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“Magical prose stylist” Michael Chabon (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times) delivers a collection of essays—heartfelt, humorous, insightful, wise—on the meaning of fatherhood. For the September 2016 issue of GQ, Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son Abraham Chabon, then thirteen, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Possessed with a precocious sense of style, Abe wa “Magical prose stylist” Michael Chabon (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times) delivers a collection of essays—heartfelt, humorous, insightful, wise—on the meaning of fatherhood. For the September 2016 issue of GQ, Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son Abraham Chabon, then thirteen, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Possessed with a precocious sense of style, Abe was in his element chatting with designers he idolized and turning a critical eye to the freshest runway looks of the season; Chabon Sr., whose interest in clothing stops at “thrift-shopping for vintage western shirts or Hermès neckties,” sat idly by, staving off yawns and fighting the impulse that the whole thing was a massive waste of time. Despite his own indifference, however, what gradually emerged as Chabon ferried his son to and from fashion shows was a deep respect for his son’s passion. The piece quickly became a viral sensation. With the GQ story as its centerpiece, and featuring six additional essays plus an introduction, Pops illuminates the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood as only Michael Chabon can.


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“Magical prose stylist” Michael Chabon (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times) delivers a collection of essays—heartfelt, humorous, insightful, wise—on the meaning of fatherhood. For the September 2016 issue of GQ, Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son Abraham Chabon, then thirteen, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Possessed with a precocious sense of style, Abe wa “Magical prose stylist” Michael Chabon (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times) delivers a collection of essays—heartfelt, humorous, insightful, wise—on the meaning of fatherhood. For the September 2016 issue of GQ, Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son Abraham Chabon, then thirteen, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Possessed with a precocious sense of style, Abe was in his element chatting with designers he idolized and turning a critical eye to the freshest runway looks of the season; Chabon Sr., whose interest in clothing stops at “thrift-shopping for vintage western shirts or Hermès neckties,” sat idly by, staving off yawns and fighting the impulse that the whole thing was a massive waste of time. Despite his own indifference, however, what gradually emerged as Chabon ferried his son to and from fashion shows was a deep respect for his son’s passion. The piece quickly became a viral sensation. With the GQ story as its centerpiece, and featuring six additional essays plus an introduction, Pops illuminates the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood as only Michael Chabon can.

30 review for Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    A small book of essays chronicling Chabon role as father. The first essay shows Chabon, not yet married, not yet a popular author receiving advice from a noted author. His main nugget of advice, was never to have children as they g away the needed time and concentration to write. Much humor here. Four children later he writes about his role as a father, his role as a male femsnist with two daughters of his own. Looks back to his own mother and father, advice he was given by his mother, his father A small book of essays chronicling Chabon role as father. The first essay shows Chabon, not yet married, not yet a popular author receiving advice from a noted author. His main nugget of advice, was never to have children as they g away the needed time and concentration to write. Much humor here. Four children later he writes about his role as a father, his role as a male femsnist with two daughters of his own. Looks back to his own mother and father, advice he was given by his mother, his father who he finds difficult but clearly loves him. Fashion week with his thirteen year old son, who has a distinct child style of his own. There is a great deal of humor, some significant insights in this timely collection. I love his style of writing, his honesty here, his vulnerability, and I think he would be a very interesting man to meet. A short collection, but an entertaining one.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse

    Audiobook....read by Michael Chabon WORKS FOR ME!!!!! I’ve no complaints!!!! I could sit and listen to ‘both’ Michael and his lovely wife Ayelet Waldman talk about their family, their marriage, their jobs, ....heck and what they ate for breakfast many times over and still look forward to my next fix. I adore Michael Chabon & Ayelet... so don’t even ask me to not be bias. This book is filled with a father’s love for his children!!! Loved every minute of this Audiobook 💕

