Wednesday, February 24, 2010

World Without End by Ken Follett

Acting as a follow up to the epic Pillars of the Earth, World Without End continues to follow the lives, tragedies and successes of the citizens of 14th century Kingsbridge. This time around, Follett's main characters are a group of young friends - brothers Ralph and Merthin, independent Caris and crafty Gwenda. As the four age throughout the book, each character becomes intertwined with each other as they each take different routes in life - knight, builder, healer and farmer. Kingsbridge is well known throughout the area for having a beautiful cathedral (built in POTE) and there is much drama when it comes to how the priory is run. Things don't get any better when the Plague hits.

Though this is a really really lengthy work, it goes by exceptionally fast. I still have the same qualms with this one that I did with POTE (unrealistic dialogue and character life spans, etc), but it was still a very enjoyable read.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This is the selection for the upcoming March book club. I had originally read TTW several years ago and fell in love with it (oddly enough, before I became a librarian). Henry and Clare have had an unorthodox relationship to say the least. As one might infer from the title, Henry is a time traveler (and a librarian!). Clare met Henry when she was a little girl when he traveled there as a middle aged adult. They meet again when Clare is 20, but Henry has no idea of their relationship, though she has known him all her life. And so, a passionate affair begins between the 2 of them as they struggle to work out a relationship that is plagued by Henry's absences and Clare's former knowledge. It sounds confusing, but things make sense after awhile.

On reading this a second time around, I wasn't as captivated by the romance as I was before - if anything, the book (and Henry/Clare's relationship) seemed more depressing than anything else (I wonder what that says about me?). There's also a whole lot of sex described, which was kind of gratuitous after awhile. The ending is still just as heartbreaking as ever.

At any rate, it's always fun to re-read a good book and see things from a different perspective. I'll be showing clips from the film as well, so it'll be an interesting discussion on the 6th.