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.


  • A Legacy by Sybille Bedford March 15, 2015
    Sybille Bedford had the benefit—or bad fortune, however you see it—of being born into the German aristocracy in 1911. Her father was a retired lieutenant colonel and art collector from the agrarian south, from a Roman Catholic family in fiscal decline. Her mother came from a wealthy German-Jewish family from Hamburg. A widower from his first marriage, Bedfor […]
  • Reviving Antal Szerb March 15, 2015
    Antal Szerb’s lithe, lively, and wholly endearing fiction is peopled by male dreamers on spiritual journeys of self-discovery. Each one sets out on his respective mini-mission with good intentions but knows from the outset that there are only so many harsh truths he can withstand. In this respect, all Szerb’s protagonists seem to have heeded the advice of Gr […]
  • 39 Africans Walk into a Bar March 15, 2015
    New anthologies of African fiction seem to materialize virtually every year, if not more often in recent years. When presented with the physical fact of yet another new anthology of African fiction, the immediate question, one which I was asked when I pressed the warm, bound pages of the Africa39 anthology into the even warmer hands of a new acquaintance, wa […]
  • The Country Road by Regina Ullmann March 15, 2015
    This collection of short stories, her first to appear in English, counters material poverty with a fulfilling and deeply spiritual relationship with the natural world. Ullmann herself was no stranger to hardship. A depressive, she was plagued by personal and professional crises. Financial constraints forced her to send her illegitimate children to the countr […]
  • The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura March 14, 2015
    The Fall of Language in the Age of English stirred up debate upon its publication in Japan in 2008, and it’s possible it will do so in the U.S. with its arrival in Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter's translation. In their introduction, Yoshihara and Winters Carpenter, point out that Japanese reviewers accused Mizumura of being a jingoist, an e […]
  • Another View: Tracing the Foreign in Literary Translation by Eduard Stoklosinski March 14, 2015
    Another View demonstrates exciting potential in translation study and praxis. It is especially significant in deconstructing assumptions about fluency and linguistic identity. The author makes some persuasive arguments for considering and even preferring non-native translation of texts, the most controversial of which is the possibility that linguistic compe […]
  • The Latest Five from Dalkey Archive’s “Library of Korea” Series March 14, 2015
    Despite South Korea having the kind of vibrant literary scene you'd expect from a country with one of the highest literacy rates in the world, we're still not exactly inundated with English translations of South Korean fiction. Given this dearth, Dalkey Archive Press's Library of Korean Literature series, twenty five titles published in collab […]
  • B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal by J.C. Hallman March 14, 2015
    here’s a conspicuous history of books that simply should not work: Books like U & I by Nicholson Baker, a book-length exercise in “memory criticism,” where Baker traces Updike’s influence on his own writing life while studiously not actually re-reading any of Updike’s books. Or books like Out of Sheer Rage, Geoff Dyer’s book that procrastinates away from […]
  • The Valerie Miles Interview March 14, 2015
    The idea was to uncover the secret life of these texts, why do their creators consider them their best work? What’s the clandestine, the underground, the surreptitious meaning or attachment? Where’s the kernel, the seed from which a body of work grew, what the driving obsession? Is it something sentimental, something technical, maybe even something spiritual […]
  • On Being Blue by William H. Gass March 14, 2015
    Look up at the sky, or down into the ocean, and what color do you see? We see blue, but not Homer—he never once employs the term throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey, famously calling the sea "wine-dark" and the heavens "bronze." Neither did the Greek philosopher Xenophanes say blue—he described the rainbow as having only three colors. Th […]

Reading With Pictures

This isn’t our normal fare around here, but it’s for a great cause, and TQC contributor Michael Moreci is involved with it, so I wanted to pass along this info:

Beginning February 22 and running through May 22, Reading With Pictures will be taking pre-orders for its kid-friendly graphic novel anthology on Kickstarter.com. The full-color, 192-page anthology features a cover by Jill Thompson (The Sandman) and all-new stories by more than 50 cartoonists including Fred Van Lente (Action Philosophers), Jim Gownley (Amelia Rules), Raina Telgemeier (The Baby-Sitter’s Club), Chris Giarrusso (Mini-Marvels), Eric Wight (Frankie Pickle), Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes (Unshelved) and RWP Executive Director Josh Elder (Mail Order Ninja).

In addition to selling signed softcover and limited-edition hardcover editions of the anthology, Reading With Pictures is offering several unique opportunities for high-level donors to live the dream and become comic book characters by being drawn into the anthology by their favorite artists. Other incentive packages include digital downloads, bookmarks, bulk-rate discounts for teachers and more.

The anthology centers around the theme of education, and each story contains engaging and entertaining educational content. Trevor Mueller and Gabriel Bautista tell the story of alien exchange student and his human classmates traveling back in time to learn about dinosaurs firsthand. In Kevin Pyleʼs “The Order of the Secret Pencil,” a boy learns to read and write through the use of comics. The sciences are also represented along with the humanities when Chris Eliopoulos, an animation director for Yo Gabba Gabba! on Nick Jr., explains the unique
biology of the electric eel.

“The Reading With Pictures Anthology isn’t just a fund raising tool, it’s a proof of concept,” says Executive Director Josh Elder. “It’s proof that comics belong in classrooms because this comic belongs in the classroom. It contains stories of the highest quality that are engaging, educational and enlightening.”

Money raised from anthology pre-sales will pay for the printing of the anthology itself and provide funding for Reading With Pictures during its critical startup period. That funding will allow Reading With Pictures to forge ahead with its ambitious slate of groundbreaking projects to revolutionize the use of comics in the classroom. These include a partnering with Northwestern University to conduct the most comprehensive research study in U.S. history on comics as educational tools, creating a searchable, interactive database of comic-centric curriculum and providing recommended reading lists for all ages, interests and subjects.

Reading With Pictures’ Executive Director Josh Elder and all anthology creators are available for interview. High-resolution images from the anthology will also be made available upon request. For more information, please contact Media Director Michael Moreci or visit our Kickstarter site for all the latest news, previews, and updates. Facebook site here, and follow them on Twitter here.

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More from Conversational Reading:

  1. A Plague of Biblical Proportions Louis Menand looks at the comic book’s contribution to Cold War culture: By 1952, as David Hajdu reports in his vivid and engaging book “The...
  2. Against the Day Well, idle conformist that I am, I’ll just do like everybody else and announce that my copy arrived today. Pretty good through the first 40...
  3. Cancerous? Doug Harvey of LA Weekly informs us of why Jonathan Lethem gets comics. Until puberty, Lethem too thought he would be an artist like his...
  4. Screen Reading Vs. Book Reading The New Atlantis has a provocative article that comes very close to asserting that screen reading isn’t reading in the traditional sense. The piece starts...
  5. 9/11 Commisson Comic Book Wow. They must have made the comic book version of the 9/11 report so even moron Bush could manage to read it. Yet the 130-page...

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