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Monthy Discussions > August Discussion Post: Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"

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message 1: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Since the poll is closed, I thought I'd make a discussion post if y'all don't mind :)

Btw, I would suggest since I've seen it in some groups that we would set the reading date as August 15-September 15. Does anyone have a problem with that?

message 2: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments No problem here! I've never done this before . . . do we read and discuss in chapters, sections . . . how do we keep from spoiling it if we're not reading at the same pace? Help!

message 3: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Well, some groups have two threads: one has spoilers and one is spoiler-free. But if we just have the one thread, when we discuss spoilers, we should mark them as such, for example:

Here be spoilers.
end of spoilers

(for the not HTML-savvy, you get emphasis with the <b> tag:

I'm game either way. Haven't started reading yet, though.

message 4: by Meranda (new)

Meranda (msl87) I think one thread is best for now, maybe two once we get bigger....

message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments I just have to give everyone a chuckle on this Friday morning! When I joined this book club and saw what the books nominated were, I went looking at the libraries. None of the three had either Cloud Atlas or Fire Ants so I did an inter-library loan for Cloud Atlas sort of thinking this might be the one. Well, I got the book - I was excited. I didn't read for a couple of days, but started on Wednesday reading what I thought was Mitchell's Cloud Atlas. As I got into the book, I was confused about the story line. I turned to the back to see about the author and - lo and behold - it wasn't David Mitchell. I had been reading The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan! I'm enjoying the book so nothing lost . . . but I am so dumb! And probably dumber yet to let people know I'm reading the wrong book! Anyway, I have the book ordered, but now I'll probably have to play catch up with the rest of you. LOL

message 6: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Aww, Carol, that could have happened to anyone. I mean, what are the chances of there being two books with the same name and you can find both at the library? (Well, ours is so small you can hardly find the one book you're looking for.) Don't worry, though, I haven't started the book yet either so we're in the same boat :)

Has many of us has started reading? Is everyone okay with starting on the 15th and extending the reading period to September 15?

Mandy, if you see this, could you add the book to the group's currently-reading shelf?

message 7: by barutiel (new)

barutiel It's ok with me :) I found "Cloud Atlas" yesterday in the library so the 15th seems nice :)

Carol, do you really like Liam Callanan's Cloud Atlas? I looked at it also in the library , maybe I will order it as well :)

message 8: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments I don't think it is a book that I would have chosen to read - that is, if I was in my right mind at the time! However, I'm over 100 pages into it, and I keep picking it up to read. I absolutely have to know what happens to the priest! Did you know that Japan sent bombs on balloons that actually got to the US - and exploded causing damage and injury - during World War II? This wasn't in any history class I took!

message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments Okay, I just realized that we are to discuss Mitchell's Cloud Atlas here and not Liam Callanan's The Cloud Atlas! I just know I'm going to get kicked out of the book club! LOL

message 10: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateksh) Carol, that is sooo funny. In my face-to-face book club last winter, I arrived on time, (miracle # 1), with the book in hand (miracle # 2) and we eventually started chatting. My friend wished certain characters had been developed further, we didn't no much about them -- I say, "What? the whole book detailed how the women felt day after day . . . ". Confused glances all around until we discovered: I HAD READ THE WRONG BOOK!!!!

message 11: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateksh) I don't have Cloud Atlas yet so Sept 15 works for me~!

message 12: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments Well, I have my book ordered now, but I suppose I'll have read late into the night to catch up with everyone else! That's what happens when I don't pay attention!

message 13: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateksh) Mine is waiting for me at the library -- over vaca I will finish Cloud Atlas, Little Stranger, some non-fiction about No Child Left Behind and Al-Anon . . . Anyone have an opinion about The Girl w/ the Dragon Tattoo? Oh, and my bookclub wants to read Jane Austen -- Mansfield Park? It's going to be a GREAT vaca!

message 14: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Kate wrote: "Mine is waiting for me at the library -- over vaca I will finish Cloud Atlas, Little Stranger, some non-fiction about No Child Left Behind and Al-Anon . . . Anyone have an opinion about The Girl w/ the Dragon Tattoo? Oh, and my bookclub wants to read Jane Austen -- Mansfield Park? It's going to be a GREAT vaca!"

