Quantcast
Between Parentheses, in May. I've got a review of the book coming up, and as I read the book for the review, one of the most striking and enjoyable aspects of it was the sheer number of other writers Bolano exhorts you to read. You could get an entire education in Spanish-language literature just by reading the writers he recommends. So in that spirit, here are 17 books or authors Bolano recommends in Between Parentheses . . ." />

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

You Say

  • Mike: I agree with much of this discussion, though I'm not sure wh
  • S: This outpouring has been pretty wide-spread indeed. To be ho
  • Will: Salman rushdie is a microscopic crapule on the asshole of th
  • Henry: I think the fireworks may come from the fact that these auth
  • Paul: Vanessa Place's 'La Medusa' seems like an American authored
  • Lance: I agree with you about the state of American fiction and I b
  • Lance: Any idea on the schedule for The Body and The Right WIng? Al

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 Treatise on Shelling Beans by Wiesław Myśliwski March 9, 2014
    A man enters a house and asks to buy some beans, but we aren’t given his question, only the response: humble surprise from the narrator and an invitation inside. This modesty, though it remains at the core of the narrator throughout, is quickly overwhelmed when his questions, his welcoming explanations, flow into an effort to tell his whole life story, from […]
  • The Gorgeous Nothings by Emily Dickinson, edited by Marta Werner and Jen Bervin March 9, 2014
    The Gorgeous Nothings, the dedicated work of visual artist Jen Bervin and author Marta Werner, presents in large format the first full-color publication of all fifty-two of Emily Dickinson’s envelope writings. As such, it opens up an aspect of her craft that suggests she was, in the so-called late ecstatic period of her career, experimenting with creating te […]
  • The Mehlis Report by Rabee Jaber March 9, 2014
    The Mehlis Report follows the architect Saman Yarid on his daily perambulations around Lebanon's capital, where his memories of the city's past and his observations of the high-rises that have emerged from the ruins of the nation's civil war dominate the faint plot. But the book transcends Beirut: Jaber writes about what is left behind when pe […]
  • The Fiddler of Driskill Hill by David Middleton March 9, 2014
    Middleton’s sensibility as poet and man is thoroughly Christian, Southern (or rather, Louisianan), and traditional, but he’s no unreconstructed romantic Rebel reliving the Civil War. His manner is meditative and elegiac, not rancorous or redneck. In a rare useful blurb on the back of the book, the North Carolina poet and novelist Fred Chappell describes Midd […]
  • The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell March 9, 2014
    After The Kindly Ones, the nine hundred-page long Goncourt Prize-winning “autobiography” of a Nazi, fans of the Franco-American writer Jonathan Littell may heave an inward sigh of relief at the sight of The Fata Morgana Books. A slim collection of “studies” (as some of these stories were called in their original French incarnations), The Fata Morgana Books n […]
  • Novelty: A History of the New by Michael North March 9, 2014
    There is no better way to ensure the early demise of a form or a style than to proclaim its newness; fewer epithets are as old as “new.” A well-known work by Italian artist Maurizio Nannucci reads, “All art has been contemporary”—we may wish to amend it, for present purposes, and have it read, “All art has been new.” Yet surely this is something of a truism. […]
  • A Life Among Invented Characters: A Tribute to Mavis Gallant March 9, 2014
    Two things immediately come to mind when remembering Mavis Gallant: her unique sense of humor—stories always told with a wry half-smile—and her near-comical stonewalling when confronted with leading questions about her craft in interviews and with audiences. The first time I was in her simple three-room apartment on rue Jean Ferrandi, a mere three blocks fro […]
  • The Guy Davenport Reader March 9, 2014
    Poet-critic. Think of that word, made of two—what a beaux construction. The first is wild, hair mussed, looking at a bird in a tree—yet the follower is practical, urbane, and seemingly obeisant to word counts. Together they bleach out the fusspot academic and appeal to logos—Davenport once said that he was “not writing for scholars or critics, but for people […]
  • [SIC] by Davis Schneiderman March 9, 2014
    In 2011 Andrew Gallix, in the Guardian, wrote a piece on unread difficult books, and mentioned “an anthology of blank books [edited by Michael Gibbs] entitled All Or Nothing,” and we can consider Blank as continuing that line. Kenneth Goldsmith’s prefatory essay “Why Conceptual Writing? Why Now?” in Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (201 […]
  • The Ben Marcus Interview March 9, 2014
    I do tend to generate a lot of pages when I’m drafting something, and I cut as I go. I make strange noises out of my face, on the page, and they are for the most part not worth keeping. Some of the stories don’t take shape until I overwrite and pursue every cursed dead-end I can think of, which clarifies everything I don’t want the story to become. But I don […]

The Between Parentheses Reading List

New Directions will publish Roberto Bolano’s collected nonfiction, Between Parentheses, in May. I’ve got a review of the book coming up, and as I read the book for the review, one of the most striking and enjoyable aspects of it was the sheer number of other writers Bolano exhorts you to read. You could get an entire education in Spanish-language literature just by reading the writers he recommends.

So in that spirit, here are 19 books or authors Bolano recommends in Between Parentheses, complete with rave-style quote drawn from the essays in Between Parentheses.

Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz
“The key work in the Gombrowiczian oeuvre . . . one of the key novels of this century.”

Cuentos de Bloomsbury by Ana María Navales
“She’s bold enough to write in the first person, even when that first person is the voice of Virginia Woolf, and the result is first-rate and often unsettling.”

