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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.

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.


  • 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 […]

Naked Singularity Big Read: The Experience of Reading ANS

Now that the Naked Singularity Big Read is concluded, we’re running short responses to the book by Big Read participants. Here’s Kevin Ryan Nava discussing A Naked Singularity as an experience of its being written.

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

In a recent pre-review of D.T. Max’s upcoming David Foster Wallace biography, Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story, Lev Grossman asks the question so many young writers—writers who, like Sergio De La Pava, were raised on “E Unibus Pluram” and Consider the Lobster, writerswho, like I, were raised to worship . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Taking a Chance on ANS

Now that the Naked Singularity Big Read is concluded, we’re running short responses to the book by Big Read participants. Here’s Craig Chisholm discussing his general impressions of A Naked Singularity.

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

To begin an, at this point, untested novel of considerable girth with a biblical passage about the inadequacy of mankind, demanded that I adjust, or at least consider, the barometer of my expectations. There is a reason print-on-demand publishers are rightfully referred to as vanity presses. But in the history of publishing there are texts, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: De La Pava and Entropy

Now that the Naked Singularity Big Read is concluded, we’re running short responses to the book by Big Read participants. Here’s Brandon Walter discussing how De La Pava works the idea of entropy, pioneered by postmodernists like Thomas Pynchon and William Gaddis.

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

A number of authors familiar to readers of this website, William Gaddis, David Foster Wallace, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, J.G. Ballard, Roberto Bolano, Don DeLillo, and most recently, Sergio De La Pava, have all used the ideas of entropy and chaos as central themes to their . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read Wrapup: The River and the Waterfall

Now that the Naked Singularity Big Read is concluded, we’re running short responses to the book by Big Read participants. Here’s Richard Hutzler writing about his experiences with the combination of a very plot-driven book that also felt extremely dense at times.

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

Some books read like a river carrying you slowly downstream—so slowly you can’t even be sure at times you’re moving. It’s deep and it’s wide, and all sorts of interesting things are going on around and below and above you . . . then . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Conclusions

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

This is the last post in the Naked Singularity Big Read, as per our schedule. Whether or not you liked the book, I hope everyone who participated had a good time.

Starting next week, we’ll be having a bunch of guest posts from participants in the read. And I may also chime in with some more thoughts on the book.

Now on to some concluding thoughts on our final chunk of prose.

In response to all the guilt and fear and sadness that Casi now associates . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Absolute Zero

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

To start off, I’m going to ask for volunteers to write up short posts about their experiences with A Naked Singularity. First three volunteers get a signed copy of the original Xlibris edition. If you would like to participate, email me at scott_esposito AT yahoo.com.

Now then, in this final week of reading we’re covering the third and final part of the book. Dane and Casi have just finished their caper, and part three starts off with the information that the temperature is absolute zero. . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Possibilities and Potentials

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

In my mind, the chunk of this week’s read that deals with Casi’s experiences in the Alabama penitentiary [469 - 485] demonstrates conclusively at least one or both of the following: Casi’s detachment from reality; the polemical mode of De La Pava’s writing.

We’ve already discussed the former quite a bit; as to the latter, in A Naked Singularity I’ve found De La Pava to be a writer who presents extreme cases, juxtaposing them with one another. Unlike a David Foster Wallace, who would actually detail . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Beyond the Zero

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

To start this week’s section, we are once again with Casi and Dane hashing out their plan. I’m curious to know how everyone feels about these conversations between that De La Pava keeps giving to us. There’s been an awful lot of Casi and Dane hashing out their plan over the past hundred pages or so, but by and large it’s worked very well for me. Even as the conversations have overlaid on similar points and themes, I feel like De La Pava has kept the . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Boxing and the Disintegration of Reality

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

Throughout the last 50 or so pages of this week’s section we see the re-introduction of the Puerto Rican boxer Wilfred Benitez, who was very quickly introduced to A Naked Singularity during week 2′s reading.

Benitez’s boxing career will come to loom larger and larger throughout the remainder of this book, becoming a third narrative strand in juxtaposition to the two main ones: Casi’s scheme with Dane and his defense of the death row convict Jalen Kingg with his colleague Toombin. Just as the . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Naked Singularity Big Read: Lists and Justifications

For the rest of the Naked Singularity Big Read posts, click here.

Picking up where we left off earlier this week, in the middle of this week’s section Casi and Dane are hashing out the details of their heist plan. Casi, who already said “yes” to the plan at the end of last week’s section, is having doubts, and Dane is working hard to reassure him and bring him in to the plan.

On page 356 we see an interesting justification Dane gives, a justification that brings in the threads of morality and the American justice system . . . continue reading, and add your comments