Well, this was meant to be a Sunday Salon post, but the day got away from me. My three kids were going in three different directions today. But as my littlest one was drifting off to sleep, and I was rubbing her back, I managed to sneak in a few pages of Nicholson Baker's The Anthologist.
I am finding this book very entertaining, so far. Main character Paul Chowder is a poet who just can't seem to write the introduction to a poetry anthology that he has edited. He's just the kind of character I can relate to right now--a procrastinator who seems to spend a lot of time inside his own head. And he's making me think about poetry, which feels both pleasant and good for me.
I had some hesitation about reading this book, though I had heard good things and thought the subject matter sounded interesting, because I couldn't get through an earlier book of Baker's, The Mezzanine. It was a slim little book, and also a stream-of-consciousness sort of thing, but somehow seemed much less accessible than The Anthologist. Maybe it just wasn't the right time for me to read it, but I could not get into it, and I put it down fairly soon after picking it up. And then I felt terribly guilty. Because it was a book that someone had loaned me--someone who thought I would like it. And I have to admit, I still haven't returned it to her. And now I'm not sure I could even find it on my shelf if I tried. Guilt, guilt, guilt, shame, shame, shame. I am usually such a good book borrower, and I abhor this sort of behavior in others.
So all of that created a little barrier between me and Nicholson Baker's work, so I was nervous when my book group picked The Anthologist for its next read. But I'm so glad I pushed past my anxiety about it and started to read. I like the way Paul Chowder's mind works.
Looking forward to sneaking in a few more pages.