The Bone Clocks

9781400065677_p0_v2_s260x420The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell is one crazy novel.  With all the hype about this new book, I was determined to get through it, but the sudden plot changes had me confused and anxious.    Pico Iyer’s review in the New York Times helped: “You may not believe in telepathy, second sight or reincarnation, but if you enter Mitchell’s universe you can’t not believe in them either.”

The story begins with teenage Holly Sykes running away from home to escape a mother who doesn’t understand her and a boyfriend who has betrayed her.  Her plan is to stay away just long enough to make them miss her.  According to Iyer’s review, Holly jumps forward from 1984 to 1991, 2004, 2015, and far into 2025, before the apocalypse in 2043.  I never made it past 1991.  Although Mitchell may be a great writer and the book is long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Iyer’s review convinced me the 624 pages were too much for me.  I downloaded the book to my iPad; maybe I’ll tackle it again later.

Have you read it yet?

Iyer’s Review of The Bone Clocks – “Juggling Worlds”

The Joy of Quiet

When was the last time you sat quietly – with no computer, cell phone, television – to distract you?  Pico Iyer, author of The Man Within My Head, suggests that “distractions console us and yet makes us miserable.”

In his essay for the New York Times – The Joy of Quiet – Pico Iyer notes that we are missing the opportunity to think and enjoy peace when we are always “doing.”  Someone once described me as someone “who gets it done” – meant as a compliment to efficiency and focus – so doing nothing seems wasteful and complacent to me.  Yet, whenever I can be by myself in a quiet alcove with nothing in particular to achieve, I think more clearly.

“{In a research study, Iyer cites} that after spending time in quiet rural settings, subjects exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition.  Their brains become both calmer and sharper.”

Those places are harder to find, and Iyer describes costly vacations that offer a respite from maniacal reverence to the electronic gods that most find difficult to leave behind.  If you can’t afford a cliff-top room at the posh Post Ranch Inn for $2,285 a night “for the privilege of not having a television,” or are reluctant to book a room at Benedictine Hermitage as Iyer does, he suggests a few easy ways to find peace.

  • Go for a walk by yourself, but “forget” to take your cell phone.
  • Declare a weekend moratorium on the computer; leave emails for Monday.
  • Find a quiet place to stare at the ocean, mountain, green field, painting…
  • Get lost in a book (not electronic)  or good piece of music.

I may try them – but not all at once – don’t want to risk going into withdrawal.

Related Post:  Could You Please Keep It Down