The Way the World Works by Nicholson Baker
Essays

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Taken together, the essays in “The Way the World Works” create a sort of self-portrait of the author.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Nicholson Baker, who “writes like no one else in America” (Newsweek), here assembles his best short pieces from the last fifteen years.

The Way the World Works, Baker’s second nonfiction collection, ranges over the map of life to examine what troubles us, what eases our pain, and what brings us joy. Baker moves from political controversy to the intimacy of his own life, from forgotten heroes of pacifism to airplane wings, telephones, paper mills, David Remnick, Joseph Pulitzer, the OED, and the manufacture of the Venetian gondola. He writes about kite string and about the moment he met his wife, and he surveys our fascination with video games while attempting to beat his teenage son at Modern Warfare 2. In a celebrated essay on Wikipedia, Baker describes his efforts to stem the tide of encyclopedic deletionism; in another, he charts the rise of e-readers; in a third he chronicles his Freedom of Information lawsuit against the San Francisco Public Library.

Through all these pieces, many written for The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The American Scholar, Baker shines the light of an inexpugnable curiosity. The Way the World Works is a keen-minded, generous-spirited compendium by a modern American master.
 

About Nicholson Baker

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Nicholson Baker is the author of nine novels and five works of nonfiction, including The Anthologist, Human Smoke, and Double Fold (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award). He lives in Maine with his family.
 
Published August 7, 2012 by Simon & Schuster. 337 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Way the World Works
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by John Jeremiah Sullivan on Nov 02 2012

There are times when Baker’s relentlessly even and likable tone...lend a slightly phoned-in feeling.

Read Full Review of The Way the World Works: Essays | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Aug 12 2012

Taken together, the essays in “The Way the World Works” create a sort of self-portrait of the author.

Read Full Review of The Way the World Works: Essays | See more reviews from NY Times

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