Episode 14: Jez Burrows

Book by Jez Burrows

Dictionary Stories by Jez Burrows, guest of The Spine podcast

Books Mentioned on The Spine

  • Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend
  • Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
  • Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
  • Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry by Leanne Shapton
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  • Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature by Daniel Levin Becker
  • Life: A User’s Manual by Georges Perec and David Bellos
  • Void by Georges Perec
  • Sphinx by Anne Garréta
  • How to be Both by Ali Smith
  • Attrib. and Other Stories by Eley Williams


  • McSweeney’s Issue 17

Memorable Quotes

  • "There's this running theme of libraries being havens, just places to go and fill you up, soul-wise. I still do that."
  • On Ella Minnow Pea byMark Dunn: "I liked the dedication to such a ridiculous constraint and carrying it off for an entire novel."
  • On Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry by Leanne Shapton: "I just loved it because it's such a unique breakup story. It's such a well-trod path, but this does feel totally unique because it only gives you half of the story. It gives you things...but you have to fill in the story between them. It's so moving. It's such a lovely story."
  • "I fully understand that it's a certain kind of person who would hear [a description of House of Leaves] and, well, it's probably a bare minimum of people who would hear it and say, 'Oh, I need to read that immediately.' There's probably a larger portion who would say, 'That sounds totally insufferable.' But when I read it, I fell in love with it immediately. It's so playful and inventive."
  • "I studied graphic design, which I think probably makes sense given my list [of books] because a lot of the books I mentioned do something interesting with typography or owe a lot of themselves to design choices."
  • "A lot of my design work now is about finding order, and about pulling together disparate elements and trying to give them a form. And it's a tenuous link to [Jonathan Safran Foer], but it's one that spring to mind."
  • On a catalog of clothing meant to be worn by more than one person (called plural clothing) in McSweeny's Issue 17: "It's so elaborate and it's just in service of this one ridiculous joke! Something about that appealed to me so much. Finding McSweeny's at that age was like meeting a brand-new friend who had all of these interesting tastes and was super funny in a way that you'd never experienced before."
  • On reading How to be Both by Ali Smith: "I felt like the book was grabbing me by my lapels and picking me up. It was so exhilarating! I felt like I had whiplash reading it. It's so wonderful and breathless and funny, too! She's so funny. Her wordplay is out of control."

NOTE: Read more about the members of the Oulipo here.