  3. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "Once they're written, my books, unlike my children, hold no wonder for me; no mystery resides in them." - Michael Chabon, Pops Fundamentally, this seems like a leaner, thinner, Manhood for Amateurs, (Part II: Fatherhood). It was good, and some of the essays were great even. But like a lame, awkward untwisting of the old the Woody Allen joke from Annie Hall: "Boy, the stories in this book weren't bad," "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about the book. I l "Once they're written, my books, unlike my children, hold no wonder for me; no mystery resides in them." - Michael Chabon, Pops Fundamentally, this seems like a leaner, thinner, Manhood for Amateurs, (Part II: Fatherhood). It was good, and some of the essays were great even. But like a lame, awkward untwisting of the old the Woody Allen joke from Annie Hall: "Boy, the stories in this book weren't bad," "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about the book. I love love Chabon (not a completest, but the horizon is close), adore his prose, his outlook, and his wacky metaphors. I sometimes even got the serious feels with these stories as a husband and father. But, alas, just about when I'm getting all Chaboned-up, the book is over. Anyway, the thin book contains the followings stories, just in time for father's day: 1. Little Man (in GQ as 'My Son the Prince of Fashion') 2. Adventures in Euphamism 3. The Bubble People 4. Against Dickitude 5. The Old Ball Game 6. Be Cool or Be Cast Out 7. Pops (in the New Yorker as 'The Recipe for Life')

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Quann

    During a time in which the artist-vs-art debate has reached a fever pitch, it is positively delightful to discover that one of my favourite authors happens to be a guy worthy of admiration for both his work and his conduct. Listened to over two hours and change of chores and food prep, Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces is a stellar audiobook compilation of Chabon's reflections on fatherhood. Though I'm more familiar with Chabon's fiction, he does a splendid job infusing the same sense of wonder, intell During a time in which the artist-vs-art debate has reached a fever pitch, it is positively delightful to discover that one of my favourite authors happens to be a guy worthy of admiration for both his work and his conduct. Listened to over two hours and change of chores and food prep, Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces is a stellar audiobook compilation of Chabon's reflections on fatherhood. Though I'm more familiar with Chabon's fiction, he does a splendid job infusing the same sense of wonder, intelligence, word-play, and empathy into these essays as he does his imagined tales. It was a pleasure to discover that Chabon's verbose and superlatively imagined style extends to his nonfiction writing. Chabon's children pop off the page with minuscule details that show his affection for them and attention to their lives. Each of these stories tackles a moment in which Chabon is confronted with his own parenting challenges or when his children have surprised him with their comportment. Each of these stories is warm and suffused with hard-earned wisdom and bolstered by Chabon's decision to narrate the audiobook. Though the theme of fatherhood unites the stories, there's sufficient variety here that had me listen to the entire running time in a single session. Chabon delivers a thoughtful meditation on male privilege, consent, feminism, and his own fumbles in past relationships that centre around a text conversation between his son and a love interest. A journey to Paris fashion week with his sartorially gifted son makes for a hilarious lambast of high fashion and a touching attempt to understand his offspring. The closing story dealing with his ailing father also makes for a poignant and beautiful finish to the entire collection. As I've said in a previous review, Chabon never writes the same book twice. Though this is nonfiction, a lot of the warmth and humanity that has drawn me to his previous books is present in Pops: A Fatherhood in Pieces. If his previous book--the partially-nonfictional Moonglow--felt elegiac then, Pops is a sharp turn towards the optimistic and uplifting. Whatever he's up to next, you can be sure I'll be picking it up!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    This was another impulse grab at the library's new (accent on new - like only five days old!) release shelf which turned out to be quite the unexpected pleasure. I had never read anything by Chabon before - although his The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a 'to-read' and has gathering dust on my bookshelf for a few years - I'm now kind of curious about his other work. Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces pretty much lays it out right there in the title. It is a collection of essays - some prev This was another impulse grab at the library's new (accent on new - like only five days old!) release shelf which turned out to be quite the unexpected pleasure. I had never read anything by Chabon before - although his The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a 'to-read' and has gathering dust on my bookshelf for a few years - I'm now kind of curious about his other work. Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces pretty much lays it out right there in the title. It is a collection of essays - some previously published in the magazines GQ and Details - about the responsibilities of being a father in America, raising good children in this society, and also touches on being a son in the 'sandwich generation.' Chabon's style is conversational and fairly straightforward, and he is equally humorous and sincere. I think the only negative thing I can say is that I wish it were three times longer than its scant 125 pages. Now excuse me while I go hug my kids and then phone my dad.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Violet wells

