Nicholson Baker ’79, the author of such notorious books as Vox (which Monica Lewinsky famously gave as a gift to Bill Clinton) and The Fermata, is the subject of a lengthy feature in the latest issue of The New York Times Magazine on the occasion of the release of his ninth and latest novel, House of Holes: A Book of Raunch.
As this newest book is the third in what the Times writer calls Baker’s “sex trilogy,” much time is spent discussing the novelist’s bluest writing impulses and how his mild personal demeanor is at odds with his often provocative material. (This is, after all, a man who is also a classically trained bassoonist, the author of a non-fiction book about John Updike and someone whose gray beard makes him look a little like a svelte Santa.)
But the article also touches on Baker’s time here on campus, including how important his rooming in a co-ed dorm at Bryn Mawr was (it was where he met his wife). It also explores Baker’s love of the written word, and how he spent some of his retirement savings on the deaccessioned 19th and early 20th century American newspaper collection of the British Library—a story that was also the subject of a Haverford magazine article in 2003. (The five trailer-truck loads have since been taken over by Duke University.)