ManBookering discussion

152 views
Group Reads > January Group Read (2018) - Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Comments Showing 1-44 of 44 (44 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
Hello friends! Welcome to our first read of 2018! I hope all of your New Years are off to a lovely start.

By the narrow margin of just 1 vote, the winner for January is... Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel!

As always, feel free to discuss openly in the comments below, but be sure to either use the spoiler tag or give a fair warning at the top of your comment if you are going to be talking specifically about a part of the story. Though this one is a bit hard to spoil since it's historical fiction. Nevertheless, respect other people's reading and use spoiler warnings.

Enjoy!


message 2: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Corbitt Book purchased! Have been meaning to read this for a while so I'm a happy camper that it's been chosen. Just have to wait for it to be delivered to the end of the earth, otherwise know as Western Australia. Then I'll get in on the chat.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading to everyone.


message 3: by Hanneke (new)

Hanneke | 23 comments I will not participate as I have read the book. It is a mavellous book, so enjoy!


message 4: by Kat (new)

Kat (onceuponashu) | 6 comments I will lend this from my local library, I´m really curious if I will like the book. :)


message 5: by Wen (new)

Wen (wensz) It has been on my WTR for a while but was dissuaded by the length and reviews by a couple trusted friends. Heard it was a love or hate read. Glad that the group gave me a reason to commit.


message 6: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (grauspitz) Excited to finally get to this one! I had planned to read it last year, but never got around to it.


message 7: by Toni (new)

Toni | 11 comments Started it tonight. Gorgeous writing!


message 8: by Wen (new)

Wen (wensz) Started the audiobook. Liking the narrator.


message 9: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindaleehall) | 3 comments This is a reread for me, and even better the second time. The writing is beautiful and atmospheric. Characterisations are wonderful.


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian | 5 comments Had on my shelf for years. Now to blow the dust of the book and read it.


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian | 5 comments Wen wrote: "Started the audiobook. Liking the narrator."

Is that cheating lol.


message 12: by Wen (new)

Wen (wensz) Ian wrote: "Wen wrote: "Started the audiobook. Liking the narrator."
Is that cheating lol."


You're the judge...;) Anyway, so far not finding it my cup of tea. The writing was nice, but the subject was dull.


message 13: by Ian (new)

Ian | 5 comments Wise choice I think listening rather then reading maybe better due to the subject matter. Like you finding it hard going but only on chapter III. How are you finding the audio, thinking of getting it.


message 14: by Wen (new)

Wen (wensz) Think print is better telling who said what. I might give it another go with e/book.


message 15: by Eve (new)

Eve (goodreadscomeellison) | 1 comments I have read it twice. I love this book.


message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian | 5 comments Eve wrote: "I have read it twice. I love this book."

I'm trying to love this book. Up to page 78. It may be one of these books that you get more out of in a second reading.


message 17: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I plan to start later in the month. I have had the book on kindle for a long time.


message 18: by Kat (new)

Kat (onceuponashu) | 6 comments I Kind of enjoy it, but I have to reread passages, because I'm often confused and unsure who's the one speaking.


message 19: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 151 comments This was a worthy winner of the prize, but I don't have time to re-read it for this discussion. The sequel was if anything even better, and I am looking forward to the final part.


message 20: by Corey (new)

Corey | 72 comments I'm having a bit of rough time with this one, but am enjoying the writing. Is anyone else a little confused? I don't normally have this problem so I feel like I'm missing something. Only on page 82 so I'm still working through!


message 21: by Wen (new)

Wen (wensz) Me too. Debating if I should continue.


message 22: by Corey (new)

Corey | 72 comments Friends told me this was the case with this book, but I thought I could handle it. I'm still going to plow through because I am enjoying the writing. If it becomes too much I will set it aside.


message 23: by Lagullande (last edited Jan 08, 2018 06:42AM) (new)

Lagullande Corey wrote: "I'm having a bit of rough time with this one, but am enjoying the writing. Is anyone else a little confused? I don't normally have this problem so I feel like I'm missing something. Only on page 82..."

