“I thought for a long time about which book to choose, but this one really does have a special place in my heart. I’d already been following David Mitchell for a while when Cloud Atlas came out. Once in a while, I go to the bookstore and buy three books. Once I’d read one of his earlier novels, I was really curious about the rest.
Cloud Atlas is a novel that actually consists of six books. It is a very layered story. The first story begins in 1850, and the sixth one ends in the far future. What I find so brilliant about it is that each story also has its own writing style. One story reads a bit like a 1960s detective, while the 1850 story is written as an epistolary novel. As a reader, you’re really drawn into all these stories, and you can’t wait to find out what happens to the main characters. I find it really clever how Mitchell combines high-quality, exceptional styles, while at the same time keeping his writing really accessible. This is something I find really special because it’s quite rare in novels.
I read about 30 books a year, and I often read English-language books. There’s much more choice in English, so it’s easier to find something to your taste. I understand that the official Dutch reading list is less appealing for younger readers. The writers on there are not very diverse, and their experiences are a world away from those of secondary-school pupils. I think this is something we need to change. My children are still young, and they love going to the library. Apparently, pleasure in reading is something that fades away with time, but when and how? I’m glad that some of my colleagues, such as @jeroendera
, are doing research on this.
I see reading as a form of relaxation and escape. To me, reading is the same as what a lot of people experience when watching TV: a moment to forget about daily stress. I always have my Kindle with me, even when queuing at the baker’s. It’s a kind of escape from everyday life.”
- Fleur Zeldenrust, Assistant Professor in Computational Neuroscience