The Way the World Works

The Way the World Works

Essays

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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, Nicholson Baker ranges over the map of life to examine what troubles us, what eases our pain, and what brings us joy. The Way the World Works is a keen-minded, generous-spirited compendium by a modern American master.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416572480 | 
  • August 2013
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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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