New from Simon & Schuster

The Way the World Works

The Way the World Works

Essays

The Way the World Works, Nicholson Baker's ranges over the map of life to examine what ails us, what eases our pain, and what gives us joy. Baker-recently hailed as "one of the most consistently enticing writers of our time" by The New York Times-moves from political controversy to the intimacy of his own life, from forgotten heroes of pacifism to airplane wings, telephones, paper mills, David Remnick, Joseph Pulitzer, the OED, and the manufacture of the Venetian gondola. In one essay, Baker surveys our fascination with video games while attempting to beat his teenage son at Modern Warfare 2; in a celebrated essay on Wikipedia, he describes his efforts to stem the tide of encyclopedic deletionism. Through all these pieces Baker shines the light of an inexpugnable curiosity; The Way the World Works is a keen-minded, generous-spirited compendium by a modern American master.
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  • Simon & Schuster UK | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781471102684 | 
  • August 2012
List Price £6.61

Read an Excerpt

Way the World Works FOREWORD
Back in 1982, when I was just getting going as a writer, William Whitworth, the editor of The Atlantic, called to say that he was putting together a 125th-anniversary edition and he wondered if I had anything short to contribute to the front of the magazine. Flattered, I wrote something that tootled around in a ruminative way called “Changes of Mind.” Other pieces followed, and I allowed myself to believe that I was helping to bring back the personal essay, which had fallen out of... see more
Way the World Works String
I was two years old when we moved to Rochester, New York. We lived in an apartment on a street that was only a block long, called Strathallan Park.

The shortness of the street was perfect, I thought: it had two ends and not much middle, like a stick that you pick up unconsciously to tap against a fence, or like one of those pieces of string that the people in the food department at Sibley’s, the downtown department store, cut from wall-mounted spools to tie up a box holding a small cake.... see more

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About the Author

Nicholson Baker
Elias Baker

Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker was born in 1957 and attended the Eastman School of Music and Haverford College. He is the author of several novels, including The Mezzanine, Vox and The Fermata, and House of Holes; and four works of non fiction, U and I, The Size of Thoughts, Double Fold (winner of the 2002 National Book Critics Circle Award), and Human Smoke. He lives in Maine.

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