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by David Mitchell
Not discussed in this episode: Alice Munro's disappointing short story collection, The Cottage by, I Don't Know, Let's Say, the Pond or Something.
The unifying project Mitchell has taken on is initially thrilling in its apparent scope. And though his machinations are luxurious, underneath the heavy-handed codswallop is the pungent flavor of raw voices, coming from characters we recognize from the street. As long as his books are populated by such real people, Mitchell will deserve his following, but he is in danger of a fatal shark-jumping accident.
It would be trickier to decide whom to put in the adult diaper boxes.
These novels generate vertiginous thrills as they dramatize the difficulties of understanding ourselves, other people, and the world at large.
I was recently looking at the covers of Dutch-language books. Despite our different cultures, we share many overlaps in our literary taste. I hoped that I could draw some conclusions about those tastes by comparing book covers. After spending way too much time on the task, I conclude that I can’t.
I took Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan on my summer vacation, and nothing will ever be the same.
This book is a draught of cold air, a slap in the face, a wakeup call.
I’m fascinated by the phenomenon where three people will witness the same event and remember it in three completely different ways. Structuring a book in a non-linear fashion with multiple points of view allows me to revisit the same plot points from completely different angles.
Realism, when done well, is more fantastical than fantasy.
A longtime Millions favorite author debuts in the number one spot.
There is a moment where Mitchell reaches right into your chest, puts his fingers on your heart, and presses down.
At over 8,000 words strong and encompassing 84 titles, this is the only second-half 2014 book preview you will ever need.
The Grand Experimenter, it turns out, was Ludwig van Beethoven. This musical colossus, completely deaf, his personal affairs in chaos, perennially behind in his finances, unwell and unloved, reworked the string quartet in ways that continue to bewilder and astonish.
More biographies should be poetic-philosophical treatises that foreclose morality in favor of essence.
With each foray onto the Internet, each ping and clang, we are searching for meaning in a haystack of data, balancing perspectives, trying to find reason in a cacophony of opinion. Is it any wonder we are drawn to fiction that reflects this new way of being, to a form that’s uniquely suited to our fragmented and globalized century?
It’s the sort of book that turns you into an evangelist, in an almost embarrassing way, like, reaching into your purse to wave a copy in peoples’ faces when someone casually mentions, “I hear you’re writing about cricket?”
The Lhasa Apso is in no way an obedient slave; he considers himself an equal.
Cloud Atlas is no mere adaptation: it’s a big, ambitious structural overhaul, one that has been likened by Mitchell, amongst others, to a mosaic, all of his Russian dolls smashed to pieces and carefully reassembled.
The ABCs of Amazon: a peek into the reading habits of America and, like it or not, a primer for what's popular in the world of books.
It shows adulthood and devotedness, I think, to try and get back to a book you love, every four seasons or so. So which books do you all reread yearly, or biannually, or quadrennially, or decennially, and why?
At its center are Jaz and Lisa Matharu, he Sikh, she Jewish, and their severely autistic son, Raj. When the boy vanishes in the Mojave Desert, the parents are eventually accused of murder. Around them, Kunzru weaves a fiendish web of plots and subplots. The effect is exhilarating.
As our Millions staffers share in their illustrated entries, when we write, we're making due (often happily!) with offices, studio apartments, coffee shops, and guest bedrooms.
At 8,400 words strong and encompassing 81 titles, this is the only 2012 book preview you will ever need.
Panic attacks, advance reviews, firearms, squirrels, and chocolate milk: One writer's diary leading up to the day his debut novel is published. Or: “The Ecstasy and Agony of My First Novel Being Published.”
With building blocks, some children build simple walls and steps, and others build castles with moats and turrets using the exact same materials. Mitchell must have been one of the latter -- he recently described his books as “Lego-novels,” made up of component pieces.
What seems key about the novel is that what we think of as a historical evolution—or a descent from a unified to a fragmented perspective—isn’t an evolution at all. In fact, the novel has always been insecure. It’s just that the manifestation of its insecurity has changed over time.
David Mitchell graduates to the Hall of Fame, Michael Lewis debuts, and we have a new number one.
There's something for every lover of fiction coming in 2010, but, oddly enough, the dominant theme may be posthumous publication.
Four books debut on the list: Powell, McCann, Pevear and Volokhonsky, and Bouillier. David Mitchell vaults into the top spot.
Dave Eggers opens and closes the list. Franzen debuts. And Atwood returns.
Four books move on to the Hall of Fame and six books debut on the list.
Our distinguished panel selected 20 incredible books as their Best of the Millennium (So Far). What were our readers' favorites from the decade now coming to a close?
It is hard not to make sweeping pronouncements after having lived this book.