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Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker said, “I want the books to be about things that you don’t notice when you’re noticing them. You kind of notice things in passing, and never put a frame around them, and then somebody like me comes along and writes a book about them. And then that book itself becomes the frame.” Known for his original approach to a subject, his first novel, The Mezzanine, recounts an afternoon in the life of a man riding an escalator on his way to buy a shoelace. Room Temperature is about a father feeding his six-month-old daughter, while Vox transcribes a long telephone conversation between two people who meet on a phone-sex line. His recent novel, The Anthologist, is narrated by Paul Chowder—a once-in-a-while-published kind of poet who is writing the introduction to a new anthology of poetry. The wholly entertaining and beguiling love story about poetry—from Tennyson, Swinburne, and Yeats to the moderns (Roethke, Bogan, Merwin) to the staff of The New Yorker—that Paul reveals is astonishing and makes one realize how important poetry is to our lives.