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Cloud Atlas
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Book Group: Book Discussions > November 2012 - Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

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message 1: by Kat, Moderator (new)

Kat (KatZombie) | 2285 comments Thread for Cloud Atlas.


message 2: by Snoozie Suzie (new)

Snoozie Suzie (SnoozieSuzie) | 937 comments This is by the same author that wrote 'Number9dream' that was my September Buddy Read. As I couldn't finish it I am looking forward to reading this thread as to whether I should give him another go, or just leave him be.


message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5743 comments Aaaargh....put this on hold at the library and am number 10 on the list. Not looking good to read it in November unless people start dropping off the list because they realize that they won't get it read before the movie comes out - it just came out here.


message 4: by Janice, Moderator (new) - added it

Janice (JaMaSc) | 13574 comments My friend really wants to go see the movie. She suggested we go tomorrow night to get away from the house on Halloween. But, this is my first Halloween in the city, and I'm hoping I get some ghouls and goblins at the door. With all the snow on the ground, it's doubtful though.


message 5: by Judy (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5743 comments Ah, snow...do you have lots?


message 6: by Janice, Moderator (new) - added it

Janice (JaMaSc) | 13574 comments Yes! We usually get some snow around Halloween and then it warms up and melts, and we have nice fall-like weather again. But this year!!! I don't know what happened, but it snowed all weekend. We must have about 3-4" of snow on the ground. This amount of snow is unusual for this time of year. I hope the kids still have a fun Halloween in spite of it.


Amber | 589 comments Janice wrote: "My friend really wants to go see the movie. She suggested we go tomorrow night to get away from the house on Halloween. But, this is my first Halloween in the city, and I'm hoping I get some ghou..."

My sister went to see the movie over the weekend and she RAVED about it, saying her and her bf talked about it for hours afterwards. I believe she used the pharse ". . . completely blew my mind. . . " in her description. I'm hoping to have the same reaction to the book!


message 8: by Judy (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5743 comments I hope we can see it soon, Amber. It sounds promising. I wasn't sure because it only debuted at #3 when they were expecting big things from it.

@ Janice Its been freezing rain here and there is a little bit of snow in the shady places, but no big deal. I feel sorry for you with snow already!


message 9: by April (new) - added it

April | 970 comments Too bad all the YLTO members couldn't meet up and see the movie together!


message 10: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Brown | 113 comments Halloween was cancelled last Halloween in NJ due to snow.... and probably cancelled this year due to the hurricane. My poor jersey friends. I'm watching it from afar and really sad for my neighbors, friends and tenants (and friends) in our house!

Anyway..... I downloaded the book and am ready to get reading! I think this book is going to be a challenge for me, but the reviews are good so Im excited to read it! I'm sure the movie wont come out here (malaysia) for awhile so I'll have plenty of time to read the book before I see the movie!

Everyone in the wacky weather.... rain, floods, snow... etc.... stay safe! :)


Connie | 3348 comments April wrote: "Too bad all the YLTO members couldn't meet up and see the movie together!"

Wouldn't that be fun! ; )


message 12: by Judy (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5743 comments Jennifer wrote: "Halloween was cancelled last Halloween in NJ due to snow.... and probably cancelled this year due to the hurricane. My poor jersey friends. I'm watching it from afar and really sad for my neighbo..."

Is your house okay, Jennifer?


message 13: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Brown | 113 comments Judy ~ yes, we called several of our friends/neighbors to check on them. My neighbor had 4 trees down, another neighbor has tree on roof (but didn't go through) but thankfully no trees down in our yard. They are all without power and probably will be for a week, but all doing good! VEry devastating for NJ. Our town is 30 miles inland but many roads still closed and all traffic lights still out in our little town. THe shore looks like it was devastated. I wasn't much of a NJ shore girl, but sad! Thanks for asking. It's been weird watching it on the news and not being there to help our neighbors!


message 14: by Judy (last edited Oct 31, 2012 05:41AM) (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5743 comments It's been weird watching it on the news and not being there to help our neighbors! I bet. But so glad to hear that all you know and love are all right. I bet you're thinking that kind of storm was more likely to hit Malaysia than NJ, huh?


message 15: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Brown | 113 comments Judy wrote: "It's been weird watching it on the news and not being there to help our neighbors! I bet. But so glad to hear that all you know and love are all right. I bet you're thinking that kind of storm was..."

