before printing

“Before Printing, Old-wives Tales were ingeniose, and since Printing came in fashion, till a little before he Civill-warres, the ordinary sort of People were not taught to reade. Now-a-dayes Bookes are common, and most of the poor people understand letters; and the may good Bookes, and variety of Turnes of Affaires, have putt all the old Fables out of doors: and the divine art of Printing and Gunpowder have frighted away Robin-good-fellowe and the Fayries.”

(quoted in Oliver Lawson Dick’s “The Life and Times of John Aubrey,” p. xliii in the Vintage Aubrey’s Brief Lives; this is cited elsewhere as being from B. L. Lansdowne Ms. 231, fol. 140r.)

march 16–31, 2020


  • Natalia Ginzburg, The City and the House, translated by Dick Davis
  • Theodore Sturgeon, The Dreaming Jewels
  • Brad Fox, To Remain Nameless
  • Fred Vargas, The Chalk Circle Man, trans. Siân Reynolds
  • Fred Vargas, The Three Evangelists, trans. Siân Reynolds
  • Fred Vargas, Dog Will Have His Day, trans. Siân Reynolds
  • Fred Vargas, The Accordianist, trans. Siân Reynolds
  • Michael Dibdin, Ratking
  • Michael Dibdin, Vendetta


  • The Last Man on Earth, directed by Ubaldo Ragona & Sidney Salkow
  • Panic in the Streets, dir. Elia Kazan

march 1–15, 2020


  • J. G. Ballard, High-Rise
  • Aleksandar Hemon, My Parents: An Introduction/This Does Not Belong to You
  • Jacques Rancière, Short Voyages to the Land of the People, translated by James B. Swenson
  • Dante Alighieri, Hell: Dante’s Divine Trilogy Part One Decorated and Englished in Prosaic Verse, trans. Alasdair Gray
  • Primo Levi, Flaw of Form, trans. Jenny McPhee
  • Frederick Rolfe, Baron Corvo, An Ossuary of the North Lagoon, and Other Stories
  • Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals
  • Gerald Durrell, Birds, Beasts, and Relatives
  • Gerald Durrell, The Garden of the Gods
  • John Bayley, Elegy for Iris
  • Cristina Rivera Garza, The Iliac Crest, trans. Sarah Booker
  • Monique Truong, The Sweetest Fruits
  • Primo Levi, The Truce, trans. Stuart Woolf


  • Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), directed by Céline Sciamma
  • The Souvenir, dir. Joanna Hogg
  • Uncut Gems, dir. Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie

february 15–29, 2020


  • Dexter Palmer, Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen
  • Charles Portis, Masters of Atlantis
  • Charles Portis, Norwood
  • Francesco Pacifico, Class
  • Amelia Rosselli, Obtuse Diary, translated by Deborah Woodard, Roberta Antognini & Dario De Pasquale
  • Primo Levi, Natural Histories, trans. Jenny McPhee
  • Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honorable Defeat
  • Elias Canetti, Party in the Blitz: The English Years, trans. Michael Hofmann

not-knowing, not-seeing, not-understanding

“E così fu luce esatta: si convinse d’aver trovato la sua dimensione vitale: il non sapere, il non vedere, il non capire.”

“And thus there was exact light: she convinced herself of having found her vital dimension: the not-knowing, the not-seeing, the not-understanding.”

(Amelia Rosselli, Obtuse Diary, trans. Deborah Woodard, Roberta Antognini & Dario De Pasquale, pp. 74–5.)

february 1–14, 2020


  • Norman Lewis, In Sicily
  • Elena Ferrante, Incidental Inventions, translated by Ann Goldstein
  • Micheline Aharonian Marcom, A Brief History of Yes
  • Garth Greenwell, Cleanness
  • Cristina Rivera Garza, The Taiga Syndrome, trans. Suzanne Jill Levine & Aviva Kana
  • Marguerite Duras, Me & Other Writing, trans. Emma Ramadan & Olivia Baes
  • Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Urgency and Patience: Essays, trans. Edward Gauvain
  • Norman Lewis, Jackdaw Cake: An Autobiography
  • Norman Lewis, I Came, I Saw: An Autobiography
  • August Kleinzahler, Cutty, One Rock
  • Nina Leger, The Collection, trans. Laura Francis
  • Zoë Lescaze, Paleoart: Visions of the Prehistoric Past
  • Charles Portis, The Dog of the South


