The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1) The Pillars of the Earth discussion


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Possible dry spell?

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message 1: by Taylor Gary (last edited Jan 03, 2008 01:57PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Taylor Gary I am finding it very difficult to get through this book. I'm over the 300 page mark and I am not in love with this book like I expected to be. Did anyone else have this problem? Could it be that this book is just not for me?

Almost every comment on this book I read says that the reader found it hard to put it down but I find it hard to pick it up. I have other books I want to read and am thinking that this just might be a lost cause.

Is there a hump I just need to get over?


Cheryl S. Hi Taylor--
I'm right with you. I couldn't get into it either. Unfortunately it is the only book in the house at the moment I haven't read. I may be forced to slog on. Did you pick it up because of Oprah's recommendation? I have read a lot of her picks and very few of them have been my favorites. After this one I might not follow her lead. I am having better luck with reviews from Goodreads friends.

Cheryl


message 3: by Taylor Gary (last edited Jan 04, 2008 08:09PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Taylor Gary I have to admit, I did get it because of Oprah. I only got it because she said it's something that she normally doesn't read, so that is what intrigued me. Also, I looked up what other people were saying and I read good things. I really don't feel like reading it but I hate starting a book and not finishing it.


Xysea I had to slog through the slower parts, primarily the first 1/3. The pace picks up after that. I hate self-promotion, but I did write a long review on it - feel free to check it out.

I just finished it two nights ago. :) Xy


Cheryl S. Hi Teri--

When I was younger this type of fiction was very popular and I read a lot of it and don't remember much if it, not even the titles. I think that's why this book just isn't that interesting to me. I've read over half of it now and will probably return to it at some point when I don't have anything else to read, but for me it falls far short of the hype.


Holly I read it many years ago, and I recall it's a huge book, around 1,000 pages? I remember two things... 1) Yes there were slow parts that just needed to be powered through. 2) Loved it. Hope that helps.




Megan I am almost finished with this book and I have enjoyed it all the way through. I'm interested to see how it will end. I decided to read this book b/c of Oprah's recommendation. I always read her books b/c she chooses books I wouldn't normally choose on my own. I don't alway like the books(Love in the Time of Cholera), but some I am glad that I read. I usually have a 50-100 page rule If I can't get into the book in the first 50-100 pages, then I stop reading.


Maggie I have to say this is my favorite book ever. I have read it three times, WAY before Oprah said to. But I have read a lot of books from her book club and usually enjoy them.

Anyways, I finally talked my dad into reading this, he's not a big reader, so this was a feat in itself. And he ended up really liking it.

My advice is to try to stick it out and hopefully you'll fall in love with it like I did. But I'm also a big advocate of not wasting time with books I can't get into! Good luck!


Becky I hated this book. I stopped more then halfway through it because it was so crude and dark. I felt after reading this book, not enlightened, uplifted or a better person. Infact, I recall feeling a little dirty and felt like I waisted time. I can appreciate some aspects of this book, but I give it two thumbs down. In fact, I am not even mentioning that I read it on my book list.


message 10: by The Bookworm (new)

The Bookworm I'm a big Ken Follett fan; my favorite books of his being The Key to Rebecca and The Eye of the Needle. However, I did not like Pillars of the Earth (nor World Without End, which takes place a little later in time). The strange thing is, I really love that period of English history. But, I just didn't love the book.


message 11: by shar (new) - rated it 3 stars

shar This book is crude and dark - full of graphic sex and unlikable characters. Almost every character has flaws that are hard to overlook. I didn't like the them. It's not historical fiction - it's rubbish.


message 12: by KareyLyn (new)

KareyLyn Like you, Shar, I was NOT impressed. Follett stooped low indeed when he chose to resort to graphic sex in order to reach a wider audience. Cheap. Granted, Follett writes great narrative and is masterful at character motive, but I still put the book down because I found it distasteful.


