Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April Book Review by Ted

I am writing this with a lot of mixed emotions. I keep telling myself I have to be objective with reviewing books, not subjective....It is difficult at times..This time very difficult!
A couple years ago, I read "The Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. It was 900 pages +/- and I found it very interesting. After all, I was a history major in college, donated my collection of over 50 books on Russian history to the local Junior College, and I read history books like a lot of people read novels. I have been fascinated by the building of about 13 gigantic, beautiful, still-standing cathedrals in Great Britain in a span of 200 years. I had the honor of visiting the Cathedral at Wells the last time I was in England. The book was great.
Then last fall I found a copy of his "World without End." I know the former was written in 1989 and the later in 2007---I told you my house has piles of books!( Not so much right now as we are getting ready to move and last week we drove to the local library and donated 12 bags {about 150 copies} of books for their fund raising book sale) It takes me time to get through them all.
All that said, I read this " latest" book - actually he has at least 1 newer out.
Well, to begin with I must attest to the fact that I like sex---I don't mind if I read about it---I understand that the world would not be as populated without it---but, in a book of 900 + pages, many trees would have been saved, at least 100 pages could have been saved, if the redundancy had been cut out. OK, we get it--the clergy both male and female were not true to their vows! The nobility were able to abuse their serfs and did frequently. Yes, men lusted after women, and women after men...That's how we keep the earth populated despite wars, plagues and other natural disasters. But sometime enough is enough.
Back to objectivity...Well- written, well-researched, entertaining, yes, all of the above. Far-reaching,I believe so...some of the story stretches things beyond the breaking point: 2 Sisters ( nuns) travelling from England to France following the King and the Black Prince to the Battle of Crecy ( English longbow annihilated the bulk of French Knights and changed the way wars were fought), dressing like men and traveling with the French army, then going back, meeting the King of England --and talking back to him, stretches the belief. I know it is not history, it is a novel---but shouldn't most scenarios be possible of belief? Women may find this fascinating ( "You go, girl! ) but in the 14th century, it is unbelievable and if done would have found her not just tried as a witch--but successful burned as a witch----As in Joan d'Arc.
There goes the subjective weighting in again. Would I read it again--probably, did I enjoy it--yes! Did he write well? Let me just say, I could not wait for the villains to get their just deserts, the hero and heroine just had problem after problem....
So ---will I read another book by Ken Follett...yes, I just hope is does not go 900 Pages!And it is not a book without end as the " World without End" seemed to be.

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