The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker (Simon & Schuster, 2009)
Having accidentally read the sequel first, I went back and read The Anthologist and enjoyed it as well. It is about the same character, a middle-aged poet in New England. In this book, Paul Chowder is supposed to be writing the introduction to his anthology of poetry, but keeps putting it off. So we learn all about the history of poetry, particularly about the value of rhyme and the various kinds of meter. He explains poetry in a very understandable way without seeming like a textbook. The book is basically a running commentary of Paul Chowder’s everyday life, but he seems to be an intelligent and sensitive man so it’s interesting to read. I’m looking forward to checking out Baker’s other novels.