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

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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.


  • Nostalgia June 15, 2014
    Few habits are as prone to affliction, or as vulnerable to an ordeal, as the bent of a peddler’s consciousness. Placeless, the peddler completes an untold number of transactions; there are ideas to conduct (through language, which can transact a mind) and feelings to certify (through tasks, repeated interminably). […]
  • Why Literary Periods Mattered by Ted Underwood June 15, 2014
    There are some writers who are, and likely always will be, inextricably linked to the “period” with which their work is associated, and in many cases helped to define. Surely Wordsworth and Keats will always be “Romantic” poets, while Faulkner and Woolf will remain modernists, as the term “modern” has been fully appropriated to describe the historical era be […]
  • Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz June 15, 2014
    August 1939. You sail to Buenos Aires on the Chombry as a cultural ambassador of Poland. Why say no to a little holiday on the government’s tab? Soon after arriving you sense that something isn’t right. You emerge from a welcome reception and your ears are “filled with newspaper cries: ‘Polonia, Polonia,’ most irksome indeed.” Before you’ve even had a chance […]
  • Accepting the Disaster by Joshua Mehigan June 15, 2014
    The first collections of most young poets, even the better ones, carry with them a hint of bravado. Flush with recognition, vindicated by the encouraging attentions of at least one editor and three blurbists, the poet strikes a triumphant pose and high-fives the Muse: “We did it, baby.” When Joshua Mehigan published his impressive first collection, The Optim […]
  • The Histories of Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland June 15, 2014
    Two of the greatest of Tom Holland's predecessors in translating Herodotus are Victorian scholar George Rawlinson and Aubrey de Selincourt; the former translated Herodotus in 1860, making an enormous hit (despite the fact that its detractors often referred to it as “dull and prolix"), while the latter's 1954 Herodotus was another enormous hit, […]
  • Bullfight by Yasushi Inoue June 15, 2014
    The premise of Yasushi Inoue's debut novella Bullfight, celebrated in Japan as a classic of postwar literature, is unassuming enough: an evening newspaper sponsors a tournament of the regional sport of bull-sumo. As practical and financial issues arise, the paper's young editor-in-chief, Tsugami, soon realizes he has taken on more than he can handl […]
  • Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones June 15, 2014
    Sworn Virgin was made to be translated. Elvira Dones wrote this book not in her native language of Albanian but in Italian—a necessarily fraught and complicated decision. In an Italian-language interview with Pierre Lepori, Dones speaks about her choice of language: “Sworn Virgin was born in Italian . . . I’ve lived using Italian for nineteen years, it has s […]
  • On the Letters of David Markson June 15, 2014
    Knowing these narrators and how their lives paralleled David’s own, it’s difficult to deny his being a recluse. I certainly held that image of him, and nursed it, secretly cherishing it because it meant I was one of the few people with whom he corresponded, and with whom he would occasionally meet. Arranging our first meetings in person was something of a ni […]
  • Storm Still by Peter Handke June 15, 2014
    Storm Still (Immer Noch Sturm) does not necessarily represent new terrain for Handke. Originally published by Suhrkamp Verlag in 2010 and now available for English-language readers thanks to Martin Chalmers’ fluent translation, the play chronicles the dissolution of the Svinec family, a family of Carinthian Slovenes—a quasi-fictionalized version of Handke’s […]
  • Red or Dead by David Peace June 15, 2014
    David Peace's novel Red or Dead is about British football, but it partakes in the traits of Homer's epic. This is a novel about the place of myth and heroes in modern society, about how the cyclical rhythms of athletic seasons reflect the cyclical patterns of life. It is a book about honor and fate, and one which bridges the profound, dreamlike ter […]

New Book: Emma Donoghue's Room

When I first read the premise of Room (narrated by a little boy who has only ever lived in a single room) it immediately sounded like one of those dull, clever books that more charitable people might label “high wire acts.” But, Aimee Bender’s review in the New York Times actually makes it sound quite worthwhile . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Rick Moody's Four Fingers of Death

Since I’m privy to a lot of news about new books, and since I try to mention a number of these new books on this blog, I’ve decided it’s worthwhile to keep a curated list of new releases that I find interesting. Hence, Interesting New Books — 2010. The latest title added to that list is Rick Moody’s new novel, The Four Fingers of Death, publishing July 28. It is, as they say, a brick, coming in at 736 pages. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

On Time and Memory

In wondering whether time is, in fact “a line,” the narrator is also announcing the novel’s preoccupation with the relationship of time and memory, whether the latter always conditions the former, or whether it is possible to get an accurate sense of the former while thinking of it as a “line.” The narrator moves in circles recording his own and the Bombardier’s experiences, and the trio themselves essentially move in circles while trying to pin down the location of the Bombardier’s crash. The novel seems to be suggesting that time–or what really happened–is inevitably lost in the attempt to recall it. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

New Book: The Novel That Comes With a Warning Label

Interesting review at the Barnes & Noble Review of Joshua Cohen’s Witz, aka this year’s huge, difficult doorstop-of-a-novel. (For once it’s not a book in translation, unlike last year’s The Kindly Ones and the year before that’s 2666.) . . . continue reading, and add your comments

New Book: The Secret History of Science Fiction

“Human Moments in World War III” is not just vintage DeLillo (appearing in between 1982′s “The Names” and 1985′s “White Noise,” by any sane estimate two of the great novels of the 1980s), but a potent encapsulation of his powers. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

New Book: The Line by Olga Grushin

It begins when Anna encounters a short line, just forming in front of a closed kiosk. No one knows what they’re waiting for and an animated conversation revolves around what exactly “it” could be. Guesses are modest at first, basic necessities or trivial luxuries that might add a fleeting moment of color to their grim existence. But eventually, as their conjecture becomes a reflection of their innermost desires, Anna becomes enthralled. She tells herself it’s “silly” to waste time in a line without knowing what’s to be gained. But eventually, feeling “entitled to a surprise,” she gives in. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

New Book: Gasoline by Quim Monzo

Quim Monzó remains one of the nicer literary surprises I’ve experienced in the past few years. I was introduced to him when Frank Wilson, who was then editor of the Philly Inquirer’s book review section, assigned his novel The Enormity of the Tragedy to me for review. I had no idea who Monzó was (nor of his publisher, Peter Owen Publisher, another nice discovery), but the novel quickly won me over. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

New Book: The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern

Next Tuesday sees the (printed) publication of Steve Stern’s new novel, The Frozen Rabbi, which, indeed, involves a rabbi frozen in a middle-aged husband-and-wife’s basement freezer. Algonquin Books is publishing it as a hardcover, but Tablet Magazine already published it as a ten-week online serial. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

New Book: Nox by Anne Carson; Or Sebaldian Book-Box Object

Nox is a reproduction of the scrapbook Carson put together after her brother, whom she hadn’t seen for over twenty years, died in 2000, just as she was planning to visit him after a recent reconnection. A collage of words, stamps, old letters, photographs, and artwork in various mediums — all copied with amazing effect onto a continuous accordion-folded length of paper and encased in what transcends its boxy gray cardboard form to become nothing less than a sarcophagus — it’s Carson’s “epitaph” to her lost sibling. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

New Book: Symphony in White by Adriana Lisboa

This week sees the publication of an interesting book from Texas Tech Press, which is always good for an interesting novel or two in translation each season. It is Symphony in White by Brazilian writer Adriana Lisboa.

Not a whole lot of coverage of this book so far, though I did find this review in Boulder Daily Camera. Ad of course there’s Texas Tech’s info page. There’s also some info on the book on this bio page for Lisboa.