- The Mezzanine
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- Dynamic illustrations bring Wilfrid to life
It's almost as if he's trying to outnumber and supersede his childhood enthusiasms, his nostalgia-driven memories and the sentimental distortions of his youth.
The Kink in the Child Despite his admiration for grown-up ideas, there are no real moments of sublimity. Most of the novella smacks of childish kinkiness.
However, I soon realised that he was American. Nevertheless, the same comic tone is there, and maturity is only hinted at belatedly. Still, I'd settle for humour any day. It saves the novella from sinking under the weight of its own authorial earnestness, something Howie's mother was sensitive to: "My mother found it affected and irritating and thought I should stop.
6 fun activities to use in a novel unit
The Subdued Tantalisation of Footnotes The minute particulars of miscellanea are supplemented by extensive footnotes, some of which extend to four pages, and comprise a "luxurious incidentalism" which offers the reader a "subdued tantalisation": "Footnotes are the finer-suckered surfaces that allow tentacular paragraphs to hold fast to the wider reality of the library Everything relative to so great a man is worth observing.
View all 10 comments. I feel bad about giving this book only two stars. Because Baker is a good writer. No, not just good, he is quite brilliant. It can't be easy to write a book about everyday life's nothingness. But Baker pulls it off. The novel is written in a stream-of-consciousness kind of manner, except the thoughts aren't incomplete or muddled up.
The writing is perfectly articulate. Baker flows from one thought to another very smoothly.
- The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker.
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- The Summer Of Secrets.
You know there are times when we find ourselves thinking of something, bu I feel bad about giving this book only two stars. You know there are times when we find ourselves thinking of something, but can't remember what train of thoughts led us there.
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This book too has that kind of a feel, to an extent. On the whole, I doubt if this could have been written any better. It is a very tedious read. The narrator is in awe of every not-at-all-fascinating thing that we barely ever pay a thought to. And all these mundane things are described in excruciating detail. The kind of things that he discusses at length include why plastic straws are the way they are, what makes shoe laces wear out, the art of tying shoelaces, why it is better to cut a toast diagonally, staplers, milk cartons, garbage trucks and lot more.
How to put on deodorant after he was fully dressed, shoe tying etc. There might have been some pieces that I found funny or interesting. I liked how the narrator would often re-visit his childhood days and build up on his thoughts from back then. In-spite of that it was just too tiring to read, even when I started skipping sentences. I can't help but wonder about the narrator's sanity. Such over-analysis of anything and everything can easily drive him crazy. Perhaps a career counselor should have directed him to a research lab so that he would have something to occupy his mind with. Had this dude been born in an older era, stuff like discovery of fire or invention of wheel would have totally blown his fuse off.
I am still somewhat curious to see how Baker concludes the novel. I found a few 5-star reviews where the readers seemed to have found it a tedious read, but ended up liking it 5-stars worth. May be I should finish it after all, but am not sure if it going to be worth the effort. I might pick up another book by Baker in distant future, but warily. He will have to go through a more thorough background check before he gets a place on my bookshelf again. View all 13 comments. Whatever happened to predictability The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV How did I get delivered here Somebody tell me, please This old world's confusing me The corporate environment has changed a lot since These days, memos are no longer circulated in hard copy, and the stapler is something of an arcane object.
The world has moved on. We no longer lament the loss of the milkman or paper straws who knew that straws used to be made from paper!
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But many things remain Whatever happened to predictability The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV How did I get delivered here Somebody tell me, please This old world's confusing me The corporate environment has changed a lot since But many things remain the same: the implicit rules of coworker acknowledgement, elevator etiquette, the bathroom awkwardness. Baker obsessively explores these minutiae of everyday interactions in an astute and entertaining way. The book is filled with observations such as this: have you ever noticed that while women will say "oops", men will almost always say it in the singular, as "oop".
Mezzanine is a little bit Seinfeld , a little bit David Foster Wallace, maybe a little bit Gurion Maccabee, but different enough to all of those to be its own thing. A fun and unique little novel. Note: In case you couldn't place it, the opening quote is from the theme to the 90s sitcom, Full House , which for some reason kept intermittently popping into my head while reading this book.
View all 7 comments. This book is so good. It's about something I've wondered about and been fascinated by but have remained unable to articulate for almost my entire life: how the material culture and physical environment of our time and place shape human experience. I've been interested in that idea since I was a little kid but have never understood how to conceptualize it clearly.
