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The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1)
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Pillars of the Earth Q1 2019 > Pillars of the Earth- Pre-read, NO Spoilers, pages 1-84

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message 1: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Dec 31, 2018 04:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Pillars of the Earth is our "Big Book" read for the first quarter of 2019. This is the Pre-read, no-spoilers thread. We will start discussing the book in January, but feel free to start early with pre-read comments. Let us know if you plan to join this read and discuss the book in January. Share any general comments, tips or comments about availability, sales, audio performances etc.

This is a long book, so we will create multiples threads based on chapters or sections.

ADDED Dec 31. The book has 6 parts, and I'll create a thread for each one so you don't have to worry about covering up your comments with spoiler tags. Please don't write about anything in the thread that hasn't happened yet by the end of that part.

In the pre-read thread (this thread), you can freely discuss the Preface, the Prologue and Chapter 1. Which covers pages 1-84. Discuss your first impressions of the characters, setting, etc. so far.

The Preface has the author's introduction with no spoilers (unlike some books we've read). The Prologue is short and adds some nice suspense.

Part One, Years 1135-1136 A.D., Pages 21- 283 (262pg)
Chap 1, 21-84 (63) - Can be discussed in the pre-read or part one thread.
Chap 2, 85-155 (70)
Chap 3 156-212 (56)
Chap 4 213-283 (70)

Part Two, Years 1136-1137 A.D. Pages 285 - 437 (152)
Chap 5 - 7
Part 3 1140-1142 A.D. 439- 595 (156)
Chap 8
Part 4, Years 1142-1145 A.D. ,597 -765 (168)
Part 5, Years 1152-1155 A.D., 767-901 (134)
Part 6, Years 1170-1174 A.D., pages 903-973 (70)

Thread 6 - covers part 6, the ending and any other comments about the book.


QueenAmidala28 Yes I’m so excited about this read! I have read some of his other novels and loved his style. He writes of times when people had integrity and worked with their hands and knew the earth! Love it! I can’t wait to see what others discuss here! Good luck everyone !!!!


message 3: by Gretchen (new) - added it

Gretchen I will be reading it


message 4: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Great! I read it so long ago, but I remember the passion that he had about his work. I saw the cathedral in England that was supposedly used as a model by either the author when he was writing, or by the director of the series. I want to say it was in/near Salisbury, but I'm not positive. (I was there 14 years ago)

I just ordered the large print from the library. I hope it's not too big to hold!


message 5: by J., Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 4 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
I plan on starting it once I finish War and Peace.


Charley Girl (charleygirl9) | 24 comments I'm still on the waiting list for the ebook. I can't hold that big of book. LOL


message 7: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Dec 19, 2018 10:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I know, it's not even large print and it's big! My library hold just came up for the audio, but I'm not done holiday shopping! That's OK because I have an audible credit, and big books cost the same as short books when you use audible credits, so it feels like a great deal.


message 8: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Dec 19, 2018 09:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
QueenAmidala28 wrote: "Yes I’m so excited about this read! I have read some of his other novels and loved his style. He writes of times when people had integrity and worked with their hands and knew the earth! Love it! I..."

That's true of this book, but I think the first book I read by him was about a German spy during WWII who seduced an American (or British) woman. It was so good.

I'm glad you're all joining us! This should generate a good discussion.


message 9: by Gretchen (new) - added it

Gretchen Well shazam! this book is not immediately available through the library for a few weeks. I have 5 days to go and need something to read that I can finish in those 5 days. Not that I have anything on my TBR list - ;)


message 10: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Dec 27, 2018 12:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Gretchen wrote: "Well shazam! this book is not immediately available through the library for a few weeks. I have 5 days to go and need something to read that I can finish in those 5 days. Not that I have anything o..."

I've got too many books on my TBR, do you want some? : )

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is our December read and you still have a few days. It's a very fast read and it's easy to get. I was surprised to like it as much as I did. I'll grab the next one at the library tomorrow for just such a reading emergency.

Joy (J.) posted a link to Neil Gaiman reading A Christmas Carol. It's short and it's quite good. If you haven't read it, you may be surprised.

Heart of Darkness and Little Women should both be available for free electronically from your library, or for almost free from Amazon, Heart of Darkness is short and Little Women is an easy read.

And then there were none is a very short read and it's available electronically.

I just started using Libby (the upgrade to overdrive) and it makes it easier to browse electronic books that are immediately available. The librarian gave me some quick tips to get started and I was off. I'm listening to Sing Unburied Sing which is low key but interesting.


message 11: by Roberta (new)

Roberta K. | 9 comments NancyJ wrote: "Gretchen wrote: "Well shazam! this book is not immediately available through the library for a few weeks. I have 5 days to go and need something to read that I can finish in those 5 days. Not that ..."

