Novelist and essayist Nicholson Baker has had a small but well-deserved cult following since his first book, The Mezzanine, and the publication of the literary sex-bomb Vox saw his popularity mushroom. Baker's great gift is a precision of observational detail that has a peculiarly incisive effect on a reader's consciousness. Here is over a decade's worth of his essays and articles, including the much-praised card catalogue article first published in the New Yorker. The Size of Thoughts, through its varied forays into the realms of the overlooked, the underfunded, and the wrongfully scrapped, is a funny and thought-provoking book by one of the most distinctive stylists and thinkers of our time. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Novelist and essayist Baker (The Fermata) here collects his published essays of the past 14 years, which showcase his talent for generating social and literary punditry that is at once whimsical and profound. His musings on the merits of such mundane items as nail clippers and library card catalogues reveal subtlety of thought and a dazzling mastery of language. If a few of the earlier pieces are arcane, Baker's penchant for probing the metaphysical depths of the ostensibly quotidian generally yields lively and provocative insights about the significance of often-unnoticed threads in the fabric of modern life. "Lumber," the longest essay in the collection, is a charmingly vertiginous meditation on the literary history of the word lumber, a project that leads Baker through a convoluted but interesting textual maze in which he discovers the pleasures of forgotten literary works and finds a new perspective on the opuses of several major writers. Those who enjoy Baker's distinctive brand of intellectual mind games will find him in top form here. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I like some essays better than others (no surprise). He's a thoughtful, curious writer and I'm glad to have discovered him. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux
After the Mezzanine, this is my second favorite Nicholson Baker book. The book is a collection of essays, as other reviewers have noted, and what strikes me as so terrific about... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Spencer in Seattle
Credit where it's due, there's a sense in which this collection of essays merits a 5-star rating: it displays the author's impressive breadth of learning; it is, throughout,... Read morePublished on February 23, 2011 by Librum
I am re-reading this collection and I am reminded of just how much Baker has to offer readers. The essay "Books as Furniture" is a masterpiece of whimsy, sociology, tangent... Read morePublished on June 30, 2009 by A. Walsh
Based on reading just half this book I scrambled back to Amazon and ordered everything else he's written. Read morePublished on March 12, 2008 by Roy Clark
I've read and enjoyed other works by Baker (The Fermata, Vox), but this collection of magazine articles is absolute rubbish. Read morePublished on January 28, 2007 by Steven M. Anthony
This is a brilliant book. It consists of several short essays on varied subjects; fingernail clippers, a review of a slang dictionary, and the demise of card catalogues to name a... Read morePublished on April 17, 2006 by Yoshimura
The world is full of whiners, and this guy is the king. As a pup, Nicholson Baker attended the School Without Walls where, "learning has no limit. Read morePublished on June 30, 2004
A weirdly eclectic mix of topics, each of which stays with you.
The essay on card catalogs makes me want to scream and tear my hair out. Read more