  • The Witch, directed by Robert Eggers
  • The Lighthouse, dir. Robert Eggers

january 16–31, 2020


  • Jean-Patrick Manchette, Nada, translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith
  • Jean-Philippe Toussaint, The Truth about Marie, trans. Matthew B. Smith
  • Jean-Philippe Toussaint, The Bathroom, trans. Nancy Amphoux & Paul De Angelis
  • Virginie Despentes, Vernon Subutex 1, trans. Frank Wynne
  • Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Reticence, trans. John Lambert
  • Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Naked, trans. Edward Gauvain
  • Lucy Ellmann, Mimi
  • Muriel Spark, The Driver’s Seat
  • Joseph Roth, What I Saw: Reports from Berlin, 1920–33, trans. Michael Hofmann
  • Lucy Ellmann, Dot in the Universe
  • Lucy Ellmann, Doctors and Nurses
  • Norman Lewis, The Honoured Society: The Sicilian Mafia Observed
  • Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You
  • Muriel Spark, The Hothouse by the East River
  • Giorgio Bassani, The Heron, trans. Jamie McKendrick


  • Clifford, directed by Paul Flaherty

january 1–15, 2020


  • Eve Babitz, I Used to Be Charming: The Rest of Eve Babitz
  • Albert Cossery, The Jokers, translated by Anna Moschovakis
  • Amara Lakhous, The Prank of the Good Little Virgin of Via Ormea, trans. Anthony Shugaar
  • Lucy Ellmann, Man or Mango? A Lament
  • Muriel Spark, The Public Image
  • Albert Cossery, Laziness in the Fertile Valley, trans. William Goyen
  • Muriel Spark, The Bachelors
  • Muriel Spark, The Ballad of Peckham Rye
  • Norman Lewis, Naples ’44: An Intelligence Officer in the Italian Labyrinth
  • Muriel Spark, The Abbess of Crewe
  • Curzio Malaparte, The Skin, trans. David Moore
  • Muriel Spark, Robinson
  • Andrea Camilleri, Hunting Season, trans. Stephen Sartarelli
  • Andrea Camilleri, The Sect of Angels, trans. Stephen Sartarelli
  • Andrea Camilleri, The Sacco Gang, trans. Stephen Sartarelli
  • Muriel Spark, The Comforters
  • Francesca Marciano, The Other Language


  • The Amazing Johnathan Documentary, directed by Ben Berman
  • Charlie Says, dir. Mary Harron
  • Nocturama, dir. Bertrand Bonello
  • La Vérité (The Truth), dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • Good Time, dir. Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie
  • Hereditary, dir. Ari Aster

december 16–31, 2019


  • Emmanuel Carrère, A Russian Novel, translated by Linda Coverdale
  • Emmanuel Carrère, Limonov, trans. John Lambert
  • Samuel R. Delany, Voyage, Orestes!
  • Curzio Malaparte, Kaputt, trans. Cesare Foligno
  • Robert Musil, Agathe: Or, The Forgotten Sister, trans. Joel Agee
  • Amara Lakhous, Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet, trans. Ann Goldstein
  • Amara Lakhous, Divorce Islamic Style, trans. Ann Goldstein
  • Amara Lakhous, Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, trans. Ann Goldstein
  • Lucy Ellmann, Sweet Desserts
  • Lucy Ellmann, Varying Degrees of Hopelessness
  • Barbara Bourland, Fake Like Me
  • Jonathan Lethem, As She Climbed Across the Table
  • Jonathan Lethem, Girl in Landscape
  • Emmanuel Carrère, The Adversary, trans. Linda Coverdale


  • “Hans Haacke: All Connected,” New Museum, New York
  • “Carmen Argote: As Above, So Below,” New Museum
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • “A Wonder to Behold: Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate,” Institute for Study of the Ancient World
  • Met Museum


  • The Limey, directed by Steven Soderbergh
  • Uncut Gems, dir. Josh Safdie & Benny Safdie
  • Little Women, dir. Greta Gerwig
  • Blackkklansman, dir. Spike Lee

december 1–15, 2019


  • Robert Dobbin, ed., The Cynic Philosophers: From Diogenes to Julian
  • Augusto de Angelis, The Murdered Banker, translated by Jill Foulston
  • August de Angelis, The Hotel of the Three Roses, trans. Jill Foulston
  • Dean Young, Fall Higher
  • Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay, Illusion
  • Alice Oswald, Memorial
  • Alice Oswald, A Sleepwalk on the Severn
  • Alice Oswald, Dart
  • Sarah Manguso, 300 Arguments
  • Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary
  • Francis Ponge, Nioque of the Early-Spring, trans. Jonathan Larson
  • Sigrid Nunez, Sempre Susan
  • Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House
  • Tim Hannigan, Raffles and the British Invasion of Java
  • Perumal Murugan, Poonachi, or the Story of a Black Goat, trans. K. Kalyan Raman


  • The Secret Life of Plants, directed by Walon Green
  • Sign O’ The Times, dir. Prince & Albert Magnoli
  • General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait, dir. Barbet Schroeder
  • L’Avocat de la terreur (Terror’s Advocate), dir. Barbet Schroeder