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Bookends: Collected Intros and Outros

Bookends: Collected Intros and Outros

by Michael Chabon
Bookends: Collected Intros and Outros

Bookends: Collected Intros and Outros

by Michael Chabon


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A brilliant, idiosyncratic collection of introductions and afterwords (plus some liner notes) by New York Times bestselling and Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon—“one of contemporary literature’s most gifted prose stylists” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times).

In Bookends, 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. 

Chabon asks why anyone would write an introduction, or for that matter, read one. His own daughter Rose prefers to skip them. Chabon's answer is simple and simultaneously profound: "a hope of bringing pleasure for the reader." Likewise, afterwords—they are all about shared pleasure, about the "pure love" of a work of art that has inspired, awakened, transformed the reader. Ultimately, this thought-provoking compendium is a series of love letters and thank-you notes, unified by the simple theme of the shared pleasure of discovery, whether it's the boyhood revelation of the most important story in Chabon's life (Ray Bradbury's "The Rocket Man"); a celebration of "the greatest literary cartographer of the planet Mars" (Edgar Rice Burroughs, with his character John Carter); a reintroduction to a forgotten master of ghost stories (M. R. James, ironically "the happiest of men"); the recognition that the worlds of Wes Anderson's films are reassembled scale models of our own broken reality (as is all art); Chabon's own rude awakening from the muse as he writes his debut novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; or a playful parody of lyrical interpretation in the liner notes for Mark Ronson's Uptown Special, the true purpose of which, Chabon insists, is to "spread the gospel of sensible automotive safety and maintenance practices."

Galaxies away from academic or didactic, Bookends celebrates wonder—and like the copy of The Phantom Tollbooth handed to young Michael by a friend of his father he never saw again—it is a treasured gift.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062851291
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/22/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Moonglow and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, among many others. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.


Berkeley, California

Date of Birth:

May 24, 1963

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.


B.A., University of Pittsburgh; M.F.A., University of California at Irvine

Table of Contents

Meta-Introduction ix


The Wes Anderson Collection Matt Zoller Scitz 3

Trickster Makes This World Lewis Hyde 9

The Long Ships Frans G. Bengtsson 13

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy Andrew Bolton 19

Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer Ben Katchor 35

Herma MacDonald Harris 43

Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories M. R. James 47

Brown Sugar Kitchen Tanya Holland 59

Monster Man Gary Gianni 65

The Sailor on the Seas of Fate Michael Moorcock 67

American Flagg! Howard Chaykin 71

D'Aulaíres' Norse Myths Ingri Edgar Parin D'Aulaire 81

"The Rocket Man," Ray Bradbury 89

John Carter of Mars: Warlord of Mars Marv Wolfman Gil Kane et al. 91

The Escapists Brian K. Vaughan 95

Summerland 105

Fountain City, excerpt 121


Fountain City, excerpt 131

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh 135

Gentlemen of the Road 145

The Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster 151

Wonder When You'll Miss Me Amanda Davis 157

Appendix: Liner Notes

1980-1996 Carsickness 163

Uptown Special Vinyl Edition Mark Ronson 167

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