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Posts Tagged ‘Nicholson Baker’

Jennifer Weiner Analyzes Gender Balance in NYT Fiction Coverage

Novelist Jennifer Weiner has made a count of men and women reviewed by the New York Times last year.

Overall, Weiner (pictured, via)  found that out of 254 fiction reviews, nearly 60 percent of the featured books were written by men. Her long essay also counted authors reviewed multiple times by the newspaper. Follow this link to read the whole report.

Check it out: “Finally, of the works of fiction whose authors were reviewed twice (either with two full reviews, or review plus roundup) and profiled, one was a woman and ten were men. The men who received two reviews plus a profile were David Foster Wallace, Albert Brooks, Julian Barnes, Kevin Wilson, Nicholson Baker, Tom Perrotta, Russell Banks, Jeffrey Eugenides, Haruki Murakami and Allan Hollinghurst. The only woman who received two reviews plus a profile was Tea Obreht.”

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Nicholson Baker Shares His Friendly’s Rewriting Secret

Over at Slate, novelist Nicholson Baker bemoaned the “sad news” that Friendly’s may consider filing for bankruptcy–giving readers a peek at his writing process at the same time.

Baker is the author of House of Holes, Human Smoke, Checkpoint and many other books. It turns out that the novelist used Friendly’s as one of his favorite editing spots.

Baker explained in the article: “In the sixties and seventies Friendly’s mostly served its cheeseburgers on toast, not on buns—the toast is what made them so good. I’ve done many hours of rewriting at Friendly’s. (Also, have to say, at Panera and Starbucks and other places.) I’m always happy when I see the green Friendly’s topiary sign on the Mass Pike. Let’s hope they close some stores and emerge stronger.”

Nicholson Baker & His Speak-Typing Method

In an excellent New York Times Magazine profile of Nicholson Baker this week, the novelist explored his “speak-typing” method. For his last two novels, Baker (pictured, via Elias Baker) has dictated the story out loud–typing as he speaks.

Here’s an example, from the profile: “One of the loveliest scenes in The Anthologist, when Paul Chowder contemplates the moon while sitting outside on a wet plastic lawn chair, was written exactly as the book describes. Baker went outside, dumped a puddle of rainwater from the chair, sat down in his pajamas and began typing on his laptop. The advantage of speak-typing, he explained, is that ‘the words come out differently. The sentences come out simpler, and there’s less of a temptation to go back and add more foliage. I’m trying for a simpler kind of storytelling, and maybe I feel that I did that other stuff and maybe I can’t do that anymore. It may be that a certain kind of writing is not attainable anymore.’”

If you are interested in experimenting with dictation, you might want to download the free Dragon Dictation app for Apple devices. It is a good tool for quickly transcribing dictation. Follow this link to read Baker’s beautiful moon passage in Google Books.

Ken Auletta Criticizes “Googled” Book Review

Ken Auletta joined the ranks of authors disagreeing publicly with book reviewers, criticizing novelist Nicholson Baker‘s NY Times review of his new book. Above, mediabistro.com published a MediaBeat interview with the author last week.

Here’s an excerpt from Auletta’s letter to the editor: “I know I should be grateful that he described my book ‘Googled’ (Nov. 29) as ‘engrossing,’ but I would have liked it better if he had not, as he wrote, ‘read the book in three huge gulps and learned a lot.’ Maybe if he had slowed down a bit, he would not have misreported its content.”

Baker responded with a short statement and an unexpected metaphor: “Auletta wrote a thought-provoking book, and I recorded several thoughts provoked. It’s a book review, not a bouillon cube.”