NancyJ wrote: "Pillars of the Earth is our "Big Book" read for the first quarter of 2019. This is the Pre-read, no-spoilers thread. We will start discussing the book in January, but feel free to start early with ..."

I will be reading it. I hope I will be able to finish it in 3 months. I am choosing to read this book only and forego the shorter ones that are being read simultaneously.


message 12: by Roberta (new)

Roberta K. | 9 comments "Gretchen wrote: "I just started using Libby (the upgrade to overdrive) and it makes it easier to browse electronic books that are immediately available."

Would you be kind enough to explain this e-reader you found?

Thanks!


message 13: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Roberta wrote: ""Gretchen wrote: "I just started using Libby (the upgrade to overdrive) and it makes it easier to browse electronic books that are immediately available."

Would you be kind enough to explain this ..."


You no longer need a separate ereader (like kindle or nook). You can read kindle books on most devices. I have vision problems so I prefer my laptop.

You can download electronic books and audiobooks from your library, using the Overdrive App, or the newer Libby App. I believe all public library systems use one or both. Contact your library for assistance. I got the most help by calling the main library branch downtown. Some of the branch employee don't use it themselves.

You can get ebooks in many formats. I prefer kindle files myself. I also get audiobooks from the library and listen to them on my laptop. I believe you can put them on any device.

The biggest disadvantage is that the lending periods for electronic files are very short compared to books or CDs, and popular books have long wait lists. My library gives one week, and they can be renewed only if no one else is waiting for it.


For Pillars of the Earth I was able to get the book and the CD audio books for 3 weeks, and I can likely renew them twice (if no one else is waiting). I think it will be faster to read than to listen.

Heart of Darkness and Little Women are public domain books, so you can buy cheap copies or get the kindle for free or very cheap. Amazon makes it really hard to find the free kindles, and they often don't have highlighting capability (which I've come to appreciate). But you can get all the features for a very low cost ($.49 to 1.99).

I hope this helps!


message 14: by Roberta (new)

Roberta K. | 9 comments Thank you Nancy, for your explanation. The public library where I live leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to printed material. I will definitely check this out, and see what I find.

Roberta


message 15: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Roberta wrote: "Thank you Nancy, for your explanation. The public library where I live leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to printed material. I will definitely check this out, and see what I find.
Roberta"


Most libraries will let you get books from other branches within your city/country library system (I do it all online), or through ILL Inter-library loan from other counties.


message 16: by J., Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 4 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
I know with my library you have to change the check-out period in settings to 21 days if you want to have a longer checkout window. You can choose 7 days, 14 days, or 21 days, but it automatically defaults to 7 if you don't change it.


message 17: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "I know with my library you have to change the check-out period in settings to 21 days if you want to have a longer checkout window. You can choose 7 days, 14 days, or 21 days, but it automatically ..."

That sounds so much better. I think we could do that initially, but now there is no choice. With books, most allow 3 weeks, and then we can renew them three times, unless there is someone waiting.


message 18: by Anne ✨ (new) - added it

Anne ✨ Finds Joy (annefindsjoy) Book is now in hand! (Got it through Paperback Swap :))

Plan to start reading today, if I can get my cat to stop laying on it! LOL #BIGbook


message 19: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Jan 02, 2019 08:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I finished the Preface, the prologue, and chapter one.

A lot happens during the first chapter. It's hard to see someone who is really good at his job, not be able to find the kind of work he likes. Life was hard and the family goes through a lot. There is certainly some action and adventure here. This is where you can see that Follett started as a thriller writer. I thought it wouldn't matter if we revealed spoilers this early in the book, but I was wrong, so I won't. The last line surprised me, even though I read the book before (long ago).

I visited Salisbury years ago, and I saw the beautiful cathedral. It's hard to imagine what the town would have been like as a walled in city.


message 20: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
So, who has started? What do you think so far?

Do you admire Tom as a builder, husband and father? Do you pity him for his bad luck in finding work? Do you think he was right or wrong to leave a stable but boring job to follow his dream to build a cathedral?


message 21: by Anne ✨ (new) - added it

Anne ✨ Finds Joy (annefindsjoy) I'm on page 49 .. great start, I was immediately drawn in!


Chris | 55 comments NancyJ wrote: "So, who has started? What do you think so far?

Do you admire Tom as a builder, husband and father? Do you pity him for his bad luck in finding work? Do you think he was right or wrong to leave a ..."


I am loving it. Don't know where my head was at in 1990 (well grad school actually) that I didn't really enjoy it then.

