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.

For low prices on Las Vegas shows visit LasVegas.ShowTickets.com

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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.


  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante September 16, 2014
    Few novelists have captured the rhythms and flow of life with the veracity of Elena Ferrante in her Neapolitan Novels. Following the friendship between Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo from childhood to old age, the tetralogy spans fifty years; over the course of that time, no emotion is too small, too dark, too banal to be recorded. No expense, so to speak, is […]
  • Trieste by Daša Drndić September 15, 2014
    As Drndić reiterates throughout the novel, “Behind every name there is a story.” And Haya Tedeschi’s story is draped in death. Born to a Jewish family that converted to Catholicism and tacitly supported the Fascists in Italy, Haya was a bystander to the Holocaust. She attended movies while Jews and partisans were transported to concentration camps; she pored […]
  • The Tree With No Name by Drago Jančar September 15, 2014
    At the opening of chapter 87—the first chapter found in The Tree with No Name—Janez Lipnik finds himself up a tree, shoeless, and lost in the Slovenian countryside. He makes his way to a house where he is taken in by a woman teacher who is waiting for her lover, a soldier. It becomes clear we are at the height of World War II. Soon after, we follow Lipnik […]
  • Kjell Askildsen, Selected Stories September 15, 2014
    Here, at the midpoint of his narrative, Bernhard, the affectless and purposeless protagonist of "The Unseen," experiences existential near-emancipation at dusk. This retreat toward obscurity in terse, direct language—thematic and stylistic markers of each work in the collection—comes immediately after Bernhard’s sister mentions her plans to enterta […]
  • Berlin Now by Peter Schneider September 15, 2014
    In his new book of essays, Berlin Now, Peter Schneider reveals himself as a gnarled Cold Warrior who has been stricken with many of the maladies common to his generation. With the specter of Communism exorcized, his new enemy is Islam. The book is a collection of short interlocking pieces introducing Anglophone readers to Berlin; it is not being published in […]
  • Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente September 15, 2014
    In 1999, Marcos Giralt Torrente’s debut novel, Paris, was awarded the XVII Premio Herralde de Novela prize. Despite his success, it took fourteen years for Giralt’s work to appear in English, with the story collection The End of Love arriving in 2013. Now, this year sees the publication of two more books by Giralt: Paris, translated by Margaret Jull Costa, a […]
  • 10:04 by Ben Lerner September 15, 2014
    “It seemed that the [New Yorker] story—which was in part the result of my dealing with the reception of my novel—had been much more widely received than the novel itself,” says the narrator of Ben Lerner’s second novel, 10:04. Perhaps this narrator is Lerner himself—at one point he describes 10:04, within its own pages, as “neither fiction nor nonfiction but […]
  • Theories of Forgetting by Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    Lance Olsen’s Theories of Forgetting is a masterful work structured around Robert Smithson’s earthwork “The Spiral Jetty.” Olsen’s novel is comprised of three narrations, written each by a separate member of a family. The husband’s and wife’s texts progress in opposite directions across the book, with each page divided among these two inverted texts; though […]
  • An Interview with Lance Olsen September 15, 2014
    The most substantial may be that innovative fiction knows what it is, that someone like me could define it in any productive way, that innovative fiction might somehow be one thing, or somehow consistent through time and space. None of these is the case. That’s exactly what I find most exciting about writing it, reading it, thinking about it. Innovative fict […]
  • The Ants by Sawako Nakayasu September 15, 2014
    In The Ants, we receive a study of existence through ants. That is, there are ants everywhere, ants substituted in every segment of the landscape, yet their behavior seems to reveal something altogether human. Too human. The ants are crushed and disappointed. They are warm and many. They are involved in gang wars and live inside carrot cake. The unique quali […]

Strange eBay Listings

From the LRB’s history of eBay:

The site has made the headlines most often for the wacky merchandise
that has been sold or listed over the years. The most famous instance
is probably the ten-year-old toasted cheese sandwich bearing the image
of the Virgin Mary that went for $28,000 in November 2004. In March
this year, two sisters from Virginia sold a cornflake shaped like the
state of Illinois for $1350. It was removed at first, since foodstuffs
have to be sold in sealed containers with best-before dates, but the
sisters got round that restriction by selling a voucher for the thing
instead. In May, a jealous husband from Bletchley put his wife up for
sale. He began the auction at a penny, but bids surpassed half a
million pounds before eBay removed the listing. A CD of the ‘income-tax
returns for 2005 of the entire Italian people’, which had been briefly
posted online by the tax authorities, was removed after a few hours.
Cohen mentions the ‘fully functional kidney’ that was listed on 26
August 1999, and shut down as a hoax eight days later, with bidding at
$5.7 million. In July 1999, bidding for a ‘young man’s virginity’
reached $10 million before it was pulled. Shipments of cocaine, votes
and souls have also often been listed. In 2001, the artist Keith
Obadike put his blackness up for sale (the description is reproduced in
Everyday eBay): ‘This heirloom has been in the possession of the seller for 28 years.’

They might have added book and conceptual artist Robert The’s listing for "the present moment," which went for $13.81.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Rain Taxi Auction Once again Rain Taxi is auctioning off cool, lit-lover collector’s items on eBay. Check it out. That Paul Auster signed chapbook you buy is money...
  2. Book Sales Up, Overall Share of "Entertainment Pie" Shrinking Take this as you will. Newly released numbers from Nielsen Entertainment present a mixed picture for books: a robust year, so far, with the industry...
  3. Rain Taxi Rain Taxi Review of Books is having a charity auction with lots of great items from the likes of Paul Auster, John Ashbery, Steven Dixon,...
  4. E-book 2.0 The Boston Globe says the e-book has finally arrived. No, really. Really. Well, anyway, Project Gutenberg is behind it with 300,000 free books, available starting...
  5. Papers The Sunday Times reports on the insidious work of American universities. ANDREW MOTION, the poet laureate, and Lord Smith, the former culture secretary, have launched...

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2 comments to Strange eBay Listings

  • KM

    I saw a two-headed cow on eBay recently and also a taxidermied frog with fangs.

  • THIS ROCK SEEMS TO BRING GOOD LUCK TO ALL WHO HOLD IT
    FOUND IN RIVER AS IS
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    IT APPEARS TO LOOK LIKE A
    #1 ON ONE SIDE
    THEN TURN IT OVER AND A SEA HORSE OR HORSE APPEARS
    EVERYONE THAT SEES THIS ROCK SEES SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT.

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