Joint Book Review: Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon

Title: Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
Author: Michael Chabon
Genre: Essays, non-fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my own library
First line: Entertainment has a bad name.

The best part about book blogging is connecting with other book bloggers – on their blogs, on Facebook, on Twitter. There are a few book bloggers whom I consider good friends, even though I’ve never met them in person – and Kelly at The Written World is one of them. When we were chatting on Twitter last month, we talked about how we both wanted to read Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends for the Essay Reading Challenge. And so we decided to do a buddy-read and a joint review.

After we finished the book, we interviewed each other. Below you will find the question I asked Kelly, along with her answers. Click on over to her blog for her questions for me – and my answers.

Which were your two favorite essays in this collection and why?

Kelly: My two favourite essays were ‘Dark Adventure: On Cormac McCarthy’s The Road’ and ‘On Daemons & Dust’. They mainly appealed to me because I finished the stories and then I really wanted to read the books. I have read The Road before and was really impressed by it, but now I want to reread it. I also found myself really interested in his other books which are on my TBR pile and I just haven’t got around to. As for the second essay, I read Philip Pullman a couple times but I can’t seem to get interested in him like other people. Now I want to try again. He raised issues in this essay that makes me want to read more. That being said I enjoyed all the essays in this collection really. These are just the two that stand out.

Did you add any books written by authors other than Chabon to your to-read list?

Kelly: I had actually read a lot of the books mentioned in this collection. The only ones I hadn’t were the comics and the book on mythology that he read as a child. If anything it made me want to reread pretty much everything and read other things by the same authors.

Which fiction book of Chabon’s are you most excited to read?

Kelly: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I have heard really good things about it and having him mention it throughout the collection made me really want to read it. I am curious and now I really want to read a fiction book by him because his non-fiction books were really good.

Were there any essays in this collection that you didn’t particularly like?

Kelly: Not really. I think everything was really good. Yes, there were a couple I didn’t love as much as others, but overall I loved this collection and think he did a really good job of writing a strong collection.

Have you ever tried your hand at essay writing – other than for school assignments? If so, did you enjoy it?

Kelly: I only did it for school, I admit, and I didn’t like it! I don’t mind essays such as the one in this collection, but I found a lot of the essays I had to write in school pretty dull. I think that is why it was a couple years after finishing school before I started reading essays for fun!

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7 Responses to Joint Book Review: Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon

  1. Ash says:

    I love essays! But I don’t read near enough. I’ll have to check this collection out as I’m a big fan of Chabon. I think a lot of people feel essays are boring because that is what you are taught in school (kind of like history and other cool things) but there are so many great essayists out there and it is personally my favorite genre to write in.
    .-= Ash´s last blog ..I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Ash – I agree – I used to think essays were dry, boring, etc – and then a few years ago picked up Ex Libris by Fadiman, and it changed my mind. I’ve read many, many essays since then, and came up with the Essay Challenge as a way to spread the love!

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    I tried Chabon on audio (Yiddish Policemen’s Union) and I crashed and burned. Still I hear wonderful things about him. Only recently Jenners reviewed his book on parenting, and loved it. So I need to give him another try. Nice joint review!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Monday Movie Meme – So Happy Together =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sandy – I really, really hated the narrator on that one! These essays were amazing – and I’m excited to give his fiction another try.

  3. Nymeth says:

    Yes, Kelly, read Kavalier and Clay! Such a brilliant book. I saw at Kelly’s blogs that you plan to read it too, Carrie. Hooray!
    .-= Nymeth´s last blog ..Doreen by Barbara Noble =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Nymeth – yes, a bunch of us are reading it together – should be fun!

  4. Pingback: Recommended reading for the Essay Challenge – and “Why read essays?” | BOOKS AND MOVIES