Monday, January 3, 2011

Recommendation proves a good one

People recommend books to me all the time.
I always enjoy hearing about other readers' favorites even when it's something I know I'm not likely ever to pick up. I just like talking about books with other people who like reading them.
But sometimes people just wear you down.
Such was the case with a former boss of mine who had been recommending one of his favorite books to me for a while, but the subject matter wasn't really intriguing me so I never really put it on "my list."
But I ran into him recently at a party and again he was talking up the work.And he's very persistent.
I caved.
I spent some time - a lot of time, actually, since the book clocks in at 973 pages - with Ken Follett's "The Pillars of the Earth."
It comes with a lot more than his urging too. It was an Oprah pick, and it's Follett's most popular work, thanks in large part to lots of word of mouth advertising from readers. Good signs all.
Pillars is a sweeping medieval saga of church intrigue and cathedral building, full of ambitious clergymen, bloodthirsty upperclassmen and enterprising peasants.
And Follett's narrative is as sweeping as the tale he weaves.
"Jack had thought he could never get lost in the territory he had once known like the back of his hand, but he had been wrong. Old trails were overgrown, new ones had been trodden in the undergrowth by the deer and the boar and the wild ponies, streamlets had altered course, old trees had fallen and young ones were taller. Everything was diminished: distances seemed less and hills not so steep. Most striking of all, he felt a stranger here."
What an apt description of going home again!
Follett crafts complex characters, most of whom are neither good nor evil but that curious mixture of both most of us are. 

Any Follett fans out there share an appreciation of Pillars? How about "World Without End," its sequel?

So, thanks for the recommendation, Rick.You were right.(And when have you ever heard me say THAT eh!?)

Read a lengthy excerpt here.

Check out Oprah's guide.

Watch a trailer for the Starz movie adaptation.

-Tricia Ambrose



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