    I haven't actually read this. It's an indication of how ridiculously prodigious is Chabon's output that he's written two books about fatherhood. I mistakenly thought I was reading this; in fact I've just finished the other one!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel León

    A slim book that has some great essays in it. It's only 127 (tiny) pages though, so it feels pretty incomplete and not like a real book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Forsyth

    Michael Chabon's been one of my favourites for years, but I don't think he was in my top 5 until a couple of years ago when I read his piece "The Old Ball Game" on his website. It's a beautiful piece about baseball and family that always brings a tear to my eye, and firmly established him in my mind as a writer of another calibre. I'm so excited it's been included here. Chabon's not a sentimentalist, but his writing is shot through with compassion, especially in regards to his family. The beauti Michael Chabon's been one of my favourites for years, but I don't think he was in my top 5 until a couple of years ago when I read his piece "The Old Ball Game" on his website. It's a beautiful piece about baseball and family that always brings a tear to my eye, and firmly established him in my mind as a writer of another calibre. I'm so excited it's been included here. Chabon's not a sentimentalist, but his writing is shot through with compassion, especially in regards to his family. The beautiful warmth and humanity of his writing here will make you smile and bring those close to you even closer.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scott Foley

    Pops is a very slim collection of nonfiction essays.  I particularly enjoy Chabon's nonfiction because he is unafraid.  He addresses topics that would scare most authors.  Specifically, he has no issues admitting that fatherhood, and manhood for that matter, is a bit of a work in progress for him.  Even though none of us have it figured out, he readily admits that fact. Remember, Chabon is a world-renowned Pulitzer Prize winner.  He should have an ego the size of a mansion, but he doesn't.  His h Pops is a very slim collection of nonfiction essays.  I particularly enjoy Chabon's nonfiction because he is unafraid.  He addresses topics that would scare most authors.  Specifically, he has no issues admitting that fatherhood, and manhood for that matter, is a bit of a work in progress for him.  Even though none of us have it figured out, he readily admits that fact. Remember, Chabon is a world-renowned Pulitzer Prize winner.  He should have an ego the size of a mansion, but he doesn't.  His humility is both refreshing and inspiring. At just 127 pages, Pops succinctly delves into Chabon's adventures in fatherhood.  If I'm not mistaken, each of his children serves as the focus of an essay.  The themes range from discovering the true nature of a child to seizing upon missed opportunities to trying to teach boys not to act like assholes.  There's much more, of course, but the unifying factor throughout is Chabon admitting to his own mistakes and simply trying to do the best he can. The book ends, interestingly enough, with Chabon writing an essay about his own father.  If you are a consistent reader of Chabon, you understand that this is well-covered ground.  He is not mean when it comes to his own father, yet he also isn't sugarcoating anything.  It's obvious that he loves his own dad, but it's also apparent that he didn't always like the man. If find it fascinating that in a book about his own trials, tribulations, and triumphs as a father, he ends on a note that helps us to understand the events that forged the sort of father he would one day become.  Now, I trust Chabon completely.  I've been reading him since 2004, and I've never had reason to doubt his honor or sincerity.  However, it is worth noting that in all his recollections regarding his father, we've only had his unique perspective.  And now, in writing about himself as a father, we only have his point of view.  What would his own children say about these essays?  Will they find Chabon's writing compatible with their own personal experiences? Chabon is incredibly intelligent.  It would not surprise me at all if he were to have his children participate in a podcast or an interview or something to serve as a companion piece to this novel.  It simply struck me as an interesting thought. As always, Chabon delivers beautiful prose describing his escapades in parenting.  If you love his writing, you'll love this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    SueKich