Candy Kelly Don't be too hard on yourself. I teach English and LOVE reading. A few years ago someone told me, "Life is too short to read a bad book!" That gave me the permission I needed to put down The Red Badge of Courage. I no longer feel guilty about putting down a bad book. I just try to give it to someone who might like it better. I did the same thing with The Life of Pi. I've never regretted those decisions.


Emily I'm not a huge Oprah fan, but happened to see her interview with Ken Follett. Everyone in the audience was raving about this book and saying it was the best they've ever read. There were many parts where the character is followed through a sequence of events, then the author spends two or three pages recapping what just happened. I kept thinking, "Yeah, I know, I was there." Also, I didn't think it was possible to have too much character development. After 300 pages I knew William was a violent rapist, but then we had to read about it four or five more times. Overall, a good storyline, but that's about it.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

ok-this book was just published?
it's about the building of gothic cathedrals?

I read a similar historical novel 10-15 years ago that I've been trying to find the author for. I thought it was a female author who was famous for historical fiction. Caldwell, mc something? This sounds like the same book. It starts in england and the "family" moves to france building cathedrals.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?


message 16: by The Bookworm (new)

The Bookworm Maureen,

Pillars of the Earth was published in 1989. Oprah recently "discovered" it for herself and raved about it and that's why the book became so popular recently.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

that explains it
i read it back then, probably in 89 or 90
i did like it because it was different and had a historical topic
i did an art history paper on the cathedrals so it kept my interest
but it's still a popular novel
so i don't think i'll rush out and get a copy but i can put that question to rest
and add it to my read list
thanks bookworm


Gretchen I'm at page 605 and feel the same way. It's not you! It seems to go on and on...the same things keep happening and new drama jeeps cropping up but the characters don't seem to grow from their experiences. At this point, I'll finish it, but out of duty, not love. On the other hand, life's to short to read blah books.


Marlene I am currently reading this book and while yes there are some dry spots, especially when the author goes into explicit details about the building (which interests me but not that much) overall I think that it's been a great read. I think that you really get a feel for how people lived during that time period, especially the monks and it's quite entertaining.


message 20: by shar (new) - rated it 3 stars

shar This book has characters that do not grow and change. I hated that - the fact you have religious people that cannot move into a higher plane in life is definitely not endearing. They do things that are not plausible, like taking a small baby across Europe looking for a person... I definitely didn't like this book and it's because 1)the characters are not likable 2) the author added trash to appeal to a broader audience, and 3) life is too short to spend it reading overly long books with very little redeeming value. I won't be picking up Ken Follett again any time soon - never?


message 21: by The Bookworm (new)

The Bookworm I was a huge fan of Ken Follett when he wrote his regular spy novels like The Key to Rebecca (one of my absolute favorite novels ever) and The Eye of the Needle. But then he started writing these sweeping epics that are like 1,000 pages long, and that's where he lost it, in my opinion. I wish he'd go back to writing spy novels.


message 22: by Pat (last edited May 31, 2008 08:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat I love Ken Follett. I discovered him with his World War II historical fiction, especially Jackdaws. Pillars was long. In the beginning I was wondering if I would be disappointed. I kept going because I didn't have another book I hadn't read. I did get caught up in the story and the characters. I recognized that many of us have similar characteristics: Some of us learn and grow, and some of us don't. The end of the book rushed through the years a lot faster than the beginning. I enjoyed the book, but not as much as some of the others I've read.


message 23: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary I read this book about 10 years ago and LOVED it. I remember I would have dreams about the story, and I don't often do that. I was thrilled with the idea that the characters were "inventing" various ideas, methods, brand new ways of doing things,etc in the book...does anyone know what I mean? I suppose you can't really know who was the first person to deal with credit the way Aliena does with the furs (or is it wool?), but it is intriguing to wonder how these ideas came about.


message 24: by Pat (last edited May 31, 2008 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat Yes! You expressed exactly why I love historical fiction. It's a possible story version to go with the facts that we know. It sparks the imagination. If only history classes could have more of the story; I would have been so much more interested. I am fascinated with what might have inspired people to do what they do, or did.


