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message 1: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 7 comments anyone reading this book. its good, i just need to discuss it to get through it


Peggyzbooksnmusic | 623 comments Nicole wrote: "anyone reading this book. its good, i just need to discuss it to get through it"

Nicole, I read this last year and loved it! I was on a long waiting list to read it on digital loan from our library so assumed that I wouldn't get it until after Christmas. Little did I know that our library had 9 digital copies so it was available the beginning of December! I'm usually a very slow reader but was able to finish it in 3 weeks (with very little sleep! lol!)

Love how the author weaves the many storylines together. Was especially interested in the Russian storyline as I didn't know much about that part of WWI.

I did find a copy of the book at our library booksale. Unfortunately when I was reading the digital copy I didn't write down my highlighted notes. I might have to re-read it before going on to the second book in the trilogy



Winter of the World

Hope you enjoy it!


message 3: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) I read both of the books in this series so far. I thought they were both dragged out a bit but I guess an author needs to do this if they are covering that much history.

And yes before I read the second book, I did reread the first one just to remember specific details. Of course neither time did I take notes on either book soooooooo


message 4: by Julie (new)

Julie | 28 comments Thank you Nicole for bringing up this thread. For some reason Ken Follett slipped through the net as an author to follow, but I'm now inspired. I'm packing to move home currently in 2 weeks (actually it's moving from France back to the UK), but I'll get as much reading as I can in the meantime. Looking forward to the discussion.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | -49 comments My F2F reading group discussed it just this week, so it's still in my short-term memory.

I think Follett sometimes doesn't get enough credit as an author. Perhaps it's because he is so competent that he makes what should be difficult appear easy and effortless. I learned so much about the suffragette movement, for example, and the conditions of mines.

I also want to point out how Follett sets up "falling" at the beginning of the book. We see young Billy falling into the mine, while the earl descends deep into his cellar.

I can't help but compare Follett's project to Herman Wouk, though, whose books The Winds of War and War and Remembrance strike me as more profound. Is that simply because Wouk was first and so Follett seems derivative? In some ways Follett is more reasonable in his plotting, because it sure stretches plausibility to imagine that the Henry family and their connections could get themselves to nearly all the most interesting scenes and actions before and during WW II. Yet to me there is a profundity to the Wouk books that I don't find in Follett. This is not a knock of the Follett books, however, but simply saying that I hold the Wouk books to be among the best.

I haven't yet read Follett's second book in the series, but plan to eventually.


message 6: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 463 comments Victoria_Grossack wrote: "My F2F reading group discussed it just this week, so it's still in my short-term memory.

I think Follett sometimes doesn't get enough credit as an author. Perhaps it's because he is so competent ..."


Victoria, I had not noticed the falling you mention, but you are right. I guess Follett is a bit more nuanced than I have given him credit for. I enjoyed the book, but it is a kind of Herman Wouk lite story.

The one thing I would say aboutFall of Giants is that try and get it on a kindle or other e-reader. The book, even in paperback, was so darned big and heavy it was almost a lethal weapon.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | -49 comments @Eileen: Nearly everyone in my reading group uses an e-reader, as we're this group of people who like to read in English in a place where English is not the first language. But one woman brought a hard copy. It was enormous.

So, save a tree! Maybe two! Buy it electronically.


message 8: by Julie (new)

Julie | 28 comments I just bought this book on Kindle this morning and when I realised the size if it, I wondered if it was a mistake. I like the feel of a book in my hands if I'm honest, but your comments have reassured me that I did the right thing. How do you all feel about the ebook vs the paper one generally, if you have the choice? I like the sense of where you are in a novel that you get with the paper copy and I get frustrated when I want to look back at something and can't find it on the Kindle. This could just be my ignorance of the format though as I'm quite new to it.


message 9: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 463 comments Julie wrote: "I just bought this book on Kindle this morning and when I realised the size if it, I wondered if it was a mistake. I like the feel of a book in my hands if I'm honest, but your comments have reassu..."

