Traveling Sprinkler (Blue Rider Press)

We're very excited to host acclaimed and best-selling novelist Nicholson Baker (The Mezzanine, The Anthologist, House of Holes) at Skylight for his new novel, Traveling Sprinkler!  Baker will be in conversation with Los Angeles Times book critic (and author himself) David Ulin.

As with all Skylight Books events, this discussion is free and open to the public (first come, first served).  But, because we're expecting a large crowd at this event, we'll be giving out numbered tickets to the signing line to keep things organized.  To get a ticket, you must purchase a copy of Traveling Sprinkler here at Skylight Books.  The tickets will be available starting Tuesday, September 17, when the book goes on sale.  They will be available in-store, or you can order on our website and leave a note in the "Order Comments" field.  We will also hold a ticket for you if you order and pay for a book over the phone.  There's no limit on the number of copies of Traveling Sprinker you can get signed, but we are limiting the number of backlist titles to three per ticket holder.  Thank you for your cooperation!

Paul Chowder, the poet protagonist of Nicholson Baker’s widely acclaimed novel The Anthologist, is turning fifty-five and missing his ex-girlfriend Roz rather desperately. As he approaches the dreaded birthday, Paul is uninspired by his usual artistic outlet (although he’s pleased that his poetry anthology, Only Rhyme, is selling “fairly well in a steady sort of way”).  Putting aside poetry in favor of music, and drawing on his classical bassoon training, Paul turns instead to his new acoustic guitar with one goal in mind: to learn songwriting. As he struggles to come to terms with the horror of America’s drone wars and Roz’s recent relationship with a doctor whose voice can often be heard on a local NPR station, Paul fills his days with Quaker meetings, Planet Fitness workouts, and some experiments with tobacco.

Written in Baker’s beautifully unconventional prose, and scored with musical influences from Debussy to Tracy Chapman to Paul himself, Traveling Sprinkler is an enchanting, hilarious—and very necessary—novel by one of the most beloved and influential writers today.

The author has recorded an album of songs in the style of his protagonist.  Check one out here!


Nicholson Baker was born in New York City in 1957 and grew up in Rochester, where he played bassoon in high school and spent a year at the Eastman School of Music before transferring to Haverford College. His first novel, The Mezzanine, was about a man riding an escalator.  His second novel, Room Temperature, was about a man feeding a bottle to his baby.  In his many other works of fiction and nonfiction, he has written about John Updike, about getting up early in the morning, about the inner life of a nine-year-old girl, about the beginnings of the Second World War, and about sex. His book Double Fold, about libraries shedding their paper holdings, won a National Book Critics Circle Award.  His poet protagonist Paul Chowder, who first appeared in The Anthologist, is reintroduced in the forthcoming Traveling Sprinkler, his tenth novel, and fifteenth book overall.  He lives in Maine with his family.

Event date: 
Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
90027 Los Angeles
Traveling Sprinkler: A Novel By Nicholson Baker Cover Image
Possibly out of print. Email or call to check availability and price.
ISBN: 9780399160967
Published: Penguin Press - September 17th, 2013

The Mezzanine By Nicholson Baker Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802144904
Availability: Not in Stock. Available to Order.
Published: Grove Press - July 13th, 2010

The Anthologist: A Novel By Nicholson Baker Cover Image
Possibly out of print. Email or call to check availability and price.
ISBN: 9781416572459
Published: Simon & Schuster - July 6th, 2010