As you know, I was a little under the weather last week. It was nothing life threatening, just a nasty cold, but given that we’ve had a tough couple of weeks it took the wind out of my sails a little and I had to take some leave and rest up. I’m not very good at being ill, truth be told, because the workaholic in me starts worrying that I should be doing something more productive with my time. So I decided to try and make the most of these rare spare hours in bed and partake in a favourite and yet very neglected pastime of mine – reading. Books have always been a passion for me, but between work, the blog and day to day life, I struggle to find the time to do much of it these days. In fact, the only time I’ve been able to get some real heavy duty reading in has been when I’ve been on holiday, which is a huge shame and needs to change, so I’m really glad I had this little window of time to myself to remember how much I love a good story. I made a pact with myself to make sure I put a little more time aside to read going forwards, and it dawned on me then that I’ve never written about the books I read here, which seemed nuts, and so this post was born!
I normally have a fair few unread books waiting to be devoured at any point in time as I come from a family of equally voracious readers so am always getting passed recommendations, but I didn’t have any of those to hand last week as I was at my parent’s house, so I delved into one I’ve read before and really enjoyed (as you can probably tell by the battered cover in the photos…!) – The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell….
The book opens in 1984 and follows Holly Sykes, a troubled and wayward teenager who is devastated when her beloved younger brother goes missing – an event that coincides with her running away from home. We learn that Holly heard voices as a child, and what follows is a bizarre adventure which spans six decades, multiple countries and even twists the concept of time itself! Holly finds herself in the middle of two warring factions who exist in another realm – the Horologists, who are immortal thanks to their ability to reincarnate, and the Anchorites, who achieve immortality by murdering others.
Sounding pretty bonkers right? Correct – it is. Absolutely crazy. But if you’ve read any of David Mitchell’s other books you’ll know that creating surreal and intricate universes that twist challenge our perceptions of reality is pretty much his bread and butter. Much like his other works, there is nothing about the plot that seems plausible, and yet, thanks to his incredible skill of tying together the complex sub plots and characters, it just works. He is just so adept at suspending your belief that truly anything could happen, and by the time you reach the end of the book – 2043’s post apocalyptic Ireland, where an ageing Holly now lives with her granddaughter – you have stopped questioning the fantastical events and plot twists. Or that was certainly the case for me, anyway. I know plenty of people who find Mitchell’s books too much like hard work, keeping track of the jumping timelines and overlapping characters he uses so frequently, but I personally have always loved books with dreamlike themes so this was right up my street. I’ve always enjoyed his books and am completely in awe of the way he interweaves such complicated storylines, bringing everything together with such consistency – how he keeps track I will never know! My favourite thing though is the way he drops subtle references to his other works in there – if you’ve read Ghostwritten, Black Swan Green or Cloud Atlas you will definitely recognise some names and characters!
So I guess if you like your stories to be firmly based in reality this won’t be the book for you, but if you like to keep your imagination challenged and engaged I definitely recommend you give this a read – it’s a long read, but definitely worth the commitment.
So, now that I’ve rediscovered my love of books, what should I read next?? Recommendations please!