How to Stop Time

How to Stop Time

Book - 2018
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Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history, performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life. So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher, the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city's history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society's watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can't have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2018
ISBN: 9780525522874
Characteristics: 325 p. ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: How to stop time : a novel


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Sep 21, 2020

How To Stop Time is a bit light on historical/technical detail but is an enjoyable read with a style similar to Graeme Simsion's works (eg: The Rosie Project, Two Steps Forward). If you're looking for films on this theme, you will probably enjoy The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 short story), About Time (2013), The Time Traveller's Wife (2009), The Old Guard (2020) and the original Highlander (1986).

Aug 07, 2020

Another of our reading project books, this story of a man who has lived more than four centuries and of others like him in the Albatross Society presents interesting philosophical questions. We had hoped that the story would be chronological, but it consisted of two tracks, one moving continually forward in the present, and the other only sometimes chronologically over several centuries. My wife does not like random flashbacks in a story, so this book was less than successful for our joint enjoyment. But I’m an old sci-fi fan, despite not having read a lot of it in the last fifty years, so I liked the concept and puzzled over how those blessed/afflicted with anageria would succeed in the modern world, where there are sophisticated methods of tracking people.

In this novel, individuals with anageria are feared, shunned, or abused, making it difficult to establish or maintain meaningful relationships. After a period of time in one place, they move to another place, sort of starting a new life. I could not help but think about transmigration of souls, or as a Google search calls it, metempsychosis. This is an old idea that there exists within humans some non-corporeal soul that continues after death of the body. That soul then transfers into a new body and may continue for generations. Some believe that memories of earlier bodies may be recalled. Yes, these notions are completely irrational, but that progression is mimicked by the current author by having the body survive an exceptionally long time, allowing for all sorts of different roles in life to play out.

My half of the reading project liked the book.

Aug 28, 2019

I really liked this book. It's a really interesting concept and suspenseful plot line. The historical parts were wonderful, especially since they aren't written as historical fiction, but as a modern writer putting down his thoughts. I feel like the story could have been longer and more fleshed out, but it was good as it is. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with it for the movie. Recommended for people who like history, romance, and thought-provoking questions about life and purpose.

Jul 30, 2019

The synopsis behind this novel is good, but some parts failed to hook me in. Word on the street is that this will be a movie (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), and I think maybe I will like the movie better...

May 07, 2019

What would give life meaning if you lived for hundreds of years? This book is an interesting examination of what motivates us to keep moving forward. The story is fine, and I read it quickly enough, but wasn't that impressed.

Apr 29, 2019

Really loved this book, so well written, hard to put down. Not vampire like at all haha Highly recommend, and even better knowing that Benedict Cumberbatch is eyeballing it for a film!!

Apr 17, 2019

I had never read this author before, but certainly will again. What an enjoyable read.

Mar 15, 2019

Tom has been alive for 400 years and is still asking himself "what it is we live for"? And one of the reasons he is still asking that question after 400 years is given in an explanation that I adored early on in the book. It also shows the imagination of the author; "There were many times I had lost all hope in my search. A search not just for a lost person, but for that other thing I had lost- meaning. For a point. It occurred to me that human beings didn't live beyond a hundred because they simply weren't up for it. Psychologically, I mean. You kind of ran out. There wasn't enough self to keep going. You grew too bored of your own mind. Of the way life repeated itself. How, after a while, there wasn't a smile or gesture that you hadn't seen before."
The character of Tom is someone I really liked and enjoyed spending hundreds of his years with. And the fact that he was a history teacher in a contemporary classroom of high school students was sublime and just plain fun.
All that being said I was disappointed by the ending. It took a path that kept tripping me up.
This is a well paced book, easy to glide through, enjoyable and perfect for reading after a heavy hitter like The Overstory by Richard Powers.

Feb 15, 2019

The narration starts a little slow but by the fourth chapter I was getting more and more intrigued by what had happened to Tom and what was still in store for him. He constantly reflects on the passing of time and humanities gifts and failures in seizing the moments they are given or learning from the past. I would often pause when reading this and think deeply about my own relation to wanting to speed up or slow down some point in my life. Overall I enjoyed the chance to imagine being nearly immortal and also to think about the past in a fluid and sweeping way.

DCLadults Jan 02, 2019

A New & Noteworthy Best of 2018 pick. Tom Hazard ages, but very, very slowly and has lived for centuries. The only thing he is not allowed to do is fall in love. But this is a love story. Benedict Cumberbatch will star in the film.

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