiting each story to a maximum
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Loads of fun - a gossipy romp through the fights, love affairs, break-ups, drunken antics, and work-related idiocies of famous writers of the past (& a few present). You can easily read this in a couple of days & it's a riot! My favorites:
1. I continue to be justified in wanting nothing to do with Norman Mailer, based on the stories about him in this book.
2. Robert Burns answering a critic: "thou eunuch of language, thou Englishman!" (and more - he goes on in this line for about a para
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nerd, 2011
I love gossip, and make no mistake, this book is GOSSIP. Thing is, instead of discussing some trashed-out starlet latest sexcapades, Peschel smirks through behind-his-hands observations about all those authors* you had to read in high school.

I bet it would be so much easier to convince students to read Frankenstein if they knew that Mary Shelley kept her husband's heart after his friends cremated his body. Or that Ernest Hemingway and his son spent an afternoon shooting at buzzards after gettin
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A compendium of artistic excess, that is, anecdotes of famous authors fighting and drinking and screwing both themselves and many, many people of both sexes. Read of literary feuds ancient and modern. In the last chapter read of the often dramatic ways in which some authors departed this world. A tremendously entertaining volume of mostly one or two page stories. Hemingway and Faulkner are among the stars of the 20th century bad boys club. Oh, and John Milton's cadaver and Shelley's cremation - ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Okay, I started skimming towards the end. This collection of "true" stories can help but intrigue readers who like a little National Enquirer with their novels. How could you not want to pick up something with chapters like "The Fish that Ate Philip K. Dick," "Virginia Woolf Punks the Royal Navy," "Steinbeck Goes Commando," and Patricia Highsmith, the Stalker." But some substance is lacking, and it felt a little like the writer was simply out to make fools of some excellent writers. And yet I pa ...more
Steven Spector
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
To call this an "on the toilet" book would be doing it a serious disservice. Contained within is a series of short (and shorter) essays on our heroes of so-called "world literature" demonstrating without doubt that they are just as flawed, greedy, silly, adventurous, selfish, and horny as you and I are. They are universally entertaining and sometimes disturbing. Take Jackie Susann's quote after learning that JFK had been shot "Why the fuck does this happen to me? This is gonna ruin my tour." JS ...more
Dee Bibb
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In Writers Gone Wild, Bill Peschel really captured the essence of several literary greats in humorous well-written essay formats that are so easy to read. Mr. Peschel has done a terrific job of finding those little bits of faux pas that the famous or near famous literary figures have been involved in. While each piece is designed to stand alone and could be read in a few short minutes, I sat down and read half of the book before putting it down. This book is truly funny and the little known fact ...more
Kevin Johnson
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated all of the research that went into writing this book. the bibliography is rather long on a book this short. It does a very good job of showing the humorous and often dysfunctional relationships of many historical authors. The author does reference his initial view that seemed to indicated he had writers on too high a pedistool before and liked that they were flawed which taints some of the writing.
Fun and funny! A perfect complement to my prior read, "Love Letters of Great Men and Women." This confirms earlier glimpses into Shelley's manias, Byron's enigmatic allure and Wilde's depraved sense of dedication, among other by-products of genius. And it's aptly sandwiched with my current book, an even more compelling "The Oxford Book of Essays," which forgives them their nasty nuances and restores your consideration, if not esteem, for genius at any cost.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Better than I anticipated. A lot of the resources you can check out from your library rely chiefly on anecdotal stories. Peschel's inclusion of a robust and respectable bibliography means that you don't need to take the boulder of salt necessary for other books. This is a fascinating and quick read for anyone interested in the lives of writers without getting bogged down in talking about writing.
I didn't read this start to finish; I more scanned the table of contents and went to a section that sounded interesting but I also skipped around a lot too. It was a fun read, for what I did read, kind of interesting (and unusual) facts and details about various authors "behind the mask". I wouldn't mind going back to read more of it at some point.

Light reading.
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I was born in a manger, but told to get out as someone had already reserved the creche, which hurt my ego a bit. Went to school to be a reporter but learned I hated asking questions of people with blood all over them, so switched to editing copy for newspapers. Also wrote bits for my website, but when I learned that didn't pay, took the stuff and turned it into my first book, "Writers Gone Wild." ...more
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