So true.... we are getting our fair share of rain and lightning and thunder (as it is "rainy season") but haven't had wind! :)

UGH.... i'm waiting for midnight (3 hours) so I can start reading Cloud Atlas! I may cheat and start a few hours early!

Happy Halloween to you all! :) (we just had trick or treaters in the rain and they were all so cute!)


message 16: by Kat, Moderator (new)

Kat (KatZombie) | 2285 comments You don't have to wait, Jennifer :) the group reads only require participation in the discussion, so you can read whenever you like!


Shannon (sianin) | 453 comments I loved the structure of this book. I can't describe it but remember that it felt like like the story was folded. If anyone gets what I mean help me describe it.
What I mean is that the first story ends the book the second story is the penultimate story as well and so on. Very cool.

The book was very complicated and the different voices could be challenging at times. Sometimes it was hard to find the link between the stories.

I really enjoyed this one but I have to say some in our bookclub did not like it at all (they also tended to be ones that don't like science fiction or fantasy so some of the nested story did not appeal to them).

I found this quote from a review that made me laugh and I get what they are saying:
The Daily Telegraph gave the novel a mixed review focusing on its clashing themes, with Theo Tait noting: "In short, Cloud Atlas spends half its time wanting to be The Simpsons and the other half the Bible."


Beverly | 194 comments Started the book today and so far I like it. The idea that it is told by different voices intimates me a little. Sometimes find it hard to keep track of everything.


Beverly | 194 comments I meant intimidates me. Lil.


message 20: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Brown | 113 comments I just am trying to get through the first chapter. I read a review that if you hang in there through the first chapter you will make it through the book! :) This one is going to be a challenge for me.


Shannon (sianin) | 453 comments It was challenging for me too and it was later that I got challenged. I really loved the first and last bits. Well, didn't love all the characters but some made me laugh even though they were so "of a different time".

I am thinking of teaching people to smoke. You will know it when you get there.


Amber | 589 comments My copy is supposed to be delivered today, but I just started a purple book for my rainbow last night and I have a book club book to be read for Monday. So. . . this one may have to wait until this weekend or next weekend to have it's spine cracked. But let me just say that I am incredibly excited to start it!


message 23: by Kat, Moderator (new)

Kat (KatZombie) | 2285 comments I'm still trying to tie up other books too, Amy. Probably next weekend for me!


message 24: by Cecily (last edited Nov 09, 2012 06:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cecily | 576 comments Shannon, the structure is often described as being like Russian dolls (on inside another), but a far better analogy I read in a review here is this:

Imagine six books, each open near the middle, then stack them on top of each other. Thus the first section is the first half of the "book" that is also at the end, and the middle story isn't broken up at all. In addition, there are ways the plots and characters of individual components are connected.

It's easier to read than that may make it sound, but I think it's a nice, visual, bookish way of thinking about it.


message 25: by Judy (new)

Judy (patchworkcat) | 5743 comments I like that description, Cecily, and a clever way to structure a story.


Shannon (sianin) | 453 comments Yes, that is how it is, a stack of open books. And I really liked the structure.

One difficulty that I had was I found I was always looking for the tie that binds the books together and in some cases I am not sure that I found it or that it was there to find?

Did anyone else run into this?


message 27: by Cecily (last edited Nov 11, 2012 09:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cecily | 576 comments There are many answers to that, Shannon.

When I first read it (shortly after publication), I saw connectedness and predacity as the uniting themes - in addition to the way specific characters and books are linked to each other, such as one finding a copy of the preceding letters or story.

I'm a third of the way through a reread, and although I agree with my earlier impression, I think there are at least a couple of other common ideas, that of a journey or transformation, and of escape and freedom.

By the time I've finished, I'll probably add some more, and other readers will have different ideas.


Shannon (sianin) | 453 comments So, has anyone finished the book AND seen the movie? The movie hasn't come to my town yet and I really am hoping it does soon! I am so curious. I really hope they did a good job.


Cecily | 576 comments The film won't be released until mid February 2013 in the UK. :(


message 30: by Janice, Moderator (new) - added it

Janice (JaMaSc) | 13574 comments I'm going to the movie tonight with a couple of friends.


message 31: by April (new) - added it

April | 970 comments Janice wrote: "I'm going to the movie tonight with a couple of friends."

