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 ?

Vox by Nicholson Baker

Vox by nicholson baker

source – review copy

I was very lucky to get sent the four new reissues from Granta of Bakers work which is good as I ve only read a couple of his book .Nicholson Baker is an american writer he writes both fiction and non fiction and is known for stream of consciousness writing and his voyeuristic style at times ,he got a ba in philosophy from Haverford college .

Vox was Nicholson’s fourth book and was published in 1991 ,the book is a shortish novel at only 167 pages long .the book focuses on two characters that are on the telephone on a telephone chat line ,they decide to go to a private room to chat one to one ,the book is that one to one chat ,things start slowly then as the two open up the conversation and subjects get sexier and sexier ,as they talk about their encounters and dreams .This is  not a story if you turn red at steamy scenes on tv as it goes into close details of what they want to do in the bedroom ,so as we find out what Jim and Abbey like we feel a bit like a voyeur or an old stasis agent listening into something private that maybe we shouldn’t be listen to but can’t hang up and in a way its the same for Abbey and Jim as they’re paying a lot for doing this as it is a charging chat line there on .

“what are you wearing ?” he asked.

she said “I m wearing a white shirt with little stars,green and black stars ,on it ,black pants ,and socks the colour of the green stars ,and a pair of black sneakers I got for nine dollars .”

“what are you doing ?”

“I m lying on my bed ,which is made .That’s unusual thing .I made my bed this morning .A  few months ago my mother gave me a chenille bedspread,exactly the kind we used to have ,and I felt bad that it was still folded up unused and this morning I finally made the bed with it ”

The opening of the book and you jump in the middle of the conversation

As you can see Baker’s style is a little different to many writers you don’t get any intro ,no here you jump straight in .So what did I think I loved it ,ok at times the sex scenes described are very sexy and made me go red but it is a book you just want to keep reading like being on the bus and sat behind people as there having a juicy conversation about people you don’t know but you just want to sit there and catch it even if you miss your stop .The book is also more famous for supposedly being the book a Monica gave a very famous Bill ,now if that story is true I had no doubt Bill knew what was on Monica’s mind after reading this book it wouldn’t be a book you’d give to the other sex without expecting a reaction  from the person you had given the book too .the book has a wonderful new cover from Village green design that have done the four new covers for these books .

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