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Lady Chatterley's Brother, with the rather chatty subtitle, Why Nicholson Baker Can't Write About Sex, and Why Javier Marias Can. It is co-written by me and longtime Quarterly Conversation contributing editor Barrett Hathcock. It will be available to the public on Monday, October 17, exactly 2 weeks from today." />

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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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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Interviews from Conversational Reading

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Javier Marias Is a Sexy Author

I’d like to introduce the first in a new series of ebooks published under the auspices of The Quarterly Conversation. The book is called, Lady Chatterley’s Brother, with the rather chatty subtitle, Why Nicholson Baker Can’t Write About Sex, and Why Javier Marias Can. It is co-written by me and longtime Quarterly Conversation contributing editor Barrett Hathcock. It will be available to the public on Monday, October 17, exactly 2 weeks from today.

So here’s the deal: I’ve long made my love of long essays known around here. From books like Nicholson Baker’s U&I to Barthes’ S/Z to the work of Geoff Dyer, William H. Gass, Michael Martone, DH Lawrence, and plenty more, the long essay has a pretty awesome reputation as the place critics go when they’re ready to write in a more creative way.

And that goes a long way toward explaining why I’ve decided to start publishing long essays in the series “TQC Long Essays.” These are going to come in at around 20,000 words each–roughly 70 pages. In my opinion, that’s way too much for your average webpage, not quite enough for a printed book, but an ideal length for an ereader. For the series I’ll be bringing on people who I think have something to say, and we’ll be talking about the interesting authors and questions of contemporary literature.

These aren’t free. 20,000 words takes a lot of work to write, and I like to think it takes some skill and dedication to the critical craft to be able to write at that length and have it be worth the time. So, we’re starting this first ebook off at the modest price of $2.99, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

As to the book itself–you’ve got 10,000 words of me writing on Javier Marias and 10,000 words of Barrett writing on Nicholson Baker.

The project got started when Barrett realized that House of Holes was going to be yet another sex book from Baker. He groaned, told me that Baker just doesn’t get good sex writing, and I asked him why. As we started talking, it struck me that Marias understood sex writing for precisely the reasons Baker didn’t. And we were off.

If all this is ringing your readerly bell, then we’ve put together a bit of a teaser for you (sorry, I’ve spent the past 3 months studiously avoiding all double entendres). You can read excerpts of the essays here.

And don’t forget–this isn’t just for you people who have jumped on the portable device bandwagon. There are plenty of programs that will let you read ePub and Amazon Kindle books on whatever computer you may be using.

I’ll be talking more about this as we approach October 17. If you’re a book reviewer and are interested in an e-galley, send me an email.

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More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Levi Asher vs Javier Marias I say Marias wins. Levi Asher, LitKicks: Give me the choice of saving for posterity either the entire Twitter archive or, say, the combined works...
  2. New Javier Marias Novel, Los enamoramientos El Pais is reporting on a new Javier Marias novel, Los enamoramientos, to publish April 6 of this year. Interestingly, Marias states that this novel...
  3. YFTS: Javier Marias as Translator Turns out we’re having a bit of a translation theme this week. As I noted on Monday, Javier Marias is not only one of Spain’s...
  4. The Extemporaneous Javier Marías Author signings tend to be a crapshoot, but Andrew Seal claims to have seen a great one with noted Spanish novelist Javier Marías, who must...
  5. Javier Marías Article on Javier Marías over at The New Yorker. An op-ed by Michael Chabon may pop up now and again, but it is hard to...

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