Tag Archives: David Mitchell

Top Ten Quotes About Reading

Southbank Book Market

From the works of Cicero (“A room without books is like a body without a soul”) to George W. Bush’s pearls of wisdom (“One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures”), there are thousands of quotes about the wonders of reading. Here are a few of my favourites:

10) “When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you.” (Keith Richards)

9) “It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them.” (Schopenhauer)

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The Man Booker Prize Longlist 2014

This year’s Man Booker Prize longlist was announced today. The thirteen titles are:

Joshua Ferris – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan – The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Siri Hustvedt – The Blazing World
Howard Jacobson – J
Paul Kingsnorth – The Wake
David Mitchell – The Bone Clocks
Neel Mukherjee – The Lives of Others
David Nicholls – Us
Joseph O’Neill – The Dog
Richard Powers – Orfeo
Ali Smith – How To Be Both
Niall Williams – History of the Rain

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Back Story by David Mitchell

I love David Mitchell.  Just to clarify, I am of course referring to the David Mitchell who stars in one of my favourite ever sitcoms, ‘Peep Show’, rather than the David Mitchell who wrote a really weird book called ‘Cloud Atlas‘ which I failed to finish earlier this year.  ‘Back Story’ is David (‘Peep Show’) Mitchell’s memoir about his peaceful middle-class childhood, his experiences with Footlights at Cambridge University and his route to fame as a critically acclaimed actor and comedian.  It definitely has nothing to do with ‘Cloud Atlas’ although Mitchell says he is frequently mistaken for the author of the bestselling book.

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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I tried.  I really did.  But I just couldn’t finish ‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell.  The whole concept/plot was just too damn weird.

I’m quite proud of the fact that there are very few books which I have never finished but this one definitely defeated me.  ‘Cloud Atlas’ interweaves six different stories which include the 19th century Pacific journal of Adam Ewing, the letters of Robert Frobisher living in Belgium in the 1930s, a thriller set in the 1970s, a comic story about someone who gets trapped in a nursing home, a futuristic  dystopian world… and this is the point where I gave up after nearly 200 pages.  Each of the first five stories are interrupted half-way through and are then resolved in reverse chronological order (although I didn’t get far enough to read these conclusions).     Continue reading


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