Wednesday, 12 December 2012

K. Follett's Fall of Giants

Am reading a nice book. Not 'my favourite book, like, ewah', but nice. A good winter book for reading-under-the-covers-while-your-husband-is-sleeping-off-his-night-shift-and-it's-minus-fifteen-outside. It has a nice narrative and I generally like that genre - I like books in which something actually happens. Drej is editing a good novel in which not many things happen or very many within a person. It's not likely, no matter how well written, that I will read that one. But I am glad someone wrote it.
              I am an incredibly slow reader. Valley of Horses was boring and I just flipped through page after page of her making crafty tools and him fathering Ukraine until I got to page 300 or so. That one really didn't pull me in, despite my efforts. I just quit trying to find the excellence I swear by in Clan of The Cave Bear. It gets me thinking that reading the first one so in-love could just have been the dire circumstances in which I read Clan. I was in Mauritania in July, alone, behind a rock in the middle of the desert. Reading about cool forresty adventures at the dawn of time felt amazing. It was one of the rare books I ever read to the end. (It was the only one I had on me at the time.)
              That's mainly why I always read several books at once. If I only read one, I would never make it. But I read only a few pages at a time. In fact I cannot abide people who claim they read a book a day. Of course, if you then never remember a single thing from it, sure. But I have a mind for detail. That's how much I awe in that which is written. I remember whole sections verbatim. Well, 90% verbatim and ten percent how my mind would think to make it more like I would write it :) When you learn about those monks that memorised whole tomes to be able to copy them later - that's bullshit. half the time there is no way of knowing what the heck dudes like Plato were really thinking.
              The negative reviews I read so far about it (I only ever read negatives) are mostly American and blame things like 'too many characters, I couldn't follow, to many things going on at the same time.'... Another man wrote he put it down when things got too sexy, said he wanted a proper historic novel. Was the last woman you had sex with your birth village prostitute, mister? Anyhoo, I didn't take the book because I thought it was an exact account of affairs that brought down the aristocracy (good riddance, too). General cannot read fiction as he cannot see the purpose of it. I like it because a good fiction includes several accurate elements. That's like schooling in a candy store. And American professors dislike it. That's usually a telltale sign it's worth a winter read. 

           There is a very vast difference between a good book and a nice book. Vast. It's the same with movies. Everybody knows, without even having seen the later, that Stalker is about fifty-seven-thousand times better than Hobbit, but I will much rather watch the Hobbit come tomorrow night. It tickles bits of me that *I* prefer having tickled. I'll deal with profound existential materialistic soul that has ... well, materialised in Dr. Žižek when I am much, much older. Like, dead.
           Instead, I'm on the fourteenth page of the Buttons Clinic short story. Another reason I read so slow is because good books incite new ideas. Like to write about places I wouldn't mind visiting. Buttons is one of the 'Wunderlust', or better yet 'Weldlust' series.  The gang purchased a timeless clinic in an old buttons factory and is able to service poor women and children thorough London's history, starting at the Brythonic times. Rule is, all materials, food and medicine must be indigenous and familiar to the patients, otherwise they don't work. It's a cute story, incidentally using Snufkin who comes by on his way from hibernating Moomin valley to warmer places as an audience surrogate. I have, since writing it, learnt how to make household penicillin, antibiotics, soap, tampons and fatty brew. My respect for garlic has just tripled.
           This coming from a person who thinks mould makes a cute house pet.