Manhood for Amateurs

📚 I finally finished a book this year, Michael Chabon’s Manhood for Amateurs. The book was written back in 2009 (which I believe is now being followed up with a sequel of sorts) and was the right book to read, as the words have resonated with me, as a newly minted father of a second son.

I started it around the time my Ryan was born and it’s taken me 6 months to complete these 300 pages. I love to read, but clearly I don’t carve enough time to carry the action out. My reading has been pretty scattered across multiple books that I never seem to finish. I’m hoping this signals a return to a more regular reading pattern.

What I also realised was that I’m not happy with how I’m reading. Or more accurately, the lack of taking notes or capturing the most interesting parts of books I read.


Here are some key quotes:

Art is a form of exploration, of sailing off into the unknown alone, heading for those unmarked places on the map. If children are not permitted - not taught - to be adventurers and explorers as children, what will become of the world of adventure, of stories, of literature itself?

Why else had they done it - built it all up so they could then knock it all down? After a marriage breaks, there is nothing more pointless than the child, to that child, of that marriage.

The song has to take you by surprise, catch you when your guard is down, when you aren’t expecting it - ideally, when you aren’t even listening to the radio at all. A bright little piece of your life passes you by in a car with the windows rolled down, wells up in the pain-relief aisle of a Rite-Aid. That kind of chance encouter can’t happen as readily on an iPod you’ve programmed yourslf.


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