The Blog

Patrick Madden's QUOTIDIANA

Amanda Dambrink

“A quick ear and eye, an ability to discern the infinite suggestiveness of common things, a brooding meditative spirit, are all that the essayist requires.”
—Alexander Smith, “On the Writing of Essays”

So begins the first of eleven personal essays in Patrick Madden’s premiere collection, Quotidiana, and the truth of this statement comes to bear on the entire book. Here the author brings together meandering meditations on laughing, death, garlic, hope, gravity, family, asymptosy, singing, hepatitis, and finity. Nothing extraordinary as far as subject matter goes, perhaps, but apply the “quick ear and eye,” the discernment and meditation of a writer like Patrick Madden, and these essays form a collection that mines personal experience and leaves readers the richer for it.

Ockert wins Dzanc short story collection award

TIR staff

We're very happy to announce that Jason Ockert has been named the 2010 Dzanc Short Story Collection Contest winner for his collection Neighbors of Nothing, which is slated to appear in October 2013. TIR will be publishing "Max," one of the stories from the collection, in its April issue. You can read more about the award, the collection, and Jason, too, by clicking here.

Jackson Pollock, Costs and Benefits, and How to Treat Gifts Received

Russell Valentino

There’s an old Russian joke that starts with a man asking a woman, “Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?” “Well, maybe,” she says. “How about for twenty?” he asks. “What do you think I am, some kind of prostitute!?” “We’ve already established that,” he says. “Now we’re just haggling over the price.” Those offended by the obvious misogynism can give the woman the lead. That’s not the point.

Borders bankrupt

Russell Valentino

Borders will be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization this week, according to the Wall Street Journal. Then it will probably close between 150 and 250 of its 500 superstores and 165 smaller stores. I suppose some of the local independents will be happy to hear about this, all while feeling bad for the thousands of book store employees who'll be laid off as a result.

Rule of 50 for dropping a bad book

Russell Valentino

There's a way in Russian of saying that you've read something without specifying that you've completed it. Think about how nice a distinction that would be to have at one's fingertips! Did you read that book? Yes, I did. (Da, chital, which, I suppose, if you want to get technical, would mean something like, "Yes, I engaged in the activity of reading," without particular reference to one stage of it or another, especially its completion.) Would being able to say that to others and to oneself make it any easier to stop reading something before the end, I wonder? I've often been surprised at the--sometimes quite elaborate--rules people come up with for how much of a book or essay or story they are allowed to read before moving on to something else. Allowed by whom?


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