Sunday, January 16, 2005
Before the game, and before everyone showed up to cheer with me, I finally finished my book, Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. The story line was pretty good, but the writing was mediocre at best. I think I particularly enjoyed the story as it was about the medieval English church (12th century) and featured a lot of historical characters of both the state and church - King Henry II and St. Thomas Becket, to name two. Primarily about the construction of a cathedral, the action revolves around the characters whose lives and livelihoods are affected by the building project. With the exception of one character (Jack Jackson), I thought the characters were too plainly drawn; they were mostly two-dimensional, black or white type characters and that always makes for a disappointing and predictable read. Follett doesn't seem to understand interior monologues very well either. His sub-plots were much like the characters. One problem would arise and it would be resolved. Then another would come up and they would work their way through it, but never did things actually seem to happen at once, as if life simply waits until you've dealt with your current problem before handing you a new one. Then, towards the end, he manufactures new sub-plots for no other apparent reason that to keep the book going a few hundred pages, so that he can end it in the decade he wants. Now, as he is the author, you could say the whole thing is manufactured, but in novels, characters take on a life of their own. After that happens, they'll still go where you write them, but it will be as if they're directed their against both their will and better judgment. This happend a lot towards the end of the book. Hopefully, my next book will be a little better. The characters in it are not contrived; they were real people in real places at a real time who come to life in Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, a non-fiction about a series of murders in Chicago ar the 1893 World's Fair. I had trouble deciding which book to read next before I finally settled on this one, so maybe after I finish it, I'll let you decide which I should tackle next.
Now, I'm to bed as I'm excited about returning to the Church of the Ascension tomorrow morning for worship.
Ryan, I wish you sweet comfort in sleep and a nourishing experience Sunday at Mass. Wish I was there, keep looking for a puff of white smoke from one of the windows in Salt Lake City, but so far I hear nothing. Reminds me of many years ago when all most all of the Episcopal Bishops just happened to be changing planes in Chicago and DID NOT meet to decide what to do about that naughty Bishop Pike. Long before they thought God might even be ill, let alone dead! Someone had heard James Pike say that he didn't feel the matter of the virgin birth was very important! Back in the bad old days we had real issues with which to hurt each other. Fondly, Tom
By 4:56 AM, at
I'm just gonna have to say that Devil in the White City is really good. It's an interesting story, and the World's Fair really becomes the most intriguing character in and of itself.
Kinda reminds me of Neal Stephenson's Baroque cycle, but then I think every historical novel/book will from now on.
Hudd - Glad to hear this is gonna be a good one. Also glad to hear the Baroque Cycle is good, as I got it for Christmas. I've decided pretty much anything Neal Stephenson writes is worth my time. What are you reading now? And don't answer with some med school text book...