2008-09-16

notes

Apologies off the bat for being out of touch. I've been working a lot lately, and blogging elsewhere, and hanging out with my mom, and making art and still reading Paul Wells.

(This, for example, made me laugh out loud last night: "But the reason the word no-brainer exists is that sometimes people have no brains." p. 126)

But now I have two notes to offer. One, about a new online serial novel.

And one from my friend Tej:

Good afternoon friends,

This book club choice has certainly caused its fair share of stress.

Weighing all considerations, contemplating the embarrassment of choices, wading through personal tastes, being mindful of people's times and stress levels has made times testy in the Z-S household. I grumbled about our difficulties to Erin, who suggested we arm wrestle over the choice. It wasn't a bad idea as, in the interests of feminism, I let Alex win 50 per cent of the time. But the process seemed barbaric, and required too much effort. Much rather hash it out the hard way. Arguments, frowns and many declarations of "you-don't-know-what-you-are-talking-about-,-Tej" have laid the foundation for, what will hopefully be, your reading project for the next couple of weeks. We hope you enjoy it, and come around our way for discussions and snacks.

The Choice:

David Mitchell is a better writer than you or I.

I know I say this in an email that has a recipient list top-heavy with journalists, and excellent journalists at that. But David Mitchell is a better writer than you or I. You will see that when you read Cloud Atlas, Mitchell's third book, and sublime masterpiece.

The plot of the book is hard to explain, and you wouldn't want me to go into details. The delight of the book is within its unfolding, as it rushes from one section to the next, revealing itself in parts, becoming larger, a giant, before folding itself up again, delivering its message, and leaving you with its questions and implications. In my humble estimation, it is a crime that Cloud Atlas did not win the Booker Prize (for which it was short-listed, and for which it created controversy when it did not win), as it is among the best books written in the last 10 years. Hell, the last 25 years.

I've read the book three times. The first time, I read it twice in a row. But when I first cracked it, I almost put it away and didn't read it all. The first section takes some work to get used to, it requires some effort. Trust me, your mind will warm to the style, and your curiosity will be tickled. The first section is not that long and, if you make it to the second section, you'll be hooked, and in for the ride of your life. I hope you will find it as satisfying as I have found it over the years.

Don't let my warning scare you off. This is a book, if you give it time, you will want to finish. That said, it's not a small book, so the sooner you start the better.We have suggested October 26 as the date of the next book club. If the date doesn't work for you, please let us know. To entice you, we will have some brunch goodies prepared for you to enjoy. What exactly we'll have prepared is something Alex and I have left for further negotiations. Maybe we should just arm wrestle over it.

1 comment:

erin said...

Is it sad that I feel semi-famous for not only being mentioned in Tej's email, but then making it onto your blog?? Whatevs, I'll take my 15 minutes of fame any way I can!