0-fer of the Week

What better day of the week than Wednesday to show off my lack of erudition? In an act of Godelian irrelevance, I’ll try to post a significant 0-fer (as in, “I’ve never read a book, play, story or essay by [x]”) every week.

This week’s 0-fer is  . . .

George Bernard Shaw!

You’d think, in my late-teen pretentious superhero-fixated years, I’d have mistakenly read Man and Superman, but you’d be wrong.

Now why don’t you leave a comment about one author you really should have read by now but never have?

You can find past 0-fers 0-ver here!


When I was a small press book publisher, I was put on the Comp list at Bookforum. Despite not having published a book since 2003 and closing down the company in 2004, I’ve remained on the freebie list. The new issue arrived last week, on the heels of my 0-fer festival (here, here and here).

So, of the 60+ books that got reviewed in this ish, how many of them was I interested in reading about, and possibly buying?

Two: The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews by Robert A.M. Stern and Herbie Archives. (Curiously, Dan Nadel’s review of Herbie — a comic book about a fat guy who gets superpowers from enchanted lollipops — was placed in the nonfiction section of the table of contents.)

I still need to check out William Vollmann’s essay on why Nazi photography is creepy. Or maybe I don’t. And Tom Vanderbilt’s review of books on how the suburbs and the internet are alienating or fragmenting or something seems pretty blatherous. I did have high hopes for this Richard Price interview, but then I discovered that it was a Richard Prince interview.

I’ve been going on lately about my inability to read contemporary books, but I realized that I should check to make sure I’m not full of crap. To that end, I checked through the last 3 years of my list of All The Books I’ve Read, sorted by date of publication, and realized that I am full of crap! Here’s a PDF of 2006-2008, each year sorted by book-date.

I decided to include all books from that year and the previous one as “brand spankin’ new,” arbitrary as that seems.

  • 2006: 5 new books (2 novels), 11 overall published this decade, 35 overall
  • 2007: 7 new (4 novels & 1 play), 14 from this decade, 31 overall
  • 2008: 8 new (6 novels), 13 from this decade, 29 overall

So I guess I have been more susceptible to book-hype lately! Or there were a bunch of good books out last year. Still, maybe I should follow the suggestion of one of my newer readers (hey, Zeke!) and put a ban on any books that are fewer than 3 years old.