I found myself comparing the author to David Foster Wallace, with the experimentalism toned down and without the epic battles between pathos and irony or the moralizing and neurosis, but with the verbal dexterity and virtuoso metaphor mania amped way up. Bookseller: , Oregon, United States. And what higher compliment is there for a reader than that? Then there were ones that were food for lots of deep thought. His unconventional novels deal with topics such as voyeurism and planned assassination, and they generally de-emphasize narrative in favor of intense character work. The essay makes him to seem interested in subtley and nuance, the analog rather than the digital. Written before Google, it highlights some interesting ideas abo Baker is a fantastic writer. His worst is a surprising defense of the card catalog compared to digital collections which seems, now, very dated, and reactionary.
Now that's some great writing. This guy is just not interesting to me. I went back and forth between shaking my head at the technophobia of the early 90's and thinking long and hard about the losses we've sustained in moving from an analog world to a digital one. These essays are both fascinating and mind-numbingly boring. Yes, that much is a fun fact. Written for The Atlantic Monthly when Baker was still in his mid-twenties bastard , these early pieces are exquisite little riffs on philosophical themes: the concept of rarity, the p What happened to Nicholson Baker, I wonder? In the former, Baker sometimes loses his perspective in the debate over card catalogs versus Boolean-search-driven databases, jumbling nostalgia and practicality. This was my favorite passage.
Ry minor wear and soil on the sound binding. Which mode do you really want to ride to school? The problem is, often the reader cannot match this commitment, leading to an uncomfortable situation where you want to stop reading but the man has put so much work into this thing you feel bad doing it. His subjects range from the internals of the movie projector to the emotional tribulations of reading aloud; from the disappearance of hybrid punctuation to the mechanics of changing one's miind; from the lexicography of dirty talk to the manufacture of the fingernail clipper. Classic Baker, only this time couched in nonfiction. The first essay is deceptive.
Baker's commitment to his style, to his characters, or in this case, his non-fictional subjects, is unmatched. Like actual things like model airplanes. Tiniest bit of wear along the edges. This guy is just not interesting to me. There are a number of interesting things he touches on.
I have since read a couple Raymond Carver short stories in order to get back to something real, something with gusto and flair I looked at every essay, read a couple, but really found nothing to want me to delve any deeper into the fellow. What the hell is wrong with this author that he'd waste his brilliant mind on this and then foist it upon his readers? At times, this works for him: his best essays are the two reviews, one ofbooks on the history of punctuation, one on slang, where this kind of thinking is applied well. All-ways well boxed, All-ways fast service. The earliest pieces collected in The Size of Thoughts are so dazzling that, when I first dipped into them, I nearly fell off my barstool. This book was a good excuse not to go outside during a trip to Bermuda that happened way too early in the season. Oh c'mon, be a sport, my last couple of books have made heaps of money, let's give it a try! A dense, semiopaque shard cut by this nineteen-dollar piece of spring-loaded Brazilian craftsmanship recently rose from what was left of my ravished toenail and traveled across the room, landing in a box of tax records, where it remains. The essays celebrate the joy--and exquisite details--of everything from library card catalogs and reading aloud to the significance of wine stains on a tablecloth.
But we need some destination, and the charm that is supposed to make the journey more interesting is lacking--since he is not charming, but, as said above, affected. 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. Dust jacket quality is not guaranteed. Bookseller: , Rhode Island, United States New York. I gave up halfway through. The latter is, at 140 pages, an indulgent tour de force, and also a metaphor for eclectic learning, as he browses through Pope, Johnson, Webster, etc. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name.
If I could give the first half 5 stars and the second half 1 star, that's what I would do. Who knows, maybe some of each? He's a genius in my opinion. Every book of his I read, my admiration grows and I humbled by how stupid I am. But later essays, especially in the The first essay is deceptive. His subjects range from the internals of the movie projector to the emotional tribulations of reading aloud; from the disappearance of hybrid punctuation to the mechanics of changing ones mind; from the lexicography of dirty talk to the manufacture of the fingernail clipper.
I liked the first few essays pretty well! Okay, it was actually a food court stool, but still, I was all set to jab my plastic fork in my chest out of sheer, dyspeptic envy. Two years later and The Size of Thoughts found me. 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. Baker, of the thumbnail novel, the svelte entertainment—clearly, he needs a place to flex his writerly muscle, and the essays are that unfortunate destination. First, I wonder if the thought that he concludes is actually small is the one about how to tell if a thought is big. It's more complicated than that.
The sort of collection meant to refresh a reader's own process of thought while fostering a greater love of learning. Two years later and The Size of Thoughts found me. The Size of Thoughts, through its varied forays into the realms of the overlooked, the underfunded, and the wrongfully scrapped, is a funny book by one of the most distinctive stylists and thinkers of out time. The problem is, often the reader cannot match this commitment, leading to an uncomfortable situation where you want to stop reading but the man has put so much work into this thing you feel bad doing it. But later essays, especially in the section on machines, shows him to be a more mechanical thinker, to imagine objects as reified, poetry a kind of mathematics.