Just because I've been moving a family of five 350 miles is no excuse for not reading.
But worry not. I haven't let you down. I have been reading. I just haven't been blogging about it.
But that's not the right attitude any more. If I am trying to ensure that I read properly, that I read for pleasure and that my reading, and the time I spend doing it, is worthwhile, whether because I learn something, or I am treated to good writing, or I just lose myself in a plot, then surely I shouldn't go on with reading something I'm not enjoying, should I?
And that being so, I was afraid I'd have to give up on Wolf Hall because I don't tend to agree with the Booker judges. I gave up (pause for shocked intake of breath) on Vernon God Little, I thought The Sea was really dull, Inheritance of Loss was all very well, but didn't light my fire, Life of Pi was great until the end when I got really cross and was forced to throw it across the room. In fact, the only Booker prize-winning novel of the last ten or so years I've actively enjoyed was The Blind Assassin.
I was totally carried away by Wolf Hall. Which is even more amazing when you realise that you know the plot. It's about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, so of course you know the plot. You're hardly sitting in suspense wondering if it'll all work out ok and the lovers will get married and live happily ever after. Except that you are. Because even though you know the history, you don't know how it's going to end, because you don't know when it's going to end. Will Anne still be alive? Will Cromwell? Will Henry?
But that's not why I enjoyed it (once I'd got used to the mildly irritating and confusing way she often refers to Cromwell just as "he", regardless of any others in the scene to whom that personal pronoun could also be applied) . I enjoyed it because I was there. I was with the child Cromwell as he witnessed a burning, and with the adult as he watched the downfall of his patron, Wolsey, or gained the ear and trust of his king, or pleaded with Thomas More to take the oath that would save his life. I could see it, smell it, taste it.
I sort of knew this period of history: I studied it, many moons ago, for A-level, and I wrote a dissertation on A Man for All Seasons, but it took Hilary Mantel to make it come alive.
So, reader, I gave up. I read the synopsis of the first seven books, struggled through the next hundred pages and then B got so bored of me whinging about it that he took it away.
Secret Post Club present.
* The Pope's Rhinoceros, Catch 22, The Alexandria Trilogy (only the first one, I never started the others), Q, Vernon God Little (won the Booker Prize, see above), and now The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant....
All book pictures from Amazon.co.uk Thank you to them.
Beatitudes For Guiding Leaders
1 day ago