Home > Monthly Report (Reading), Reading > Reading: February 2011’s Books

Reading: February 2011’s Books

I’m still catching up with these, but unless procrastination gets the better of me March’s posts will arrive promptly in April once I’m off work (so probably the 6th onwards). This month the first monthly review post covered gaming (which was last  in January), the second was television, the third was film and we’re finishing up with the month’s reading.

Two authors again this month, with Terry still present (though no longer the dominant author) and Neil Gaiman usurped.

Image sources: Terry Pratchett and Ken Follett

There was one day in February where I didn’t do any reading, but also some slower work days where I found more time to read than I otherwise would, so overall I think the time I spent reading was probably up compared to January. Despite that there aren’t a lot of books this month, but for good reason. Read on:

January 29th: "Pyramids", by Terry Pratchett

I already covered this one in January’s post as I finished it on February 1st and didn’t see the sense in splitting commentary across two entries, so if you want to read my thoughts on it follow the link.

February 2nd: "The Pillars of the Earth", by Ken Follett

With these images I try and use an image that matches the cover of the version I read, but that has proven difficult with this. The version I read is apparently so old that it doesn’t even exist on Amazon or Google with that cover, but it’s essentially the image above (which was too small to fit my regular image size) but it took up the whole space, not just a strip across the middle.

I was given the next book in this list as a birthday present but hadn’t gotten around to reading it. It’s a sequel to this book, The Pillars of the Earth, which I’ve read before but decided I’d probably like to read again before jumping into the sequel. Ultimately that plan changed upon the broadcasting of the the miniseries adaptation of The Pillars of the Earth that I watched in January and February, as I felt I could watch that to refresh my memory and jump straight into reading the sequel. That changed again when things happened in the adaptation that seemed different to how I remembered them occurring in the book, so I ended up reading The Pillars of the Earth again anyway to get everything straight.

I’m glad I did re-read it because it’s really a fantastic book. It covers a longer time period than the TV series (where episode limits and a preference to keep a constant cast likely necessitated the compressed timeline), and while the TV adaptation was good I’d say the book’s versions of events are the better ones, both because they have more time to develop and simply because they were better ideas to begin with, especially the resolutions for a lot of the characters.

Despite being a chunky book it never drags or treads water, and I think it would probably make a list of my favourite books of all time.

February 26th - World Without End, by Ken Follett

All the (minor) deliberation over how best to go over this book’s predecessor was mostly for nothing as World Without End is set about two hundred years later, being a sequel in the sense that it’s set in the same place and references earlier characters rather than because it’s a direct continuation of events from The Pillars of the Earth. It essentially stands alone, providing a few welcome references for those familiar with the previous book without making it in any way necessary to have read it to understand what’s happening.

Being set in the 1300s means that this time the town of Kingsbridge has to deal with the fallout from Edward III’s invasion of France (as I already covered a couple of weeks ago) and of course the Black Death, the plague that devastated Britain, which all impacts upon their lives. As with The Pillars of the Earth there’s a major building project, an enduring love story and plenty of political and personal rivalries, though by this point in February I hadn’t actually reached any of that so I should stop here and save my actual thoughts for next month.

February Verdict

Quality – Every book was good, and as I said in my thoughts on The Pillars of the Earth it’s likely one of my favourite books.

Quantity – Pretty much the whole month was given over to one book, with Pyramids taking up one day at the start of February and World Without End the three at the end. For the rest of the time I was reading The Pillars of the Earth, which is of fairly epic length and scale. Technically then the quantity wasn’t great, but books vary so wildly in length that a more useful metric is the amount of time I read, which as I mentioned in the opening paragraph was probably up on last month.

Newness – As with last month there was only one book I read (or started) in February that I hadn’t read before, though one of those was still in progress from January and the other was read specifically to lead into a new book. I really must do better at reading new things though.

Goals – Blah blah posting too late blah blah can’t make goals blah blah next month.

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  1. April 10, 2011 at 17:02

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