It depends on how quickly I want the book, how much the e copy is vs the paper copy (and I am not averse to buying used), and if I have a trip to go on where having an e copy makes packing easier. I am not wedded to either one.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I read both books and really liked them. I might have read them too fast maybe it is time for a reread.


message 11: by Nancy from NJ (last edited Aug 30, 2013 06:22PM) (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) I bought and read both of these books in traditional book form but also downloaded the two books for convenience. I bought the hardcovers because I wanted to keep them for posterity but also realized how much more convenient it is to read them from a Kindle.

I read the first book as soon as it was published and then reread it shortly before reading the second book. I am a bit anal and always like to remember details. In retrospect I should have taken notes. I am afraid and I mentioned this before that neither of these books thrilled me the way I thought they would since historical fiction is my number one genre to read. I found the idea of describing five families beginning before WWI an awesome task and wonder if Follett would have been better off dealing with fewer families. There was so much going on and at almost 900 pages, one needed to really sign on for the long haul. Still I thought the attempt was better than some who have also tried this idea.

As for Herman Wouk, I'm not sure how many of his books the members who are posting here have read. He is quite a chameleon and is as adept at writing about a young Jewish girl's journey to womanhood in Marjorie Morningstar as he is at writing about an author - supposedly Thomas Wolfe in Youngblood Hawke and again in the well written book about the early days of WWII in The Winds of War to the heartbreaking
War and Remembrance. I love Wouk's books and have read almost all of them including his latest The Lawgiverabout Moses.

It would be hard for me to compare him to Ken Follett who began writing mysteries like Eye of the Needleand Key to Rebecca. I recently read Jackdaws which was an interesting take on women spies during WWII and A Dangerous Fortune. For the most part I like Follett's books but not nearly as much as Wouk's. And I readily admit that I am one reader who didn't love The Pillars of the Earth and never tried readingWorld Without End. Finally if I were to compare Follett to another author I would most likely choose a fellow Englishman, Jeffrey Archer.

Note - we will be traveling to Eastern Europe in October and we extended out trip in Prague so that we can visit Terzin, the concentration camp Wouk wrote vividly about in War and Remembrance. Quite often when traveling overseas, we will visit a place because we have read about this place in our books.


message 12: by Liza (new)

Liza Perrat (httpwwwgoodreadscomlizaperrat) I really did enjoy Fall of Giants ... the stories, and the characters get you in and keep you turning the pages. I did think it dragged a bit in parts, notably some of the war détails, which were less interesting for me, but maybe necessary in such a story. I agree, paperback is far too heavy to read in bed! I wished I'd got the e-version.


message 13: by Julie (new)

Julie | 28 comments I'm in awe of the diversity and breadth of members' reading. I wanted to expand my reading and that's exactly what I've got. So many new ideas - I've just got to find the time for reading now!


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | -49 comments @Nancy - I've also used Wouk as a guide to some of the places to visit in Europe and even gave a copy of the Winds of War to my nephew when I had him visit me here a few years ago.

I was in Prague just a few weeks ago, and can strongly recommend the concerts as well as a visit to the Jewish quarter and Theresienstadt.


message 15: by Nancy from NJ (last edited Aug 31, 2013 01:17AM) (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Victoria - thanks for your suggestions of the concerts and the Jewish quarter.

Besides Wouk's writings about this camp which also was a way station to Auschwitz and being used as a model camp for Red Cross visits, Terzin has a rich history of classical music being both written and performed there. A lecture by a professor from Princeton earlier this year on the subject was another impetus for this trip.


message 16: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 7 comments thanks for the Wouk suggestion. I'll check into it.


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | -49 comments I'm rereading A Dangerous Fortune by Follett, and although it's very enjoyable, I guess his writing sometimes has a pulpy quality. Is that his problem?


message 18: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Nicole wrote: "thanks for the Wouk suggestion. I'll check into it."

Do hope you enjoy Herman Wouk. Please let me know.


message 19: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Victoria_Grossack wrote: "I'm rereading A Dangerous Fortune by Follett, and although it's very enjoyable, I guess his writing sometimes has a pulpy quality. Is that his problem?"

