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Extended Audio Sample Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son Audiobook, by Michael Chabon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,337 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Chabon Narrator: Michael Chabon Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2009 ISBN: 9780061966545
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Pulitzer Prize–winning author Michael Chabon offers his first major work of nonfiction, an autobiographical narrative as inventive, beautiful, and powerful as his acclaimed, award-winning fiction.

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: as a series of reflections, regrets and re-examinations, each sparked by an encounter, in the present, that holds some legacy of the past.

What does it mean to be a man today? As a devoted son, as a passionate husband, and above all as a father, Chabon’s 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—are like a theme played by the mad quartet of which he now finds himself co-conductor.

At once dazzling, hilarious, and moving, Manhood for Amateurs is destined to become a classic.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “What makes this collection so melancholically pleasurable is not the modern-dad stuff but Chabon’s ready and vivid access to his own childhood.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “As in his novels, [Chabon] 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.” 

    New York Times

  • “Hilarious, moving, pleasurable, disturbing, transcendent, restless...Chabon...create[s] a composite image of ideal manhood, one that is modest, responsible, bemused, empathic, and thoughtful.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Chabon brings his prodigiously entertaining verbal intelligence to a very personal investigation of what it means to be a father, a son, and a husband.”

    Time

  • “The author creates a unique memoir by compiling individual essays...Chabon’s writing is blaringly honest, at times self-condemning, but always thought-provoking. There is sure to be at least one treasured essay for every reader of this book.”

    Children’s Literature

  • “An entertaining omnibus of opinionated essays...Candid, warm, and humorous, Chabon’s essays display his habitual attention to craft.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Whether reflecting on his role as son, brother, husband, or father, Chabon’s delightful essays are provocative and insightful...By turns poignant and witty, Chabon is a comfortable, inviting reader. His relaxed and conversational style is shot through with occasional fervent moments. He’s unhurried yet precise in his pacing and phrasing, and most of all likably, often ruefully, humorous.”

    AudioFile

  • “Chabon takes a big, fat swing at the essay form with his second collection and achieves success...These warm and thoughtful essays underscore just how good a wordsmith Chabon is—regardless of the form he chooses.” 

    Booklist

  • “Both lyrical and side-splittingly funny...Readers seeking the intelligence of Updike; the gentle, brainy appeal of Sedaris; or the literary virtuosity of Nabokov will thoroughly enjoy.”

    Library Journal

  • “Wry and heartfelt, Chabon’s riffs uncover brand-new insights in even the most quotidian subjects...He applies an unusual level of wit and candor to the form.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the October 2009 Indie Next List
  • A 2010 Audie Award Finalist
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2009 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lee Petrie-springer | 2/18/2014

    " Brilliant writing, wonderful insights, funny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 2/5/2014

    " I would like to go back to the time before I knew Michael Chabon had a rudimentary third nipple. Twice, he mentioned this. Twice! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brooke | 2/4/2014

    " Chabon is an incredibly talented writer, and I was so struck by his turn of phrase at various points; however, the book did not grab me. I was thoroughly looking forward to hear him reflect on fatherhood which he does quite poignantly at moments, but other parts were just not my cup of tea. I know he has his comic book obsession, and that is not my speed so I skipped those sections, but I still didn't connect with the book as I had hoped. I realize it is specifically about "manhood" and therefore, perhaps I was not the audience. The very first essay was brilliant and had me laughing out loud and really thinking, but it didn't sustain that pace for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 2/2/2014

    " Thoughtful and full of sentences that were so beautifully constructed that I had to re-read them again. This book of essays was pure Michael Chabon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew Richardson | 1/27/2014

    " Books of essays are, perhaps by their nature, incredibly variable things. Chabon's best work in this book deals with interesting subjects or ideas that still occupy his thoughts today (The Clock of the Long Now, for instance, or his wife's bi-polar disorder). The worst deal with his sexual exploits, the various experiences that he claims have gone into "making him a man" which makes the title more than a bit misleading. The best known of the essays from this book is, perhaps, the most middle of the road: Chabon's discussion of his "murse" and what odd, socially constructed strictures of gender govern where a man keeps his keys, phone and wallet. It's this sort of essay - one where Chabon uses his personal experience to thoughtfully wind his mental way through the world we find ourselves in - that engages the reader's imagination while also being what all essays hope to be: enlightening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 1/25/2014

