Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon offers a compilation of pieces about literature—age-old classics as well as his own—that presents a unique look into his literary origins and influences, the books that shaped his taste and formed his ideas about writing and reading.
Enjoyable ... Fans of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author will seize on this book to better understand the texts and experiences that shaped Chabon as an artist. More broadly, Bookends is a wander along the lost avenues and borderlands of the 20th century popular imagination ... Chabon has a critic’s awareness of poststructuralist and postmodern approaches to art and representation, with nods here and there to such writers as Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes and Walter Benjamin. But, ultimately, the success of Bookends lies in the way it demonstrates a lifelong emotional engagement with the possibilities of art, and the texts that speak to us at important moments in our lives ... Entertaining, funny and eminently readable, Bookends restores the intrinsic and illuminating role that art can play in our lives.
Is Bookends strictly for the Chabon completist? I’d recommend it for the Chabon greenhorn on up ... Bookends reveals in full measure the avid fandom flickering around the edges of much of Chabon’s fiction ... Bookends wobbles and sags in places. Chabon can frustrate as well as beguile ... Still, in an age of algorithmic 'based on your viewing history' recommendation engines, it offers — with all the serendipity, and redundancy, this entails — the gleanings of an idiosyncratic, omnivorous human mind: a destination unto itself but also a gateway to the work of others.
Glimpsing Chabon’s evolution as both reader and writer is one of many pleasures to be found in his latest offering, Bookends: Collected Intros and Outros ... What the book’s title doesn’t reveal is that these are entrees into the world of geekdom — the author as fanboy, rhapsodizing over his idols. Frankly, a book that celebrates other books requires a certain amount of fawning ... As always, [Chabon’s] prose is deliciously exuberant ... a lovely, quirky if, at times, esoteric, hodgepodge of essays. Accordingly the natural readers for this book are true devotees of Chabon’s work. Either way, this is an array of mash notes to various authors from a most eloquent book lover.