Some of Follett's books I loved and some were very trite IMO. I never got into A Dangerous Fortune because as you said it was a bit pulpy. But then again he has written some really good material like Jackdaws about women spies during WWII. I think he is a hit or miss author for me.


message 20: by Tracie (new)

Tracie Nicholson | 31 comments I started out with a hardcover Fall of Giants but promptly switched to the Kindle version. ;). I have currently abandoned Winter of the World. For some reason I am not as connected to the characters that carried over from the 1st book.


message 21: by D.S. (new)

D.S. Taylor (dstaylor) | 17 comments I really liked pillars but and have this one sitting on my shelf but still haven't gotten around to it yet


message 22: by Marjorie (new)

Marjorie DeLuca (marjoried) | 10 comments I liked Fall of Giants but it does have a fairly commercial feel to it though the characters are engaging and it really kept my interest. I'd heard the next one in the series isn't as good. What about the earlier books? The Pillars of the Earth The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) by Ken Follett . Anyone read those?


message 23: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) I read Pillars of the Earth and didn't like it. But then again I'm not a lover of books set in medieval times.


message 24: by Liza (new)

Liza Perrat (httpwwwgoodreadscomlizaperrat) Marjorie wrote: "I liked Fall of Giants but it does have a fairly commercial feel to it though the characters are engaging and it really kept my interest. I'd heard the next one in the series isn't as good. What ab..."
I felt the same about Fall of Giants as you, Marjorie. I preferred Pillars and the sequel:
World Without End and I do love books set in medieval times, but they too, as well as being engaging, are also very commercial. Still, great reads!


message 25: by Linda (new)

Linda | -42 comments Marjorie wrote: "I liked Fall of Giants but it does have a fairly commercial feel to it though the characters are engaging and it really kept my interest. I'd heard the next one in the series isn't as good. What ab..."

I loved Pillars, Marjorie, though it does take me a long time to finish this type of HF. I felt it was worth every minute. I had a bit more trouble with Fall of Giants. I put it aside after 100 pages. I hope to give it another try some day.


message 26: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 463 comments Linda wrote: "Marjorie wrote: "I liked Fall of Giants but it does have a fairly commercial feel to it though the characters are engaging and it really kept my interest. I'd heard the next one in the series isn't..."

I think Ken Follett is considered to be a fairly commercial author. Not so much interested in the finer points of elegant writing as in moving the plot along - which he can do very well.

Even so, I have enjoyed his historical novels. But I won't get them again unless it is on my kindle or in audio. The books are so huge they could be a lethal weapon.


message 27: by Liza (new)

Liza Perrat (httpwwwgoodreadscomlizaperrat) Eileen wrote: "Linda wrote: "Marjorie wrote: "I liked Fall of Giants but it does have a fairly commercial feel to it though the characters are engaging and it really kept my interest. I'd heard the next one in th..."
That is so true, Eileen! I almost get tendonitis holding those huge things in bed...


message 28: by Tammy (new)

Tammy I've read all three and liked them.


message 29: by Billy "D" (new)

Billy "D" I'm about 300 pages into The Pillars of the Earth and I'm loving it so far. It's my first Follett book. A big book, agreed.


message 30: by Alexw (new)

Alexw | 207 comments Follett is amazing-have read all 3 of trilogy that started with Fall of Giants also Pillars of the Earth. and the Man From St Petersburg. HIs dialogue is so well written-you almost feel guilty that you are eves dropping on the characters. Am now on page 250 of World Without End and while is not ( so far) my favorite- is still better than most other books.
Long live Follett !!


message 31: by Beth (new)

Beth Sponzilli (bethsponzilli) | 79 comments The third book of the Kingsbridge series, out this year!


message 32: by Wayne (new)

Wayne Turmel (wayneturmel) | 31 comments I usually love Follett, and adored the Pillars of the Earth trilogy. The man from St Petersburg, though, left me a bit cold. It's like he said, "Hey, let's redo Eye of the Needle, and put it in Downton Abbey." Maybe I've just read too much WW1 era fiction and need to revisit it later.


message 33: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Gardner (authorbrucegardner) | 8 comments I've read Fall of Giants (WWI - based), Winter of the World (WWII -based), and Edge of Eternity (post WWII). Really love Follett's depiction of big-picture world events ... both social and military ... as they impact the lives and fortunes of characters whose lives/jobs/careers always seem incredibly well-placed to meet and interact with major historical figures of interest (e.g., famous generals, politicians on both sides of the conflicts). Can learn a lot of great "event history" in an entertaining way (vs. dry history books) from reading Follett's novels.


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