The Anthologist Paperback – 5 Aug 2010
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`As insightful a work of criticism as you could wish to read . . . brilliant flashes of perception' --Guardian
`The Anthologist is a perfect match of style, character and subject matter'
'Easygoing and effortlessly comic prose . . . the affable charm of Baker's narrator emanates from the very first line . . .wonderful' --Observer, Paperback of the week
`A beguiling love story about the mysteries of rhyme' --Daily Telegraph
'You will adore this wry, clever novel by the ever-ingenious Nicholson Baker' --Sunday Telegraph
`Excellent . . . surely the best novel about poetry ever written' --Metro
`Baker's gentle novel is well written, with much to admire'
`Fluent & funny' --Nick Laird, Books of the Year, Telegraph
About the Author
Nicholson Baker was born in 1957 and attended the Eastman School of Music and Haverford College. He is the author of several novels, including The Mezzanine, Vox and The Fermata, and House of Holes; and four works of non fiction, U and I, The Size of Thoughts, Double Fold (winner of the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award), and Human Smoke. He lives in Maine.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not a dramatic book. It doesn't have a plot or strong characters, and nothing much really happens. It sounds academic and in a way it is - you will learn things about poetry as you read - but it's written in a very chatty way so it's easy to read. That said, the only thing the book really hooked me on was the way the narrator spoke about the famous poets. We get insights into the lives of Poe, Longfellow, and a whole host of poets, as the well-read Chowder pontificates on their lives and work.
What's not so great to read is everything else. Chowder's home life is very ordinary and his "crisis" with his relationship is very ordinary - she's asking for a break, some time away, but in the end they get back together. His "crisis" over the poetry introduction is ongoing until the end when he writes it. So in effect, there are a lot of mountainous molehills that make up the bulk of the book.
I like Nicholson Baker's attempts at poetry - "Today the clouds have been sprayed on the sky with a number 63 narrow-gauge titanium sprayer tip" (p.138) - and overall Chowder is a genial, amiable narrator whom you want to succeed.Read more ›
The book pulled me in from the very first line, I was hooked. I even got my pencil out and started underlining parts that I enjoyed reading or lines that I found memorable. I am not usually a huge fan of poetry, and to be completely honest, the last time I engaged myself this deeply in the study of poetry was back when I was doing my IGCSE's.
As far as the plot and story goes, it's quite ordinary. Paul Chowder is a published poet, but he is not famous. He has been asked to compile an anthology of poetry that rhymes, and to write a 40 page introduction. But Paul has a problem, he can't seem to write this introduction. Paul has writer's block. Scratch that, Paul has two problems. Paul's girlfriend Roz left him, mainly due to his inadequacy in writing this introduction.
So we spend this time intimately getting to know Paul and his many eccentricities, while he educates us on poets and the art of poetry.
There is absolutely nothing exciting happening, in fact, it comes off as very academic but written in a very personable way. I enjoyed reading this book until about three-quarters of the way through, where I felt it began to drag. My favourite parts however were when he would go on about a certain poet, and when he would create scenarios that involved him and several dead poets - such as Poe.
Overall, what this book is, is a really good, well-written study in poetry.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"I was good at what I did. And what I did was drive to poetry readings." Can you beat that for the ironic curve of a voice, flat-out convincing, accurate and yet a ringing... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Paying Guest
If you're a novel junkie who has more or less neglected poetry since University, this book will get you back in the groove. Read morePublished on 14 Oct. 2013 by vineland
"Plumpskin, Ploshkin, Pelican jill. We think so then, we thought so still". I think that was the very first poem I heard, "The Pelican Chorus" by Edward Lear. My mum read it to me. Read morePublished on 13 Jan. 2012 by Amazon Customer
Paul Chowder is in love with poetry and is determined to show us why. In a delightfully rambling story we're taken through a challenging period of his life. Read morePublished on 19 Dec. 2011 by David Briddock
Half way through this book I was already looking forward to re-reading it, something I very rarely do. Read morePublished on 19 April 2011 by Ms Hilary Wakeman
This inoffensive book grabbed me strangely as I went further into it.
I learned some things about poetry,
The love story is in the style of Mr. Read more
Since I've given it three stars, I don't think it's that bad: it's amusing, thought-provoking, and it's about poetry. But it's so smug. Read morePublished on 10 Oct. 2010 by M. READ