The Way The World Works : As Partially Figured Out By

Aims of Education Address 2003—Tanya Luhrmann
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The burden of cooking falls upon women and the burden of planting, house building, and fishing upon the men, though each to some extent will learn the skills of both. Women also are the weavers, and the worth of a girl can be seen partly in the quality of the mats and baskets and blinds she weaves from the ever-present palm fronds she must gather. She does not aim to be the best weaver on the island; for her there are no rewards for unbridled excellence. She just needs to be good enough. The boys have a harder time in Samoa.

Senior men will give some of them, as they age, the right to sit in assembly with community leaders, to drink ceremonial kava with them, and to have status and authority in their village, and the competition to be chosen is fierce and subtle. But all men and women know the religion they will follow, all know the means by which they will gain their living, and all know the people with whom they will pass their lives. You know none of that. You enter into adulthood—and these four years of college are really your transition into adulthood— with more choice than the world has ever known. Take, for example, what it is to be female.

About half of you are female. Some of you see your future selves as defined by your intellectual work.

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Denzel Washington. Initially these infants showed just as much delight in the dancing figures. I like that. Creativity means bringing three different new and unique elements into the world. According to the folks at Barr Rosenberg, that spread was 6. About 70, years ago, there were between six and ten species of the genus homo.

You imagine that work to be your first commitment. If it so happens that you never have children or never even marry, that will be okay in the eyes of your peers. There will be many women like you at your 20th reunion. Others of you who are female see your future selves as primarily mothers and wives. You imagine your yet-to-be-born children as your first commitment, and if you never have much of a professional career, that too will be okay in the eyes of your peers. There will also be many women like you at the 20th reunion.

I went to college in an era when for the first time it was possible and widely acceptable for women to delay pregnancy so that they could decide whether and when to have a child and when, again for the first time, deciding to go to graduate school had become a normal and acceptable choice for women. Now, the barriers have fallen even further.

There are fewer prejudices about women in traditionally male-dominated fields and fewer presumptions about how and when to raise a family. None of you will be as constrained as previous generations were by gender, by sexual orientation, by skin color, by the class status of your parents, nor even by your accent or the language of your birth.

This is not to say that the world is fair or just. But now more than ever it is easier to do whatever you want without as much of the prejudice that held previous generations back. It is also easier to think that because no one is holding you back, if you are not successful in your terms at the path you have chosen, there is no one to blame but yourself.

So you are anxious. I think a lot about anxiety, as it happens, because I am the sort of anthropologist who looks at emotions, particularly the disturbing ones, which means that I immerse myself in a community and try to figure out what people feel, how they understand those feelings, and what they do about them.

They think that they feel bad because they are bad, in some way, or at least that they are not very good at coping. I think you are anxious because of the social role you occupy at the dawn of the twenty-first century, because you have so much apparent freedom to choose and so many apparent opportunities that it can freeze you like a startled rabbit in the headlights of an oncoming car.

What earthly good can it do to read Weber, Marx, and Durkheim when you are trying to decide whether to be a neuroscientist or a science fiction writer, or when your earnest parents want you to be a doctor and you are trying to drum up the nerve to tell them you are planning a career in jazz ballet? A liberal arts education, if you use it wisely, teaches you how to make choices because it shows you how other people have chosen. Most people sit in the mudpuddle of their own fretful fears, peering out at the world through protective goggles.

I think about these assumptive worlds when I hold office hours. When I teach a class, everyone in the classroom has exactly the same data about me. Yet when members of that class come to see me one by one, it turns out that they each have very different ideas about the sort of person I am and how they should treat me.

You no longer realize that you invented them in the first place. But the courses you take here can give you the tools to clamber out of the puddle, or at least to see the water, if you treat the authors you read as people like yourselves, struggling to make sense of the world, desperately trying to figure out what kinds of moral and intellectual commitments are worth making, what kind of life is worth living. Nearly everyone you read in the core was once an anxious year- old. He or she made a decision about what was worth writing about and why, and if you take as your task the burden of trying to understand deeply what the author thought was important to argue for and against and why, you will understand how his or her commitments were forged.

And that will help you to understand and manage the forging of your own. At the heart of a liberal education stands the oldest human paradox: that the more deeply and intimately you understand other human beings—the more you understand their unique predicaments and their idiosyncratic pain—the more clearly you will see yourselves. If you would follow the inscription at Delphi—to know thyself—know others first.

A safe haven for investors by Jason Zweig of The Wall Street Journal.

In short, one aim of education is to improve your capacity for empathy. By that I do not mean a feel-good state of squishy oneness. And thinking, as the anthropologist Clifford Geertz has pointed out, is a moral act. Anthropology is in the peculiar position of doing with real people what most scholars do with texts. When you read The Grapes of Wrath, you feel the suffocating dust of the baked, cracked ground and the despair of the migrant farmhands who traveled west on empty promises and a car strung together with twisted wire, but then you can close the book.

When you do fieldwork with homeless women in a drop-in shelter, as I have done, you smell the clothes a woman cannot wash and you feel her terror of having nowhere to go that is safe, and then at the end of the interview the woman sometimes screams at you or hugs you and there is no way to pretend that you are detached and distant and purely scientific.

You react with moral outrage—at the society, at the institution, sometimes at the women themselves—and then you have to hold back your judgment, and try to understand. This is what all great writing does, if we let it; it grabs at our guts and we respond to it, and then we have to step back, to understand. Geertz points out that the impossibility of separating your scholarly work from your life forces you to recognize that thinking well demands that we tolerate the enormous tension between our initial moral reaction and our scientific observation.

Thinking is a moral act because it is a commitment to understand first and then to judge. And that tension is what forces us to grow and teaches us to choose and makes us who we become. Somewhere Picasso remarks that if you hope to draw a circle that is uniquely your own, you should try to draw a circle that is as true to geometric form as you can. You will fail to draw that perfect circle, but only in the attempt to thrust yourself away will you find the virtue of your own perspective. This may seem like counterintuitive advice. They believe that they have a true core, an essence, and that it sits inside of them waiting to be discovered, and that once they find it they will know whether they ought to be a doctor or a lawyer or a philosophy professor.

Sometimes these young people go to Europe and work their way through Mediterranean countries picking grapes, confident that their true self will emerge somewhere en route to Italy. But people who believe that the self is like an onion and their true self is its core have not spent much time in the kitchen. Peel an onion down to its core and all you will find is air. You are not an untouched core.

You are and will become the sum of your commitments, your choices—moral, intellectual, and practical—they amount to much the same thing in the end. Look at what you actually do, at what you come to care for, at what you fight to defend. Look at the small choices you make every day in the classroom, in the way that you read and interpret and argue, and the big choices will sort themselves out by themselves.

To help you on your way, I have a few pieces of Wise Advice. I should say that in contemplating this address, I thought perhaps I could bypass my own part in this and simply play the Baz Luhrmann sunscreen song, on the grounds that Baz and I must meet somewhere on the family tree. Dormitory rooms were built for late-night discussions about whether God exists, for example, and the question of divine ontology is definitely worth debating. But do not delude yourself into thinking that your logical conclusions will actually tell you anything about how and when people reach towards spirituality.

Several years ago, two of my oldest friends found themselves in trouble. Each had a young son diagnosed with a terrible illness. They had gone to the same schools and they came from similar backgrounds. They even married men of similar religious persuasions. One of them told me, as her son lay near death, that she could no longer accept even the possibility that there might be a god. No god, she said, could inflict this agony upon her toddler. Whether or not God and the devil live in the details, people certainly do.

Their lives are formed in the tiny fissures of the everyday, in the way they cuddle their dog and care for their car and in whether they eat cereal for breakfast. What he meant by this was that the so-called primitive mind was not dumb for lack of a physics or a higher mathematics. People who live in the Neolithic world, for example, the forest-dwelling Amazonian Nambikwara, do not know only what they eat and use; they have an enormous curiosity about the forest, and they can identify hundreds of plants that the poor anthropologist cannot even distinguish. Pay attention to the details of your life and of other lives, and learn from those details the driving passions of those lives.

You will understand people more deeply; you will also, in the paradoxical mode I am advocating, come to see the world with utter uniqueness, your own. The great thinkers you will read in the core are first and foremost great observers who paid enormously careful attention to phenomena others had seen before but never noticed. A near fanatical attention to detail brought Darwin to evolution, Freud to the dynamic unconscious, and Marx to the labor theory of value. Find your own science of the concrete. I read an essay some time ago that much improved my enjoyment of certain types of academic discourse.