At the moment I can't think of many things more exciting than discovering a novel that addresses a huge question you've had This book is so good. At the moment I can't think of many things more exciting than discovering a novel that addresses a huge question you've had for so long that you've stopped noticing you wanted it answered. It's kind of the best thing in the world. I feel a guardedly renewed faith in fiction, and by extension, the world. View 1 comment. Jul 02, Christopher rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction , american , 20th-century , favorites.
It is three forty-three in the morning and I stand over a changing table. My naked newborn child lays on his back on the concave cushion and I hold his feet together above him so that he does not kick himself or drag his feet through his own feces. I slide a new, clean diaper underneath the dirty one, then grab and pull the dirty one out from under him. I wrap the dirty diaper around itself, making a tight little ball that contains and prevents any leakage with some unknown combination of soft, It is three forty-three in the morning and I stand over a changing table.
I wrap the dirty diaper around itself, making a tight little ball that contains and prevents any leakage with some unknown combination of soft, cottony paper and an absorbant substance. I fold the yellow tabs around to seal it all in and press it into the open lid of the Diaper Genie, an alien spaceship-like thing that opens and swallows and digests within itself all the stink and mess of an infant's expulsive habits. I wrestle the new diaper around straining legs, slightly anxious over the prospect getting this far in the process and having a pale yellow stream of urine find its way onto my shirt, arms, and child and having to repeat the whole thing.
I fold the yellow tabs from back to front, binding to the top of Big Bird's head with something not unlike velcro. For it being so early in the morning, I am unaccountably awake and fixated on those yellow tabs. They are ingenious, completely practical things. The type of thing that deserves italicization in virtue of its utter importance and the general nonrecognition of that importance, like flanges or paper perforations.
Nicholson Baker is the crowned king of these things , the minutiae of everyday life. There's a moment in this book when the narrator recalls a habit of his as a child: he would sweep his garage floor as clean as possible and place in its center an old, rusty, mundane object, such as a railroad spike.
Within a blank field, the railroad spike became an object worthy of note and attention. This is the author's express purpose for this novel, to take the mundane and to make it an interesting object of the reader's attention. By placing shoelaces within the white pages of a book, he gives them meaning.
Dynamic illustrations bring Wilfrid to life
He can, and does, spend pages ruminating upon the production and use of drinking straws. Which is better, a paper or plastic straw? How annoying it is when a straw floats up in a can of coke and hangs limply out of mouth's reach. How the development of the plastic straw influenced the design of plastic lids on fast food fountain drink cups.
He can, and does, dissect in tedious detail the decision to ask for a small paper bag with the purchase of a single-serving carton of milk. Of course, this decision traces back to his years as a young man buying Penthouse magazines from a cute cashier at a convenience store, a purchase necessitating a paper bag, as well as the time he refused a freely offered paper bag, an act for which he feels a certain amount of guilt. He does not, however, tell us whether the milk was whole, skim, two-percent, soy, or otherwise.
This might or might not sound interesting to you. For me, it's fascinating, but I'm the type of person who may sit at the breakfast table long after I've drained my cereal bowl, hand on chin, contemplating the various mechanisms used to pour liquids from their respective containers. The gabled, folding flaps of a milk carton from my childhood, since replaced by a plastic spigot with a screw-on and -off lid, no doubt designed to create a better seal than its predecessor.
The folding metal spout on the cylindrical Morton's salt box, attached by a single staple. Much like the protagonist, I'm likely to space out on the ride up the escalator to my office, turning what could be a single paragraph or sentence I stepped onto the escalator, which carried me up to the mezzanine and to my office beyond into a novella-length narrative.
My sincerest concern here is how did the author get so deep into my brain? How does he know the thoughts that I've thought so many times? And how was he able to record my thought processes so very accurately, following the same mental digressions that have captivated my mind so very often?
Not everyone can appreciate a book that seriously states, "The ice cube tray deserves a historical note. View all 11 comments. Dec 28, Debbie Ann rated it really liked it. It's hard to rate this book, because on many levels it is brilliant. Just brilliant.
Yet, lets just say, there is not much narrative tension and that is an understatement of the century. The writer is hilarious. And the character, a complete nerd who cannot stop thinking about the most mundane daily activities that we all don't bother thinking about, is amazingly well developed in merely pages.