I read this book when it was quite new. It helped that someone told me in advance to remember that "he" usually means "Cromwell".

Also, if you get the chance to see the BBC series of Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies starring Mark Rylance as Cromwell, I highly recommend it.


message 24: by Corey (new)

Corey | 72 comments Lagullande, I definitely plan to watch the series! I love Mark Rylance.


message 25: by Michiko (new)

Michiko (michikor) A bit embarassing, but I watched HBO's The Tudors so many times. Being able to match an actor's face to each different "Thomas" and a couple of the dukes and earls is making the reading go more smoothly for me.

I really appreciate that this book doesn't take place at the royal court (at least not yet, I'm on page 70). I feel like I'm getting a better view of everyday life at the period than I have from any movie about Henry VIII.


message 26: by Barb (new)

Barb | 1 comments Looking forward. Always interesting to read something after a visual encounter. (I loved the PBS production — will I still love it after??)


message 27: by Julianne (new)

Julianne Quaine | 35 comments I absolutely loved this book when it came out - I read it post nomination and prior to winning the Booker - couldn't put it or the sequel down. It's almost 'back story' to the Tudors (a period I'm also interested in). I've not time to reread now but enjoying the comments - persevere I say!


message 28: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
A bit late to the party but I've finally started the book today. It's a re-read for me, and I'm curious how I will feel about the book the second time around. I remember the first time that it took me quite a while to get into it, mostly due to the fact that my knowledge of Tudor-history-details and Tudor-personnel is rather sketchy and Mantel doesn't do much explaining.


message 29: by Paula (new)

Paula | 131 comments Neale wrote: "Britta wrote: "A bit late to the party but I've finally started the book today. It's a re-read for me, and I'm curious how I will feel about the book the second time around. I remember the first ti..."

I agree about the lack of explanation. But it makes me pay attention to what I'm reading. I'm happy to see a character list in the front of the edition which I borrowed from the library. There's also a family tree of sorts. (I keep a bookmark there so I can refer back to it!)
The first time I saw a character list in a book was for Advise and Consent. That one was a monster and it was difficult to keep track of all those politicians. Same with royalty's bloodlines and the "politicians" that accompany them, I suppose.
This is a re-read for me as well because I read it when it was first published. Have read Bring Up the Bodies too and I liked them both. Happy reading, everyone.


message 30: by Joshua (new)

Joshua (jfields62) | 5 comments I read this over the summer and really liked it. You do have to pay attention because I got confused on which character was speaking at times. I really loved the way it seemed to be written in whispers and gossip from around the court. Bring up the Bodies is great, too!


message 31: by Corey (new)

Corey | 72 comments Joshua wrote: "I read this over the summer and really liked it. You do have to pay attention because I got confused on which character was speaking at times. I really loved the way it seemed to be written in whis..."

I agree, Joshua. I'm only about 150 pages in and I love the very intimate writing. It makes for some really beautiful passages.


message 32: by Michiko (new)

Michiko (michikor) I'm starting to think an understanding of Tudor history isn't SO important when reading this book. Cromwell isn't interesting just because he's at King Henry's court. He's fascinating because of how his life and experience spans so many different social classes. He goes from a blacksmith's son to a soldier to a merchant to a lawyer who sees England's most important people on a daily basis.
Before I began the book, I thought choosing Cromwell as a main character was just a gimmick to make the old story of Henry VIII and his wives look new. But now I think Mantel was extremely clever for focusing on a character who represents so many different types of people who lived in England at that time.


message 33: by Kat (new)

Kat (onceuponashu) | 6 comments I'm still struggling, although I have a character list too.
I always have to recheck it, because everyone seemed to have the same Name. (Not the fault of the author though.)

At the Moment I can't really understand why People are loving this book so much, but well, maybe it will get better.


message 34: by Paula (last edited Jan 15, 2018 09:53AM) (new)

Paula | 131 comments Kat wrote: "I'm still struggling, although I have a character list too.
I always have to recheck it, because everyone seemed to have the same Name. (Not the fault of the author though.)

