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Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and…
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Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and… (edition 2009)

by Michael Chabon

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927509,428 (3.83)39
Member:rinard
Title:Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son
Authors:Michael Chabon
Info:Harper (2009), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Biography/Memoir, Non-fiction

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Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son by Michael Chabon

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» See also 39 mentions

English (49)  Dutch (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Unexpectedly (because of the graphic book connection, & I don'[t like graphic books), I just love this guy! And listening to him read was a bonus. ( )
  C-WHY | Aug 19, 2014 |
fun and thoughtful ( )
  cherylwhatley | Jan 20, 2014 |
From first to last, all but one or two essays directly engage with what it is to be male: son, husband, or father. More specifically, Chabon looks at what is required for a male person to navigate the modern world. The new 'good' Dad, is he all that much different? or is it still the same old double standard dressed prettier? Is it possible to be manly and carry a murse? Some essays look at wider cultural issues (the evolution of legos, for example), others examine aspects of his own childhood and family (a tendency to OCD). Some essays are more serious than others - one or two gave me goosebumps, such as the one on how the children today do not have the vision of the future that we (brought up on Star Trek 1) had and his brief encounter with David Foster Wallace, a meditation on what might drive someone to suicide. I've never disliked any fiction of Chabon's and these are the first essays I've read, and I would happily read more. **** ( )
  sibyx | Dec 22, 2013 |
I listened to the audio book read by the author. There's something very boyish about his voice that really resonates in the reading. I felt like this was a love story to his generation - my generation - as much as a love story to his family. Sure, he has his gripes, things are not as cool as when WE were kids, yadda yadda... but there's way more joy than curmudgeon in him. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable collection of essays on a modern family. ( )
  klib315 | Aug 18, 2013 |
I was completely and utterly disappointed by this collection. I greatly enjoy Chabon's writing with Kavalier and Yiddish Policemen's two of my favorite novels. I also greatly enjoy essays. However, I had forgotten a lesson I learned long ago; the combined attraction of a favored author writing essays does not always result in a pleasing experience.

What goes wrong here?

Well, that is a hard one to put a finger on. (If we could figure out the answers to all failures, none of us would ever have to fail, right?) One thing I feel is that these essays are far too aware of themselves. Most come from one source and it is as if the author became more and more aware that he had an agenda – the attempt to lightheartedly be the butt of jokes about the foibles of manhood. And, here is problem number two. Yes the book contains the title manhood, but it is much more about fatherhood. (Face it, how can any author separate the two.) And, with that emphasis, the pieces constantly struggle with the temptation to fall into the territory of maudlin writing.

Oh, they are written well enough. But under the precept that brevity can contain great depth, they skim over subjects, lightheartedly pretending that they mean much more. What results is the picture of an author with foibles that match our own, but an author who just looks back at them over his shoulder and laughs, "Well, ha-ha, I guess there's nothing we can do" and travels blithely on.

Rereading the above, I believe I've come on too heavy handed – the critic who enjoys the task of vilifying while the positive qualities are forgotten. There are some decent essays in the collection. And they show the depth that Chabon has exhibited in his longer writings. And some of that depth speaks to remorse and joy in life. And there's the thing; that's what I wanted in all these essays. But for a few instanced, I did not get that. And that is the root of my disappointment. ( )
  figre | Jun 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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.
 
It’s not a chronicle, but rather a vaguely themed collection of thoughtful first-person essays (most, in this case, originally published in Details magazine) that capture a certain time and mood. The theme: maleness in its various states — boyhood, manhood, fatherhood, brotherhood. The time: now, juxtaposed frequently with Chabon’s 1970s childhood. The mood: wistful.
 
"You have put your finger squarely on the pulse of the American male sensibility ... and you have teased out some basic truths about us and our society, our past and our future."
 
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Epigraph
"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." G.K. Chesterton
Dedication
To Steve Chabon
First words
I typed the inaugural newsletter of the Columbia Comic Book Club on my mother's 1960 Smith Corona, modeling it on the monthly "Stan's Soapbox" pages through which Stan Lee created and sustained the idea of Marvel Comics fandom in the sixties and early seventies.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In Manhood for Amateurs, Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and The Yiddish Policemen's Union, offers his first major work of nonfiction, a memoir as inventive, beautiful, and powerful as his acclaimed, award-winning fiction. In these insightful, provocative, slyly interlinked essays, Chabon presents his autobiography and his vision of life and explores what it means to be a man today.
Book DescriptionThe 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 parts and pieces, Manhood for Amateurs is the first sustained work of personal writing from Michael Chabon. In these insightful, provocative, slyly interlinked essays, one of our most brilliant and humane writers presents his autobiography and his vision of life in the way so many of us experience our own lives: as a series of reflections, regrets, and reexaminations, each sparked by an encounter, in the present, that holds some legacy of the past.
What does it mean to be a man today? Chabon invokes and interprets and struggles to reinvent for us, with characteristic warmth and lyric wit, the personal and family history that haunts him even as—simply because—it goes on being written every day. As a devoted son, as a passionate husband, and above all as the father of four young Americans, Chabon presents his memories of childhood, of his parents' marriage and divorce, of moments of painful adolescent comedy and giddy encounters with the popular art and literature of his own youth, as a theme played—on different instruments, with a fresh tempo and in a new key—by the mad quartet of which he now finds himself co-conductor.  (HarperCollins website)
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The author questions what it means to be a man today in a series of interlinked autobiographical reflections, regrets, and reexaminations, each sparked by an encounter, in the present, that holds some legacy of the past.

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