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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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.


  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante September 16, 2014
    Few novelists have captured the rhythms and flow of life with the veracity of Elena Ferrante in her Neapolitan Novels. Following the friendship between Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo from childhood to old age, the tetralogy spans fifty years; over the course of that time, no emotion is too small, too dark, too banal to be recorded. No expense, so to speak, is […]
  • Trieste by Daša Drndić September 15, 2014
    As Drndić reiterates throughout the novel, “Behind every name there is a story.” And Haya Tedeschi’s story is draped in death. Born to a Jewish family that converted to Catholicism and tacitly supported the Fascists in Italy, Haya was a bystander to the Holocaust. She attended movies while Jews and partisans were transported to concentration camps; she pored […]
  • The Tree With No Name by Drago Jančar September 15, 2014
    At the opening of chapter 87—the first chapter found in The Tree with No Name—Janez Lipnik finds himself up a tree, shoeless, and lost in the Slovenian countryside. He makes his way to a house where he is taken in by a woman teacher who is waiting for her lover, a soldier. It becomes clear we are at the height of World War II. Soon after, we follow Lipnik […]
  • Kjell Askildsen, Selected Stories September 15, 2014
    Here, at the midpoint of his narrative, Bernhard, the affectless and purposeless protagonist of "The Unseen," experiences existential near-emancipation at dusk. This retreat toward obscurity in terse, direct language—thematic and stylistic markers of each work in the collection—comes immediately after Bernhard’s sister mentions her plans to enterta […]
  • Berlin Now by Peter Schneider September 15, 2014
    In his new book of essays, Berlin Now, Peter Schneider reveals himself as a gnarled Cold Warrior who has been stricken with many of the maladies common to his generation. With the specter of Communism exorcized, his new enemy is Islam. The book is a collection of short interlocking pieces introducing Anglophone readers to Berlin; it is not being published in […]
  • Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente September 15, 2014
    In 1999, Marcos Giralt Torrente’s debut novel, Paris, was awarded the XVII Premio Herralde de Novela prize. Despite his success, it took fourteen years for Giralt’s work to appear in English, with the story collection The End of Love arriving in 2013. Now, this year sees the publication of two more books by Giralt: Paris, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, a […]
  • 10:04 by Ben Lerner September 15, 2014
    “It seemed that the [New Yorker] story—which was in part the result of my dealing with the reception of my novel—had been much more widely received than the novel itself,” says the narrator of Ben Lerner’s second novel, 10:04. Perhaps this narrator is Lerner himself—at one point he describes 10:04, within its own pages, as “neither fiction nor nonfiction but […]
  • Theories of Forgetting by Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    Lance Olsen’s Theories of Forgetting is a masterful work structured around Robert Smithson’s earthwork “The Spiral Jetty.” Olsen’s novel is comprised of three narrations, written each by a separate member of a family. The husband’s and wife’s texts progress in opposite directions across the book, with each page divided among these two inverted texts; though […]
  • An Interview with Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    The most substantial may be that innovative fiction knows what it is, that someone like me could define it in any productive way, that innovative fiction might somehow be one thing, or somehow consistent through time and space. None of these is the case. That’s exactly what I find most exciting about writing it, reading it, thinking about it. Innovative fict […]
  • The Ants by Sawako Nakayasu September 15, 2014
    In The Ants, we receive a study of existence through ants. That is, there are ants everywhere, ants substituted in every segment of the landscape, yet their behavior seems to reveal something altogether human. Too human. The ants are crushed and disappointed. They are warm and many. They are involved in gang wars and live inside carrot cake. The unique quali […]

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News

* Google’s getting into the online encyclopedia biz

* The Hartford Courant is the most recent newspaper to deem book coverage unimportant

* Roberto Bolano is in The New Yorker. Also see Conversational Reading’s coverage of Bolano, and and all of our reviews and essays about him at The Quarterly Conversation.

Reviews

* The Complete Review on Reading the OED (yes, that’s what you think it is):

A book about someone spending a year reading the over twenty-thousand pages of a dictionary does not sound particularly . . . continue reading, and add your comments

LINKS

This ironic image found at No Caption Needed, which in this case lives up to its name

News

* For the sci-fi inclined, get in on Tor’s free ebook orgy while it still exists

* Does the Internet makes the new generation worse writers? A recent study finds changes in the kind of mistakes students make, but doesn’t attribute the changes to the digital environment:

One thing that Lunsford and Lunsford conclude is that when student writing from the mid-80s is compared to student writing today, “new error patterns” emerge. Of course, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

LINKS

The University of Chicago publishes a new book of rarely seen Dorothea Lane photos. Press release, excerpt.

