mightyhunter, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by mightyhunter)
No disrespect to my own father, but Michael Chabon sounds like the kind of dad that a poor screwed-up guy like me would love to have. Chabon doesn't pretend to be something that he's not, telling us exactly what it was like for him to fumble through growing up, falling in love, making friends, falling out of love, and all the rest of those events in a man's (or woman's) life that allow us to build character. He writes in such a way that makes me believe that we could've been friends, riding our bikes around almost-abandoned suburban streets, talking about those weird kids down the street that we're jealous of. This book will be dog-eared in no time.
ccheval, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by ccheval)
Good writers are first and foremost good thinkers. Michael Chabon has some interesting and nuanced thoughts on his masculine role. If you are a fan, this book will expose more saliently, that which was implicit in his fictional works.
Michael Chabon composes dazzling prose. His love for the art of storytelling is evident in everything he writes. His writing is smart, insightful, candid, funny, sympathetic, and mischievous. This gifted combination makes for one of the rare writers from whom a reader always knows to expect something altogether enjoyable. Some of Chabon's works are indeed gems, but all of them are great books.
Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son is precisely what the subtitle says it is. Comprised mostly of essays that were published previously in Details magazine, this collection finds Chabon musing on subjects as disparate as circumcision, baseball, marijuana, superheroes, menarche, Captain Underpants, imagination, Legos, and having sex with your mom's friend when you're 15. It truly seems that Chabon can take any topic, however inherently mundane or fascinating, and craft a piece that is both well written and engrossing. Perhaps what is most magnificent about his writing is that it seems to come from a genuine curiosity and thoughtfulness for things, as is well evident in his fiction. Manhood for Amateurs contains some excellent pieces and, as a whole, is about as good a collection of essays as you're apt to find amongst any of his contemporaries.
by David Kamp, New York Times Book Review,
"Wondrous, wise and beautiful."
by Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times,
"Chabon has always been a magical prose stylist, adept at combining the sort of social and emotional detail found in Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus stories with the metaphor-rich descriptions of John Updike and John Irving's inventive sleight of hand."
by USA Today,
"Manhood is no self-help book on how to be a better father, although I'd argue it can't hurt. Its instructions are more literary: how to write graceful essays that seamlessly jump between the specific and general, while helping to raise four children, which is as specific as anything gets."
by Boston Globe,
"[A] fully coherent, incisive examination of his roles as a father, husband, child, writer, and celebrated, self-proclaimed geek....By so profoundly connecting with his own inner child, Chabon makes the business of raising children seem as effortless and graceful as his beguiling fiction."
by Chicago Tribune,
"[A] delightful new collection of essays....I would encourage every practicing adult out there to read Chabon's book. It will not only entertain them — though surely it will; it will also encourage and inspire them to continue honing their endlessly demanding, endlessly rewarding practice."
by The San Francisco Chronicle,
"The results are hilarious, moving, pleasurable, disturbing, transcendent, restless and sometimes a trifle cantankerous — but almost never dull. This energy arises mainly because Chabon seems drawn to his opposites, the masculine tribes to which he doesn't belong."
In his first sustained work of personal writing, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chabon offers these provocative, autobiographical essays — a series of reflections, regrets, and reexaminations, each sparked by an encounter in the present.
A shy manifesto, an impractical handbook, the true story of a fabulist, an entire life in parts and pieces, Manhood for Amateurs is the first sustained work of personal writing from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon. In these insightful, provocative, slyly interlinked essays, one of our most brilliant and humane writers addresses with his characteristic warmth and lyric wit the all-important question: What does it mean to be a man today?
This witty and affecting memoir relays the misadventures of a commitment-phobic couple who, on the heels of a heartbreaking year, try to catapult themselves into adulthood by purchasing a dilapidated former crack house and attempting to turn it into a home.
An improbably funny account of how the purchase and restoration of a disaster of a fixer-upper saves a young marriage
When a season of ludicrous loss tests the mettle of their marriage, Matthew Batt and his wife decide not to call it quits. They set their sights instead on the purchase of a dilapidated house in the Sugarhouse section of Salt Lake City. With no homesteading experience and a full-blown quarter-life crisis on their hands, these perpetual grad students/waiters/nonprofiteers decide to seek salvation through renovation, and do all they can to turn a former crack house into a home. Dizzy with despair, doubt, and the side effects of using the rough equivalent of napalm to detoxify their house, they enter into full-fledged adulthood with power tools in hand.
Heartfelt and joyous, Sugarhouse is the story of how one couple conquers adversity and creates an addition to their family, as well as their home.
by Harper Collins,
“Chabon has always been a magical prose stylist, adept at combining the sort of social and emotional detail found in Philip Roths Goodbye, Columbus stories with the metaphor-rich descriptions of John Updike and John Irvings inventive sleight of hand. . . . As in his novels, he shifts gears easily between the comic and the melancholy, the whimsical and the serious, demonstrating once again his ability to write about the big subjects of love and memory and regret without falling prey to the Scylla and Charybdis of cynicism and sentimentality.” — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“Wondrous, wise and beautiful.” — David Kamp, New York Times Book Review
The bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Werewolves in Their Youth, Wonderboys, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and The Yiddish Policemens Union Michael Chabon “takes [his] brutally observant, unfailingly honest, marvelously human gaze and turns it on his own life” (Time) in the New York Times bestselling memoir Manhood for Amateurs.
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