With barely a cloud in the sky over much of the UK today it’s a wonderful weekend for grabbing a great book and relaxing in the sun to read it.
Cloud Atlas is one of those love it or hate it books. If you love it then you’ll be pleased to know David Mitchell has a pretty impressive backlist (though I’m personally not a fan of Black Swan Green) but Ghostwritten, Number9Dream and Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet are squabbled by amongst his fans as to which is his masterpiece.
Now Cloud Atlas is a little complicated to break down into elements. If you don’t like one of the strands, you probably don’t love the book, so this week’s recommendations are going to be a little different and we’re going to look at a few of the recommendation engines that I wrote about way back in July.
Yournextread.com would recommend:
Iain Pears, Instance of the Fingerpost
Junot Diaz, Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Richard Price, Lush Life
Whatshouldireadnext.com would recommend:
Margaret Atwood, Blind Assassin
Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin
Ian McEwan, Atonement
Librarything.com would recommend
Ali Smith, The Accidental
Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
And crowd sourced on facebook recommendations would be:
Margaret Atwood, Oryx & Crake, The Handmaid’s Tale or The Year of the Flood
Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
And our unusual suggestions are for other Booker favourites of recent years who failed to win
Emma Donaghue, Room
Tom McCarthy, C
Sebastian Barry, The Secret Scripture
Lloyd Jones, Mister Pip
Two more authors' choices today. Markus Zusak & Audrey Niffenegger currently both have books in the top 10 (The Book Thief at number 4 and The Time Traveller's Wife at number 9). Markus' choices are listed in alphabetical order and Audrey's chosen to pick her favourite books from the current top 100.
Markus Zusak’s choices (supplied in alphabetical order)
Wonder Boys: Michael Chabon
The Half Brother: Lars Saabye Christensen
The Commitments: Roddy Doyle
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape: Peter Hedges
To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee
The Bell Jar: Sylvia Plath
Green Eggs and Ham: Doctor Seuss
I Capture the Castle: Dodie Smith
Maus: Art Spiegelman
Old School: Tobias Wolfe
Audrey Niffenegger’s choices (from top 100 list)
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susannah Clarke
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
Catcher in the Rye – J D Salinger
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Persuasion – Jane Austen
Possession – A S Byatt
The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters
Captain Corelli's Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
Tomorrow choices from two of this year's World Book Night authors, Kate Atkinson and Mark Haddon.
‘Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies…’
A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation: the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.
In his extraordinary third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.