Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This book was published in 1989 but I never heard of it until Oprah had it as a book club selection this past year. Then my friend Aisling lent it to me this summer along with a bunch of other books, and she told me both she and her husband really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to reading it.

At 1076 pages, it is a very thick book and a great one to keep at the side of your bed and read a bit in every night. The advantage to it being so thick is that, even if you get swept up in the story and want to keep reading late into the night, you know there is no possible way you can reach the end so you give up quicker and leave it for the next night and get more sleep! At least that's how it was for me.

And I did get swept up in the story, but at the same time I was able to take my time (a real feat for me) and savor it. At times it has the feel of a trashy romance novel, especially in the numerous rape scenes, but aside from that, it is an epic historical novel, following priests, builders, townspeople, earls, knights and the politics of a town in medieval England that is building a cathedral. I especially enjoyed the connection to real English history with the ups and downs of the crown and how it affected the local people. A great read!


Cindy said...

In Oct. of 2007 he came out with the sequel, World Without End. I think it is just as long as the first but haven't read it.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

I agree with your assessment that you put it down sooner past bedtime because you know you won't finish it. I don't read very much because I get so obsessed it consumes me until I finish and I can't always afford to do that! Maybe this is my answer, read really loooong ones. :D

I found it riveting and somewhat exhausting, so many ups and downs and the evil characters are SO evil. Hub says Follett always has really nasty ones. I also loved all the period stuff, I think he really takes you back in a vivid way. We've done Rome and Scotland so it was really cool to me to hear about the times when they were building some of that stuff, the reality, the hardships, etc.

Some of the detail about the churches got a little extensive for me but I understand that it was important to show how much thought and effort went into building these. Overall, I thought it was really well done.

Makes me wonder what kind of mind can come up with that kind of story with all the twists and turns and how it all comes together. Humbling.

Trying to figure out what my blog will become. I like the thought of keeping track of what I've read!

Thanks for this link!!

Amy said...

Thanks for the insightful comment, Nancy! I think whatever your blog becomes, your personality and the way it comes through in your writing will ensure that people will keep wanting to read it - I know I will!