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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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933529,346 (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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English (51)  Dutch (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
I don't like that description, referencing 'hectic' and 'divorces' etc, very much. This book does have adult material, but it's handled with calm courage and grace, and plenty of humor (muchly of the self-deprecating kind). And, mostly, the issues and ideas he explores are universal - even Gentile Women will feel not just sympathy, but empathy. Moreover, he has that special way with words that makes him popular among critics and Literary folk, but also accessible to ordinary readers like me.

One example of the humor, this time not self-deprecating but compassionate, about a woman at the grocery store who looked fondly at the author & the author's litte son. "She had on rainbow leggings, and I thought she might be a little bit crazy and therefore fond of everyone."

One warning - the author is an agnostic 'bacon-eating' Jew, who lives in Berkeley and hates GW Bush. So, if you're not fond of those kinds of people, you might feel a bit alienated at times.

I admit I'm having trouble deciding whether to encourage you to read this. I do think it's wonderful. I'd push it on my son if he were grown, but at 15 I don't think he's ready. I can't see my husband or dad or brother reading it. And yet, I do want to emphasize that I enjoyed it *a lot* and suspect you would too, if you're ok with the genre and with what I said in the first paragraph. Ok. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
This book collects together essays by author Michael Chabon about being a husband, father, and son. Particularly his efforts to avoid the cliches of masculinity in these roles. I can relate to his sensitive and introspective thoughts on fatherhood. One particularly interesting essay discusses the loss of wildness in childhood (much like the concerns of Free Range Kids' Lenore Skenazy). This goes beyond children being able to wander around outside though as Chabon discusses how fart jokes in children's books and movies have allowed adults to gentrify what once was a means for children to rebel against the grown-up world. Other essays are less relatable such as the uncomfortable reminiscences of his early sexual encounters with much older women. The essays are good and bad, but the good outnumber the bad and they all offer something worth reading.

Favorite Passages:
"A father is a man who fails every day."

"Make all families are a kind of fandom, an endlessly elaborated, endlessly disputed, endlessly reconfigured set of commentaries, extrapolations, and variations generated by passionate amateurs on the primal text of the parents’ love for each other. Sometimes the original program is canceled by death or separation; sometimes, as with Doctor Who, it endures and flourishes for decades. And maybe love, mortality, and loss, and all the children and mythologies and sorrows they engender, make passionate amateurs–nerds, geeks, and fanboys–of us all."
Recommended books: ( )
  Othemts | Mar 11, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (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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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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