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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.

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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.


  • A Treatise on Shelling Beans by Wiesław Myśliwski March 9, 2014
    A man enters a house and asks to buy some beans, but we aren’t given his question, only the response: humble surprise from the narrator and an invitation inside. This modesty, though it remains at the core of the narrator throughout, is quickly overwhelmed when his questions, his welcoming explanations, flow into an effort to tell his whole life story, from […]
  • The Gorgeous Nothings by Emily Dickinson, edited by Marta Werner and Jen Bervin March 9, 2014
    The Gorgeous Nothings, the dedicated work of visual artist Jen Bervin and author Marta Werner, presents in large format the first full-color publication of all fifty-two of Emily Dickinson’s envelope writings. As such, it opens up an aspect of her craft that suggests she was, in the so-called late ecstatic period of her career, experimenting with creating te […]
  • The Mehlis Report by Rabee Jaber March 9, 2014
    The Mehlis Report follows the architect Saman Yarid on his daily perambulations around Lebanon's capital, where his memories of the city's past and his observations of the high-rises that have emerged from the ruins of the nation's civil war dominate the faint plot. But the book transcends Beirut: Jaber writes about what is left behind when pe […]
  • The Fiddler of Driskill Hill by David Middleton March 9, 2014
    Middleton’s sensibility as poet and man is thoroughly Christian, Southern (or rather, Louisianan), and traditional, but he’s no unreconstructed romantic Rebel reliving the Civil War. His manner is meditative and elegiac, not rancorous or redneck. In a rare useful blurb on the back of the book, the North Carolina poet and novelist Fred Chappell describes Midd […]
  • The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell March 9, 2014
    After The Kindly Ones, the nine hundred-page long Goncourt Prize-winning “autobiography” of a Nazi, fans of the Franco-American writer Jonathan Littell may heave an inward sigh of relief at the sight of The Fata Morgana Books. A slim collection of “studies” (as some of these stories were called in their original French incarnations), The Fata Morgana Books n […]
  • Novelty: A History of the New by Michael North March 9, 2014
    There is no better way to ensure the early demise of a form or a style than to proclaim its newness; fewer epithets are as old as “new.” A well-known work by Italian artist Maurizio Nannucci reads, “All art has been contemporary”—we may wish to amend it, for present purposes, and have it read, “All art has been new.” Yet surely this is something of a truism. […]
  • A Life Among Invented Characters: A Tribute to Mavis Gallant March 9, 2014
    Two things immediately come to mind when remembering Mavis Gallant: her unique sense of humor—stories always told with a wry half-smile—and her near-comical stonewalling when confronted with leading questions about her craft in interviews and with audiences. The first time I was in her simple three-room apartment on rue Jean Ferrandi, a mere three blocks fro […]
  • The Guy Davenport Reader March 9, 2014
    Poet-critic. Think of that word, made of two—what a beaux construction. The first is wild, hair mussed, looking at a bird in a tree—yet the follower is practical, urbane, and seemingly obeisant to word counts. Together they bleach out the fusspot academic and appeal to logos—Davenport once said that he was “not writing for scholars or critics, but for people […]
  • [SIC] by Davis Schneiderman March 9, 2014
    In 2011 Andrew Gallix, in the Guardian, wrote a piece on unread difficult books, and mentioned “an anthology of blank books [edited by Michael Gibbs] entitled All Or Nothing,” and we can consider Blank as continuing that line. Kenneth Goldsmith’s prefatory essay “Why Conceptual Writing? Why Now?” in Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (201 […]
  • The Ben Marcus Interview March 9, 2014
    I do tend to generate a lot of pages when I’m drafting something, and I cut as I go. I make strange noises out of my face, on the page, and they are for the most part not worth keeping. Some of the stories don’t take shape until I overwrite and pursue every cursed dead-end I can think of, which clarifies everything I don’t want the story to become. But I don […]

Reading Resolutions 2009: Beth Wadell

(Beth Wadell is a senior editor of The Quarterly Conversation. Her most recent piece for The Quarterly Conversation was a review of Frank Bidart’s Watching the Spring Festival.)

In 2009 I’d like to go back and read some of the books that everyone has read but I’ve missed out on. First on the list is A Passage to India: I’ve read a lot of EM Forster, but never this one. I’d never heard of James Agee’s A Death in the Family until this year, but am now intrigued by it. I’ve also got a plan to . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Reading Resolutions 2009: Javier Moreno

(Javier Moreno last wrote on the work of Rodrigo Fresan for The Quarterly Conversation.)

See all of TQC’s Reading Resolutions here.