    Top of the Pops. A slender book of essays on fatherhood by my favourite author. I only wish this had been longer. Warm, witty and wise, each piece has something recognisable to say about parenthood and says it in such a way that will bring a smile to the face or a tear to the eye. Ah, Michael Chabon, how wonderfully you write…

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    Every book from Chabon is a gift. This one is a collection of short pieces on fatherhood. I'd read most of them before. They're all worth re-reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Keen

    3.5 Stars! “If none of my books turn out to be among that bright remnant because I allowed my children to steal my time, narrow my compass, and curtail my freedom, I’m all right with that. Once they’re written, my books, unlike my children, hold no wonder for me; no mystery resides in them. Unlike my children, my books are cruelly unforgiving of my weaknesses, failings, and flaws of character. Most of all, my books, unlike my children, do not love me back.” This is a quote from the opening recolle 3.5 Stars! “If none of my books turn out to be among that bright remnant because I allowed my children to steal my time, narrow my compass, and curtail my freedom, I’m all right with that. Once they’re written, my books, unlike my children, hold no wonder for me; no mystery resides in them. Unlike my children, my books are cruelly unforgiving of my weaknesses, failings, and flaws of character. Most of all, my books, unlike my children, do not love me back.” This is a quote from the opening recollection, where Chabon recalls an encounter at a party with a famous, though unnamed Southern writer, who gives him some life advice. The first thing to notice about this book, is that it is a lean offering at 127 small pages. It’s one of those diminutive hardbacks that rely on some aesthetically pleasing trickery to try and distract you from the lack of pages, cushioning the blow of the low word count by focusing more on the presentation. So basically that means that a full page is given over to announce each essay title and the back of that same page is blank, all to pad it out just that bit more, visually pleasing yes, but also a wee bit cheeky and mean too. But of course the most important thing here is the quality of the writing, and Chabon does not disappoint. He is good company. This is a follow up of sorts to his “Manhood For Amateurs”, this would be an EP to that LP. He focuses on many aspects of fatherhood. Whether in Paris for fashion week with his 13 year old son, watching his son play Little League Baseball or telling bedtime stories, his writing is always smooth and compelling. These are deeply personal essays, and are told with restraint, sensitivity and great economy. At various points these are touching, intimate, confessional and powerful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon is a very highly recommended collection of seven short essays. It is a sheer pleasure to reads these essays all thematically linked to fatherhood. There are poignant, funny, contemplative, and universal moments in this short collection that will leave a lasting impression on the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole collection. Contents include: The Opposite of Writing: Chabon, father of four, contemplates the advice given to him by a successful writer Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon is a very highly recommended collection of seven short essays. It is a sheer pleasure to reads these essays all thematically linked to fatherhood. There are poignant, funny, contemplative, and universal moments in this short collection that will leave a lasting impression on the reader. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole collection. Contents include: The Opposite of Writing: Chabon, father of four, contemplates the advice given to him by a successful writer when he was young. The man told him to not have children if he wants to write great books. Little Man: A wonderful piece about taking his youngest son, Abraham Chabon, to fashion week in Paris. Abe is a young man who just loves clothes and wants to do something in fashion. Adventures in Euphemism: Reflections on editing out offensive words and replacing them with a substitute word when reading a story to his children - something many parents have struggled with. The Bubble People: While we may refer to living in certain areas as living in a bubble, the truth be told, we are all living in a bubble - for exactly one. Against Dickitude: Thoughts about teaching his son to not be a jerk to girls. The Old Ball Game: Chabon muses about when he tried to talk his son out of playing baseball, and why he did so, even though he personally loves the game. Be Cool or Be Cast Out: Thoughts about the stress a group of socially repressive twelve-year junior high students can inflict on each other. Pops: Chabon shares a memory about his own father. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins. http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2018/0...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jim Brennan