At the Moment I can't..."


This made me laugh a little when you said, "everyone seemed to have the same name." On my side of the family, we have oodles of men named "James." On my ex-husband's side they have even more men named "Richard." And we aren't royalty, taking the names of former monarchs. haha


message 35: by Corey (new)

Corey | 72 comments I won't finish it this month, but I am working my way through a little at a time. It's a very unique novel for sure.


message 36: by Lori (new)

Lori (geriatricmommy) | 1 comments Adding to my list. I'm reading winners and longlisters I have not yet read.


message 37: by David (new)

David This was a re-read for me. I'm posting my previous review as it stands without changes, although I did enjoy this book better the second time around.

***spoiler alert***

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 38: by Trudie (new)

Trudie (trudieb) Well, it is handy the first book you selected for 2018 was one I have read and also rate very highly. In my opinion no one tackles historical fiction as well as Hilary Mantel.

It is very rare indeed for me to read books twice but I did with this one and it only improves on a second read through, mainly I think because by that stage one knows who is speaking and has a better handle on the history - at least that was my experience.

The question for me now is if I need to reread Bring Up the Bodies before The Mirror and the Light is published.

Seems I read this before I took up review writing unfortunately.


message 39: by Kat (new)

Kat (onceuponashu) | 6 comments Paula wrote: "Kat wrote: "I'm still struggling, although I have a character list too.
I always have to recheck it, because everyone seemed to have the same Name. (Not the fault of the author though.)

At the Mo..."


I'm not even so far in this book, so it was the character list which made it worse.
Thousands of Marys and Thomas. ^^

It's really funny how sometimes coincidences like that happen.
Hopefully in reality it's not so confusing for you as for me in the book, lol.


message 40: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 151 comments Kat wrote: "... it was the character list which made it worse.
Thousands of Marys and Thomas."


Fact-based stories are never as neat as pure fiction! Both Thomas and Mary were much more common names then than they are now...


message 41: by Britta (last edited Jan 18, 2018 12:18PM) (new)

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
I've just finished my re-read. And again, I can see that is a really, really good novel, probably this time even more so than the first time I read it: Mantel is truly confident with the material, her writing style is a pleasure to experience, the dialogues are superbly crafted, and the way she handles the big events, almost hiding them in between all the scheming and plotting is genius. And yet: this is not my kind of book. The reason might be partly that I'm just not that big a fan of historical fiction, and partly that the story itself (Cromwell, Anna Boleyn, Henry VIII) is not something that particularly sparks my interest. I'm glad I read it, and I'm glad I re-read it, but I dont think I will ever love it.

(Which, by the way also means that I won't rate the book: I didnt like it - 1* - wouldnt do justice to the fact that I still think this is a fantastic novel, and giving it 5* would feel rather hypocritical).


message 42: by Paula (last edited Jan 22, 2018 06:43AM) (new)

Paula | 131 comments I finished this over a week ago and failed to post a comment again. The link to my review is below. Here's an excerpted conversation between Henry and Cromwell I really enjoyed because it indicated the sort of rapport Mantel must have imagined them having. Honest and respectful while holding forth with challenges to the other person.
Henry: "You advocate prudence...there are other virtues that belong to princes."
Cromwell: "Fortitude."
H: "Yes. Cost that out."
C: "It doesn't mean courage in battle."
H: "Do you read me a lesson?"
C: "It means fixity of purpose. It means endurance. It means having the strength to live with what constrains you."
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...



message 43: by Corey (new)

Corey | 72 comments Paula, I too liked that exchange! I underlined the passage in my copy.


message 44: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Corbitt I am loving this! I'm taking longer than I have on other books this year, but I just feel like if I'm not switched on and really concentrating I will miss something. I have even been rereading passages.

So apart from a little bit of a struggle with the language used in historical fiction, I am thoroughly enjoying this story.


back to top