Book Acquired Recently: Nicholson Baker’s U and I

Baker, Nicholson. U and I: A True Story. 1991. New York: Vintage, 1992.

I am very excited to read this book. Nicholson Baker is one of my favorite writers because his prose flows like hot chocolate syrup, which makes his books virtually impossible to put down. I love his attention to detail and his obsession with book culture, which I share, and which leads to the best, most observant writing about literature in both its physical and intellectual manifestations that I have ever read. This book is about his love affair (well, intellectual love affair, but wouldn’t it be quintessentially Updikean if they had actually had a clandestine physical affair?) with John Updike, a writer who I also like when I’m not feeling guilty for liking him.

I went through a voracious period of reading Baker’s fiction last fall and winter, and have been getting to his nonfiction here and there. I bought this book to help me reach amazon.com’s $25.00 plateau for free shipping on a recent order (the other book in the order was Samuel R.Delany’s Starboard Wine, which is coming out later this summer). In other words, my book-buying addiction feeds my study of Baker’s book addiction. We addicts have to stick together!

 

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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