    Michael Chabon writes stories about his experiences in fatherhood in the style of a mesmerizing novelist. He describes characters and settings with the perfection of an author who sees what most mortals overlook. The opening story, Little Man, about taking his teenage son to Paris fashion week, is endearing even if you have no interest in fashion, which I had little before I read the story and then became self-conscious about my attire. Chabon had me laughing with his story, Against Dicktitude, Michael Chabon writes stories about his experiences in fatherhood in the style of a mesmerizing novelist. He describes characters and settings with the perfection of an author who sees what most mortals overlook. The opening story, Little Man, about taking his teenage son to Paris fashion week, is endearing even if you have no interest in fashion, which I had little before I read the story and then became self-conscious about my attire. Chabon had me laughing with his story, Against Dicktitude, a tale about teaching his son not to be a dick, a label he freely assigns to himself for his own sickish behavior he describes in hilarious detail. His closing story, Pops, is about the strained relationship between himself and his father, a doctor. The premise of the story is about his father taking him on house calls as a child where he'd perform a physical on patients for insurance companies at night to supplement his income. A patient asks little Michael, "So, you want to be a doctor too?" a question that Chabon uses to explore all of the ways his father was detached from him and in subtle ways showed off his superiority, intellect, and manhood. The final scene is Chabon getting a phone call about his father's failing health, wondering whether he'd make it to his beside before he passed away, and finally lying in bed with him watching old movie classics, bringing back memories of when he was an innocent child and loved his father. A great read, and perfect Father's Day gift.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    There is no question in my mind that Michael Chabon is our nation's finest writer, writing today. He is incapable of writing anything that is banal or half-hearted. This tiny book (only 127 pages) is another example of originality, empathy and self-awareness that astonishes me. It's not the first time that he has written about fatherhood, but his son is now 13 and the "show-stopper" at the Men's Fashion Show in Paris (while Chabon is supposed to be writing an article on the show for GQ). For tha There is no question in my mind that Michael Chabon is our nation's finest writer, writing today. He is incapable of writing anything that is banal or half-hearted. This tiny book (only 127 pages) is another example of originality, empathy and self-awareness that astonishes me. It's not the first time that he has written about fatherhood, but his son is now 13 and the "show-stopper" at the Men's Fashion Show in Paris (while Chabon is supposed to be writing an article on the show for GQ). For that story alone, you should run out and buy this book. But then keep reading and you will love "Against Dickitude:" and the rest of the singular (but associated) articles. Then, if you haven't read it, for heaven's sake go back and read "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh," that first book that showed all of us what was to come from this writer, who was to go on to win the Pulitzer for Fiction - and who knows what and how many books yet to come.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    My wife gave me this book for Fathers Day. We’re both Chabon fans and this one doesn’t disappoint, at least not in terms of being well written by Chabon. But, it gets 4 stars for the following reasons: 1) It is all reprinted articles from various magazines, although that, in itself, is not worthy of removing a star 2) For a book of essays, it’s entirely too short. I need more! and 3) I’m still angry about the ending of ‘Against Dickitude’ and it has been 24 hours since I read it. Seriously?!? It My wife gave me this book for Fathers Day. We’re both Chabon fans and this one doesn’t disappoint, at least not in terms of being well written by Chabon. But, it gets 4 stars for the following reasons: 1) It is all reprinted articles from various magazines, although that, in itself, is not worthy of removing a star 2) For a book of essays, it’s entirely too short. I need more! and 3) I’m still angry about the ending of ‘Against Dickitude’ and it has been 24 hours since I read it. Seriously?!? It was a great essay, right up til the end then it’s just, to quote Chabon himself, farbisn. Honestly, it should be 5 stars because both ‘Pops’ and ‘The Old Ball Game’ hit me right in the feels and all of them are truly gifted writings on being a father. Looking for a good book for your dad for Fathers Day next year? This is it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Sherman