Yes, I admire Tom and understand his desire to use the talent he has and do the work he loves. However, to eschew work while your family starves or living in an unstable environment is always hard for me to come to grips with. In today's landscape, I would say even unforgivable. And life was SO MUCH harder in the past much less the 12thC!


message 23: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Chris wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "So, who has started? What do you think so far?

Do you admire Tom as a builder, husband and father? Do you pity him for his bad luck in finding work? Do you think he was right or wr..."


I was in grad school in 1990 too. I was also teaching and my kids were very small, so I didn't have much time to read back then. I was a fan of the author's, so maybe I read it during summer break (or a few years later. I liked it a lot, but I remember very little.

I'm finding it pretty exciting now.


message 24: by J., Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 4 stars

J. (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
I've just finished up to page 84 and I have to say I'm delighted by the prose! It's so beautiful and I was expecting it to be dry given all I knew of this book was that it was it was about building a cathetdral.

The language is magnificent. I don't want to put it down. Honestly, I'm not that invested in Tom at this point. But the words have my complete attention.


message 25: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "I've just finished up to page 84 and I have to say I'm delighted by the prose! It's so beautiful and I was expecting it to be dry given all I knew of this book was that it was it was about building..."

I'm glad you're enjoying it too!


message 26: by Terry (new) - added it

Terry Welsh I started the book today and I'm already on page 80; I am really enjoying it so far. I admire Tom for chasing his dream but I'm also a realist - a man with a wife and two children and one on the way needs to earn a living to support his family. I will reserve judgment for now though.


Cathy (cathy1015) | 54 comments I started this weekend and am especially drawn to the details of building at that time. Although I very much enjoy architecture and have been to Cantebury Cathedral, I know little about the design process and mechanics - always assumed huge efforts and skills were involved to accomplish and this novel brings it to life.

Tom's dream and passion seems almost out of his control - he's conflicted and owns up to the hardship that it has brought on his family. So interesting how many different lifestyles and classes are introduced just in the first eighty pages - from the outlaws, to Tom's family who moves around in search of work, to the life that they might have had with a stone house and servants, to the lords of the castle, and the clergy.


message 28: by Gretchen (new) - added it

Gretchen In case I haven't said this, this is very long book - page 79 is only 11% :)

I like it so far.


message 29: by MK (new) - added it

MK (wisny) | 58 comments Alot of books have intros that are sooooo dry, or that spoil the story for you. This book wasn't like that. The edition I read was a 25th anniversary edition, it included notes for the anniversary edition, plus what was included before. I found all of the front matter stuff to be interesting, and add to the experience, without spoiling the story at all.

The 25th anniversary edition talked alot about the journey of the book itself, from idea, to manuscript, to publication, to bestseller status in multiple countries, and also about the development of the miniseries - turned down twice before it got made. :)


Charley Girl (charleygirl9) | 24 comments I finally got the book! Starting today.

I'm glad that the intro isn't dry! Thanks MK!


message 31: by MK (new) - added it

MK (wisny) | 58 comments Charley Girl wrote: "I finally got the book! Starting today.

I'm glad that the intro isn't dry! Thanks MK!"


Welcs :). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :D


message 32: by Vikki (new) - added it

Vikki | 3 comments Starting today!


message 33: by MK (new) - added it

MK (wisny) | 58 comments Enjoy! :)


message 34: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Vikki wrote: "Starting today!"

Charley Girl wrote: "I finally got the book! Starting today.

I'm glad that the intro isn't dry! Thanks MK!"


Great! I really love this book. I took a pause for other bookclub books, and I'll return to it soon. I left at a (second) tough time for Alieana, and I've been thinking about her while reading other books.


message 35: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Here is an observation that that doesn't have any spoilers.

I'm always dismayed by examples in history (ancient and modern history) of terrible things done by religious leaders. I always had the (naive) belief that a religious life was a calling and not a career. While reading this book I realized that if someone wasn't born to a noble family (or even if they were), the church was really one of the only ways for a smart, literate and ambitious man to gain power. People have done terrible things to gain power, and perhaps worse things to keep it. So I should stop being surprised.

That was the middle ages. It was brutal.

Last month I read a book about even more brutality linked to religion in the 21st century. In The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq I read about the thousands of women who were kidnapped by ISIS/Daesh in Iraq in the last 4 years (along with thousands or tens of thousands of people who were killed). All in the name of religion. This is a lot harder to understand.


message 36: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Feb 16, 2019 10:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
If you're reading this book slowly, as I am, it helps to keep track of your favorite things in each chapter or part. So please make a note as you're reading. You can post it in the applicable folder, with or without a spoiler cover.

What is your favorite thing in part 1?


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