The End of Oulipo?

The End of Oulipo? My book (co-authored with Lauren Elkin), published by Zero Books. Available everywhere. Order it from Amazon, or find it in bookstores nationwide. The End of Oulipo

Lady Chatterley’s Brother

Lady Chatterley's Brother. The first ebook in the new TQC Long Essays series, Lady Chatterley's Brothercalled “an exciting new project” by Chad Post of Open Letter and Three Percent. Why can't Nicholson Baker write about sex? And why can Javier Marias? We investigate why porn is a dead end, and why seduction paves the way for the sex writing of the future. Read an excerpt.

Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and direct from this site:


Translate This Book!

Ever wonder what English is missing? Called "a fascinating Life Perecread" by The New Yorker, Translate This Book! brings together over 40 of the top translators, publishers, and authors to tell us what books need to be published in English. Get it on Kindle.

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  • 20 Books at 3820 Books at 38

    I'm surprised to learn Andres Newman is so young. Also, great overview of his books in English. Andrés Neuman is... »
  • The Future ModianoThe Future Modiano

    The Complete Review has the details of the future Englishing of our most recent Nobel laureate. And also, sales figures. For... »
  • Quarterly Conversationi Issue 38Quarterly Conversationi Issue 38

    Issue 38 right here. or TOC after the jump. Features Readings, Fragments,... »
  • On KafkaOn Kafka

    Rivka Galchen on the new Kafka bio by Reiner Stach. I have come to the conclusion that anyone who thinks about Kafka for... »
  • Me on ModianoMe on Modiano

    My review of Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano. The most focused of the book’s three diffuse novellas is... »
  • Elena Ferrante InterviewedElena Ferrante Interviewed

    At the NY TImes. I'm currently reading Book 1. Q. You insist on anonymity and yet are developing a cult following,... »
  • Infinite FictionsInfinite Fictions

    Buy David Winters's book.... »
  • Tarr After the HorseTarr After the Horse

    At BOMB: A couple of months after that, in February 2011, Béla Tarr presented the world premiere of The Turin Horse at... »
  • Bolaño: A BiographyBolaño: A Biography

    This is a pretty fair assessment of Bolaño: A Biography. Denied access to papers in the Bolaño estate, the Argentine... »
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    Very honored to be among the esteemed list of "Literary Advocates" named by Entropy magazine for 2014. The list of... »

You Say

Group Reads

The Tunnel

Fall Read: The Tunnel by William H. Gass

A group read of the book that either "engenders awe and despair" or "[goads] the reader with obscenity and bigotry," or both. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Naked Singularity

Summer Read: A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

Fans of Gaddis, Pynchon, DeLillo: A group read of the book that went from Xlibris to the University of Chicago Press. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Life Perec

Life A User's Manual by Georges Perec

Starting March 2011, read the greatest novel from an experimental master. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Last Samurai

Fall Read: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

A group read of one of the '00s most-lauded postmodern novels. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Tale of Genji

The Summer of Genji

Two great online lit magazines team up to read a mammoth court drama, the world's first novel.

Your Face Tomorrow

Your Face This Spring

A 3-month read of Javier Marias' mammoth book Your Face Tomorrow

Shop though these links = Support this site


Ten Memorable Quotes from William Gaddis’ Letters

New Books
Here are ten of my favorite moments from these hugely interesting letters.


Interviews from Conversational Reading

New Books
See this page for interviews with leading authors, translators, publishers, and more.


  • [[there.]] by Lance Olsen December 15, 2014
    Lance Olsen is the author of two recent works, [[there.]] and Theories of Forgetting (FC2). The second presents three narratives in a clearly fictional mode while the first offers day-to-day thoughts on living in another country. We rightly suspect that any artist’s memoir or diary ought to be viewed as written with a prospective public in mind, no matter ho […]
  • Noir and Nihilism in True Detective December 15, 2014
    "It’s just one story. The oldest. . . . Light versus dark." Spanning 8 episodes between January and March of 2014, HBO’s runaway hit True Detective challenged the status quo of contemporary crime drama. The show has been widely celebrated for its philosophy, complexity, and visual aesthetic. Co-starring actors Matthew McConaughey as Rustin "Ru […]
  • The Colonel’s World December 15, 2014
    Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (born 1940) is considered by many the living Iranian novelist, a perennial Nobel Prize candidate. Dowlatabadi wrote The Colonel some thirty years ago, because in his own words he had been “afflicted.” The subject forced him to sit at the desk and write nonstop for two years. “Writing The Colonel I felt a strong sense of indignation and pa […]
  • Mr Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn by Alessandro Baricco December 15, 2014
    Alessandro Baricco’s well-crafted, elegant prose seems as though it should create the impression of distance, or of abstraction; instead, the reader of Mr. Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn becomes wholly implicated and immersed, drawn into a dreamy and idiosyncratic world that blurs the division between reader, character and writer. As readers, we expect that th […]
  • The Walls of Delhi by Uday Prakash December 15, 2014
    "The paan shop leads to the opening of a tunnel, full of the creatures of the city, and the tears and spit of a fakir." In a single opening line, Uday Prakash sets the scene for the politically incisive, yet intimately human stories of The Walls of Delhi (translated brilliantly from the Hindi by Jason Grunebaum). Lest the fakir suggest otherwise, t […]
  • The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation December 15, 2014
    In a speech reprinted in the book, Heim makes a self-deprecating joke about whether the life of a translator is worth reading: “What does a translator do? He sits and translates!” The Man Between serves as a book-length retort by laying bare all the things Heim did: these include persuading the academy that translation is a scholarly (in addition to a creati […]
  • The Prabda Yoon Interview December 15, 2014
    Yes, I think people are not comfortable anymore to write in this straightforward, traditional way, especially the younger, more progressive writers. So it’s interesting—you have social commentary, and you also get a little bit of structural experiment. You have themes that are very, very Thai. I’m actually very interested to see what new writers will come up […]
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck December 15, 2014
    For Jenny Erpenbeck, no life is lived in an indisputable straight line. Which is why, in her new novel (new in English, though published in 2012 as Aller Tage Abend) she approaches the narrative as a series of potential emotional earthquakes, some which take place, some which might have taken place, all of which reveal something of how political turbulence p […]
  • In the Heart of the Heart of the Country by William H. Gass December 15, 2014
    Once, at a writers symposium, William Howard Gass remarked that to substitute the page for the world is a form of revenge for the recognition that "you are, in terms of the so-called world, an impotent nobody." There is inarguably no contemporary writer of American stock in whose work one might locate a more ambitious war of attrition between innov […]
  • Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli December 15, 2014
    Luiselli’s first novel, Faces in the Crowd, translated into fluid English by Christina MacSweeney, is the perfect illustration of this attitude toward fiction writing. Narrated in short sections spanning multiple storylines and the better part of one hundred years, it uses "[d]eep excavations" to expose the empty spaces in two lives, those of a you […]