    I've read a lot of Chabon, but all fiction, so it was interesting to read some of his non-fiction. Just before his first novel was written, a great writer (unnamed) gave him what the author considered his most important piece of advice to be a good novelist: don't have children. This series of essays reveal why he thinks having his four kids was better. "my books, unlike my children, do not love me back." this is a very intimate revealing look at relationships between a father and his children t I've read a lot of Chabon, but all fiction, so it was interesting to read some of his non-fiction. Just before his first novel was written, a great writer (unnamed) gave him what the author considered his most important piece of advice to be a good novelist: don't have children. This series of essays reveal why he thinks having his four kids was better. "my books, unlike my children, do not love me back." this is a very intimate revealing look at relationships between a father and his children that is a great read if you are a parent or a child. Only 126 pages, it reads fast but stays with you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lillian

    Reading Chabon is like listening to a symphony. His prose washes over and through me and fills me with happiness. He is such an amazing writer. Much like his previous collection of essays, Manhood For Amateurs, he is deeply serious and reflective about fatherhood. Yet this portrait is more intimate such that by the end I felt his children and I had become friends. The signature piece written initially for the September 2016 issue of GQ magazine where Chabon accompanied his thirteen year old son t Reading Chabon is like listening to a symphony. His prose washes over and through me and fills me with happiness. He is such an amazing writer. Much like his previous collection of essays, Manhood For Amateurs, he is deeply serious and reflective about fatherhood. Yet this portrait is more intimate such that by the end I felt his children and I had become friends. The signature piece written initially for the September 2016 issue of GQ magazine where Chabon accompanied his thirteen year old son to Paris Men's Fashion Week is just as enjoyable now as it was initially. Six additional essays round out the collection all in Chabon's magical, iridescent prose. Thank you HarperCollins for the advanced reader's edition.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    This is seven essays on being a parent to his four children and a son to his father. In the first essay he brings his fashion- forward 13 year- old son to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Where Chabon Sr. finds the whole thing a massive waste of time, his son finds his people there. In “Be Cool or Be Cast Out,” Chabon relates as a twelve- year old, he had a t-shirt made reading ‘Libertine,’ which he chose to define as freethinker, not male slut. “Pops” is about Chabon’s father the doctor, who when Chab This is seven essays on being a parent to his four children and a son to his father. In the first essay he brings his fashion- forward 13 year- old son to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Where Chabon Sr. finds the whole thing a massive waste of time, his son finds his people there. In “Be Cool or Be Cast Out,” Chabon relates as a twelve- year old, he had a t-shirt made reading ‘Libertine,’ which he chose to define as freethinker, not male slut. “Pops” is about Chabon’s father the doctor, who when Chabon (then junior) was a child, his father took him to appointments after hours for insurance physicals. As a Chabon almost- completist, I was very glad to read this. I borrowed this from my public library.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    “After he’s gone into that all too imaginable darkness— soon enough now— I will have found another purpose for the superpower that my father discovered in me, one evening half a century ago, riding the solitary rails of my imagination into our mutual story, into the future we envisioned and the history we actually accumulated; into the vanished world that once included him.” Precisely the book that I needed to read at this moment in my journey. I only wish that my dad was around to read this one “After he’s gone into that all too imaginable darkness— soon enough now— I will have found another purpose for the superpower that my father discovered in me, one evening half a century ago, riding the solitary rails of my imagination into our mutual story, into the future we envisioned and the history we actually accumulated; into the vanished world that once included him.” Precisely the book that I needed to read at this moment in my journey. I only wish that my dad was around to read this one too; he would have loved it!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brett Yanta

    There is a distinct excitement I feel, a unique thrill, when there are new Michael Chabon works to read. I love his love of language, the joy and precision with which he crafts sentences, and the care and thought he gives into everything. So much of this work was not only a pleasure to read, but touching and heartfelt looks at fatherhood from both sides of it. I particularly loved The Old Ball Game and Against Dickitude, and was really touched by the insight at the end of Little Man. A great col There is a distinct excitement I feel, a unique thrill, when there are new Michael Chabon works to read. I love his love of language, the joy and precision with which he crafts sentences, and the care and thought he gives into everything. So much of this work was not only a pleasure to read, but touching and heartfelt looks at fatherhood from both sides of it. I particularly loved The Old Ball Game and Against Dickitude, and was really touched by the insight at the end of Little Man. A great collection by a great writer. Now I need to go text my dad.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Don Gorman