Norman Cooper i have been trying to read this book for a couple of months now. i have had trouble getting into the story and it seems that the author goes on and on in certain areas. i have tried to put it down and move on, but something draws me back to it...i guess it is becoming a new obsession. =)




Orrie Holcomb I read this book in four days!! My first time reading anything by this author and now I feel compelled to read every other one he has written. A customer of mine recommended this book and I doubted that I would like it. So I gave it a try and loved it, what's funny is that the person who recommended it to me did not like it lol I will read it again someday!


Danita I am reading this book for the first time and I am in the first 80 or so pages and its keeping my interest- the drama of course- I think I will finish it and like it.


Michelle It took me several weeks to get through it - I normally read a book in a day or two. This is definitely one you can't buzz through. Maybe that's the problem?? I'm so glad I read it. It took 100-200 pages before I was hooked. I read World Without End about a month later. Both worth the time!!



message 29: by Diane (new) - rated it 1 star

Diane Gretchen, you said it perfectly! I just finished, but "out of duty, not out of love". It barely held my interest, but I didn't walk away from it. Certainly not a page turner, and I'm a big fan of historical fiction!

For all the talk of amazing characters, I found them a little two-dimensional, too. I think I need more masterful language to make me love a book.


message 30: by Heather (last edited Jul 17, 2008 02:15PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather I have to say I absolutely LOVED this book. I became very fond of several of the characters and actually despised a couple of them. That is good writing! The book was an easy read and I actually found myself excited to finish the dinner clean up so I could hit the couch book in hand while my boyfriend watched ESPN. I think that anyone who is a fan of historical fiction and enjoys novels such as Diane Gabaldon's Outlander Series, then I would highly recommend this book. I just ordered World Without End and cannot wait to dive in!


message 31: by shar (new) - rated it 3 stars

shar Pillars is one of those books for people who have nothing else to do.


Heather Exactly! Great vacation read...or for people who prefer to read over watching TV... or for people who can make time for themselves to get lost in a good book...


Claudia I agree, there is alot of cheap sex scenes. Kind of the way million dolar blockbusters add sex or girls with nipples showing through there shirt for no reason. What I'm most curious about is why Follett uses rape so much? What purpose does it serve to repeatedly narrate it in the story? By the end of it, I couldn't bear to witness another rape, on film or anything else for that matter.


Silvana muscle through it!! You will not believe who these people become! I, too, was grabbed by the first few pages and then felt let down. I thought I couldn't bear another word about the need to build a cathedral in so much detail, but it has a purpose. muster on!


message 35: by The Bookworm (new)

The Bookworm Amie - I agree with you that the book wasn't that great, but don't give up on the author. His spy novels are actually quite good. My favorites are The Key to Rebecca (takes place in Egypt) and The Eye of the Needle. They're both WWII spy novels. And they're regular length novels, not sweeping epics that go on for a million pages. :)


message 36: by Keelin (new)

Keelin havin neva red dis book i cnny comnt on weder i like it r not

wat i am gunna say is dat i learn enuff bout da stupid english in skool n im gunna lern more bout dem nxt year in history so im prob not gunna read dis book anyway

personlly i dnt like books of dis genre at all

i am aware im probs gunna get tld off by use fer dis commnt but i felt i jus had tey say it

in my opinion i have btta fings tey du wey my time dan read about da english n how dey supposedly r da bst

it wrse dan listenin tey sum americans
(not all jus a select few)


Georgia McKellar I didn't start rolling on this book until well after the first 1/3. Then I became involved with the characters and plot. I found the puzzel intriguing (Johathan's search, Ellen's lifestyle, Phillip's ability to solve problems, Becket and King Henry, etc.)and I enjoy Follet's writing style. The illustrations were helpful and the book is full of historically significant details. In particular I enjoyed learning about how builders drew their drawings on the floor and I enjoyed the part about Sally making stained glass, and Jack figuring out how to felt wool. The author researched the time period well and I learned so much about how people lived in that era. The good were truely good people and the bad were real bad! William made me sick and Jack was someoe to look up to.


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