You know E. In the conservative s he wrote an essay that was ostensibly about politicians. White was an ardent Democrat and, in the spirit of his time, he felt that he should have sharp, clear views on political issues and on what Democrats were doing about them. The essay I like so much was written—again, ostensibly— about three Democrats whose writings White was trying to read one afternoon. He called them bedfellows because he was reading them when he was sick in bed.

The Way the World Works: As Partially Figured Out by

In the essay, White wrote about the way Truman distrusted the press for being too critical and the way Stevenson distrusted the public for not being critical enough. He pointed out that Acheson praised the loyalty and security measures Democrats first set in place in and that Acheson then went on to show how they undermined the freedoms they had initially set out to protect. But the essay is really about Fred.

Fred was a dachshund who died in , before the essay was written, but for many years Fred had gallantly allowed White to take care of him. White wrote that although birds fascinated Fred,. When he sighted a squirrel, Fred would straighten up from his pillow, tense his frame, and then, in a moment or two, begin to tremble. The reader of this essay which is ostensibly about politicians but really turns out to be about Fred only gradually understands that for White they are really the same topic.

After a little more about Fred, White returned to the subject of politics and an argument, then as now a craggy hill in the political landscape, that prayer is a part of democracy. And then he pauses, one feels, and draws breath. He remarks to the reader that these politicians are all such sober, thoughtful people. They work to improve and preserve and maintain in good repair this marvelous thing that is American society.

Their earnestness, and their sense that this is possible, he implies, is a wonderful thing, and it helps him to feel confident in the face of creeping cynicism. They also remind him of Fred. It makes me eager to rise and meet the new day, as Fred used to rise to his, with the complete conviction that through vigilance and good work all porcupines, all cats, all skunks, all squirrels, all houseflies, all footballs, all evil birds in the sky could successfully be brought to account and the scene made safe and pleasant for the sensible individual— namely, him p.

Feb 03, Matt rated it really liked it. I'll admit that I didn't read every last essay in this book--just the ones that grabbed my interest upon perusal.

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But Baker makes for amusing and occasionally rather insightful company. His essays on technology and libraries give us pause in turning libraries into vacuous temples of technology, bereft of the serendipity of browsing stacks, of a sense of diachronous time, and of Though his critique of the Kindle is by now dated, he helped me put a finger on what I don't like about "e-rea I'll admit that I didn't read every last essay in this book--just the ones that grabbed my interest upon perusal. Though his critique of the Kindle is by now dated, he helped me put a finger on what I don't like about "e-readers": they are simply reading in two dimensions instead of three.

A physical book has thickness as well as length and width, and you progress through that thickness. Further, a book bears the memory through time of its existence, as the pages yellow and you notice signs of previous readers which remind you that you read in the midst of a community. Books are more than bare, spare, easily uploaded and downloaded, context-bereft collections of data. These essays were also dangerous for me at a time where I was just about to justify downsizing my collection of physical books, lol!

The joy of cultivating a collection, of having such books selected and accessible, even if no one reads them for a good many years, is something Baker describes ably.

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In short, he argues that the Allies "absolute surrender" approach to Germany actually exacerbated the Holocaust rather than eventually putting an end to it. We should have tried. If the armistice plan failed, then it failed. We could always have resumed the battle. Not trying leaves us culpable. His arguments give you pause at least. Some of his essays are lighter and more humorous, such as "The Charms of Wikipedia.

Lastly, reading him writing about playing video games with his son--"Painkiller Deathstreak"--is just pure amusement and wry observations that I identify with all too easily. Jan 31, Jonathan Karmel rated it liked it.

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The Way the World Works book. Read reviews from world's largest community for readers. The Way The World Works: As Partially Figured Out By (Hardback) - Common [By (author) John R. Carpenter] on dynipalo.tk *FREE* shipping on qualifying.

These are mostly short, autobiographical stories, with some non-fiction pieces that were published in magazines. Not sure why this kind of book is classified as "essays. The first piece, "string," about flying kites, is good. I also liked "Sunday at the Dump," which captures what's great about "dumps"; actually, I think he's talking about what I would call a transfer station, where people bring trash, recyclables, compo These are mostly short, autobiographical stories, with some non-fiction pieces that were published in magazines.

I also liked "Sunday at the Dump," which captures what's great about "dumps"; actually, I think he's talking about what I would call a transfer station, where people bring trash, recyclables, compost and other stuff like dirty oil, and separate them into different bins; then, the stuff is taken elsewhere. It is the place in town where everyone goes, everything has its place, and everyone seems to be happily discarding what they don't want, or perhaps picking up a used item that someone else no longer wants. There are a couple of essays advocating pacifism, including one that argues that the pacifists in America during World War II were right.