Holiday Books 2008

So this is what was either gifted to me or that I subsequently purchased in conjunction with the holidays this year:

To Siberia by Per PettersonIn the Woods by Tana FrenchSabbath’s Theater by Philip RothTrue to Life by Lawrence WeschlerAlphabet Juice by Roy Blount, Jr.The Golden Notebook by Doris LessingSelected Verse by Federico Garcia LorcaFin-de-Siecle Vienna by Carl E. SchorskeMusic Theory by George Thaddeus JonesThe Joy of Music by Leonard BernsteinWhat to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copland

For more on what readers of this blog received . . . continue reading, and add your comments

TNR on A Mercy

The New Republic offers a lengthy consideration of Toni Morrison’s newest novel:

In A Mercy, more than in any of Morrison’s previous books, slavery is as much a metaphor for the human condition as it is a historical fact. The novel is an extended consideration of the many ways in which people deliberately or unconsciously assert ownership over each other: spouses, lovers, mothers and children. The language in which Jacob considers his requirements for a wife — "an unchurched woman of childbearing age, obedient but not groveling, literate but not proud, independent but nurturing" — is a slightly . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Jeff Barry on the Future of Book Design

Richard Nash takes some lengthy quotes from Jeff Barry on the future of book design, with regard to the growth of ebooks. His fifth point is the one that’s most pertinent for me:

5) Print book designers will still flourish as some publishers will realize that a niche audience is willing to pay a premium for a wonderfully designed book, heralding a surprising renaissance in book design. Also, print book designers can design PDF-based e-books with no problem since PDF is usually a byproduct in the print book design process.

Jeff Barry, in case you’re asking, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

eBook Market Expanding

The New York Times reports that Amazon’s Kindle is currently out of stock, letting some of the other players in the field move in.

The $359 Kindle, which is slim, white and about the size of a trade paperback, was introduced a year ago. Although Amazon will not disclose sales figures, the Kindle has at least lived up to its name by creating broad interest in electronic books. Now it is out of stock and unavailable until February. Analysts credit Oprah Winfrey, who praised the Kindle on her show in October, and blame Amazon for poor holiday planning. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Yet Another “False Memoir”

You’d think after Frey et al. publishers would have become a bit more skeptical of incredible stories that jus sounded too good to be true.

A man whose memoir about his experience during the Holocaust was to have been published in February has admitted that his story was embellished, and on Saturday evening his publisher canceled the release of the book.

A bound proof of “Angel at the Fence” circulated in advance of the publication date. And once again a New York publisher and Oprah Winfrey were among those fooled by a too-good-to-be-true story.

The . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Onward to 2009

The Guardian previews some of the books to be published next year. Among others included is Pynchon, which everyone must certainly be aware of now, as well as AS Byatt, Geoffrey Dyer, and Kazuo Ishiguro (although his is not a novel but a short story collection).

Philip Roth is also publishing a new novel, which makes something like 4 in the last 8 years. That’s excessive.

If Amis’s new novel looks designed to be provocative, then the same is true of the forthcoming one by Philip Roth, The Humbling (also out in September). The . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Sontag’s Diaries

Catching upon some of the coverage surrounding the publication of Susan Sontag’s first diary volume. Craig Seligman’s review in Bookforum reads like a rushed blog post:

Anyway, she wasn’t a writer whose life was informed by a few large ideas (except, perhaps, for seriousness, which isn’t an idea but an attitude). She was as promiscuous intellectually as she was with her body; or, more accurately (in both cases), she was serially monogamous. Though she had her cynosures, what always excited her was the new theory or writer or director, which she would wrestle into an essay and then . . . continue reading, and add your comments

New Arabian Nights Translation Review

The Guardian considers the new translation of The 1,001 Arabian Nights.

The review includes an interesting bit about the provenance of the stories:

When the stories passed from the storyteller to the scribe, nobody knows. The oldest surviving manuscript containing some of the stories and the Shahrzad motif, which is now in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, goes back only to the 15th century.

It was this manuscript that the French antiquarian Antoine Galland discovered and translated into French as Les Mille et une nuits between 1704 and 1717, thus launching the Nights’ brilliant second career in Europe . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Secret Santas

Theoretically, we generated between $2,100 and $3,500 for small and indie presses this year. Awesome.

And, a pretty bad-ass collection of suggested reads.

Holiday Books

What did books you receive during the holidays, and what books are you planning to purchase with your holiday cash?