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.


  • A Legacy by Sybille Bedford March 15, 2015
    Sybille Bedford had the benefit—or bad fortune, however you see it—of being born into the German aristocracy in 1911. Her father was a retired lieutenant colonel and art collector from the agrarian south, from a Roman Catholic family in fiscal decline. Her mother came from a wealthy German-Jewish family from Hamburg. A widower from his first marriage, Bedfor […]
  • Reviving Antal Szerb March 15, 2015
    Antal Szerb’s lithe, lively, and wholly endearing fiction is peopled by male dreamers on spiritual journeys of self-discovery. Each one sets out on his respective mini-mission with good intentions but knows from the outset that there are only so many harsh truths he can withstand. In this respect, all Szerb’s protagonists seem to have heeded the advice of Gr […]
  • 39 Africans Walk into a Bar March 15, 2015
    New anthologies of African fiction seem to materialize virtually every year, if not more often in recent years. When presented with the physical fact of yet another new anthology of African fiction, the immediate question, one which I was asked when I pressed the warm, bound pages of the Africa39 anthology into the even warmer hands of a new acquaintance, wa […]
  • The Country Road by Regina Ullmann March 15, 2015
    This collection of short stories, her first to appear in English, counters material poverty with a fulfilling and deeply spiritual relationship with the natural world. Ullmann herself was no stranger to hardship. A depressive, she was plagued by personal and professional crises. Financial constraints forced her to send her illegitimate children to the countr […]
  • The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura March 14, 2015
    The Fall of Language in the Age of English stirred up debate upon its publication in Japan in 2008, and it’s possible it will do so in the U.S. with its arrival in Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter's translation. In their introduction, Yoshihara and Winters Carpenter, point out that Japanese reviewers accused Mizumura of being a jingoist, an e […]
  • Another View: Tracing the Foreign in Literary Translation by Eduard Stoklosinski March 14, 2015
    Another View demonstrates exciting potential in translation study and praxis. It is especially significant in deconstructing assumptions about fluency and linguistic identity. The author makes some persuasive arguments for considering and even preferring non-native translation of texts, the most controversial of which is the possibility that linguistic compe […]
  • The Latest Five from Dalkey Archive’s “Library of Korea” Series March 14, 2015
    Despite South Korea having the kind of vibrant literary scene you'd expect from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, we're still not exactly inundated with English translations of South Korean fiction. Given this dearth, Dalkey Archive Press's Library of Korean Literature series, twenty five titles published in collab […]
  • B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. Hallman March 14, 2015
    here’s a conspicuous history of books that simply should not work: Books like U & I by Nicholson Baker, a book-length exercise in “memory criticism,” where Baker traces Updike’s influence on his own writing life while studiously not actually re-reading any of Updike’s books. Or books like Out of Sheer Rage, Geoff Dyer’s book that procrastinates away from […]
  • The Valerie Miles Interview March 14, 2015
    The idea was to uncover the secret life of these texts, why do their creators consider them their best work? What’s the clandestine, the underground, the surreptitious meaning or attachment? Where’s the kernel, the seed from which a body of work grew, what the driving obsession? Is it something sentimental, something technical, maybe even something spiritual […]
  • On Being Blue by William H. Gass March 14, 2015
    Look up at the sky, or down into the ocean, and what color do you see? We see blue, but not Homer—he never once employs the term throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey, famously calling the sea "wine-dark" and the heavens "bronze." Neither did the Greek philosopher Xenophanes say blue—he described the rainbow as having only three colors. Th […]

LINKS

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

LINKS

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

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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

LINKS

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