I don't agree, but I still thought this was interesting to read. There are a number of pieces about reading, writing, newspapers and libraries, including one about different ways that writers indicate a character's thoughts. Shea discovered the following words: acnestis--the part of an animal's back that the animal can't reach to scratch; bespawl--to splatter with saliva; deipnophobia--the fear of dinner parties; kankedort--an awkward situation; petrichor--the loamy smell that rises from the dry ground after a rain; prend--a mended crack; the "near-homonyms" incompetible--outside the range of competency; repertitious--found accidentally; vicambulist--a person who wanders city streets.

There are a few essays extolling the pleasure of real books and newspapers, and the libraries that preserve them, as opposed to "digital content. I also really liked "The Charms of Wikipedia," which contains some examples of articles that have been edited in funny ways as a joke. Dec 17, Michael rated it really liked it. Although I grew up in a household with a computer, and attended an elementary school that acknowledged Apple Computers as being a potential advantage in their curriculum, I find myself lacking the underlying principles and ground work for truly effective computing.

I do not program, build information architecture, code, work in dos, have an encyclopedic knowledge of great hacks throughout history - what I do know is that much of life is capable of efficiency with or without computers and the ste Although I grew up in a household with a computer, and attended an elementary school that acknowledged Apple Computers as being a potential advantage in their curriculum, I find myself lacking the underlying principles and ground work for truly effective computing.

I do not program, build information architecture, code, work in dos, have an encyclopedic knowledge of great hacks throughout history - what I do know is that much of life is capable of efficiency with or without computers and the steady flow of reliable information they can occasionally produce. A lot can be said for a simpler life, without the constant interaction of information.

It is nice to read a series of essays that attempts to quantify the need to seek greater and greater control over that information - in order to more thoroughly profit from it. It is also nice to know when the information being provided is deliberately falsified, in order to subvert the work or time one might spend posting photos, sharing stories, writing jokes, building and burning bridges - it's even nice to know that yes, it can actually happen. A hacker can easily place bad information anywhere on the internet, an innocent person can pick it up as truth, and proceed to utilize that piece of erroneous information as a battering ram on all of the hard work he or she may have accomplished.

One bad apple spoils the bunch, as they say. Baker's Wikipedia essay does a great job in making this clearly evident. Maybe not all people can comprehend the humor or the insight of misplaced information, and rely instead upon a lack of irony to guide them through their dealings on the internet - the conflict must surely arise out of these two groups never actually meeting in real life, and carrying out their " Read through the Rants and Raves of your local Craigslist, write down some of the things that are said.

Memorize them. Then, walk through a mental health wing of your local hospital. Go to an insane asylum. Visit the Criminally ill. You'll find a lot of the same words, phrases, rhetoric and played out misconceptions being used by people who, given the opportunity, would harm and injure strangers for no other purpose than their own profit.

Aug 13, Kurtbg rated it it was ok Shelves: fiction-non.

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I usually like essays Those writers often explore the peculiar, or the natural world, and deliver something unto the reader to educate, entertain, and tickle the brain. On the other end of the spectrum I would put Garrison Keillor, or Helen Husher who write of a local nostalgia, cultu I usually like essays On the other end of the spectrum I would put Garrison Keillor, or Helen Husher who write of a local nostalgia, culture to give a flavor of somwhere and somewhen else. I'm not quite sure where to place JB.

The stories are kinda offbeat, but i rarely found the little spark that allows a reader to connect to the writers wonder of what would at first glance, seem offbeat. It seemed to me like the writings are for a time capsule for a local town, and the government reviewer is explaining to kept it straight-forward, don't rock boats.

What, you want to talk about old periodicals that few remember, that sounds ok. I'll admit, perhaps these stories were wonderfully crafted and assembled to provide abstracts buckets that tackle how the world works - but I didn't get it. I do enjoy nostalgia, and the fact that something was once embraced, or had it's time ran it's course.

There's an interest in understanding why things changed. Was it fair? Was it for the better? There was one story that put a blip in the general flatline of my reading brainpulse, and that was the one titled, "Why I'm a pacifist". It just seemed wrong, and it irritated me. Not because of what was written, but that one aspect of a much larger and complex piece during a specific historical time was removed from a bloodied gordion knot, and they used to state a case for a viewpoint, which the author believes, is the correct one.

