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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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You Say

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  • Mike: I agree with much of this discussion, though I'm not sure wh
  • S: This outpouring has been pretty wide-spread indeed. To be ho
  • Will: Salman rushdie is a microscopic crapule on the asshole of th
  • Henry: I think the fireworks may come from the fact that these auth
  • Paul: Vanessa Place's 'La Medusa' seems like an American authored
  • Lance: I agree with you about the state of American fiction and I b

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 […]

Weekend Content

Google & the Future of Books:

How can we navigate through the information landscape that is only beginning to come into view? The question is more urgent than ever following the recent settlement between Google and the authors and publishers who were suing it for alleged breach of copyright. For the last four years, Google has been digitizing millions of books, including many covered by copyright, from the collections of major research libraries, and making the texts searchable online. The authors and publishers objected that digitizing constituted a violation of their copyrights. After lengthy negotiations, the plaintiffs and . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Weekend Content

It would not by hard to kill a significant fraction of your weekend at The Book Cover Archive.

Boston Review, "Worldmaker: Remembering Thomas Ditsch":

Like all writers attempting to make a living in that genre, he knew very well what status it had in the great world of literature—a separate file drawer, Kurt Vonnegut remarked, that critics seem to mistake for the urinal. On the other hand, Disch held no real brief for the form as it came to him from the masters—quite the opposite. His 1998 dissection of SF, The Dreams  Our Stuff Is Made . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Weekend Content

A piece of short fiction from Tranquility author Attila Bartis is available in English at Hungarian Quarterly

Madrid’s Prado museum becomes the first one that you can tour with Google Earth.

An interview with one of Penguin Classics’ designers:

Please elaborate on your process of gathering typographical inspiration for the Boys Own Books series.

CBS: I spent a lot of time in the London Library printing and typography section. It’s a great place. It was there that I re-kindled my love of Nicolete Gray, one of the few female typographers in . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Weekend Content

Steve Reich

(thanks to Alex Ross)

The Nation, BookExpo 2012, Los Angeles, wherein the future is, for once, not nearly so bad as the present, and the neo-cons prove to be publishing’s salvation:

If I Did It, by George W. Bush Early in President Bush’s administration, when his reign seemed catastrophic merely for humanity at large and not equally so when measured by his own nominal aims, there commenced a lively debate among progressives about whether Bush was as unreflective and intellectually stunted as he appeared to be or if he was, . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Weekend Content

Recreating a Disaster–William Blake at the Tate:

"Blotted and blurred and very badly drawn," sneered the Examiner – which, with its progressive politics, was in some ways the Guardian of its day. "The poor man fancies himself a great master, and has painted a few wretched pictures." The critic – the only reviewer of Blake’s 1809 exhibition – reserved, if possible, a more splenetic vocabulary for the catalogue, which Blake also wrote. "A farrago of nonsense, unintelligibleness, and egregious vanity, the wild effusions of a distempered brain," the Examiner thundered.

History has . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Weekend Content

Cyril Power

More Intelligent Life:

Among the most famous was Cyril Power, an extraordinarily creative printmaker, born in 1872, who soaked up Flight’s enthusiasms and gave them new force. Power drew on many influences–the German Expressionists (who invented linocutting before the first world war), the Italian Futurists, the Vorticist prints and paintings of Wyndham Lewis–and the enthusiasm for speed and movement that marked the work of so many artists of the period, from Natalya Goncharova to Marcel Duchamp.

Alex Ross’s Favorite Leonard Bernstein Recordings

More . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Weekend Content

The Quarterly Conversation: Issue 14

Some items you might have missed:

Listen to our audio interview with Aleksandar Hemon. Carter Scholz, writing in the tradition of William Gaddis and Richard Powers: Scholz’s familiarity with his material has led some readers to assume he is a disgruntled nuclear physicist. But his background is in science fiction, not science, with a record of published shorter works stretching back over 30 years (representative samples are collected in the 2003 collection The Amount to Carry). He has also collaborated with Glenn Harcourt on the novel Palimpsests (1984) and with Jonathan . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Weekend Content

LRB, Double Thought by Michael Wood, which weighs whether or not Kafka’s office work was a wellspring of his fiction:

Where did Kafka learn to think like this? A case could be made that he found his training not in his intricate psyche or in his horrified commitment to writing – ‘the service of the Devil’, he called it – but in his day job at the Prague Institute for Workmen’s Accident Insurance. Born in 1883, he trained as a lawyer, worked briefly for an Italian insurance company in Prague, the Assicurazioni Generali, and then in 1908 . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Weekend Content

The Jewish Quarterly, "Irène Némirovsky and the Death of the Critic" by Tadzio Koelb. The rebirth of the author becomes the death of the critic:

The publishers of Suite Française take little credit for its market success, but some details of the marketing campaign suggest this is false modesty. It would be an understatement to suggest that Suite Française enjoyed a much larger marketing budget than most foreign work; it was, in fact, Chatto & Windus’s second largest budget for that year; posters were displayed in the London tube, a series of major trade promotions were pursued . . . continue reading, and add your comments

Weekend Content

Joan Miro: “I want to assassinate painting. I intend to destroy, destroy everything that exists in painting. I have utter contempt for painting.

NYRB: Two Paths for the Novel, wherein Zadie Smith argues persuasively against the exact kind of novel she’s been trending toward.

From two recent novels, a story emerges about the future for the Anglophone novel. Both are the result of long journeys. Netherland, by Joseph O’Neill, took seven years to write; Remainder, by Tom McCarthy, took seven years to find a mainstream publisher. The two novels are antipodal—indeed one is the . . . continue reading, and add your comments