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A Box of Matches

Nicholson Baker holds an odd place in the hearts of librarians everywhere because of his book Double Fold which had a lot of choice words for librarians who were getting rid of old and in some cases irreplaceable newspapers. Baker took exception this, librarians took exception to Baker and the rest is history. I haven’t read that book, this may be the first book of his that I have finished [I can’t get through Vox, I just can’t] And you know what? It’s great. It tells a sort of nothing-happens tale of a man living in New England who wakes up and starts the fire every morning, and thinks about stuff, the book is the daily diary of the things he thinks about.

If you’re not from New England, or you don’t have the morning fire routine or don’t live in the country somewhere, you may not relate to this. The main character lives in a country house and has a pet duck, and a cat, and spends a lot of pages in this slim novel talking about those things, the minutae of making coffee. He has a beard and a wife, like Baker, and lives in New England, like Baker. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to call this somewhat autobiographical, but I don’t know Baker much more than that, so it’s of no consequence. The book has a very peaceful vibe and is a quick read. The main characters observations rung true, to me, and so I enjoyed getting to spend a short while inside his head, you may too.