U&I by Nicholson baker

U&I BY Nicholson Baker

Literay non- fiction

Granta books

Nicholson Baker is an american writer ,I reviewed Vox a few weeks ago as part of the new Granta reissue series and now bring another from the four reissued books with their lovely Village green designed covers .

So U&I what is it about ,well it is about John Updike (a point to note here for the readers is I share a birthday with mr Updike so have a huge soft spot for him ) it is about John Updike books yes and no ,is it about John Updike the man well yes and no ,this book is hard to pin down to a non fiction category ,the book starts with Baker deciding to write a piece for the Atlantic magazine about Updike but as he starts on this it obviously grows into this book .Baker takes us on a journey through his mind and how his mind has absorbed John Updike’s works and his numerous interviews he has read over the years .As we go along this path we dart here and there into Bakers wider reading habits and how he interacts with books and how he has viewed Updike’s criticism in the past ,Updike was a great critic in his day and some one who you feel Baker admired .Now your asking did they know each other well they meet once at a Harvard lampoon party where he got Updike to sign a copy of rabbit is rich ,he was amazed to find out that Updike had read one of his short stories .

AT the offices of the Harvard lampoon ,in november 1984 ,I sprang out in front of him near a plate of ham cutting as he was hurrying leave the post Harvard-Yale game party .

Baker braving first meeting

Hi I’m Nick Baker

I’m John Updike

I know

and they chat briefly

SO what did I make of this book ,I loved it ,I like Bakers loose stream of consciousness style in the book ,it feels like you’re in his head holding a conversation with him ,this is definitely a bibliophile’s book as it is so full of book love ,he mentions so many books and why he likes them I feel I got a hold new insight into some books I ve missed by his slight mentions of them ,as for Updike and I ,the I in this case being me Stu the writer of the blog ,well I ve read four of his book like most people three of them are the rabbit books ,which I feel are the best insight into the  post war american experience the other is the eastwick book .I ve a few of his other books on my shelves am I in a rush to read not really I have a soft spot as mention but I also have another 40 plus years hopefully in front of me to get to them so like Baker who has also not read Updike’s Cannon ,I m in no rush to tick him off my read list as I want to experience Updike for years to come and also I feel the same about Baker so the review of the other two reissues will be a some point in the future .

Have you read this book ?

Have you read Updike ?

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. parrish
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 13:59:53

    Yes, some rabbits, have also read 2 Nicholson bakers, which I thoroughly enjoyed, did you know he has a new one out very soon(if not now) can’t remember its name, but its in his risque vein of writing.


  2. Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 18:24:30

    I have tried and tried to appreciate Updike, and please let me tell you why I’ve found myself unable to immerse myself in his writing thus far in my life:

    As an American who grew up in the stultifying Northeast US suburbs about which Updike writes, I go into “memory paroxsysms” that threaten to overwhelm me when I read Updike’s work. The problem is that I’ve been trying to escape from this world all my life: the world of my parents and their generation about which Updike wrote. My generation, people who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s in the US tell me they also find it difficult to read Updike.

    BUT! Stu! I do hope, as time continuously places more and more distance between me and the world Updike wrote about, that I will go back to Updike’s work as time goes forth and appreciate all he has to offer, because I know he is an exquisite writer.

    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)


    • winstonsdad
      Aug 22, 2011 @ 19:24:49

      Can see why you may struggle ,to me he seems a voice of were you grew up but to you he sounds like a voice of your past ,hope ypou go back some time ,but understand what you mean ,all the best stu


  3. Valerie
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 22:48:16

    I’m a big fan of John Updike. He has written so much that I’ve only read a small percentage of his works so far. I have a pile of Updikes I have yet to read, and keep adding to it. I picked up U and I by Nicholson Baker when I realized it was about his obsession about Updike — at that time I knew nothing about Baker. However I read The Anthologist before I got to reading U and I, and really enjoyed The Anthologist. Is it one of the reissues? Maybe not since The Anthologist is relatively new. I didn’t know that Baker had a reputation for being a risque writer until I read your review of Vox. The Anthologist is pretty tame in that respect.


    • winstonsdad
      Aug 22, 2011 @ 19:12:27

      Yes Baker seems to have many threads anthologist is one I want to read ,I love updike I may go back and reread the rabbit books next year as there great insights to america ,all the best stu


  4. Sarah
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 20:23:28

    Stu, I haven’t read any Updike recently, and don’t remember The Witches of Eastwick all that well. Do you need to be familiar with Updike to appreciate U & I ? (I’m guessing that you would probably would.)


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August 2011


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