I don’t know about you, but my To-Be-Read list is
getting out of control! I am setting aside one day a week to read and review a book that has been sitting on that shelf. Recently I cleared out half of the list by removing books that I knew I never would read. If I had downloaded it but didn’t start it, started it but never finished, or simply had changed my tastes – it got removed. This helped me a lot in my desire to actually read what was left on the list. It no longer seemed like such a daunting chore and reading never should be a chore.
“Whenever I see someone reading a book, especially if it is someone I don’t expect, I feel civilisation has become a little safer.” ― Matt Haig, How to Stop Time
I absolutely adore Matt Haig and his quirky view of the world. His writing is eclectic, to say the least, but also fun and, in a intriguing way, very philosophical.
How To Stop Time is the rather peculiar story of Tom Hazard who, through a genetic anomaly, ages at a snail’s pace. He now is 400 years old but appears to be a rather youngish man in his 40s. He is immune to disease and so has avoided all of the nasty issues like the bubonic plague, rather lucky for him. Tom now finds himself in the present, teaching history (of course) in London. One would assume that since most people never have enough to time to do things we want to do once we find them, (sorry – I had a Jim Croce/Time in a Bottle Moment that clearly shows my age) that having all of this time would be marvelous! Not so! All of the people Tom has come to know and love have died. He has had to stay on the run, one step ahead of witch hunters, the church, scientists, who do not understand him or want to understand him more – and not in a good way. For Tom, the saddest part of all is losing the one you love – which is why there is a rule: Never Fall In Love. Hello Tom!? Yeah…. you know where that goes, right?
The book is written in past and present time, back and forth from Tom’s present to memories of his past. I found the past chapters my favorite. It was like a time-travel book but without the magic of time-travel! Most importantly this is a book on reflection, civilization and a philosophical look at where we are today.
“A problem with living in the twenty-first century….. we are made to feel poor on thirty thousand pounds a year. To feel poorly travelled if we have only been to ten other countries. To feel old if we have a wrinkle. To feel ugly if we aren’t photo shopped and filtered.”
Yes, Tom, I agree. First world problems are utterly ridiculous and overblown. I agreed with a lot in this book and I loved Haig’s out-of-the-box method of causing us to think about these issues. How to Stop Time is not without its problems, but overall, it is a book that I highly recommend.
My thanks to Matt Haig, Viking Books and #Edelweiss for this copy to review. Obviously, I am FAR behind with my review, sadly, but catching up once more!