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The Book of Men: Eighty Writers on How to Be a Man

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EIGHTY PIECES OF SHORT FICTION AND NONFICTION ON MANHOOD BY SOME OF THE WORLD'S BEST WRITERS, PRESENTED BY COLUM MCCANN, ESQUIRE, AND NARRATIVE 4 To help launch the literary nonprofit Narrative 4, Esquire asked eighty of the world's greatest writers to chip in with a story, all with the title, "How to Be a Man." The result is The Book of Men, an unflinching investigation int EIGHTY PIECES OF SHORT FICTION AND NONFICTION ON MANHOOD BY SOME OF THE WORLD'S BEST WRITERS, PRESENTED BY COLUM MCCANN, ESQUIRE, AND NARRATIVE 4 To help launch the literary nonprofit Narrative 4, Esquire asked eighty of the world's greatest writers to chip in with a story, all with the title, "How to Be a Man." The result is The Book of Men, an unflinching investigation into the essence of masculinity. The Book of Men probes, with the poignant honesty and imagination that only these writers could deliver, the slippery condition of manhood. You will find men striving and searching, learning and failing to learn, triumphing and aspiring; men who are lost and men navigating their way toward redemption. These stories don't just explore what it is to be a man or how to achieve manliness, but ultimately what it is to be a human—with all of its uncertainty, complexity, clumsiness, and beauty. With contributions from literary luminaries as diverse as the subjects they capture, and curated by the editors of Esquire, National Book Award winner Colum McCann, and Narrative 4, a global nonprofit devoted to using storytelling as a means to empathy, The Book of Men might not teach you how to negotiate a deal or mix a Manhattan, but it does scratch at that most eternal of questions: What is a man?


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EIGHTY PIECES OF SHORT FICTION AND NONFICTION ON MANHOOD BY SOME OF THE WORLD'S BEST WRITERS, PRESENTED BY COLUM MCCANN, ESQUIRE, AND NARRATIVE 4 To help launch the literary nonprofit Narrative 4, Esquire asked eighty of the world's greatest writers to chip in with a story, all with the title, "How to Be a Man." The result is The Book of Men, an unflinching investigation int EIGHTY PIECES OF SHORT FICTION AND NONFICTION ON MANHOOD BY SOME OF THE WORLD'S BEST WRITERS, PRESENTED BY COLUM MCCANN, ESQUIRE, AND NARRATIVE 4 To help launch the literary nonprofit Narrative 4, Esquire asked eighty of the world's greatest writers to chip in with a story, all with the title, "How to Be a Man." The result is The Book of Men, an unflinching investigation into the essence of masculinity. The Book of Men probes, with the poignant honesty and imagination that only these writers could deliver, the slippery condition of manhood. You will find men striving and searching, learning and failing to learn, triumphing and aspiring; men who are lost and men navigating their way toward redemption. These stories don't just explore what it is to be a man or how to achieve manliness, but ultimately what it is to be a human—with all of its uncertainty, complexity, clumsiness, and beauty. With contributions from literary luminaries as diverse as the subjects they capture, and curated by the editors of Esquire, National Book Award winner Colum McCann, and Narrative 4, a global nonprofit devoted to using storytelling as a means to empathy, The Book of Men might not teach you how to negotiate a deal or mix a Manhattan, but it does scratch at that most eternal of questions: What is a man?

