Morgan asked:

How should Mitchell's books be read? In publishing order?

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Nic Dafis True devotees read one section at a time, starting with "Okinawa" in Ghostwritten, then "Lost Property" in number9dream, then "The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (Part 1)" from Cloud Atlas, and so on until you get to his latest book. Read the first and *last* sections of that, then start working your way back, reading the final sections of everything until you reach "Underground" in Ghostwritten, from whence you loop back around through the second sections of each book. You get the idea.

If he publishes a new book during this process, you have to start again, otherwise it'll make no sense.
Jim I read Cloud Atlas first, The Bone Clocks second, and Ghostwritten third.

There are some continuities between books, in character names, settings, and (most obviously) his style in structuring the stories, but I didn't feel like reading them out of chronological order impacted my enjoyment.
Chris I'd maybe read "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" before reading "The Bone Clocks," only because some of the revelations in "The Bone Clocks" significantly color the plot of "Thousand Autumns," essentially making it a different kind of book. Other than that, the books are all pretty modular and can be enjoyed in whatever order you like.
Leo Walsh I've read the three I've read out of order and found nothing mind-boggling. So were I to do it over again, I'd still read "Cloud Atlas" first. Amazing. At times challenging (especially the middle section -- post apocalyptic fiction told in a dialect). But overall amazing. And when you realize how neatly the plot-lines all fit together... magic.

As an FYI, I read "Cloud Atlas" twice in three years. Liked it that much. And didn't care for the movie which was way different than the book.
Ashley My reading order was Cloud Atlas > Bone Clocks > Thousand Autumns > Black Swan Green > Ghostwritten

If I had it to do over again, I would still start with Cloud Atlas. I've never gotten over the magic of that one, and my breathless awe at the end is what made me want to read all his novels.

Although I agree Bone Clocks is the easiest to read, I think there's a little something lacking in the plot (compared to other books) that is made up for with the allusions to the other books--allusions which won't make any sense without reading other stuff first. So if you read it first, I think you may be missing out on the best part of the book.
Bill I'm in the middle of a David Mitchell reading spree myself and plotting this course too.

I was introduced by Utopia Avenue which I absolutely adored, though the Wikipedia entry confirms the interpretation of one character's narrative depends greatly on if you've read The Bone Clocks or not.

That said, I opted to read Cloud Atlas second given that's his best known work and though I enjoyed it I must say Utopia Avenue edges it out for me. Robert Frobisher may be my favourite character of all three books I've read thus far but the middle section was a bit of a slog.

As at 10 minutes ago, I've just finished Ghostwritten and would say it's on par with Cloud Atlas. Mitchell's toying with narrative and literary form bolsters the themes wonderfully in each case, though in Ghostwritten it's more restrained (for the better, in my opinion.) Each chapter tips into the next like a chain of dominoes which ties in brilliantly with the cause and effect theme of the book.

While all three are still thoroughly enjoyable as singular works, interpretation is coloured by allusions to characters and concepts of novels both future and past.

Luisa Rey's recognition of the Cloud Atlas Sextet is easily explained in 'real' terms by certain events of Utopia Avenue, rather than the spiritual level of recognition suggested if you've only ever read Cloud Atlas.

On the flip side, the mention of a comet-shaped birthmark on one character in Ghostwritten is much less significant if you haven't read Cloud Atlas (published some five years later, mind you).

The Bone Clocks is next on my to-read list, then Thousand Autumns, then Black Swan Green. I've not yet made up my what the order will be thereafter.

My advice though as far as reading order is concerned, go where your heart takes you. I'm personally determined to read it in an order as few people as possible have tried it in so my interpretations are truly my own along the way
Margob99 Any order you like, I reckon! After all, he writes modules all over the place, why not read it like that?!
Ed In reverse order
Kirsty Just to put in my 2 cents - if I went back and read them over I'd probably start with The Bone Clocks. I found this by far the "easiest" to read. Cloud Atlas is a bit more of a challenge to follow, so might help to have already experienced his writing style.
But I'm guessing you've already started by this point :-)
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