The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber

Nicholson Baker, Author
Nicholson Baker, Author Random House (NY) $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-43932-5
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Paperback - 355 pages - 978-0-679-77624-6
Open Ebook - 229 pages - 978-0-307-80751-9
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-7011-6301-3
Hardcover - 978-0-517-30205-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-04234-6
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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. (Apr.)
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