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Room Temperature Paperback – 7 Jul 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847083498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847083494
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 846,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Nicholson Baker was born in New York in 1957. He is the author of eight novels, including The Mezzanine, Vox and Room Temperature (all Granta Books), and five non-fiction works, including U & I (also Granta) and Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, for which he won the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award.

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jaybird on 15 April 2007
Format: Paperback
Nicholson Baker has made a career of writing about small moments in intense detail. This slim book covers his musings whilst giving his 6 month old daughter a bottle of milk.

Baker has moments of real perceptiveness, which made you glad you picked up his book, but in-between those moments are chunks of writing which are as dull distractedly feeding a baby can be. In some senses that makes you appreciate the insights more when they come.

He writes like no-one else out there and he writes well. This book does not feel like fiction, it feels very much real and honest. However, in the end, this is not a great book.
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Format: Paperback
I was surprised to see that this novel had just one Amazon.co.uk review. And yet Room Temperature may be the best example of Nicholson Baker's ultra-detailed prose. He takes an idea and lets it unfold, exploring the associated ideas that flow forth (logically and illogically) from it. It's a short book, and beautifully written. Don't expect a 'plot'. It all takes place in the organic drift of the narrator's thoughts one afternoon as he sits with his baby falling asleep. But in rendering consciousness so vividly Baker achieves something very rare.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Tender, engrossing 29 Oct 1997
By Andrew S. Cruse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Probably the most undeservedly overlooked of Nicholson Baker's novels, Room Temperature is a delightful, heartwarming tome.
Any attempt at synopsis would only serve to make the book sound dreadfully boring. After all, during the entire 116 pages the narrator is feeding his small child. No car chases or steamy love scenes. Just a father feeding his baby.
Rather than relying on typical, often stale plot devices, Baker relies on his considerable talent at description to maintain the reader's interest, and he succeeds in a big way. Room Temperature is touching in a way that none of his other books are. The father-child bond is explored in such breathtaking detail that one finds the book impossible to put down, despite the lack of a discernable plot.
Nicholson Baker is not for everyone. His quirky prose and lack of traditional plot lines are sure to put off many readers, but fans of Updike are sure to find a great read in Room Temperature
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
praise for attention to details in "whatever" world 11 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have read all of Mr.Bakers books, and with the exception of "The Everlasting Story..." (which indeed did seem to be everlasting) have read them with delight. Although he's often compared to Updike, I think he surpasses him due to his wit and his more creative sense of the strangeness of life. In "Room Temperature" we find the antidote, along with his other novels, to a modern world obsessed with speed, impersonal technology and the summational catchphrase "whatever". How wonderful it is to see an author bend his mind and spirit to the details of life with so much talent and fervor. And how wonderful to see that his books, plotless and demanding of full attention as they are, sell so well. It gives me hope for our civilization; it really does. On a sidenote - I am tired of critics and readers thinking he is cheapening his prose by writing on sexual topics. Sex is one of the most universal and fascinating and character-revealing subjects around; a great writer can make anything cerebral and holy, and a writer needs to go where his passions lie. Besides, do we really want every novel to be about rubber bands and bathroom hot air dryers?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
How far does your mind wander in 20 blissful minutes? 8 Nov 2010
By Oedipa Hex - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A quiet meditation on the life of a brand new father, and how the infant a couple brings into the world somehow encapsulates every memory, every thought, every ounce of love of the husband for the wife. The sound of bacon crackling = the sound of the narrator's wife smiling in bed. How happy would we all be if our moments in thought were spent deeply ruminating over the magical details that make living worthwhile? Why shouldn't feeding your infant from a bottle in a rocking chair be at once everything and nothing?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not for the faint of heart . . . 5 Oct 2013
By Ken Deshaies - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Not for the faint of heart. Many people have lauded this book for it's rather deep study of the mental meanderings of a father feeding his infant daughter. And, while I found many of the passages very interesting, funny, and clever, and also found much of this pedantic and a sort of pretentious super-intellectual discourse. From musings over several pages about whether his breath could actually affect the movement of a mobile across the room to recollections of incidents in his marriage and in his life, you are obliged to ride in this car no matter where it takes you. Here is an example:

"Even so, when Patty's handwriting paused for a moment that evening soon after Bug was born, and I held in my mind a tiny pen-sound that I felt sure was a comma, I didn't at first think of literary punctuation at all, but of the distant preliterate sight of Mal Green's markings on my horn etudes. The idea of the comma as an oasis of respiration, a point of real as opposed to grammatical breath, of momentary renewal and self-marshaling in the dotty onslaught of sixteenth notes, overlaid itself on my idea of the comma as a unit of simple disjunction in written English. How had we come up with this civilized shape? I wondered. Timidly and respectfully it cupped the sense of a preceding phrase and held it out to us. It recalled the pedals of grand pianos, mosquito larvae, paisleys, adult nostril openings, the spiraling decays of fundamental particles, the prows of gondolas, half-spent tubes of antifungal ointment, falcon or airplane wings in cross section: there was a implied high culture in its asymmetrical tapering swerve that gave it a distinct superiority over the Euclidean austerity of the full point, or period."

And this is just the first half page of an 11 page discourse on the comma. In it, he recalls how he once wanted to write a full dissertation on this form of punctuation, and he verily accomplished that in this chapter. Fortunately, this book is only 116 pages long, or I would have abandoned it long before finishing. Truly, Baker offers insightful and comical moments that I found endearing, but it took some plodding to get there.

There are certainly people who will love this book, and I find no fault in that, but I felt that, if you were considering this read, you should know what you are in for.
thick with insight 16 Aug 2014
By Jimmy John Kudrik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If plot is your thing, baker's not for you, but if you're more wooed by rich description and inventive, highly textured imagery that makes something sublime of the mundane, then you would do yourself a favor by reading this book. Extra good for new parents, those undaunted by highfalutin prose and page-long sentence structure, and those with an interest in the intimate interior lives of avuncular first-person narrators.
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