Clearly I am not the target audience for this book. I never read forwards or afterwards, and if it was required reading in high school or college, I would mostly skim through them. I struggle to maintain the acute focus to move through such detailed and often flowery writing. Writers of these intros and outros often have to pack a lot of information into a very small amount of writing space, as their work is not the focal point of the book, but rather some icing on the cake.
However, through reading Chabon’s collection of essay, forwards, afterwards, I find a new appreciation for the mindfulness practice that is reading these short essays. They require your full attention, but when full attention is given, these are beautiful love notes for the books and stories they are written for. But not only are these essays about books, they are also about movies, albums, and more.
Contrary to my past experience with forewards and afterwards, I put in my best effort to read as many of these as possible. I found my favorites had fewer references to classical or obscure titles, and more to do with why Chabon found these works meaningful growing up. I like people more than I do analyzing influences. Some of them I still struggled with, but I found it easy to skip over those and move on to something I found more interesting. If you like essays, particularly essays about literature, this collection may be right up your alley.
I received this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.