30 review for The Book of Men: Eighty Writers on How to Be a Man

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eric Lin

    An interesting collection of writing by eighty different writers (both male and female) about "how to be a man". Some of these were really good, but most of these were just ok. Some of them I even actively disliked. Here's what I really liked: - the essays that sum up a feeling really well (David Gilbert and Khaled Hosseini) - the essays that are one paragraph, but end up somehow being better than the long, vague ones (Ron Carlson's was my favorite) - the ones that make sure you remember that being An interesting collection of writing by eighty different writers (both male and female) about "how to be a man". Some of these were really good, but most of these were just ok. Some of them I even actively disliked. Here's what I really liked: - the essays that sum up a feeling really well (David Gilbert and Khaled Hosseini) - the essays that are one paragraph, but end up somehow being better than the long, vague ones (Ron Carlson's was my favorite) - the ones that make sure you remember that being a man isn't all smoked meats and Axe body wash (Liz Moore has a good one) However, I think there might be something inherently wrong about the approach of getting 80 of the world's 'best writers' to each contribute one essay. It's like getting a bunch of the smartest people in the world in one room. They'd be even more insufferable than usual, because they would all be trying to show each other up. Here's what I wish there had been less of: - essays where it's really unclear what's happening, until the very end. I get that you're going for that thing where the reader feels like the wool got lifted up over their eyes at the end, but when 1/5 of the essays try to do this (and most of them not particularly well), it starts feeling like everyone is trying too hard. - the vague 'what are you even talking about' story. Being a man is mysterious. That's part of the point, I'm sure. But do we really need essays that start like this? "She walked around me three times. Each revolution took about half an hour. On the first pass, I saw black waterproof boots and pants. Second pass, a bright orange parka, hood up." I'm sorry but what the fuck are you even talking about? - When they try to make their essay a poem. It's an essay, not a poem. There also isn't so much happening that you need to mark off sections with roman numerals so that the reader knows that a different thing is happening each paragraph. Your 300-word essay doesn't need a line break between each short , vague sentence that you wrote, just so the reader has a 'pause'. This is the essayist equivalent of how rappers drop a clever reference, and then feel the need to ask 'get it?'. We get it. Or don't. They say that the act of great writing is subtractive, not additive (Zinsser). Cut this down to the 20 best, and I'd have given it 5 stars. My advice for anyone reading these is to trust your gut when reading, and feel free to skip ones that you sense are trying a little too hard. You're probably right.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hulyacln

    80 yazar,80 öykü, tek konu: erkek’lik algısı. . Baba,eş,evlat,arkadaş,kardeş..Hangi sıfatla adlandırılırsa adlandırılsın; içinde yaşadığımız toplumlar tarafından yüklenilmiş ve tanımlandırılmaya çalışılan roller mevcut. Kadın-erkek olarak değil, kadınlık-erkeklik üzerine koyulan her isim aslında birer tuğla omuzlarımıza yüklenen. ‘Erkek isen çalış ve aileni geçindir. Erkek isen arkanda evlatlar bırak. Erkek isen ağlama. Erkek isen baskın ol.’ Yap-yapma temelli dayatmaların sadece kadınlar için değil er 80 yazar,80 öykü, tek konu: erkek’lik algısı. . Baba,eş,evlat,arkadaş,kardeş..Hangi sıfatla adlandırılırsa adlandırılsın; içinde yaşadığımız toplumlar tarafından yüklenilmiş ve tanımlandırılmaya çalışılan roller mevcut. Kadın-erkek olarak değil, kadınlık-erkeklik üzerine koyulan her isim aslında birer tuğla omuzlarımıza yüklenen. ‘Erkek isen çalış ve aileni geçindir. Erkek isen arkanda evlatlar bırak. Erkek isen ağlama. Erkek isen baskın ol.’ Yap-yapma temelli dayatmaların sadece kadınlar için değil erkekler üzerinde de olduğunu gösteren öyküleri okumak iyi bir deneyim. İçerisinde sağlam öyküler olduğu gibi, gölgede kalanlar da yok değil. Ancak derleme kitaplarının da en belirgin özelliği: çeşitlilik~ . Colum McCann,Narrative 4 ve Esquire editörlerinin ortak çalışması olan bu eserde John Berger, Etgar Keret, Salman Rushdie,Khalid Hosseini gibi kalemler bulunmakta.. Roller ve beden üzerinden ayrımcılık değil; eşitlik ve ‘birey’ olma bilinci ile nefes alma dileğiyle...

