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Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and…

Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and…

by Michael Chabon

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English (53)  Dutch (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Thoughtful, perceptive and maybe just a little dull. A "liberal agnostic empiricist" who is "proud to be a semi-observant, bacon-eating Jew," Chabon offers accounts of grappling with the complexities of modern manhood -- from the dreaded "drug talk" with one's children to the double standards inherent in male parenting -- all propelled by the shimmering prose that won him the Pulitzer Prize. Chabon is not the first writer to find humor in feckless attempts at home improvement, but he is probably the only one capable of locating its source in Rudyard Kipling's "code of high-Victorian masculinity, in whose fragmentary shadow American men still come of age." As winning as Chabon's meditations are in these essays, many of which were first published in Details magazine, contrarians may detect a whiff of the much-loathed Hipster Dad persona, especially when he reveals that he and his son own matching vintage Dr. Who T-shirts (ouch). Chabon is so wise and generous-spirited that one occasionally wishes he would crack and come out in favor of schoolyard fisticuffs, say, or turning his son's future over to the Marine Corps.
--From the Washington Post, October 21, 2009 ( )
  MikeLindgren51 | Aug 7, 2018 |
Reliably funny, occasionally hilarious, sometimes painful to read. His descriptions of his kids, and of his interactions with them, are delightful. ( )
  cmt100 | Feb 4, 2018 |
This is a delightful collection of essays ruminating on both childhood and adulthood and the various roles we play in others' lives. Chabon is particularly wonderful at evoking the magic and wonder of childhood, and several of the essays detail incidents from his growing up. He is also very funny, as in the excellent "I Feel Good About My Murse," as well as deeply thoughtful as in the moving "Xmas." Dealing with a wide array of subjects, from circumcision to cooking to Legos, Chabon is a wonderful chronicler of his own life and makes unexpected connections to his readers' lives along the way.

I would also note that the audio is read by Chabon himself, and is very, very good. ( )
1 vote katiekrug | Oct 19, 2016 |
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 | Jun 6, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (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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"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." G.K. Chesterton
To Steve Chabon
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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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