News

* Quarterly Conversation contributor Lee Rourke on the decline of the British avant-garde

* Paul Verhaughen, whom you’ll all remember as the author of the Pynchonesque work-in-translation Omega Minor, has a blog. I find it amazing that a guy capable of writing this on his blog didn’t get better publicity in the States:

I shoot an email back asking if I can have the money (4,950 euros, or about $7,500) donated . . . continue reading, and add your comments

LINKS

Yes, you know Falling Man. But what about Falling Girl?

News

* In writing about the battle to keep Fernando Pessoa’s correspondence in Portugal, the NYT does a pretty good job of discussing the writer and his major works

* Borders becomes the latest online bookseller to offer downloadable audio books. Unfortunately, they force you to download through a clunky "media console" that’s Windows-only. And we wonder why Borders is going out of business.

* Max has some great news for Alvaro Mutis fans. If you’re not familiar . . . continue reading, and add your comments

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I can’t tell if this is one of the most useless books ever created or one of the funniest jokes I’ve seen in a while.

News

* One day the gods will reveal what we, the American reading public, have done to make them to inflict geniuses like this on our book sections

* What are the essential essays of textual criticism after 1985?

* Chad Post discusses the somewhat prohibitively expensive pricing of books in Argentina. Compared to other parts of Latin America, I don’t think the Argentine book buyer . . . continue reading, and add your comments

LINKS

The Economist pays homage to an artist who pretty much made a career our of painting unadorned home interiors

News

* A treasure trove of previously unknown Kafka writings has been discovered

* A linguist explains why texting is good for writing and spelling

* Bertelsmann, which owns some trifling American press (the name escapes me), has given up trying to sell books in China

* Don’t you just love it when Michael Orthofer gets on his hobby horse? He’s chosen to vent his fury on an incredibly botched . . . continue reading, and add your comments

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The NY Times profiles library-ladder makers Putnam Rolling Ladder Company

News

* Not exactly news, but could someone with greater influence than I possess help The Guardian understand that they’re not obliged to cover every single Harry Potter-related story that comes down the pike?

* The Millions discusses anticipated books left to publish in 2008. And if you want more hot forthcoming books action, you can check the catalogs I run down regularly on Fridays and my two BEA roundups

* FC2 is getting dropped from the University . . . continue reading, and add your comments

LINKS

How nonprofits will meet in the 21st century? From the flickr photostream Nonprofits in Second Life.

News

* More cutbacks in the Chicago Tribune and LAT book sections are likely

* NPR, by contrast, is upping its coverage

* Chad Post lets the cat out of the bag that NYRB will be publishing the 1600-page book on Borges by Morel-author and best friend Adolfo Bioy Casares (albeit, somewhat abridged)

* This just sounds odd: "The city of Frankfurt’s prestigious art museum, the Schirn, cancelled Friday its plans for a literary . . . continue reading, and add your comments

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From the piece "Composition for Robert Walser," published at Words Without Borders

News

* Cody’s Books is now really, truly, and, one must accept, irrevocably, dead

* A new documentary exploring the life and death of Cody’s Books and Kepler’s bookstore will air on PBS in November

* Marcelo reports on Bolano’s literary executor, who possibly lost his job for writing a negative review. Marcelo also reproduces this quote from him, with which I need not state my agreement:

The way things are … the critic tends to act exactly like . . . continue reading, and add your comments

LINKS

The Smithsonian now has a flickr photostream.

News

* Matt Cheney releases the TOC for Best American Fantasy 28

* Blackwells in the UK is testing out the so-called book ATM in one of its stores. At 40 pages per minute, you could POD a copy of Vollmann in under half an hour.

* The Wall Street Journal shows how Amazon shows its clout, turning a summer book into a bestseller:

Driving that unexpectedly heavy demand has been strong reviews and promotional support from Amazon.com. The Web retailer chose the . . . continue reading, and add your comments