In 2014, after a brief orientation course and a few fingerprinting sessions, Nicholson Baker became an on-call substitute teacher in a Maine public school district. He awoke to the dispatcher's five-forty a.m. phone call and headed to one of several nearby schools; when he got there, he did his best to follow lesson plans and help his students get something done. What emerges from Baker s experience is a complex, often touching deconstruction of public schooling in America: children swamped with overdue assignments, overwhelmed by the marvels and distractions of social media and educational technology, and staff who weary themselves trying to teach in step with an often outmoded or overly ambitious standard curriculum. In Baker s hands, the inner life of the classroom is examined anew mundane worksheets, recess time-outs, surprise nosebleeds, rebellions, griefs, jealousies, minor triumphs, daily lessons on everything from geology to metal tech to the Holocaust to kindergarten show-and-tell as the author and his pupils struggle to find ways to get through the day. Baker is one of the most inventive and remarkable writers of our time, and "Substitute," filled with humor, honesty, and empathy, may be his most impressive work of nonfiction yet."
When Nicholson Baker, one of the most linguistically talented writers in America, set out to write a book about John Updike, the result was no ordinary biography. Instead Baker's account of his relationship with his hero is a hilarious story of ambition, obsession, talent and neurosis, alternately self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing. More memoir than literary criticism, Baker is excruciatingly honest, and U & I reveals at least as much about Baker himself as it does about his idol. Written twenty years before Updike's death in 2009, is a very smart and extremely funny exploration of the debts we owe our heroes.
Baker has written a novel that remaps the territory of sex-solitary and telephonic, lyrical and profane, comfortable and dangerous. Written in the form of a phone conversation between two strangers, Vox is an erotic classic that places the author in the first rank of America's major writers. Reading tour.
The bestselling author of Vox and The Fermata devotes his hyperdriven curiosity and magnificently baroque prose to the fossils of punctuation and the lexicography of smut, delivering to readers a provocative and often hilarious celebration of the neglected aspects of our experience.
Nicholson Baker, who “writes like no one else in America” (), here assembles his best short pieces from the last fifteen years.
Through all these pieces, many written for , and , Baker shines the light of an inexpugnable curiosity. is a keen-minded, generous-spirited compendium by a modern American master.
Our supreme fabulist of the ordinary now turns his attention on a 9-year-old American girl and produces a novel as enchantingly idiosyncratic as any he has written. Nory Winslow wants to be a dentist or a designer of pop-up books. She likes telling stories and inventing dolls. She has nightmares about teeth, which may explain her career choice. She is going to school in England, where she is mocked for her accent and her friendship with an unpopular girl, and she has made it through the year without crying.
Nicholson Baker follows Nory as she interacts with her parents and peers, thinks about God and death-watch beetles, and dreams of cows with pointed teeth. In this precocious child he gives us a heroine as canny and as whimsical as Lewis Carroll's Alice and evokes childhood in all its luminous weirdness.
Having turned phone sex into the subject of an astonishing national bestseller in Vox, Baker now outdoes himself with an outrageously arousing, acrobatically stylish "X-rated sci-fi fantasy that leaves Vox seeming more like mere fiber-optic foreplay" (Seattle Times). "Sparkling."-San Francisco Chronicle.
The ostensible purpose of a library is to preserve the printed word. But for fifty years our country’s libraries — including the Library of Congress — have been doing just the opposite, destroying hundreds of thousands of historic newspapers and replacing them with microfilm copies that are difficult to read, lack all the color and quality of the original paper and illustrations, and deteriorate with age.
With meticulous detective work and Baker’s well-known explanatory power, reveals a secret history of microfilm lobbyists, former CIA agents, and warehouses where priceless archives are destroyed with a machine called a guillotine. Baker argues passionately for preservation, even cashing in his own retirement account to save one important archive — all twenty tons of it. Written the brilliant narrative style that Nicholson Baker fans have come to expect, is a persuasive and often devastating book that may turn out to be of the American library system.
Shandee finds a friendly arm at a granite quarry. Ned drops down a hole in a golf course. So begins Nicholson Baker’s fuse-blowing sexual escapade — a modern-day Hieronymus Boschian bacchanal set in a pleasure resort where normal rules don’t apply. one of the most talked-about books in recent memory, is a gleefully provocative novel sure to surprise, amuse, and arouse.
Maine author Nicholson Baker (Vox, The Mezzanine, Human Smoke) has tackled some diverse topics in his esteemed literary career, and his new novel adds to the list. The Anthologist is the story of aging poet Paul Chowder, selected to write an introduction to a new anthology of verse. The novel follows his starts and stops, becoming a wildly tangential journey through the world of poetry. While Chowder may not be the most diligent worker, his active mind and keen eye reveal him to be one of the most satisfying narrators in recent memory.