I think it is time for me to systematically read William T. Vollman. I’ve been postponing this for way too long. I loved his "Three Meditations on Death" but I’ve never gone beyond that lovely essay (besides some short pieces found here and there). My self-Christmas present last December, thus, included The Rainbow Stories and Rising Up and Rising Down (the abridged version, of course). Yesterday, I read the introduction of the later . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Reading Resolutions 2009: Barrett Hathcock

(Barrett  Hathcock is a contributing editor to The Quarterly Conversation. He most recently discussed his creative writing vis a vis his work writing as part of Issue 14′s special Writing and Work section.)

See all of TQC’s Reading Resolutions here.

Like Scott mentioned in his Reading Resolutions for 2009, my reading tends to be haphazard, a sort of blind, intuitive groping. I’m a schoolboy at heart, so I’m always drafting lists of authors to read, periods and places still unexplored. But then after the list is complete, I often skip homework and flee the classroom of . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Reading Resolutions 2009: Robert Silva

(Robert Silva most recently reviewed The Implacable Order of Things by José Luis Peixoto in The Quarterly Conversation.)

See all of TQC’s Reading Resolutions here.

Aristocrats in immaculate parlors, privileged ladies in romantic dilemmas, and peasants among heaths, moors, and overcast skies. This is more or less my conception of British literature.  It’s been colored by Masterpiece Theatre, Merchant and Ivory films, and Yankee parochialism. And it’s unfortunately influenced my reading habits.

While diligently working my way through the great writers of South America, Japan, and Eastern Europe, I’ve barely dipped at toe into . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Reading Resolutions 2009: Levi Stahl

(Levi Stahl most recently reviewed The Romantic Dogs by Roberto Bolano for The Quarterly Conversation.)

See all of TQC’s Reading Resolutions here.

My reading pattern tends to resemble a drunken stagger: I veer, I backtrack, I wander aimlessly. Or maybe I’m a crow, my eye constantly caught by shiny baubles. As such, though I read a lot, I’m not good at holding to plans or patterns, and my bookshelves are the opposite of food-service’s "first in, first out" system. One author mentions another in an interview, which leads me to another one that is mentioned in . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Reading Resolutions 2009: Ryan Call

(Ryan Call is af requent contributor to The Quarterly Conversation. He most recently reviewed boring boring boring boring boring boring boring by Zach Plague.)

See all of TQC’s Reading Resolutions here.

Usually my reading list is determined by what projects I’m currently working on: fiction, reviews, course planning, and so on. In the past, I’ve tried to have several kinds of books going at once: a classic, a contemporary, and a book of nonfiction. Now, for example, I’m slowly reading Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino, Scorch Atlas by Blake Butler (forthcoming Featherproof Books), and continue reading, and add your comments

Reading Resolutions 2009: Sacha Arnold

(Sacha Arnold is a senior editor of The Quarterly Conversation. His most recent piece was on the novelist Carter Scholz.)

See all of TQC’s Reading Resolutions here.

I don’t formally plan my reading very much, preferring to get pulled serendipitously in directions suggested by whatever I’m reading currently. Right now I’m just trying to keep current with what we’re covering in The Quarterly Conversation, and am in the middle of 2666 (which I’m finding both more tightly constructed and more humorous than most of the reviews led me to expect).  Next up is Tranquility, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Reading Resolutions 2009: Lauren Elkin

(Lauren Elkin most recently wrote for The Quarterly Conversation on the French artist and writer Claude Cahun.)

See all of TQC’s Reading Resolutions here.

First up is Samuel Pepys’ diary; later in the year I hope to get to George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, and Flush, Virginia Woolf’s book about Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s dog.

And on the French front– I have a growing stack of George Sand that I want to read–Elle et lui, Indiana, her correspondence with Alfred de Musset. Colette: Sido and Le Blé en herbe.

I’ve been working . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Reading Resolutions 2009: John Lingan

(John Lingan is a frequent contributor to The Quarterly Conversation. In the Winter issue, he reconsidered William Gaddis’s novels The Recognitions and J R through the lens of work.)

See all of TQC’s Reading Resolutions here.

A number of my most rewarding reads of 2008 were total surprises, but I plan to follow their lead into ’09. First, my inaugural encounters with Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem (A Scanner Darkly and Solaris, respectively) led me to work backwards and revisit some of H.G. Wells’ early novels, which I loved as a kid. These were . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Reading Resolutions 2009: Scott Bryan Wilson

(Scott Bryan Wilson is a contributing editor to The Quarterly Conversation. He most recently reviewed Tranquility by Attila Bartis.)

See all of TQC’s Reading Resolutions here.

According to my stats on Goodreads, by mid-December 2008, I read 132 books for the year. Granted, probably 30 of those were poetry chapbooks, but there were enough 2666s & Easy Chains & Omega Minors & Executioner’s Songs & Darkmans to balance that out. So I am setting out a pretty bold list of stuff to get to in 2009.

Aside from next year’s big . . . continue reading, and add your comments