Articles by Mark O'Connell

December 18, 2016

A Year in Reading: Mark O’Connell 0

In the moment of reading, I believe, and am changed.

May 5, 2016

The Novel Still Exists: The Millions Interviews Don DeLillo 3

“I’ve been thinking lately, I’m not sure why, about my earlier novels, and I’m quite surprised how little I recall of them. I don’t know whether it’s liberating or worrying.”

October 20, 2015

Cogs in an Enormous Machine: The Millions Interviews Paul Murray 3

I don’t know of any profession where you experience failing as consistently and unambiguously as writing.

December 6, 2014

A Year in Reading: Mark O’Connell 1

Let me tell you, I read seven shades of shit out of Peck Peck Peck, a delightfully illustrated picaresque romp about a baby woodpecker who goes around pecking a lot of household items under the tutelage of his father, also a woodpecker, before finally settling down to sleep.

December 5, 2013

A Year in Reading: Mark O’Connell 1

“No, no, no,” I mutter to my former self. “Believe you me, pal, you don’t know shit about not reading. But you’re about to learn. Stick around another few months, then we’ll talk about not reading.”

November 6, 2013

It’s a Mixed Life: An Interview with Nicholson Baker 1

Obama’s administration has been a devastating disappointment, in so many different ways. Fanatical secrecy, the persecution of whistleblowers, foreign interventions and arms shipments that make things worse, the quintupling of drone killings — it just has to be said.

October 15, 2013

Some Words About Wordlessness 2

There’s something about a six-month-old’s wordless interactions with the world that brings to mind the simple truth that a human is an animal.

June 27, 2013

Not Really a Book About Trains As Such: Tim Parks’s Italian Ways 2

And despite all Parks’s entertaining kvetching about the excessive chattiness of fellow passengers and the gratuitous complexities of the ticketing system, Italian Ways is unmistakably an expression of love for his adopted country and its people. The close confinement of the train compartment becomes a metaphor for a society, in all the ways it does and does not work.

May 22, 2013

Nothing Funnier Than Unhappiness: A Necessarily Ill-Informed Argument for Flann O’Brien’s The Poor Mouth as the Funniest Book Ever Written 9

Here’s how funny it is: It’s funnier than A Confederacy of Dunces. It’s funnier than Money or Lucky Jim. It beats Shalom Auslander to a bloody, chuckling pulp with his own funny-bone. It is certainly the funniest book I’ve ever read.

February 25, 2013

Literature as Self-Defense: An Interview with James Lasdun 2

In 2003, Lasdun taught a course in creative writing at a college in New York. His most gifted student was an Iranian-born woman in her early 30s. They emailed back and forth, and an online friendship began to develop. The book is an exploration of the effects of this relationship turning sour. Give Me Everything You Have is a harrowing account of what it’s like to have someone expend a great deal of time and energy on the project of damaging your life for no immediately obvious reason.