That's like saying swedish fish candy is the best candy without having included chocolate malt balls in the assessment. Oct 31, Amanda rated it really liked it. It seems like I started this book long ago. It's a book of essays by Nicholson Baker. Baker makes me understand the possibilities of being a writer. If you are a writer, you can write about anything. I liked a lot of essays here. There was a good mix of super duper scholar nerd essays and goober guy moving through the world with curiosity essays. Some memories: The essay about the guy who reads the OED, where Baker explores words and linguistics.

The chapter on preserving books and magazines from It seems like I started this book long ago. The chapter on preserving books and magazines from library weeding. The essay on wikipedia in its forming stages with really detailed snapshots of changing definitions, the essay on playing video games, going to the dump,the gondolas and the trip to Venice, essays on Kindle and Google adwords, on the papermill closing down, on being a Pacifist. In terms of titles,a few stick out.

Like I think he heard his wife say when flipping through old mags, "Take a Look at that Airship," So he wrote an essay, "Take a Look at that Airship" so he could say how his wife said that. It's like taking all of the kitchen conversations and putting them into a book, but making it really about topics and not about his life. Now, the United States puts trillions of dollars and lives into fighting a war where "we don't know the language we don't know. I do enjoy reading Nicholson Baker but I suspect I wouldn't like meeting him in real life.

There was reading while snuggling. It's true. Investigate Madeline the book dealer in Lower Manhattan who owns twenty thousand dictionaries. Dec 31, Joanne Clarke Gunter rated it really liked it Shelves: essays-nonfiction. I love Nicholson Baker. Okay, I don't actually know Nicholson Baker, but I love his writing and the part of him that always comes through in every book, every essay. He writes detailed stories quite often about the everyday and the mundane or about things that interest him.

And what interests Nicholson Baker usually interests me, even if I didn't know it interested me until I read what he wrote. While I enjoyed every essay in this book, as is usually the case with collections of essays or short I love Nicholson Baker. While I enjoyed every essay in this book, as is usually the case with collections of essays or short stories, there are stand-outs.

These were the stand-outs for me: 1. A treat for me because I have such fond memories of enchanting rides in Venetian gondolas. I don't use an e-reader, so I found this essay especially interesting and likable. I am not a gamer, but I loved this essay because it gave me a clearer understanding of the excitement that draws in gamers and keeps them hooked. If you are already a Nicholson Baker fan, this book will not disappoint.

If you aren't a fan as yet, this book could make you one. Jun 11, Full Stop added it Shelves: fall He wrote the speech the same year he published an entire book on the subject Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper. Yet the Wikipedia piece also reveals the underlying cause that links Baker, Champion of Paper with Baker, Champion of Internet: preservation. In it, he chronicles his efforts to protect Wikipedia articles on smaller, more obscure topics from deletion.

Schneider, recently proposed a Wikimorgue — a bin of broken dreams where all rejects could still be read…. Nov 07, Mark Buchignani rated it really liked it Shelves: nicholson-baker. Nicholson Baker is an extraordinary recorder of the everyday. His work — when the primary topic isn't sex, not that sex isn't everyday, but those novels have a different tenor — unjoins the nuts and bolts of life, displaying the threads, the grease, the wear and tear. And soon the reader is in among tiny bits — bits littering roadways, sidewalks, backyards, office buildings, automobile trunks, auditoriums — littering everywhere there are people dropping life minutia and walking on.

The Way the W Nicholson Baker is an extraordinary recorder of the everyday. The Way the World Works is a collection of essays, each of which sets the record straight about Something — or exhibits the record according to Baker. And an enjoyable record it is. All interesting tidbits, often inconsequential to the lives of most, but fascinating and vital to the whole of life.

Baker introduces his book by in part saying that he "allowed myself to believe that I was helping to bring back the personal essay, which had fallen out of fashion. Essays written in Baker's effortlessly elegant prose on many of his favourite topics. Ultimately, your response to this will be driven by whether you share his obsessions and concerns - in particular, if you are not offended by the way American libraries are not preserving print newspapers, fully a quarter of this collection will be less than enthralling to you.