I'd like to read Little Stranger, too. I have Fingersmith from the library, hopefully I'll get to it soon.

I have read the whole Millennium trilogy and highly recommend it. The second book was a little disappointing for me, personally, but as a whole it is gripping. I say, read it ASAP! :)

message 15: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) So, are we reading or what? I'm on page 107 or thereabouts, anxious to find out how these stories are connected. Anyone else?

message 16: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments I got my book last week, but too much going on around here to get it started. Planning on starting . . . today . . . maybe!

message 17: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateksh) I'm having a hard time with this one . . . I'm only 30 pages in or so. Maybe part of the problem is that I'm reading only little bits at a time? I feel like I should be outlining the characters and their interactions, too -- which is a bit tiresome. Will is flow better as I move along?

message 18: by Susanna (last edited Aug 24, 2009 07:09AM) (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Kate,
I think the easiest way to get through the book would be to try reading a section at a time. That way you'll get a better understanding of how everything fits together. I was a bit confused when I started reading the second section but now I'm on section four (about a third into the book). On the back cover (of the Finnish edition) it says "the book is like a Russian nested doll" and I think I'm starting to understand what that means. So don't let the beginning fool you :)

message 19: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Carol,
No hurry. Read at your own pace; the discussion thread will be here when you have something to comment on :)

message 20: by barutiel (new)

barutiel I am reading currently the second story. There is no connection between them at all. I guess I need to keep reading and I will find out :D
What do you think about it?

message 21: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Danusia,
Keep reading, all of them are connected :) Though so far in the fifth story I can't find a connection except a small one which I won't mention to avoid spoiling everyone but I'm surprised if that's it.

I have to admit that when I nominated this book, I had no idea what we were in for. I can see why this would be a tough read. I'm struggling at times because short stories have never been my thing and these sure do feel like short stories. I'm on page 275 at the moment so I definitely can't quit now.

message 22: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) I'm on page 400 now. The sixth story was really hard to get through but the story itself was interesting. The language was just... *shudders*

message 23: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateksh) Susanna -- thanks for the encouragement. I started over and read the 1st section as a whole (although my copy has a page 40, which ends mid-sentence, and 41 is BLANK -- assuming there's a flaw w/ the library's copy and that I'll need to own this one). That I need a dictionary on every page is pretty impressive; I've never had that experience . . . Alas, I'm on vaca and will have to tour used bookstores to find my own -- reading this, The Little Stranger and The Graveyard Book -- all great.

message 24: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Kate wrote: "I started over and read the 1st section as a whole (although my copy has a page 40, which ends mid-sentence, and 41 is BLANK -- assuming there's a flaw w/ ..."

Actually, that's intentional. I was wondering about that as well but when you read on, you'll see it's not a flaw. Also, checking others' status updates helped.

I just got The Graveyard Book today. Funnily enough, it's such a popular book (or Gaiman is just that great) that it was the group read this month and is going to be a group read next month in another group. :)

message 25: by barutiel (new)

barutiel I finished yesterday the second section. I was pleased to read about Polish festival in Kraków ;)
I will catch up with you during this weekend, gratefully I will have some more free time :)
Susanna, have you already finished "Cloud Atlas" ?

message 26: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateksh) Hilarious!! Here I thought it was a flawed copy passed off on my library. I shall begin again. Graveyard book is enjoyable -- not sure if it's brilliant . . . let me know what you think.

message 27: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments I, too, have finished the first two sections. I also paused and looked and checked page numbers after finishing the first story! I thought Dr. Goose a rather shady character - can just see him on the beach combing for teeth. Not sure about his diagnosis of Ewing. I'm not up on tropical parasites. Is there an ulterior motive in his treatment?

