Sunday, May 16, 2010

What is Patrick Madden reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Patrick Madden, author of Quotidiana (Nebraska, 2010), a collection of personal essays.

His entry begins:
Having just finished out the winter semester, I'm once again able to do some reading for pleasure and enlightenment, beyond all the stuff I assign to my students. I'm enjoying several books at the moment. Here are a few.

Most of my reading is in the realm of creative nonfiction, typically the more essayistic side of that unwieldy category. So I'm excitedly reading Need for the Bike by Paul Fournel, current president of Oulipo, which group every writer should know (and emulate). This book, however, is not Oulipian in any formal way. Instead, it's a collection of vignettes tracing the author's love of cycling, from Fournel's formative years (and crashes) to the Tour de France, with plenty of quick excursions (cyclical and mental) in between. “The bike always starts with a miracle,” writes Fournel, expressing his reverence, which...[read on]
Among the praise for Quotidiana:
"Words form constellations; they glitter on the pages.... There is a religiosity here, though not the usual kind. It's a glow on the horizon, a low light, something to think our way toward."
—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

"Charming and liberating."
—Robert Birnbaum, Morning News

"Flutter the pages of Patrick Madden's Quotidiana, and entering it becomes irresistible.... At once an approachable and postmodern composition, Quotidiana presents an enthralled, reflexive mind at work. Readers will eagerly await his next thought."
—Janelle Adsit, ForeWord Reviews

“Patrick Madden has a footloose, restless, well-stocked mind, sometimes maddening but always quite interesting; he gleefully demonstrates what Montaigne claimed: an essay is the best way to show that everything is connected to everything else.”
—Phillip Lopate, editor of The Art of the Personal Essay

“Patrick Madden is an essayist of verve, passion, wit, and dependable moral compass. Quotidiana drew me in powerfully, from page to page and from pleasure to pleasure.”
—Ian Frazier, author of Lamentations of the Father
Visit Patrick Madden's website to read hundreds of classical essays or sample his essays.

Writers Read: Patrick Madden.

--Marshal Zeringue