    " You know, this certainly wasn't Chabon's BEST book but it was incredibly charming and I am pretty sure that every young dad should read it. Chabon candidly admits to many shortcomings and limitations that I think most straight men (fathers or not) share and would find comfort in relating to; as a woman, not only do I find these admissions to be endearing, but it was refreshing to confirm that all the idiotic things that I have always suspected men of thinking are indeed being thought. Politically incorrect as it may be to say, as a species we often do conform to certain gender stereotypes and sometimes it can be a relief to look at our patterns in relationships (in this case specifically parenthood and marraige) in the simplest terms possible: men think this way, women think that way. And as always, the inevitable truth is that while women are being insightful and observant, and taking care of problems before they can even arise, men are thinking about... comic books. (And perhaps how to best protect their own egos.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin Brown | 1/3/2014

    " This book would be more fitting for fathers than it was for me, but Chabon is such a good writer, I enjoyed it anyway. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard | 1/2/2014

    " A collection of short non-fiction essays. I really enjoyed Chabon's essays on parenting, no doubt due to my recent interest in the subject. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Acurtis49 | 1/1/2014

    " Correct title for the topic. A collection of essays well organized and well written though from a variety of sources exploring the different calsl to manhood. I found the collection relevant, familiar, and engaging for the perspective offered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ilia | 12/18/2013

    " Good. Absolutely worth reading if you're a father, generally worth reading anyway. Some very insightful thoughts about being a father and being a guy. Some very good thoughts on motherhood as well, and the challenges with being a good mother. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 12/16/2013

    " Loved it, especially as a companion to Bad Mother by his wife. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin Hodgson | 12/16/2013

    " Wow -- it's like reading what I've been thinking as a dad and man, but in much more coherent and intelligent form. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Jak | 12/11/2013

    " Funny, sad, fantastic! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevdavidson | 10/28/2013

    " This was my introduction to Chabon's writing. I'm looking forward to reading some of his fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Yelton | 3/9/2013

    " LOVED this book. A couple chapters drifted into "meh" but overall, Chabon writes what I think as a father. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Serafina Sands | 11/12/2012

    " I enjoyed this. It's really a rambling collection of memories and musings, lossely related to how Chabon sees himself and has experienced being a son, father, brother, husband. Like chatting with a smart friend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Owen | 8/3/2012

    " Surprisingly touching collection of essays. A little repetitive, Chabon wears his influences on his sleeve anyway and the thematic connections encourages similarity at times but still insightful, funny and bittersweet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Orin | 7/30/2012

    " There are a couple of weak bits here, but not many. By the end, I could not get the notion of comparisons with E. B. White (the master himself) out of my head. Some of these essays will be considered classics for a long time. Read it. Read it all. Soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James D. | 4/15/2012

    " Nails Fatherhood on the head ,and stirs up memories of not so long ago. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 9/29/2011

    " So far, very good read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lionel | 6/17/2011

    " It hits in so many topics that concern modern day parenting, with the reflections and insights of our collective past - I recommend this book to anyone who has given any thought to how different their childhood looks to that of the children they're raising now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan | 6/2/2011

    " I would expect nothing less from Mr. Chabon describing his life in terms of being a father, son, brother and husband. This is the kind of book that you want to give to others, over and over again. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris | 5/21/2011

    " Don't know what it says about me, but this book just didn't hold my attention. I did finish it, which means it's two stars instead of one, but I was disappointed in it given the hype. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Helen | 5/16/2011

    " Great historical fiction - held my interest all the way thru.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leslie | 4/24/2011

    " My edition is the more recent NYRB edition. Beach read, anyone? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 4/23/2011

    " love this book,made me smile the whole way through,this was the book in my pocket ehile my wife gave birth to our daughter,and those first days of three hour feeds.dipping in and out of orms world was a joy,a great romp across the viking world "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 4/17/2011

    " This was such an entertaining read. I haven't enjoyed an adventure book this much since the Three Musketeers, some well over a decade ago, which is saying quite a bit! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Martha | 4/15/2011

    " This book was a series of short tales without a plot about ancient norsemen (and a few women). The author had clever ways of stating things, some of the stories were ok, others were better. It dragged a bit too long. BUt, I recommend it to anyone whose heritage is Danish, Swedish or Norwegian! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 3/13/2011

    " Picaresque. The story is told as told stories. Could have been shorter. Has an Edgar Rice Burroughs quality, but some humor. From the NYRB out-of-print series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deana | 3/9/2011

    " I think this book is really interesting and it shows how much research the authour put into this novel.Amazing! So much detail, as if he really lived there! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 2/14/2011

    " Absolutely loved this book. I am a huge fan of historical fiction- whether it be loosely based on a specific time period or very accurate- I find it fascinating to read about how people lived in past centuries and how they viewed God- will definitely read this book again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 2/11/2011

    " Apparently everyone loves this book. The introduction by Michael Chabon is worth the purchase price. If you want to get transported completely to another time and place, pick this one up. "

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About the Author
Author Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the New York Times bestselling author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, the middle-grade book Summerland, and several others.