Antipoems: How to Look Better & Feel Great by Nicanor Parra
“As far as I’m concerned, Parra has long been the best living poet in the Spanish language.”

The Literary Conference by César Aira
“To begin with, it must be said that Aira has written one of the five best stories I can remember. It’s called ‘Cecil Taylor’ and it’s collected in an anthology of Argentine literature edited by Juan Forn. Aira is also the author of four memorable novels: How I Became A Nun, telling the story of his childhood; Ema, la cautiva [Emma the Captive], describing the luxury of the Indians of the pampa; El congreso de la literatura [The Literary Conference], recounting an attempt to clone Carlos Fuentes; and El llanto [The Weeping], retailing a kind of epiphany or insomnia.”

Hannibal by Thomas Harris
“He’s a craftsman, but every once in a while it’s nice to read someone who can tackle something long without boring us to death before we get to page fifty.”

The Good Cripple by Rodrigo Rey Rosa
“Miguel Ángel Asturias, Augusto Monterroso, and now Rodrigo Rey Rosa, three giant writers from a small, unhappy country.”

The Missing Piece by Antoine Bello
“In the tradition of Georges Perec . . . Antoine Bello’s novel is narrated from different points of view and through the lens of various genres, among them the epistolary novel, the detective novel, the satire, the adventure novel, the ethnographic novel, the populist novel, the symbolist novel, and the naturalist novel, not to exclude chapters in which the storytelling is based on mathematics, logic, or religion.”

Enoch Soames by Max Beerbohm (and it’s free for the Kindle!), (and collected in this NYRB Classic)
“Personally, if I had to choose the fifteen best stories I’ve read in my life, ‘Enoch Soames’ would be among them, and not in last place.”

Jonathan Swift
“And then there are those classics whose main virtue, whose elegance and validity, is symbolized by the time bomb: a bomb that not only hurtles perilously through its age but is capable of flinging itself into the future. It’s to this latter category that Jonathan Swift belongs.”

Homage to the American Indians by Ernesto Cardenal
“Superior in many ways to Neruda’s Canto General and a new, if flawed, response to Whitman.

El asco by Horacio Castellanos Moya
“So far I’ve read four of his books. The first was El asco, maybe the best of all, or at least the darkest.”

Bartleby & Co by Enrique Vila-Matas
“The answer, the only answer that occurs to me just now, is that it’s something else, something that might be a blend of all the preceding options, and we might have before us a 21st- century novel, by which I mean a hybrid novel, a gathering together of the best of fiction and journalism and history and memoir.”

Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas
“The third part centers on the unknown Republican soldier who saved Sánchez Mazas’s life, and here there appears a new character, someone by the name of Bolaño, who is a writer and Chilean and lives in Blanes, but who isn’t me, in the same way that the narrator Cercas isn’t Cercas, although both characters are possible and even probable. . . . With this novel, published to critical acclaim and appearing in French and Italian translations a few days before it even landed in Spanish bookstores, Javier Cercas joins the small group at the leading edge of Spanish fiction.”

Braque: Illustrated Notebooks
“Some of his aperçus, like Duchamp’s or Satie’s, are infinitely superior to those of many writers of his day, even some writers whose main occupation was to think and reflect: ‘Every age limits its own aspirations. This is what gives rise, not without complicity, to the illusion of progress.’”

Ubik by Philip K. Dick
“Dick is the one who, in Ubik, comes closest to capturing the human consciousness or fragments of consciousness in the context of their setting; the correspondence between what he tells and the structure of what’s told is more brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo.”

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
“It could be said that the landscape of Blood Meridian is a landscape out of de Sade, a thirsty and indifferent landscape ruled by strange laws involving pain and anesthesia, laws by which time often manifests itself.”

Alan Pauls
“You’re one of the best living Latin American writers and there are very few of us who know it and can appreciate it.”

The Cubs by Mario Vargas Llosa

“From these four novels (if their authors had written nothing else, which isn’t the case, one could create a literature. Of the four, The Cubs is probably the most caustic, the most fiendishly paced, and the one in which the voices–the multiplicity of forms of speech–are most alive.”

The Museum of Eterna’s Novel by Macedonio Fernandez
“Everything says we should read him, but Macedonio doesn’t sell, so forget him.

And one notable dis . . .

“Norberto Fuentes, the author of Condenados de Condado [The Condemned of Condado], in a number of ways a memorable book, has sold his soul to the devil.”

You Might Also Like:

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. What They’re Reading in Spain The Guardian has been doing a pretty cool feature where they ask editors in various countries what the hot books are where they are. The...
  2. A Reading List from Mark McGurl’s The Program Era One of the truly valuable things about Mark McGurl's study of the influence of creative writing programs on American literature is simply the breadth of...
  3. The Obama Reading List Yesterday I noted that a prominent member of the Turkish government gave President Obama a copy of the novel A Mind at Peace, recently published...
  4. Look Into a Translator’s Reading List The Seminary Co-Op has an interesting piece by translator Robert Chandler, who (along with his wife, Elizabeth Chandler, and Olga Meerson) has recently published a...
  5. Cesar Aira in NYRB Since 1975, the Argentine writer César Aira has published about seventy novels—it is difficult to arrive at an accurate count, and the number continues to...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

14 comments to The Between Parentheses Reading List

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>