You will have to let us know how liked it! So excited to hear about it!


message 32: by Janice, Moderator (new) - added it

Janice (JaMaSc) | 13574 comments I really enjoyed the movie! Towards the beginning, I was thinking it was going to be a waste of time. But as it progressed and I began to see how all the layers were connected, I began to enjoy it. By the end, I was very impressed and moved by it.

Now, I'll have to read the book. And I'll buy the DVD when it comes out.


Shannon (sianin) | 453 comments Janice wrote: "I really enjoyed the movie! Towards the beginning, I was thinking it was going to be a waste of time. But as it progressed and I began to see how all the layers were connected, I began to enjoy i..."

Wow, Janice, that's quite the endorsement.

It still is not in my town and I am afraid I will have to go away for work for a couple of weeks and that it will come out while I am away. (Yes, I live in a small town but work is taking me to even smaller and more remote).


message 34: by Lori (last edited Nov 17, 2012 05:29PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Lori (GlitzyRebel) | 164 comments A few of the stories in this book would have made a very good book all on their own. But mixed together in the manner they were--does the man (and his editor) have attention deficit disorder?--and connected by a highly stretched imaginary string does not a good novel make.

If you want to be able to think it through and actually make a real connection to the stories you will be disappointed in this book.

I struggled through the first half of the book trying to fit the connections together--not satisfied with the connection of "Ohhh, they both looked at the clouds and wondered" or "oh, my! that person read something that other person wrote". I kept thinking I'm wasting my time.

The second half--I enjoyed the continuation of several of the stories. I began to think--this might turn out to be good after all.

The very end I found very disappointing. Total waste of time.

For me, the most satisfaction followed my rating of the book on Audible. They offered to return the credit I used to purchase the book. A good ending after all!! : )


Beverly | 194 comments I still haven't finished this book. I think he should have made these stories stand alone short stories. The links between stories seem to be contrived.


message 36: by Roz (new) - added it

Roz | 1017 comments Struggling.


message 37: by Cecily (last edited Nov 18, 2012 02:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cecily | 576 comments Lori wrote: "If you want to be able to think it through and actually make a real connection to the stories you will be disappointed in this book."

Evidently you and some others were, and that is fine, but not everyone reacts that way; some people enjoy or even love it.

Personally, I like the structure and think it works quite well, even though it is so contrived. However, I think his Ghostwritten is better: it has similar themes, and connected stories, but in a subtler way.


message 38: by Roz (new) - added it

Roz | 1017 comments I wanted to read this book because the movie had a cast I like. Not really a good enough reason to read something, I know. But I did give it a try. I don't think I'll finish it right now. Maybe sometime later, much later really. If I have to struggle to read a book, especially one that so many of us feel is contrived, it just won't keep my interest long enough. Besides I don't think reading should be a struggle. Just my opinion.
So, for all of those who love this one, I commend you. For those who don't, I understand. I'll go back to my Dickens, Wells, Verne, throw in some JD Robb, Patterson, Morton, Orringer and anyone else that crosses my path.


message 39: by April (new) - added it

April | 970 comments OMG....I must be really stressed because I'm having a hard time just typing a post!

So....we are in the process of a big move. It is very stressful, especially this time of the year. I have only read the first 2 pages but I'm already concerned and I want your advice. Why is this book intimidating me? Is it because I'm so stressed? Maybe this is something I should read at a later time? Or, maybe If I keep reading I will discover that it's not so intimidating after all?


Shannon (sianin) | 453 comments I liked it but it did divide my in person book club. Nobody LOVED it but a few of us really liked it. A couple of us have plans to go see the movie together. Some didn\t like it but they didn't like the futuristic part.

The thing I love about books and bookclubs is that there is one for everyone.

I am sorry that some didn't like it. I struggled with parts of it and with finishing it but I really did like it. If I remember correctly I gave it 4 stars which is high praise from me.


message 41: by Lori (new) - rated it 1 star

Lori (GlitzyRebel) | 164 comments For the most part, I enjoyed four of the stories. Luisa Rey, Cavendish, Sonmi-451 and Adam Ewing. Cavendish and Sonmi's were probably my favorites. I particularly enjoyed Cavendish's escape!!


message 42: by Lori (new) - rated it 1 star

Lori (GlitzyRebel) | 164 comments April wrote: "OMG....I must be really stressed because I'm having a hard time just typing a post!

