Books Reviewed: The Bone Clocks and Non-Required Reading

After a rather long winter break, we’re now really back in the swing of things (or sort of). But over break, I read quite a bit of pages in the various down-time moments and figured I should share out a few observations.

First of all, each year, I get as a present the latest edition of Best American Non-Required Reading collection. Dave Eggers has stepped down (darn it) as editor of this collection, which is pulled together by high school students, but the stories and articles in here are as strong as ever. I did miss the “short pieces” section at the front of the book, where little tidbits were shared out. That has been eliminated. But the pieces here are strong, and the fact that purchasing the book contributes to literacy programs organized by Eggers and the 826 organization makes it worth the price of admission.

Eggers is replaced here by Daniel Handler (ie, Lemony Snicket) who adds just enough snark and humor in his introduction to get the reading off on the right foot.

Second, I read The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. You know, there are some pieces and passages here that will just blow you away with Mitchell’s rich writing and storytelling. And I get that Mitchell is after bigger game — of re-configuring the way we tell stories and the way we write/read fiction. He always pushes the envelope. That said, huge swaths of the middle of this lengthy novel had me wondering if I should keep with it. I did, and thankfully, the final section rewarded me again. I won’t even try to explain the story (which unfolds over time and involves a woman who gets involved in a group who  …. oh …. too difficult to summarize).

I’m waiting for the novel by Mitchell that just blows me away, and he always gives me just enough to keep hoping and coming back. I am still mulling over The Bone Clocks in my mind, so that’s saying something.

Peace (in the pages),
Kevin

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  1. Kevin, I’m with you on The Bone Clocks. I listened to the audiobook, and nearly gave up on it before I had gone too far. However, it hooked me over time (the audiobook narrators are well chosen, BTW), until I was eager to understand how the story was going to unfold. I have not read any of his other books, but have now put Cloud Atlas on my “to read” list.

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