January reads

I read over 1400 pages this month, 1088 of them in one book over five days.

‘The Hanging Valley’ is a murder mystery by Peter Robinson. Although considered a holiday read I found the characters were well developed such that you could almost imagine yourself sitting in the pub with them and making the same observations narrated in the story.

Set in a small village where everyone or no one knows what goes on, suspects to a murder are added, deleted, and re-added to the list as the investigation led by Inspector Banks plods through the evidence. There are some likeable characters and truly nasty ones who you hope get their just desserts.

I read The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett in five days. It is a large book but an easy read and a page turner in parts. I forgot to bring a book and I needed something to read while at the hairdressers as I don’t read or even flick through magazines much. And no, I was not at the hairdressers for the whole length of the book, but I did have to field the jibes while in the salon 🙂

I saw the ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ book while standing in the queue to go into a previous festival film. I say saw as opposed to heard about, as it is largish book. I read quite fast and the idea that there was a fat contemporary novel that I had not read was the reason I sought it out when next in the bookshop. Aside: This year I have found that quite a few people bring books, magazines or newspapers to read during their picnic prior to the film.

The story is about the building of a cathedral in England during the twelfth-century. It is definitely an epic story, but it was fascinating reading about the social, cultural, and political aspects during which the cathedral was built. And cathedrals take a long time to build.

Although the cathedral architecture was interesting, what brought the story to life was learning about certain aspects of the building such as the introduction of large stained glass windows and how the walls were calculated to be strong enough to support tall arches and domes. Also, all the different people and their skills that were required to build the cathedral and how they lived.

If there is to be a take away message from the novel it is that I firmly believe that matters of state and religion should be completely separate.

I’ve started to read Northern Lights (His Dark Materials) by Phillip Pullman. So far I’m enjoying it very much. It is heaps better than any Harry Potter books that I have read.


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