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THE BIBLIO FILE is a leading podcast that examines "the book" and book culture. Hosted by NIGEL BEALE it features wide ranging conversations with writers, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other best practitioners who busy themselves with the world of books.

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Jan 8, 2023

My GP took off on me last year. Landed some big gig in Geneva I think. He's a bright one. Not that I knew him very well. Only met him twice in six years. Anyhow, I went in for my tri-annual (once every three) check-up the other day. The nurse was pleasant. Told me he'd been working in the same clinic for 30 years. Adventurous, I thought. Then a student comes in. Also pleasant. Bit bland, but hey, I thought, it takes years to spice up character. Finally the resident/doctor arrives. Must've been in her mid-thirties. She was absolutely delightful. Smiling, smart, funny. What a difference she made. She lit up the room.
 
Same can be said of Lizzie Gottlieb when she appeared on the screen. My screen that is, on Zoom. ​​It was a delight to talk with her about Turn Every Page her new documentary (released December 30th, 2022 by Sony Classics). It features the 50-year relationship between writer Bob Caro, 87, and his editor Bob Gottlieb, 91.
 
Turn Every Page has a delightful (yes, I know, I'm using it too much, but I figure if  Caro can overuse a mot juste  - "loom" in his case, according to Bob G. - so can I) soundtrack. It deftly conducts the viewer, and the two Bobs, through the film towards the pressing goal of completing Caro's biography of Lyndon B. Johnson. We see the two at work on the fifth and final volume of the book and in the process, learn about what they're both after: uncompromised (uncompromising?) excellence. The two are by nature industrious, and both have egos. Combine all of the above and you have the makings of both a classic book, and a very watchable documentary, one that gives you a feel for the magic in this unique relationship and a sense of the great joy that can be experienced between writer and editor as they make a book together.  What you get with this film is a whimsical, entertaining glimpse at a very special kind of quiet alchemy.
 
I had such fun with this project: watching the film, twice, re-reading parts of Bob Gottlieb's memoir Avid Reader, conducting the interview, editing it, and then right afterwards, going out for a walk and listening to it. I hope your experience with the listening part is as "delightful" as mine was.