More Notable Books You Won’t Find in the Times

Contributing editor Scott Bryan Wilson took me up on yesterday’s open invitation to pick some notable titles from this year’s coverage at The Quarterly Conversation. A few of these were actually published in late 2008, but they were books that I liked a great deal, so I’m leaving them on the list.

Ghosts – Cesar Aira (review)

This Nest, Swift Passerine – Dan Beachy-Quick (review)

The Skating Rink – Roberto Bolano (review)

Tracer – Richard Greenfield (review forthcoming)

Waste – Eugene Marten (review)
The Mighty Angel – Jerzy Pilch (review)

Inherent Vice – Thomas Pynchon (review, essay)

My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (review)

Imperial – William T. Vollmann (review)

Bonsai – Alejandro Zambra (review)

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The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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