More Reviews From BookChat Man

Been turning out so much stuff for the still-reading minority that I forgot to include these the other day:

If, as I think Lyndon Johnson said of himself, you don’t like to read anything that’s longer than the average bathroom visit, check out Manhood for Amateurs,  novelist Michael Chabon’s first book of essays. Most are  mere morsels compared to his often rambling tomes like The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay. But Chabon’s done some productive musing about what it means to bear the Y chromosome. Have a look   here.

Speaking of chromosomes and other scientific stuff, what if, just what if, our moods and general temperament are controlled more by some genetic endowment than by our environments or our intermittent attempts to develop a “positive attitude”? What if there’s a happiness gene, and what if–gosh, this is a lot of what ifs–(cue sinister music) the right people would pay a lot of money to get it?

That’s the idea behind the always-provocative Richard Powers’ latest novel, Generosity,  a book  full of revelatory lines that are almost koan-like in their power, such as:

We’re shaped to think the things we want will make us happy. But shaped to take only the briefest thrill in getting. Wanting is what having wants to recover.

And what if you  found it reviewed here?


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