Articles by Mark O'Connell

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 1

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.

January 22, 2013

Introducing The Millions Originals and An Excerpt of Our First eBook, ‘Epic Fail’ 7

To kick off our new series, Dublin-based staff writer Mark O’Connell has penned an exploration of the internet-era obsession with terrible art – bad YouTube pop songs, Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, and that endless stream of “Worst Things Ever” that invades your inboxes, newsfeeds, and Twitter streams. What, exactly, draws us to these futile attempts at making songs, movies, and art? Read on for the first chapter of The Millions‘ first ebook original, Epic Fail: Bad Art, Viral Fame, and the History of the Worst Thing Ever.

December 15, 2012

A Year in Reading (And Not): Mark O’Connell 1

I’m always buying books on the basis that they are exactly the books I should be reading, while knowing that the likelihood of my ever starting them, let alone finishing them, is vanishingly small. I have no idea how many works of academic literary criticism I have bought on this basis, but it is, I fear, a number approaching shitloads.

December 3, 2012

Appearing Elsewhere 0

I wrote an essay for The Dublin Review on the strange phenomenon of Internet unboxing videos, in which people remove new purchases from their packaging and talk us through the process in exhaustive detail. You can read the whole thing online here.

November 26, 2012

Infographics of Despair: Chris Ware’s Building Stories 4

Only bad art is depressing; good art, no matter what its subject, is exhilarating.