Monday, March 30, 2015

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

Last week, in reviewing the audiobook Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett, I mentioned that I enjoyed Michael Chabon reading his own book, too. The book to which I referred is Manhood for Amateurs: the Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, which I had missed when it was first published, just as I had missed Patchett's book. I found these books while looking desperately for nonfiction audiobook downloads that both interested me and were unread by me.

I have never read a Michael Chabon novel, but I was willing to try his essays. There are a slew of novelists that I have not read as novelists, enjoying their essays instead, including Jonathan Franzen, Joan Didion, and Julian Barnes. Similarly, I enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver's essays more than her fiction. So I thought Manhhood for Amateurs might be worth trying, and it was.

Having a downloadable audiobook without the credit pages that I would have found in the paper book, I do not know the period over which he wrote the essays, but I guess from what he says in them that he began in the late 1980s. I sense different time-specific perspectives as he recounts the ages of his life so far. I discovered that he is older than I imagined - just about young as you can be and still be considered a baby boomer - and that I identified with many of his topics - collecting baseball cards, being a nerd, fatherhood, and aging parents. What he wrote about that was foreign to my experience I still found interesting and worth contemplating.

Manhood for Amateurs is not just addressed to men. Women can read it, too. Being both sensitive and slightly nerdy, he is very likable.

Chabon, Michael. Manhood for Amateurs: the Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son. Harper, 2009. 306p. ISBN 9780061490187.

7 compact discs. HaperAudio, 2009. ISBN 9780061842375.

1 comment:

Wendy A. said...

My son had me read "The Yiddish Policemens Union" by Chabon. I enjoyed it immensely but it took several attempts to get into it. Chabon created a tone, setting and dialect that were so true to the fictional time and place of his characters that I floundered a bit. Once I was able to give up knowing exactly what every word or analogy meant, the atmospherics compelled and informed me. All became (mostly) clear and enjoyable. When looked back on, that book is remembered as a rewarding trip I took to a completely different place and time.
Unless Tipton Coulter managed to spawn two Texas librarians, I think we have corresponded. I am descended from William and Lucie and lived in Nebraska in the 90s when we exchanged information. Four kids and even more moves later, I am slowly able to get back into that hobby. I would love to be in contact again. Best regards!