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

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.


  • 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 […]

Friday Catalogs: Columbia University Press

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Columbia University is publishing a book on Sebald that sounds worth a look. Called W.G. Sebald: Image, Archive, Modernity, it looks at Sebald’s narratives with attention to "archival
institutions and processes that lit at the heart of modernity"–photography, museums, libraries, and others. March

Also from Columbia is The Journey Abandoned, an unfinished and lost novel from the critic Lionel Trilling. That it’s by Trilling merits some attention, but the catalog describes it as only
a "third" of a book. June

Did you know that Dubai is an expatriate, undemocratic city that’s the Gulf’s premier trading center? I didn’t before I read the description of Christopher Davidson’s
overview of this city, Dubai, but now I’m intrigued. May

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The Middle East is one of those areas that English-language readers do not have a whole lot of access to. Simply titled Modern Arabic Fiction, this book seems to be a remedy of sorts–all 1088 pages of it. March

Eilenn Chang has received some attention thanks largely to NYRB’s translations of some of her works; Columbia has their own now, Written on Water. Chang is
primarily known as a novelist, but this book offers a "collectin of Chang’s thoughts on art, literature, war, and urban life." March

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From Columbia’s film imprint (Wallflower Press) comes a book on the film The Five Obstructions. The film–a dual effort by Lars von Trier and Jorgen Leth–explores
gamesmanship and constraint in the making of movies (and art in general). The book is called Dekalog 01: On the Five Obstructions and is the first in a series
on contemporary films. March

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  1. University Press Pricing I understand that it’s not easy being a university press and always defying the market by championing the less-appreciated, but culturally valuable authors. But still....
  2. Friday Catalogs: Soft Skull/Counterpoint Here’s what caught my attention as I browsed Soft Skull and Counterpoint’s Winter 2008 catalog. Lydia Millett fans will be happy to know that she...
  3. Friday Catalogs: New Directions Published in hardcover last year but still worth mentioning is the paperback release of Roberto Bolaño’s Amulet. (May) If you haven’t read it yet,...
  4. The Five Obstructions MadinkBeard reviews The Five Obstructions, a movie which isn’t specifically about literature but whose insights into the creative process are meaningful for all kinds of...
  5. Friday Column: Style Over Substance In this post, Dan Green takes critic Laura Miller to task for her critique of "beautifully written books that have nothing to say." This critique...

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3 comments to Friday Catalogs: Columbia University Press

  • Good spot, Scott, re the Sebald book. The secondary literature on Sebald keeps growing and growing, but all of what I’ve read so far has been more than decent. BTW, Sebald readers would all learn much from “The Emergence Of Memory” recently out from Seven Stories Press: an excellent wee collection of interviews and reviews…

  • Hey — this is already out in the UK! From Edinburgh University Press (isbn 0748633871). Best go get it!

  • mattbucher

    Just to clarify, Wallflower Press is not an imprint of Columbia, but a U.K. film publisher distributed in the U.S. by CUP. Edinburgh UP is also distributed in the US by CUP, but they arrange a few co-publishing deals like the Sebald book mentioned.

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