Articles by Mark O'Connell

December 16, 2011

Remembering Hitch 4

It took a particularly potent kind of charisma to allow a person to engage in such concentrated namedropping, urinating all the while, and still manage to come across as utterly charming. Hitchens had that kind of charisma.

December 11, 2011

A Year in Reading: Mark O’Connell 7

His compassion and clarity are such that I often found myself thinking that if God existed and had sat down to write a novel, this is what it would look like.

November 30, 2011

The Saddest Story I Have Ever Heard: An Agnostic Appreciation of The Book of Genesis 6

When I think of poor Adam and Eve and their hapless abdication of paradise in return for some new knowledge, I can’t help thinking of my own incremental sense of impending banishment with each new rumor overheard, as a child, from across the border of Adulthood.

November 17, 2011

The Truth About ‘The Truth About Marie’ 0

There’s a lesson in this that might be too awful for us to want to learn, which is that death takes from us not just our lives, but also our right to insist upon a particular version of those lives.

October 20, 2011

Not Foster Wallace 0

It was, in retrospect, only a matter of time until someone spotted the gap in the market and set up a blog dedicated exclusively to images of guys who sort of look like (but crucially are not) David Foster Wallace. A tip of the bandana to Matt Bucher for highlighting this via Twitter.

October 10, 2011

Bad Bookshops: An Appreciation 12

As great as it is to be able to choose whatever you want on Amazon, sometimes what you really want is to have no choice at all.

October 5, 2011

Weird, Wild West: Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers 6

The territory he takes us through is bleak and nightmarish, teeming with malice and greed, with violent lusts and blank antipathies.

September 26, 2011

Appearing Elsewhere 0

My “10 Best Songs Based on Books” list, from yesterday’s Observer (UK), is up on the Guardian’s website. Obviously it’s not so much the 10 Best as the 10 Best I could think of while writing the list, but that kind of equivocation makes for terribly unsnappy titles.

September 20, 2011

Staff Pick: Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau 2

By the end of the first page, you have learned everything you are ever going to know about the events on which the book focuses. What Queneau does do, however, is re-narrate this same scenario a further 98 times, in a series of distinct styles.

September 7, 2011

Appearing Elsewhere 1

A few days ago, Amazon announced the launch of their new “@Author” feature for the Kindle, whereby readers can click on an e-book passage and ask the author questions about it directly. I’ve broken out in a cold poststructuralist sweat about this over on The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog.