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The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 19. März 1996

3.3 von 5 Sternen 4 Kundenrezensionen

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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.


A collection of essays which range from "The history of the comma" to an amusing account of reading aloud, from a lament on the disappearance of conventional library classification to an appreciation of cinema-going. Nicholson Baker has also written "The Mezzanine", "The Fermata" and "U and I" -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

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Format: Taschenbuch
This book is a collection of several essays written by Baker at various times. These essays take the reader into a deep spiral of semantical minutiae. This is entertaining, despite Baker's apparent fascination for his own cleverness, but doesn't lead anywhere in particular. We learn of the history of punctuation, and of toenail clippers. It's interesting trivia that answers questions that probably would never have entered your mind. The exception to this is his essay on library card catalogs, which makes a very important and painful point. A large portion of the book is an intricate masterpiece of research about the use of the concept of mental lumber. While it is clever in countless ways, it's not very readable and is of questionable interest. If you do decide to skip it after reading the first couple pages (and that's ok,) be sure to skim to the section where he reviews CD-ROMS containing old century texts by listening to them in a CD player.
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Format: Taschenbuch
After reading this book, you will never clip your toenails again without marvelling at the fine and delicate engineering that went into the noble toenail clipper. You will develop a nostalgia for flipping through the card catalog, and for the days when consumer items did not come in fashion colors and an overwhelming number of forms. We are unaccustomed to the results of such honed and loving attention paid to the quotidian. Who knew such pleasure could be gotten from the history of film projectors, or the semantic evolution of the word "lumber?"
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Format: Taschenbuch
True to form, Nicholson Baker delights with curious arcane tidbits about everything from the making of model airplane kits to the sad fate of card catalogues. Most of it is humorous and wonderful --(in one essay, he looks up the books used as accessories in catalogues like Pottery Barn and gives us synopses on these tomes chosen only for their covers)-- but the five-part "Lumber" truly lumbers along, and should've been kept to one better-edited essay. No doubt that's why it's saved to last. Still, a good read.
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Format: Taschenbuch
The rest is not up to that standard. Baker is too often obviously satisfied with his own cleverness; the effect is annoying.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta) (Kann Kundenrezensionen aus dem "Early Reviewer Rewards"-Programm beinhalten)

Amazon.com: 3.7 von 5 Sternen 15 Rezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen IT'S NOT WHAT BUT HOW HE SAYS WHAT HE SAYS . . . 12. März 2008
Von Roy Clark - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Based on reading just half this book I scrambled back to Amazon and ordered everything else he's written. (Then I went back and finished the rest of SIZE OF THOUGHTS; the brilliance never dimmed. Baker's amazing agility with words never stopped surprising and tickling.)

Those other books are coming in now, and I've skimmed three or four and they are no-less unique amazements. MEZZANINE, as an example, immortalizes some guy's thoughts on a 135-page escalator ride. All, an inner monologue of comments and perceptions that made me feel I'd slipped into an alternate universe that exceeds description by anyone by Baker. (Consider a format where there's as much copy in the footnotes as in the narration.)

Nicholson Baker can see and describe anything and make it readable, interesting and insightful. Wish I could write like that.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Prose as good as poetry. 4. März 2015
Von Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I like some essays better than others (no surprise). He's a thoughtful, curious writer and I'm glad to have discovered him.
Gorgeous phrases, decadent writing at times, yet grounded.
7 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Absolute Rubbish 28. Januar 2007
Von Steven M. Anthony - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I've read and enjoyed other works by Baker (The Fermata, Vox), but this collection of magazine articles is absolute rubbish. Random musings on arcane topics such as fingernail clippers, cinema projectors and model airplanes not only fail to entertain, they appear to have no redeeming value whatsoever.

Baker is without question a talented writer, but this collection aptly demonstrates that even the best author needs adequate subject matter with which to work. I'm stunned at just how bad this collection actually is. The first time I've ever awarded a one star rating.
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Guide to Living a Thoroughly Examined Life 19. Januar 2015
Von Spencer in Seattle - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
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 every single one of them is just how EXHAUSTIVE Baker is at every turn. He doesn't just dig into something and then write about it. He digs, digs some more, and then goes back to see what he's missed. Then he writes about it.

This may sound funny, but I see this book as not just a collection of essays, but a guide to being thorough and rigorous in life. Baker's approach is one that says leave no question unanswered, no thought unconsidered. And I find his engagement with the subject matter of every piece infectious and inspiring.

It's a great book.
17 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Essays on important little things. 3. Dezember 1996
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Nicholson Baker writes about important stuff; not things like affirmative action or the cumulative effect of the Marshall Plan on Postwar Europe, but essential little things like fingernail clippers and Testor paints.
In his new book of essays, "The Size of Thoughts," Baker deals with such weighty issues as the machinery of movie projectors and the relationship between rarity and writing on rubber. But don't get the idea that Baker's book is a frivolous rambling; included in this collection of essays is a careful mini-history of punctuation, a report on the computerization of library card catalogs, and a hundred pages devoted to an exacting essay on the word "lumber."
Arranged under six headings (Thought, Machinery, Reading, Mixed, Library Science, and Lumber), the essays in this collection range from playfully comical to earnest and sentimental. Among Baker's more informal offerings are a recipe for chocolate sauce, a collection of mistyped sentences put in poetic form, and excerpts written under the influence of "nearly a hundred dollars' worth of marijuana."Baker's sentences are rolling and pun-laden, his vocabulary sharp even under a cloud of THC. A good part of his talent rests in his ability to articulate the quirky joys and silly idiosyncrasies that we all share but are shy to admit. His "Model Airplanes" may well put many readers in toy store aisles looking for the biggest B-17 on the shelf and three little jars of olive drab. His "Clip Art" will have readers closely inspecting the chrome plating of their fingernail clippers, searching for tiny clues to their origins.
These essays and others reveal an amateur's curiosity, a dabbler's impatience, and a romantic's simultaneous love of and disappointment with the new. Baker's writing, both here and in his earlier works, evidences a mind in motion; his prose jumps flaming hoops and juggles chainsaws. His observations are sharp and smart, frequently pushing up a good laugh. "The Size of Thoughts" is full of closet-size thoughts, and maybe some house-size ones, too.
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