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

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.


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  • Noir and Nihilism in True Detective December 15, 2014
    "It’s just one story. The oldest. . . . Light versus dark." Spanning 8 episodes between January and March of 2014, HBO’s runaway hit True Detective challenged the status quo of contemporary crime drama. The show has been widely celebrated for its philosophy, complexity, and visual aesthetic. Co-starring actors Matthew McConaughey as Rustin "Ru […]
  • The Colonel’s World December 15, 2014
    Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (born 1940) is considered by many the living Iranian novelist, a perennial Nobel Prize candidate. Dowlatabadi wrote The Colonel some thirty years ago, because in his own words he had been “afflicted.” The subject forced him to sit at the desk and write nonstop for two years. “Writing The Colonel I felt a strong sense of indignation and pa […]
  • Mr Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn by Alessandro Baricco December 15, 2014
    Alessandro Baricco’s well-crafted, elegant prose seems as though it should create the impression of distance, or of abstraction; instead, the reader of Mr. Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn becomes wholly implicated and immersed, drawn into a dreamy and idiosyncratic world that blurs the division between reader, character and writer. As readers, we expect that th […]
  • The Walls of Delhi by Uday Prakash December 15, 2014
    "The paan shop leads to the opening of a tunnel, full of the creatures of the city, and the tears and spit of a fakir." In a single opening line, Uday Prakash sets the scene for the politically incisive, yet intimately human stories of The Walls of Delhi (translated brilliantly from the Hindi by Jason Grunebaum). Lest the fakir suggest otherwise, t […]
  • The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation December 15, 2014
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  • Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli December 15, 2014
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Favorite Hip Hop Albums 2011

Section.80 by Kendrick Lamar — this is Lamar’s first album. Some massive talent here . . .

Greatest Story Never Told by Saigon — this album is incredibly solid and diverse all the way through

Cats and Dogs by Evidence — a solid album. What else can I say? The track below samples Philip Glass.

The Family Sign by Atmosphere — this is hip hop at its most “spoken word”

Undun by The Roots — one of my favorite Roots albums in a while

The Abandoned Lullaby by Icebird (Rjd2 & Aaron Livingston) — solid stuff

Shaolin vs Wu Tang by Raekwon (and Ghostface) — pretty solid album by the only arts of the Wu Tang still making music worth checking for.

The Martyr by Immortal Technique — about as solid a mixtape as you’re going to find. Plus, Immortal Technique’s politics are generally pretty right.

Honkey Kong by Apathy — not the most creative subject-matter in the world, but Apathy is a wordsmith

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  1. Friday Hip Hop: J-Live <A HREF="http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fconversatio07-20%2F8014%2Fca6ec0ee-5127-483d-8cca-26bcd1a4a688&Operation=NoScript">Amazon.com Widgets</A> I’m using the Amazon clips widget to preview J-Live’s new album here. Click on the above box to listen to clips...
  2. Friday Hip Hop: No Hook by Jay-Z Now that he’s had as many number 1 albums as Elvis, people are finally beginning to recognize the kid of cultural force that Jay-Z...
  3. Friday Hip Hop: Edgar Allen Floe Now this is what its all about–a rapper whose name is a literary reference. That’s nice. I’m a pretty big fan of Little Brother...
  4. Friday Hip Hop: J-Live Braggin’ Writes J-Live is one of the best, least-known MCs going these days. Listen to this, and if you’re convinced, get the rest of the album...
  5. Friday Hip Hop: Nas — New York State of Mind This right here is the track I always hoped Nas would make another like. Not that he hasn’t made some nicecuts since this one,...

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3 comments to Favorite Hip Hop Albums 2011

  • Ronald

    lol. Of course from a hip hop fan’s perspective this list is as ridiculously unimaginative and unimpressive as a predominantly hip hop fan’s list of favorite books would be to a person who predominantly read books. But it’s titled ‘favorite’ and the writer’s intentions were probably well-meaning, but it’s just so lol because this is a critical site and the writer clearly doesn’t have critical insight into the choices. I imagine this article is meant to convey roundedness or worldliness or … god, I really don’t know why this is here. For variety’s own sake? To project some image? Anyway. keep on at it, no prob.

  • JBrown

    Not underground enough for you, Ronald? Haha. 1) I think Lamar needs to stop copping Kanye and do his thing. 2) Cats&Dogs is great – how can you argue with the production on that album? and 3) I’d definitely recommend Black Up; Shabazz Palaces…………http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnoBIQWS5bs

  • admin

    Hi Ronald:

    I don’t know how old you are, so I’m just guessing, but I think it’s more than likely that I’ve been listening to hip hop longer than you’ve been alive. If you’ve got albums you’d like to recommend to me, go for it.

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