So....we are in the process of a big move. It is very stressful, especially this time of the year. I have o..."


Hi, April,
I found the first two stories in the book-Ewing and Frobisher-somewhat like a reading assignment in high school. It wasn't enjoyable at all. I had to make myself keep reading which seems ridiculous because reading, at my age, should be a pleasure not an assignment. I disliked the book based on the first two stories but I'm of the opinion that one isn't qualified to condemn a book if they haven't read the whole book so I kept reading.

With everything that is going on in your life right now I think you should pack the book in a box and try it again after the boxes are unpacked. A book should not be adding stress! Put the book away and turn on your favorite music!!!


message 43: by April (new) - added it

April | 970 comments Lori, I think that is just what will do. However, I am a bit sad about it. I really did want to get this book marked off my list.


message 44: by Kat, Moderator (new)

Kat (KatZombie) | 2285 comments I've not even started on this one, and it's doubtful I'll get it in before the end of the month (but stranger things have happened).

Lori, it's a shame you found it so much like school-work, something none of us need to be reminded of!


Shannon (sianin) | 453 comments My favourite parts of the book were the Pacific Journal of Ewing; The Luisa Rey Mystery; The Ghastly ordeal of Timothy Cavendish. I found the Somni-451 stories and the middle part of the book (Sloosha's crossing) to be quite interesting but not as appealing to me personally.

I found this on wikipedia and thought it was quite interesting about the theme of ascension and descension (as individuals physically and as societies morally and ethically (as well as financially?). Please excuse the plagiarism.

Movements of ascent and descent, for example, appear in each of the six stories. They are suggestive of humanity's larger moral epiphanies and failings. Adam Ewing, whilst ascending the volcano on the Chatham Islands loses his footing and tumbles down into a hollow (pg. 19); Robert Frobisher is forced to jump from the first floor of a hotel to avoid paying his bill (pg. 43); the car of Luisa Rey is shunted off the edge of a bridge and falls into the water around Swannekke Bridge (pg. 144); the author whom Timothy Cavendish publishes ejects a literary critic from the 12th floor of a hotel (pg. 151); the clone, or fabricant, called Sonmi~451 ascends from the underground shopping mall in which she works (pg. 208), and her growing self-consciousness is also explicitly described as an "ascension". Finally, Zachry Bailey and Meronym climb and then descend the Hawaiian mountain of Mauna Kea, Zachry confronting the temptations of the devil (named as Ol' Georgie in the book) (pg. 282 onwards)


Michele | 4 comments I may be of the minority on this discussion thread, but I LOVED the book. I admit it was quite a challenging read, but that's partly why I liked it. It was like a puzzle, and you have to work to filter through all the pieces. That said, if I hadn't been forewarned that it starts slow and is difficult to get into, I probably would have given up on it.
I'm surprised that people have found the connectedness of the stories contrived. I felt the exact opposite. With the exception of the birthmark, I thought the connections were beautifully subtle.
On the other hand, I was disappointed in the movie, which did feel contrived to me. Although there were some beautiful scenes and I think the directors did an admirable job of transferring the book onto screen, I was felt some of the philosophy was lost (especially in the Frobisher and Sonmi stories).


message 47: by Janice, Moderator (new) - added it

Janice (JaMaSc) | 13574 comments It sounds like I made the right decision to watch the movie first. I saw the connection, and began to see it as one cohesive story rather than individual stories.

I'm looking forward to reading the book now to see what the differences are between the two.


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

I've started this and was slightly bemused to see the first section ended in the middle of a sentence. I was tempted to read the last section & finish the story, but will read it in page order & trust that it will work...


Cecily | 576 comments The (non)ending of the first section caught me out. I first read it a week or two after publication, so none of my friends had read it and and there was no Good Read etc. I briefly wondered if my copy was wrongly printed!


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Rusalka (Rusalkii) | 5614 comments I asked for this for my birthday and so far, haven't received it. I do have a birthday Book Depository order from my brother coming but I doubt it will get here in time for me to read with you all :(

Around October-ish I stop buying books so I can have things my family can buy me for birthday and Christmas. I made a stupid call this time (although I thought the movie has come out, the book should be everywhere!).


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