    (3). I m normally not a short story kind of guy and I have had some trouble in the past getting through Chabon's novels, but the review of this book resonated with me so I got it from the library. It came at the right time, right after Tom Wolfe passed away and I was ready to revisit some of his works. This is a nice little collection. Two of the stories, the longer ones about his son and his father are really touching and insightful. Chabon is very talented, I saw him deliver a piece he wrote e (3). I m normally not a short story kind of guy and I have had some trouble in the past getting through Chabon's novels, but the review of this book resonated with me so I got it from the library. It came at the right time, right after Tom Wolfe passed away and I was ready to revisit some of his works. This is a nice little collection. Two of the stories, the longer ones about his son and his father are really touching and insightful. Chabon is very talented, I saw him deliver a piece he wrote especially for a fundraising event here in Columbus, Ohio where I live a couple of years ago, and he was mesmerizing. A really nice change of pace, it won't take much of your day and it will leave you with a smile.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lachmi Khemlani

    While I was overall somewhat disappointed by Pops -- it seemed to cover too little ground to be a “full-fledged” book -- there was one sentiment expressed in the book that was so profound that it simply blew my mind away and made the book a must-read. Read my full review at: https://bookswehaveread.com/2018/07/1...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    A lovely collection to read on the week I became a father

  25. 5 out of 5

    Haydon

    Short, poignant, and witty essays on fatherhood and the impact we can have on those closest to us.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    4.5 Stars

  27. 4 out of 5

    John Lamb

    Wish it was longer.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Howard Cincotta

