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Quotidiana Hardcover – March 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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
(Susan Salter Reynolds Los Angeles Times 2010-02-28)

"Charming and liberating."—Robert Birnbaum, Morning News
(Robert Birnbaum Morning News 2010-02-17)

"Flutter the pages of Patrick Madden's Quotidiana, and entering it becomes irresistable. . . . 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
(Janelle Adsit ForeWord Reviews)

"If Madden is a prophet of the essay, if his words seem inspired by the classical masters of the form, then he is at his most inspired when he essays upon the essay."—Joey Franklin, New Letters
(Joey Franklin New Letters)

"For readers who wince at the sentimentality of some creative nonfictional writing, Madden's book might be the ideal transition into the genre. Madden, who was once on a scientific path himself, not only embraces academic research, he joins it with his personal accounts, holding out his hand to readers who crave objective data."—Eric d'Evegnee, BYU Studies
(Eric d'Evegnee BYU Studies)

"Quotidiana is a book written in the West with its eye casting outward, to the world, to us. By turns comic and sacred, Quotidiana invites us to consider our place in the West and our place in the world. This is as fine a collection of essays as I have read in recent memory."—Brandon R Schrand, Western American Literature
(Brandon R Schrand Western American Literature)

About the Author

Patrick Madden is an assistant professor of English at Brigham Young University. His essays have appeared in the Iowa Review, Portland Magazine, Fourth Genre, Hotel Amerika, and other journals, as well as in the The Best Creative Nonfiction and The Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies. Visit his Web site www.quotidiana.org.



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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803222963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803222960
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,278,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What is "Quotidiana?" It's a word--and a beautiful one at that--meaning "everyday life." And that's what Patrick Madden delivers in this intriguing collection of essays--a slice of his experience of everyday life. This slice can be as simple as noticing his baby girl's first laugh and the joy of singing with his father, or it can be as complex as a series of mathematical formulas which Madden fearlessly lays out on the pages and discusses in full. I never knew what to expect, essay to essay, and I found that refreshing. My favorite piece was "Panis Angelicus" in which Madden manages to track down, through relatives he'd never met before, an old recording of his grandmother singing. This essay radiates love and meaning and it feels like the author still carries the emotions of this piece within him. It's that real.

In the interest of disclosure, I'm an MFA student at Vermont College of Fine Arts and Patrick Madden is my advisor for the semester I'm just completing. He didn't ask me to read or review "Quotidiana," but I sought it out on my own because in working with him I've come to appreciate how much he is a knowledgable and skilled master of the essay form. I wanted to see how his skills manifest on the page and I was not disappointed. He pushes the limits of the essay because he is not just telling stories--he is seeking to make connections, and many of them are unexpected. I'm blown away, for instance, by the number of plausible ways the rock band Rush gets mentioned in the flow of Madden's prose! I liked accompanying Madden as he expertly ran down the essence of various thoughts and inspirations. I felt it was very much a journey well worth taking.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What Madden is doing for the essay is simply unparalleled in our century. To compare him to Montaigne is a bit obvious, but to say he is perhaps Montaigne's twenty-first century inheritor is saying something quite else I think. Brilliant and whip-smart, but also fast paced and snappy. Rousseau would be jealous all over again.
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Format: Paperback
Something beautiful about essays is the deep mulling-over of words both mundane and extraordinary, and the likewise treatment of everyday occurrences. While many authors prefer the worlds they can design in their own heads to the world around them, Patrick Madden, metaphorically, takes seemingly insignificant facts and occurrences in daily life (and a few uncommon events) and slow-roasts them into a delicious meal simply dripping with flavor. It’s impossible not to be lulled away at his calm, gentle, and wise voice, which speaks through the pages and into the reader. Many of the essays are a very calm, slow read, reminiscent of a very pleasant summer Sunday evening spent in a hammock or chair on the porch, discussing life, the universe, and everything with a dearly loved one. His references to other essayists help illustrate the time and thought that was clearly poured into this book, although his prose is a considerably more pleasant read. Although he speaks like an intelligent scholar, he’s not one to intentionally obfuscate his subject. His words are intellectual and carefully hand-picked, his sentences and organization free of clutter, and while tangents are an integral part to the essay, his topic always remains in view as he wanders around, smelling roses and pointing out little details that may seem small or pointless at first, but take on a deeper, special meaning when examined. And perhaps that’s a large part of what makes Quotidiana such a solid read. For me, I very easily tugged away by a gentle current of conversation-like language that reminded me of discussions with good friends. A stellar book, highly advisable to anyone interested in making a new friend out of a book, or stewing in pleasant thought over the little things of life.
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Format: Paperback
Patrick Madden’s Quotidiana is a fascinating collection of essays. His website of the same name defines ‘quotidiana’ as “The land of everyday, commonplace things,” and this is exactly what I found in his book. His essays lead the reader to a place where they can examine, in a very simple yet abstract way, what it means to be human. And when we return from this “land of everyday things,” we return better and more aware of ourselves. What is delivered in each of his essays are poignant fragments of everyday life, highlighting his ability to capture the intricacies of thought in his writing. He brings common actions and moments to life through the very mature connections he makes between things. He talks, for example, about the origins of language, the healing potential of laughter, the poignance of death, gravity and the cosmos, and perhaps most important to him, the joys and challenges of fatherhood.
The University of Nebraska Press describes his book thus: “Sparked by considerations of selling garlic, washing grapes, changing a diaper, or chipping a tooth, his essays are an antidote to the harried hullabaloo of talk-show and tabloid culture—and a reminder that we are surrounded by wonders that whisper to the curious and attentive.” I found this to be the case in my reading of Quotidiana. I was able to re-examine the intricacies of everyday life, and in the ordinary find something extraordinary. I liked in his essay “The Infinite Suggestiveness of Common Things” how he seemed to both search for and defend his essay genre. He says “I want a genre that allows for the staid, mundane life of a loafer, that reaches for new connections, that recognizes the world in a grain of sand” (6). I am confident to say that he has succeeded in his original endeavor.
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