Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Pillars of the Earth

So I started reading this book. It's called "The Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett. I got it for Christmas last year, because I asked for it. It seems like everyone I know got this book last year for Christmas. At least, everyone from home who I know, who reads regularly. It was the hot gift book of the season.
The book is set in England (I swear, its fate) in the 1500s and its about this mason worker named Tom, who has this dream of builing a great Cathedral. I think somehow he does eventually get commissioned to build a Cathedral and then the reast of the book is about what happens during that whole time. It takes place over a ten year period.
Well, I started reading the book last Christmas when I got it and just never really got into it. It's a very long book (973 pages) and its a slow read. In no way is it any kind of light, beach read. Plus, its one of those books where you have to plow through the first 60 or 100 pages before it gets interesting. Like in "HP and the Sorcerer's Stone" when the first chapter or two are spent talking about Uncle Vernon and his job selling drills. That really draws you in. Or "The DaVinci Code", where you spend the first 50 pages reading about an albino monk and you're sitting there thinking, "what the fuck am I reading? I didn't know Tom Hanks was going to play an albino monk when they make the movie." This is kind of like that. Instead of just laying some background info and getting into the story, the first 65 pages are spent reading about Tom and his family and how they are trying to catch the theif who stole their pig. What does a pig have to do with building a Cathedral??? Basically, the point I'm trying to make is that this is not an easy book to get into.
The thing is, if it was just a hard book to get into and didn't seem that interesting, I would just put it on my shelf and not read it. Maybe my dad would pick it up one day and find it worth while. But there is a flip side to this. Everyone (and I mean everyone) who has read this book has said it is one of, if not the, greatest book they've ever read. Everyone from Oprah, to my aunt, to the manager at Harry's, to one of my friends from high school. People all over have been talking about his book. It's not that new either. The book was first published in 2002. But it has become extremtely popular in the past two years. Probably because Oprah named it one of her "book club" books and then gave away autographed copies at her "Oprah's Favorite Things" special last fall. Then miraculously, it was the hot book last Christmas. So Oprah and everyone else I've talked to has said it is the greatest book they ever read and I absoultely have to read it.
Now I'm starting it again. I've decided to make it my first book of the summer. That way, I'll have to finish it before I can read anything else and I can't push it off to the end because I'm reading other things and run out of time. Even if I dont like it, I'll still finish it.
It's actually starting to get kind of interesting. I'll let you know how I like it and if it is, in fact, the greatest book I've ever read.

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