Manhood for Amateurs
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author--"an immensely gifted writer and a magical prose stylist" (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)--offers his first major work of nonfiction, an autobiographical narrative as inventive, beautiful, and powerful as his acclaimed, award-winning fiction.
A shy manifesto, an impractical handbook, the true story of a fabulist, an entire life in...more
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Notes: It's a competently written, yet scattershot collection of loosely grouped-together, largely forgettable magazine pieces.
The essays are deceptively simple at first glance, but Chabon uses these stories as jumping off points for bigger ideas. His grumpy-old-man-style complaints about how complicated Legos have gotten turn ...more
I say that in jest because Michael addresses this in some essays - the meaning of manhood. And he brings it back from being a 1950s stereotype. And he's not preachy. He also tackles a lot of other issues in here. It's more some snapshots from his li ...more
Much like his series of essays released last year, Pops , Manhood for Amateurs sees Chabon reflecting on oodles of life's quandaries in his typical lyrical style. I love how essays about the complexities of male-female relations sit alongside essays about esoteric DC comic super heroines, and Chabon's use of nerd terminology slots in quite nicely with the ...more
I think "Parenthood for Amateurs" or "Adulthood for Amateurs" would h ...more
Those worlds Chabon thrives in can be the comic book history that won him his Pulitzer (The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay). He was wonderful in the weird book The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, where he imagines a Je ...more
So many brilliant reflections on the most different of topics, from LEGO to baseball, from growing up to children's movies. All of these takes are anchored to a specific episode in Chabon's life, so that you always feel like you're getting a story, even in the middle of the most abstract discussion.
Since it's about so much different stuff, I'd mainly suggest it to Chabon's fans, but hey, that doesn't make it any less gold. ...more
I think I was almost totally bored despite recognizing the artistry of the writing because I'm just not the target audience. Not a dude, I guess.
A collection of essays part memoir, part op-ed, all about being a man. Being a son, son-in-law, a father, married, divorced, a parent, a husband. Like the male counterpoint to Caitlin Moran's How to Be a Woman, on ...more
I know this book is non-fiction and the other is fiction - but it's exceedingly hard to wrap my brain around the fact that Michael Chabon couldn't bring his incredible story-telling skills to this work of non-fiction.
With the exception of two stories, I found the entire rest of the book to be dry and humourless. There were so many places where I found myself skipping ahead to the n ...more
Okay, this is kinda a propos of nothing, but bear with me...
Thursdays are Library Days for me and my daughter (now 5 years old). I sometimes feel a little...I dunno...guilty (?) for imposing my values and likes upon her, but each Thursday she'll run to the children's section, and if they haven't already been checked out, will scour the picture-book section and pull out as many of her favorite books as she can find. Invariably, three of them (which I highly encouraged her to like, and tr ...more
And did I mention that he is dreamy?
I have a SERIOUS literary crush on both Michael Chabon AND his wife Ayelet Waldman. Sigh.
I love Michael Chabon. Have I mentioned that recently?
What was ...more
manhood for amateurs: the pleasures and regrets of a husband, father, and son, is precisely what the sub ...more
The book uses the word "amateur" from its title Manhood for Amateurs in two different ways. Chabon easily admits that he is an amateur in the sense that he is not an expert. He freely acknowl ...more
About having the daring to try something almost certain to fail, he says,
"...this chutzpah--as in all those accounts of magical chutzpah so beloved by solitary boys like me--was rewarded."
"Every work of art is...an act of hopeless optimism in the service of bottomless longing."
Alas, nothing else lived up to that four-page g ...more
Having read and enjoyed three of Chabon's books already (The Mysteries of Pittsburgh: good, The Yiddish Policemen's Union: very good, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: sublime), I dove into my borrowed copy of Manhood for Amateurs with a mix of expectation and wariness. Expectation, because, having seen Chabon at his best, I was curious to get inside his head and life, and wariness because of the inevitability of disappointment.
Both scenarios were realized. Manhood is ...more
ETA: Hmmm, that comment above seems so snarky now. I didn't mean to imply their marriage is as tenuous or their parenting as questionable, only that I am as fascinated by them individually and as a pair as so many once were by that reality TV couple.
I changed my mind about this collection of essays several times, but bottom line, no one writes quite as well as Chabon and it's a pleasure to read his writing, ...more
Even better the second time around. Honestly, I forgot my problems with the book long ago, and having just reread my old review, the essays I complained about didn't even standout on a reread. In fact, I quite liked the radio station chapter. It still lacks that something special to push it over to a full 5-star, but regardless Manhood for Amateurs is excellent through and through. 4.5/5
"Manhood" is not a straight-forward memoir. It is a colle ...more