His Wikipedia entry is, perhaps, showing its age a little now, and several others are of their time, but the essay on pacifism is, whil Essays written in Baker's effortlessly elegant prose on many of his favourite topics. His Wikipedia entry is, perhaps, showing its age a little now, and several others are of their time, but the essay on pacifism is, while not perhaps as compelling an argument as he thinks it is, nevertheless powerful and thought-provoking, and - almost - worth the price of admission on its own.

If the art of the essayist is close to being relegated to the pages of history, let Nicholson Baker be its standard bearer in a world of 'op-ed' pieces and whimsy. This kind of thing is all too uncommon these days, and it ought to be encouraged - there is much to enjoy here, not least the prose. Nov 12, Mike rated it really liked it. Updike tribute Kindle 2, an alpenhorn blast of post-Gutenbergian revalorization Googled S Jobs.. Jews lost their value as hostages I want to write a book called "The way the world works"..

I know I'll never write the book. Sep 10, Hannah rated it really liked it. Baker's "personal" essays, collected under a subsection of this book titled "Life," have a likable tendency to turn out to be about the functioning of some everyday object or the execution of some invisible but necessary task: his description of how to extract pennies from an indoor fountain is enough to make you jealous of the job. Since the tone throughout the first several sections - on the mechanics of old telephones, on the practice of putting interior monologues in quotation marks, on the Baker's "personal" essays, collected under a subsection of this book titled "Life," have a likable tendency to turn out to be about the functioning of some everyday object or the execution of some invisible but necessary task: his description of how to extract pennies from an indoor fountain is enough to make you jealous of the job.

Since the tone throughout the first several sections - on the mechanics of old telephones, on the practice of putting interior monologues in quotation marks, on the preservation of defunct newspapers - is one of good-natured conservatism in the sense of respect and affection for the status quo , the few explicitly political essays strike a slightly jarring note, but I at least was too grateful for Baker's excursuses on the "flash press" and the history of the gondola to care. Jun 24, Kyle rated it really liked it.

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The gentle wisdom of Nicholson Baker is on display here - his atomic exploration of how we got to be who we are and why. He's a funny investigator of society and its inhabitants on a scale that is micro rather than macro, and his close examinations inform our understanding of the big picture. There is one major misstep - his essay on pacifism is less about why he is a pacifist which would be a terrific personal essay than in defending his tin-eared history of World War II, "Human Smoke.

Dec 20, Travis Todd rated it really liked it. This is, I believe, the ninth Nicholson Baker book I've read. He pays attention to stuff at a level even most other writers can't approach.

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After I've spent an extended amount of time in his world I feel as if I'm more awake, and more perceptive, and even more capable of acting as a moral being, although my actual follow-through is usually lacking. And he's funny and unembarrassed to write about sex. Sometimes he'll write about something I am initially bored shitless by but a lot of times I'll c This is, I believe, the ninth Nicholson Baker book I've read.

Sometimes he'll write about something I am initially bored shitless by but a lot of times I'll come around and appreciate a subject in a way I never would have on my own. The Fermata is still probably my favorite of his, though. Jul 02, Joe rated it really liked it. Louis Post Dispatch. Nicholson Baker is getting old and cranky and repetitive. I still consider him a favorite, but this collection was pretty uninspired, and the tone was surprisingly dour for him. Even when I basically agree with him, I find myself wanting to disagree just because he sounds so unpleasant.

As a librarian, I could certainly do without his antagonism and destructive idealism, as well. Even the pieces regarding his childhood were sort of rote and glum -- and that's the sort of thing he usually knocks Nicholson Baker is getting old and cranky and repetitive. Even the pieces regarding his childhood were sort of rote and glum -- and that's the sort of thing he usually knocks out of the park. The book ended on a high note, however, with the video gaming essay.

That was definitely entertaining if a little light , and makes me glad I decided to finish the book.

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Apr 07, B. Mason rated it liked it. Some of the essays in this collection are great, outstanding really and there are others that are quite a bore and not really worth much consideration. The ones in the latter category fall under the purview of introductions mostly or quippy pieces that Baker likely dashed off for one publication or another.

The really great ones, which the exception of "One Summer", are the longer, more intricate explorations, pretty much all of the pieces in the Technology section and the War section, notably Some of the essays in this collection are great, outstanding really and there are others that are quite a bore and not really worth much consideration. The really great ones, which the exception of "One Summer", are the longer, more intricate explorations, pretty much all of the pieces in the Technology section and the War section, notably "Painkiller Deathstreak" and "Kindle 2".

Read these essays, they're awesome but don't spend your time in the whole collection.