    The first essay in this small collection, “Little Man,” is worth the price of admission: an account of the author accompanying his younger son, who has been obsessed with clothing his whole life, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Chabon brilliantly evokes the alien world of high fashion and offers glimpses into the dizzying connections and shifts in street fashion — T-shirts and sneakers — and the clothing worn by languid models on darkened runways . But Chabon’s chief focus is a nagging question mos The first essay in this small collection, “Little Man,” is worth the price of admission: an account of the author accompanying his younger son, who has been obsessed with clothing his whole life, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Chabon brilliantly evokes the alien world of high fashion and offers glimpses into the dizzying connections and shifts in street fashion — T-shirts and sneakers — and the clothing worn by languid models on darkened runways . But Chabon’s chief focus is a nagging question most parents end up asking: how did I raise such a strange and individual child? Chabon is too skilled a writer — and too smart a parent — to answer that question definitely. Instead, he serves up a slender highly entertaining account of some of his close encounters with his own children and his unique experience of parenthood. In “Against Dickitude,” Chabon provides a predictable but engaging attack on traditional patriarchy. He doesn’t excuses his own past behavior and assumptions of privilege (mild by #MeToo standards). But he’s also employing a light touch as he considers his son’s smartphone habits and delivering a gentle if pointed parental rebuke. “The Old Ball Game” is as close to a traditional family memory as Chabon gets. He has no real lesson to impart, except to confirm that, for me, Little League baseball consisted of standing around and waiting to fail. Like Chabon, I, too, have found that the attractions of baseball have waned, perhaps inevitably — except when you’re watching a good game with one of your children. The final piece, “Pops,” is a curious one. Chabon recalls making house calls with his physician father, and being uncomfortable when asked if he were going to be a doctor like his dad, which he clearly had no interest in becoming. His relationship with his father was fraught, we get that. But there is a great deal left unsaid here, and for once the dazzling mask of Chabon’s language can’t quite hide the fact that he is squirming a bit and hiding a great deal from us. (I have a feeling that a Chabon memoir, featuring dear old dad, may be somewhere out there in the future.) But “Pops” does contain an epiphany that has nothing to do with fathers and sons. Sitting in a restaurant as his father listed bare-bones names from the past, the child Chabon discovered the power of his own imagination, long before he understood he was a writer. Chabon recounts: In my head, in what I was just coming to understand without even putting a name to it, was my imagination, I felt that I was or had been present on Flatbush Avenue at the time of [my father’s] vivid, vanished childhood. I did not know how I was managing the trick or what it might be good for — I was not even necessarily aware that I was doing it — but I knew immediately that it was my secret superpower.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    I had to read Pops after hearing an interview that went deeper into these short essays about Michael Chabon's father, whom he loved and admired, and his desire to be not just be a father but an attentive father. A father that can surround his children with love and understanding. https://www.npr.org/2018/05/21/612994... Through his experiences, as told in these essays, we learn that "Unlike my own father, I would be around for my children whenever they needed me, over breakfast, doing homework, w I had to read Pops after hearing an interview that went deeper into these short essays about Michael Chabon's father, whom he loved and admired, and his desire to be not just be a father but an attentive father. A father that can surround his children with love and understanding. https://www.npr.org/2018/05/21/612994... Through his experiences, as told in these essays, we learn that "Unlike my own father, I would be around for my children whenever they needed me, over breakfast, doing homework, when they learned to swim, to cook, to ride a bicycle; when they cried into their pillows. I would be present in my children's lives. In short, my door would always be open to them." Until a successful writer told him so, it had never occurred to him that this ambition might be incompatible with the practice of writing. "Writers needed to be irresponsible, ultimately, to everything but the writing, free of commitments to everything but the daily word count. Children, by contrast, needed stability, consistency, routine, and above all, commitment; children are the opposite of writing." "If none of my books turns out to be among that bright remnant because I allowed my (4)children to steal my time, narrow my compass, and curtail my freedom, I'm all right with that. Once they're written, my books, unlike my children, hold no wonder for me; no mystery resides in them. Unlike my children, my books are cruelly unforgiving of my weaknesses, failings, and flaws of character. Most of all, my books, unlike my children, do not love me back." The eight short essays included in this treatise are sweet and satisfying. They are remembrances of what it is like to be a child and to be a parent as only a skilled writer can describe and explain with words that will resonate and linger in your memory of special stories.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Houle

    I once heard a remark, presumably attributed to Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, that you can do two out of three things in life: be a writer, have a job that supports your writing until you “make it,” and have children. You can be a writer and have a job, but cannot have children at the same time. You can also have children and have a job, but cannot sustain yourself as a writer. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, or if Atwood is indeed the source of that paraphrase, but Pulitzer Prize-winning I once heard a remark, presumably attributed to Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, that you can do two out of three things in life: be a writer, have a job that supports your writing until you “make it,” and have children. You can be a writer and have a job, but cannot have children at the same time. You can also have children and have a job, but cannot sustain yourself as a writer. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, or if Atwood is indeed the source of that paraphrase, but Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon recounts a similar conversation he had with another writer many years ago in the introduction to his upcoming essays collection, Pops, that left him with the same impression: that he could not write and have children. Well, Chabon has made a career for himself and is the father to two sons and two daughters, so that pretty much makes that anecdote moot. Pops is a stop-gap collection that is relatively brief: at about 140 pages, it took me an hour and a half to devour its contents. All of the essays are about the relation he has with his children, save for the final self-titled essay which is about his relationship with his doctor father. At the book’s centerpiece is an article that Chabon wrote for GQ magazine about his then 13-year-old son attending Paris Fashion Week. The son was in his element, but the father (known in the essay as the son’s “minder”) was bored out of his skull. However, Chabon comes to realize his son’s passion for clothing, and comes to a sort of understanding about his son. That piece went viral, and it probably merits the publication of this book: to milk extra revenue from it. (To wit, Pops has a first printing run of 150,000 copies.) Read the rest here: https://medium.com/@zachary_houle/a-r...

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