TKC 423 Nicholson Baker


Author of  Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids


Interview starts at 8:44 and ends at 41:26

The thing that really hit me was, this is compulsory. None of these kids have a choice. Whatever the cutoff age is, they have a choice, but all of those earlier years they cannot just decide, “I don’t want to go to school today” unless they had a very understanding set of parents or something. They have to go. And they have to get up really early. Often they’re on a bus for an hour, and then all day long they’re being told what to do. And some of what they’re learning, especially in elementary school, is very valuable—reading, for instance, and arithmetic—really, really valuable things to know on this planet. Other things are often really a waste of time. That feeling of its being both an incredibly long day and a day in which a lot of it feels kind of futile—it’s kind of a terrifying combination when you look at it from the kid’s point of view.

(Photo by Elias Baker)



Amazon announces an all-new Fire HD 8 for $90 with longer battery life, more storage, faster performance and Alexa

Fire HD 8 press release – September 8, 2016

Interview with Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker’s author page at

Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids by Nicholson Baker

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl


Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

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