“What are Michael Chabon’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Chabon’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!
We took all of the books written by Michael Chabon and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.
The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.
Telegraph Avenue is the great American novel we’ve been waiting for. Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, triumphant, it is Michael Chabon’s most dazzling book yet. As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there – longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart – half tavern, half temple – stands Brokeland. When ex–NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples’ already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe’s life.
In deep retirement in the English countryside, an eighty-nine-year-old man, vaguely recollected by locals as a once-famous detective, is more concerned with his beekeeping than with his fellow man. Into his life wanders Linus Steinman, nine years old and mute, who has escaped from Nazi Germany with his sole companion: an African gray parrot. What is the meaning of the mysterious string of German numbers the bird spews out – a top secret SS code? The keys to a series of Swiss bank accounts perhaps? Or something more sinister? Is the solution to this last case – the real explanation of the mysterious boy and his parrot – beyond even the reach of the once-famed sleuth? A short, suspenseful tale of compassion and wit that reimagines the classic nineteenth-century detective story.
By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Summerland is the story of a young hero on a quest through the strange world of the American Faery. This is a fantasy for readers of all ages, set against the background of the American myth. The Clam Island fairies are in grave peril. War is coming, another battle in an ancient conflict. When the band sends for a champion, they get an 11 year-old boy named Ethan Feld. He hates baseball and wants to quit his losing team, but Jennifer T. Rideout loves baseball and won’t let him quit. The two find themselves on a journey that includes zeppelins, werefoxes, Indian mythology, sasquatches, wendigos, and the haunted 161 year old husk of George Armstrong Custer. Finally Ethan becomes who he is: a changeling, a hero, and even a man.
For the September 2016 issue of GQ, Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son Abraham Chabon, then thirteen, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Possessed with a precocious sense of style, Abe was in his element chatting with designers he idolized and turning a critical eye to the freshest runway looks of the season; Chabon Sr., whose interest in clothing stops at “thrift-shopping for vintage western shirts or Hermès neckties,” sat idly by, staving off yawns and fighting the impulse that the whole thing was a massive waste of time. Despite his own indifference, however, what gradually emerged as Chabon ferried his son to and from fashion shows was a deep respect for his son’s passion. The piece quickly became a viral sensation. With the GQ story as its centerpiece, and featuring six additional essays plus an introduction, Pops illuminates the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood as only Michael Chabon can.
The author of Wonder Boys returns with a powerful and wonderfully written collection of stories. Caught at moments of change, Chabon’s men and women, children and husbands and wives, all face small but momentous decisions. They are caught in events that will crystallize and define their lives forever, and with each, Michael Chabon brings his unique vision and uncanny understanding of our deepest mysteries and our greatest fears.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author–“an immensely gifted writer and a magical prose stylist” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)–offers his first major work of nonfiction, an autobiographical narrative as inventive, beautiful, and powerful as his acclaimed, award-winning fiction. A shy manifesto, an impractical handbook, the true story of a fabulist, an entire life in parts and pieces, Manhood for Amateurs is the first sustained work of personal writing from Michael Chabon. In these insightful, provocative, slyly interlinked essays, one of our most brilliant and humane writers presents his autobiography and his vision of life in the way so many of us experience our own lives: as a series of reflections, regrets, and reexaminations, each sparked by an encounter, in the present, that holds some legacy of the past. What does it mean to be a man today? Chabon invokes and interprets and struggles to reinvent for us, with characteristic warmth and lyric wit, the personal and family history that haunts him even as–simply because–it goes on being written every day. As a devoted son, as a passionate husband, and above all as the father of four young Americans, Chabon presents his memories of childhood, of his parents’ marriage and divorce, of moments of painful adolescent comedy and giddy encounters with the popular art and literature of his own youth, as a theme played–on different instruments, with a fresh tempo and in a new key–by the mad quartet of which he now finds himself co-conductor. At once dazzling, hilarious, and moving, Manhood for Amateurs is destined to become a classic.
For sixty years, Jews have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a “temporary” safe haven created in the wake of revelations of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. Now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end: once again the tides of history threaten to sweep them up and carry them off into the unknown. For sixty years, Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a “temporary” safe haven created in the wake of revelations of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. Proud, grateful, and longing to be American, the Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant, gritty, soulful, and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. For sixty years they have been left alone, neglected and half-forgotten in a backwater of history. Now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end: once again the tides of history threaten to sweep them up and carry them off into the unknown. But homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. He and his half-Tlingit partner, Berko Shemets, can’t catch a break in any of their outstanding cases. Landsman’s new supervisor is the love of his life—and also his worst nightmare. And in the cheap hotel where he has washed up, someone has just committed a murder—right under Landsman’s nose. Out of habit, obligation, and a mysterious sense that it somehow offers him a shot at redeeming himself, Landsman begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy.
Michael Chabon’s sparkling first book of nonfiction is a love song in sixteen parts – a series of linked essays in praise of reading and writing, with subjects running from ghost stories to comic books, Sherlock Holmes to Cormac McCarthy. Throughout, Chabon energetically argues for a return to the thrilling, chilling origins of storytelling, rejecting the false walls around “serious” literature in favor of a wide-ranging affection.
Following on the heels of his New York Times bestselling novel Telegraph Avenue, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon delivers another literary masterpiece: a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure—and the forces that work to destroy us In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis for the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain in the ongoing magic act that is the art of Michael Chabon. Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow is also a tour de force of speculative history in which Chabon attempts to reconstruct the mysterious origins and fate of Chabon Scientific, Co., an authentic mail-order novelty company whose ads for scale models of human skeletons, combustion engines and space rockets were once a fixture in the back pages of Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and Boy’s Life. Along the way Chabon devises and reveals, in bits and pieces whose hallucinatory intensity is matched only by their comic vigor and the radiant moonglow of his prose, a secret history of his own imagination.
Awesome Man can shoot positronic rays out of his eyeballs, fly as straight asan arrow, and hug mutant Jell-O! Even villains like Professor Von Evil and the Flaming Eyeball are no match for this caped crusader. But Awesome Man also has a secret. . . . Can you guess what it is? The first picture book from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon perfectly captures the fantasy life of young superhero fans.
In his first novel since The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Chabon presents a hilarious and heartbreaking work—the story of the friendship between the “wonder boys”—Grady, an aging writer who has lost his way, and Crabtree, whose relentless debauchery is capsizing his career.
Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America – the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men. With exhilarating style and grace, Michael Chabon tells an unforgettable story about American romance and possibility.
|The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay||1||1||1||1|
|The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man||4||1||9||3|
|The Yiddish Policemen’s Union||6||6||5||5|
|Maps and Legends||7||3||7||5|
|Manhood for Amateurs||5||10||4||7|
|Werewolves in Their Youth||9||3||8||8|
|Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces||7||12||6||9|
|A Model World and Other Stories||12||3||12||11|
|The Mysteries of Pittsburgh||9||14||11||12|
|Gentlemen of the Road||13||12||14||13|
|The Final Solution||15||10||15||14|
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