Thursday, October 30, 2014

David Mitchell Marathon

I have a question for you: what are you reading right now that you cannot put down? Or, what have you read recently that you could not put down? There is a reason I'm wondering: I've just finished a book marathon. It was good. It was delicious, but it's over.

Here is the scoop:
 In style, prose and structure, CloudAtlas is profound; asking life’s most essential questions without smothering the stories. A Prep student and I are debating whether this is our best-book-of-all-time selection.

The high point of the marathon was, The Reason I Jump; The Inner Voice of a 13 Year Old Boy with Autism.  Mitchell co-translated The Reason I Jump and wrote a compelling introduction that sets the stage for Naoki Higashida to tell his story. Emotional and exceptionally truthful, Naoki’s message is straightforward, “don’t give up on us. Please keep battling alongside us.”

Higashida explains, “From your point of view, the world of autism must look like a deeply mysterious place.” The Reason I Jump uprooted my previous model of life on the autistic spectrum.  The essence of Higashida’s world - accepting the mantle of otherness, and revealing its emotional highs and lows- hit a reset button for me. I don’t know what the result will be, but this book not only made me think deeply, but differently. Higashida said, “once you know the other person’s inner self, both of you can be that much closer.”

The Bone Clocks is Mitchell’s newest novel. The plot winds around and through the life the main character, Holly Sykes. The supporting characters are flawed; self-absorbed, snarky, down-on-their-luck, or drowning in grief, yet they are revealed so fully that I adjusted my initial resistance and enjoyed their stories. There is an other-world plot to the story, but I won’t spoil it for you.
It was a marathon of excellent writing, fresh and unpredictable – completely enjoyable. And now, a quest for the next book(s). Any suggestions?
-Mrs. Eldridge


  1. Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert A. Heinlein) I'm rereading it 40 years after first coming across it. The social issues it explores still seem relevant and it is a great "what if" book.

  2. I just finished two books.

    One, "Splinters" by FJR Titchenell and Matt Carter, is a YA horror book with two main characters who are delightfully and fully-drawn with complex characters who doubt, grow, change, react, fight, enjoy and act. The supporting characters are interesting, the plot moves really quickly and is unexpected in places. It has the usual horror memes and some that are completely different. It is **awesome**.

    The other, "Olive Kitteridge", was highly recommended by the LAT and at B&N, so I bought it and read it. Although the main character is very complex and interesting, we never get to understand why she does things (or doesn't), or her history that caused such behavior. The people in the town seem to all have terrible things happen to them or their families, but seem to just move through life, reacting in ways appropriate to them without reflection or motivation. I found it to be frustrating.

    Now looking for another book too ….