Merry Wanderer of the Night + nonfiction

Book Review: Maps and Legends

Michael Chabon's book Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands is 1. The most physically beautiful book I have ever read and 2. A manifesto about reading and writing which touts the importance of genre fiction and comic books. So take those last two things and combine them with my undying love of Michael Chabon and you have basically described a perfect book for Ash. I only had to read the first essay about the modern short story and find the following quotation before I really fell in love, "... I would like to propose expanding our definition of entertainment to encompass everything pleasurable that arises from the encounter of an attentive mind with a page of literature" (14). These are ideas that made me start my blog, but Chabon has a way of putting the ideas in my head into beautiful words on a beautiful clean white page in my McSweeney's copy.

The book is a series of essays about books, or reviews, depending on how you read them. He covers Shelock Holmes, The Road, The Golden Compass, and way more. Chabon gushes over is favorite writers, their techniques, their passion. It's a bit like reading blog posts by Chabon, which is exciting because you come away from the book with tons of book suggestions from an amazing author. If Chabon liked it I'm willing to give it a try. Since the book is a series of essay it's not really made to be a sit down and read for a couple hours book, but I read this over winter break and found myself finding excuses to escape and read... a book of essays? Is that even possible. It is my friends. Chabon writes so beautifully about books and connects them to the human experience so well that any bibliophile will drool over the (have I mentioned how beautiful this book is?) cover.

"... a mind is blown when something that you always feared but knew to be impossible turns out to be true; when the world turns out to be far vaster, far more marvelous or malevolent than you ever dreamed; when you get proof that everything is connected to everything else, that everything you know is wrong, that you are both the center of the universe and a tiny speck sailing off it nethermost edge" (93-94).

I just loved this quotation, possibly because I read it right after finals week and was feeling very much like I was sailing off the nethermost edge of my earth. But it is a really good example of how Chabon can work words and make a series of essays something that is incredibly captivating. I'm really not doing it justice, if you love to read you will at least kind of like this book.

And now I have to verbally drool over the cover a little bit. There are three parts to the book jacket, each depicting a different world. The illustrations are beautiful and if you need a break from reading you can always take one of the jackets off the book and explore that world for a little while. You can be entertained by this book without even reading. It's fabulous! The pages are nice thick paper and the most vibrant white I have ever seen in my entire life. Even if you don't like that book that much I'm sure you will squeal with delight just holding it.

I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you make a purchase using one of my links I will earn a small percentage which will then go back into this blog.

book review, essay collection, LIFE, love story, and more:

Book Review: Maps and Legends + nonfiction