I found the link in the second story. Frobisher is quite a character. It's too bad he's wasted what musical talent he has. At times I see a bit of redemption in him, then he has the affair with Jocasta and pawns books that he takes from his benefactor! I am curious to see what the next link is.

message 28: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) Danusia,
Yep, I finished the book. It felt like coming home from an epic journey. I especially loved the fifth story.

I'll get back to you on that :)

Good catch. I was too busy adapting to the style of writing I missed out completely what the characters were like.

Everyone reading,
Prepare for an epic journey through time. Especially after the middle story the bigger things start reading through and things make a lot of more sense.

message 29: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateksh) I am loving the CHALLENGE of this book; it's unusual. Will start the second story today on the drive home from the end of vaca . . . school starts in 72 hours or so for my kids!

message 30: by barutiel (new)

barutiel I found the third story gripping. It was like reading "The Pelican Brief" by John Grisham. I need to restrain myself from looking to the next "Half - lives..." section. I hope that Luisa Rey is safe and sound. Anyway I wonder what is the connection between her and Robert Frobisher and what happened to him....

message 31: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments CONTAINS SPOILERS!

I have read the third and fourth sections now. I also liked the third story much better than the first two because the literary style is not in the diary form but story form.

In Luisa's story, I have a problem with the timeline though - or maybe I'm just looking too closely or maybe missing something. Sixsmith reads Frobisher's letters "written to him nearly a half century ago." Frobisher's diary was written in 1931. Sixsmith is 66. Hester Van Zandt says "Nineteen seventy-five is nowhere near 1968." Using those numbers, I am assuming Sixsmith was somewhere between 16 and 22 when corresponding with Frobisher in the second story. I'm not sure someone his age would be able to set up the scheme by which Frobisher got the funds he needed or to pawn the books. The second story also says that Sixsmith is in a lab - he's too young to have the education that he has in the third story - not that education isn't an ongoing process especially for higher degrees. I'm probably way off here!

As for Luisa's connection, she has the same birthmark as Frobisher has - so related somehow.

As for Timothy Cavendish, the circumstances just worked against him from the beginning. While the author murdering the literary critic brought him a measure of fame and fortune, he ended up the butt of the joke in the end. I cannot figure out his brother's actions though. Perhaps it remains to be seen in the next story! I wonder who's writing Luisa's story??

message 32: by barutiel (new)

barutiel Yes, that's good question. Who is the Hilary V. Hush? This book is definately more and more gripping.

message 33: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments I am bogged down in the fifth story! I don't care for this one at all. I cannot figure out where it's going or where it will link with the previous ones.

message 34: by barutiel (new)

barutiel I agree. The fifth story was really tough to read. I finished it today. Nevertheless I think this story is pretty absorbing. There is a connection with the previous story and again the plot with the birthmark. I just wonder how is it going to end.

message 35: by Susanna (new)

Susanna (jb_slasher) The halfway mark: how about the sixth story? I found the language really frustrating. Although my copy was a translation; is it any different in the original?

message 36: by barutiel (new)

barutiel I have just started sixth story...I hope I won't bog down here... The language of this story is tremendously weird, like if I was hearing somebody talking in broken English.

message 37: by Carol (new)

Carol | 21 comments It was the goal of my holiday weekend to finish Cloud Atlas - and I did just 10 minutes ago. I am relieved! I bogged down several times . . . and I must have missed a lot because while I know these stories are linked together - Frobisher's music Cloud Atlas Sextet and the birthmark - I have no idea what the point is! While the language was difficult in the fifth story I actually enjoyed it more than the others except for Luisa Rey's story which is like a modern mystery. In both of these stories I could find a plot that I understood. I have no idea what the Sonmi stories were about except that perhaps the Sonmi in Zachary's story evolved from that futuristic society into a god in an even more futuristic society "after the Fall." I'm not sure I will read this author again.

message 38: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateksh) I'm late . . . I'm behind . . . it's overdue at the library . . . but I'm making one more run at it this weekend!

message 39: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateksh) All: I am moving on to the Dragon Tattoo. Will return Cloud Atlas to the library, pick up a used copy somewhere -- and finish it over time. Wasn't much of a contributor this time around; sorry!

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