Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker is an American writer of fiction and non-fiction. As a novelist, he often focuses on minute inspection of his characters’ and narrators’ stream of consciousness, and has written about poetry, literature, library systems, history, politics, time manipulation, youth, and sex. His fiction generally de-emphasizes narrative in favor of careful description and characterization. Baker has been a fervent critic of what he perceives as libraries’ unnecessary destruction of paper-based media. He wrote several vehement articles in The New Yorker critical of the San Francisco Public Library for sending thousands of books to a landfill, eliminating card catalogs, and destroying old books and newspapers in favor of microfilm. In 1997, Baker received the San Francisco–based James Madison Freedom of Information Award in recognition of these efforts. In 1999, Baker established a non-profit corporation, the American Newspaper Repository, to rescue old newspapers from destruction by libraries. In 2001 he published Double Fold, in which he accuses certain librarians of lying about the decay of materials and being obsessed with technological fads, at the expense of both the public and historical preservation. Baker describes himself as having “always had pacifist leanings.” Norman B interviewed Baker on the release of Traveling Sprinkler,where he brings back Paul Chowder from The Anthologist. Having finished his anthology of verse poetry, Chowder is trying to write his own lyric poems, but seems to only produce lyrics. He decides to concentrate on making songs, buying software and instruments that allow him to record complex dance music tracks. He remembers his days playing bassoon, and considers its place in classical music. He continues his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, and muses on cigars, drone warfare, traveling sprinklers, and more.

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