Quotes by: Nicholson Baker
Baker in 2013
January 7, 1957 |
New York City
||Eastman School of Music
||Novels, non-fiction, essays
For me, as a beginning novelist, all other living writers form a control group for whom the world is a placebo.
True, the name of the product wasn't so great. Kindle? It was cute and sinister at the same time - worse than Edsel, or Probe, or Microsoft's Bob. But one forgives a bad name. One even comes to be fond of a bad name, if the product itself is delightful.
I don't do all that well in the writerly world. I'm happier being outside the flow.
While I was writing I assumed it would be published under a pseudonym, and that liberated me: what I wrote was exactly what I wanted to read.
The great thing about novels is that you can be as unshy as you want to be. I'm very polite in person. I don't want to talk about startling or upsetting things with people.
Until a friend or relative has applied a particular proverb to your own life, or until you've watched him apply the proverb to his own life, it has no power to sway you.
I really practiced hard and got to a certain level of technical proficiency. I overcame some of my limitations. I was a hard-working, dedicated bassoonist, but I have to say I'm not a natural musician.
One's head is finite. You pour more and more things into it - surnames, chronologies, affiliations - and it packs them away in its tunnels, and eventually you find that you have a book about something that you publish.
The music wasn't going to happen, and I realized I had read so little. I didn't know my way around any century. I was very under read.
From my music training, I knew that, some Spanish rhythms apart, 5/4 is a time signature used only in the modern era. Holst's Mars from the Planets is 5/4. But if you speak lines of poetry in that pattern you just end up hitting the off-beats. It's only when you add a rest - a sixth beat - that it sounds as it surely should sound.
Haven't you felt a peculiar sort of worry about the chair in your living room that no one sits in?
Wikipedia is just an incredible thing. It is fact-encirclingly huge, and it is idiosyncratic, careful, messy, funny, shocking and full of simmering controversies - and it is free, and it is fast.
That was the problem with reading: you always had to pick up again at the very thing that had made you stop reading the day before.
Maybe the Kindle was the Bowflex of bookishness: something expensive that, when you commit to it, forces you to do more of whatever it is you think you should be doing more of.
The nice thing about a protest song is that it takes the complaint, the fussing, the finger-pointing, and gives it an added component of sociable harmony.
I blush easily. I have difficulty meeting people's eye, difficulty with public speaking, the normal afflictions of the shy, but not to a paralysing degree.
I keep thinking I'll enjoy suspense novels, and sometimes I do. I've read about 20 Dick Francis novels.
When I really want to be soothed and reminded of why people bother to fiddle with sentences, I often read poetry.
I think I am done with Wikipedia for the time being. But I have a secret hope. Someone recently proposed a Wikimorgue - a bin of broken dreams where all rejects could still be read, as long as they weren't libelous or otherwise illegal.
I like shelves full of books in a library, but if all books become electronic, the task of big research libraries remains the same - keep what's published in the form in which it appeared.