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Extended Audio Sample The Anthologist: A Novel Audiobook, by Nicholson Baker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,122 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nicholson Baker Narrator: Nicholson Baker Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9781400186631
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The Anthologist is narrated by Paul Chowder-a once-in-a-while-published kind of poet who is writing the introduction to a new anthology of poetry. He's having a hard time getting started because his career is floundering; his girlfriend Roz has recently left him; and he is thinking about the great poets throughout history who have suffered far worse and deserve to feel sorry for themselves. He has also promised to reveal many wonderful secrets and tips and tricks about poetry, and it looks like the introduction will be a little longer than he'd thought. What unfolds is a wholly entertaining and beguiling love story about poetry: from Tennyson, Swinburne, and Yeats to the moderns (Roethke, Bogan, Merwin) to the staff of the New Yorker, what Paul reveals is astonishing and makes one realize how incredible important poetry is to our lives. At the same time, Paul barely manages to realize all of this himself, and the result is a tenderly romantic, hilarious, and inspired novel. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • A slyly intelligent rant about the crazy paradoxes of artistic careerism, and a casual and hilarious series of lessons on poetry. O: The Oprah Magazine
  • “A slyly intelligent rant about the crazy paradoxes of artistic careerism, and a casual and hilarious series of lessons on poetry.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Startlingly perceptive and ardent…Chowder is possibly the most appealing narrator Baker has invented.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “You become so engaged by Chowder’s narrative voice…that his loneliness and his valiant attempts to cope with despair creep up on you. When they do, you’re moved by this sincere, funny, sad man.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Baker is a hybrid of past and future. His style has a meditative echo, like a man in a cave walking toward a light on the other end.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A witty satire of literary culture.”

    Washington Post

  • “Baker pulls off an original and touching story, demonstrating his remarkable writing ability while putting it under a microscope.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Derek Baldwin | 2/9/2014

    " Solipsism, Nicholson Baker, is thy middle name. Quite good fun, and at last I understand what iambic pentameter is! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh | 2/7/2014

    " I could not give much of a defense for why this book should exist or why it's worth reading beyond the fact that it pleased me. That's all I've got. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karyn | 2/6/2014

    " This author is very eccentric and fun. Can't believe how fun he made it to read about poetry. Unfortunately, the book stalled out about 2/3 of the way through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andie | 1/25/2014

    " One of the most unique books I've ever read. I found Paul Chowder to be an astute, vulnerable, hilarious, insightful, and very sympathetic narrator, as he struggles with writing the introduction to an anthology, as well as lost love, mouse droppings, and slicing open his finger. This was the first book in ages that inspired me to get out a pen and underline, star, and otherwise make note of beautiful paragraphs, lines, or even word combinations that I knew I'd want to look back on later. It was also a nice crash course on poetry, about which I know very little, and which I don't even really like... but honestly, this book approached it in such a refreshing, vivid way, that I might be inclined to actually look into the poetry of many of those discussed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Olivia | 1/20/2014

    " Loved it!! A real pleasure to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sazuru | 1/5/2014

    " Hilarious, funny, reminds me too much of my eight years of writing dissertation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn Rossi | 12/5/2013

    " A must-read for any poetry lover! My only complaint? It just kind of ended. But lots of beautiful words about beautiful words in between! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barbara | 11/29/2013

    " It either had good things to say, or it was boring. Skimmed much of it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara Amago | 10/20/2013

    " Baker is an excellent writer, and, while I was impatient with the main character, I also wanted to meet him. I learned quite a lot about poetry, which has increased my appreciation already. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josiah Miller | 10/8/2013

    " Baker is always a delight to read. I feel this book is very current and relevant. Not only are the pop culture references current but so is Paul Chowder's credit card debt. Just like much of the American population is in debt, Paul spends more money than he makes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 8/7/2013

    " I wanted to like it. I thought that a "beguiling love story about poetry" had to be a treat. But at the end of the day, not so much. I'm not sure why, but I hope it wasn't because I found too much of Paul Chowder in me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 7/9/2013

    " This book embarrasses me in the best possible way. Poets, please read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Noel | 7/2/2013

    " This was a fiction book, but it absolutely changed the way I think about poetry on a larger scale. You can learn a lot from the narrator of this book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 claire | 6/9/2013

    " Loved loved loved this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcy Dermansky | 10/31/2012

    " I might have faded through Paul Chowder's ramblings on poetry. And maybe I didn't even like how well it all worked out for him in the end. I should have, right? Be happy when the stumbling writer pulls it together and gets it all. Like hope. I much prefer The Wonder Boys, the book and the movie. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marc | 6/4/2012

    " You've really got to be into poetry to appreciate this. That said, Baker is incredible. The depth and breadth of his writing is truly remarkable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura.heiman | 5/17/2012

    " On seeing someone else's poem in the New Yorker: "The prose will have pulled back, and the poem will be there, cavorting, saying, I'm a poem, I'm a poem. No, you're not! You're an imposter, you're a toy train of pretend stanzas of chopped garbage. Just like my poem was." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric | 8/20/2011

    " Funny, likeable, obsessed English professor/poet character who can't get it together to write his anthology introduction or win his estranged wife back. He gets away with pages and pages of techical stuff, as I tried to do in "The Man Who Loved Rilke" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Noel | 5/24/2011

    " This was a fiction book, but it absolutely changed the way I think about poetry on a larger scale. You can learn a lot from the narrator of this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pip | 4/16/2011

    " My new favourite author. Had not read this quirky chap before and will read more. Great for literary types. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karyn | 4/2/2011

    " This author is very eccentric and fun. Can't believe how fun he made it to read about poetry. Unfortunately, the book stalled out about 2/3 of the way through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 4/1/2011

    " Wonderful w/juicy bits about poets' lives "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 3/22/2011

    " I think I would have liked poetry better in school if I had a lovable crackpot like the narrator explaining it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Teri | 3/21/2011

    " Have not finished but love the inner dialog of an anguished poet. Very funny.
    "

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About the Author
Author Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker has published numerous novels, including the New York Times bestseller Vox and The Mezzanine. He has also written several works of nonfiction, including Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award. A regular contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, Baker lives in Maine.