  3. 5 out of 5

    bakankaya

    Dünyanın her bir yanından, içinde bir çok ünlü yazarında olduğu çeşitli kısa hikayelerin derlemesi. Bazıları sizi yumruk yemiş gibi sarsıyor, bazılar ise güldürüyor. Ortaklığı sağlayan tema ise 'erkeklik' üzerine; ama dünyanın çeşitliliği, kültürlerin farklılığı düşünüldüğünde bununda çok muğlak kaldığı, insanlık hali üzerine olduğu görülüyor. Özellikle kısa hikayeleri seviyorsanız, mükemmel bir derleme. Dünyanın her bir yanından, içinde bir çok ünlü yazarında olduğu çeşitli kısa hikayelerin derlemesi. Bazıları sizi yumruk yemiş gibi sarsıyor, bazılar ise güldürüyor. Ortaklığı sağlayan tema ise 'erkeklik' üzerine; ama dünyanın çeşitliliği, kültürlerin farklılığı düşünüldüğünde bununda çok muğlak kaldığı, insanlık hali üzerine olduğu görülüyor. Özellikle kısa hikayeleri seviyorsanız, mükemmel bir derleme.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Waiyee

    I simply love the idea of the book and enjoy reading small pieces of writing from different authors with different backgrounds. It is probably weird for the readers as it is hard to be coherent reading writing pieces with different style and tone, but it's definitely a new experience and I look forward to more of its kind. I simply love the idea of the book and enjoy reading small pieces of writing from different authors with different backgrounds. It is probably weird for the readers as it is hard to be coherent reading writing pieces with different style and tone, but it's definitely a new experience and I look forward to more of its kind.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cyd

    I read this while sick in bed, so my full faculties may not have been engaged. I found many of the short (some very short) pieces completely inscrutable. Weird book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Camille McCarthy

    This book contains many short stories, written by eighty contemporary writers, with the theme of what it means to be a man. The stories are written by both men and women and there are a lot of different interpretations. Overall it was a good collection but some of the stories were a little too short so that I didn't even really know what was going on. Some were very cliched because of the short length and there were a few abrupt endings which felt awkward. My favorite story was definitely Ian M This book contains many short stories, written by eighty contemporary writers, with the theme of what it means to be a man. The stories are written by both men and women and there are a lot of different interpretations. Overall it was a good collection but some of the stories were a little too short so that I didn't even really know what was going on. Some were very cliched because of the short length and there were a few abrupt endings which felt awkward. My favorite story was definitely Ian McEwan's.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Like most anthologies, this is a mixed bag. There is some beautiful writing in it -- some that sticks to the theme, some that doesn't -- as well as a couple of tiresomely showoffy pieces, which fit those same descriptions. Interesting to see what the writers do within the constraints of space. See also the wonderful website The Good Men Project: more to the point and often quite well-written. Like most anthologies, this is a mixed bag. There is some beautiful writing in it -- some that sticks to the theme, some that doesn't -- as well as a couple of tiresomely showoffy pieces, which fit those same descriptions. Interesting to see what the writers do within the constraints of space. See also the wonderful website The Good Men Project: more to the point and often quite well-written.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This is a clever grab-bag of essays, flash fiction, and slices-of-life, most of them no more than a few pages, perfect for travel. If you're expecting a self-help manual, look elsewhere. Good writing. Illuminating. Disturbing. Witty and weird and wild. This is a clever grab-bag of essays, flash fiction, and slices-of-life, most of them no more than a few pages, perfect for travel. If you're expecting a self-help manual, look elsewhere. Good writing. Illuminating. Disturbing. Witty and weird and wild.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Josh Bradham

    This book to me just really wasn't my taste. It may work for others but not for me. It is supposed to be a collection of great writers about how to be a man but ends up being self indulgent essays with more fluff than content. This book to me just really wasn't my taste. It may work for others but not for me. It is supposed to be a collection of great writers about how to be a man but ends up being self indulgent essays with more fluff than content.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gregory

    Great!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jack Goodstein

    Mixed bag of short essays--full review at Blogcritics.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim Flores

    Great concept but patchy and uneven collection of stories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Waldron

    I really like this revelatory, dangerous, humble, entertaining, moving collection: like wandering through an art gallery of male nudes as seen from the inside out...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Schoenrock

  15. 4 out of 5

    Draper

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sky

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike Wong

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sean Clayton

  19. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ser

  21. 5 out of 5

    Çağlar Yılmaz

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  23. 5 out of 5

    Miles Kelly

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Ong

  26. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ross

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kent Burgess

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary

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