Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A sequel to Pillars of the Earth

Yesterday was a red letter day for me . . . I discovered that Ken Follett has written a sequel to one of my favorite-books-of-all-time, Pillars of the Earth. The book, entitled World Without End, is only in hardback at this point, and is 1014 pages long. I bought it at Barnes & Noble (20% off), but it may be at Costco one day soon. I have no doubt it will be a best seller.

What I'm afraid of is that once I start reading it, I may become a book recluse. My family will be forgotten, my other responsibilities. So I'm just going to stare at it for a few days.

As an aside, last night I listened to a Tivo'd program which contained an interview with Ken Follett. For those of you who read my blog and live in the United States, there is a CBS TV program which airs very early on Sundays, aptly named Sunday Morning. It usually starts at 6 or 6:30 am, but the time varies. (That's why I love Tivo so much . . . I just instruct Tivo to record the program and it knows when it airs.) Mostly, Sunday Morning is about "good news." There's a short quip at the beginning about current news, but it's no more than a minute long. The remainder is a series of short to long segments about esoteric things like inventions, travel here in the U.S., music legends, a good movie, art and artists, photographers, writers (like Follett) and even poets. On every show they end with a one minute segment of nature somewhere in our U.S. of A. Beautiful panoramic views of parks, forests, mountains, streams, rivers, birds. Sound from the location is included, so you hear the katydids, crickets, birds, whatever. I always look forward to that last segment.

Anyway, Ken Follett was interviewed from his London home and office. He talked about how his publisher, Dutton, was very, VERY skeptical about the manuscript for Pillars of the Earth. It was such a divergence for Follett, who had written nothing but [very popular] espionage novels since his first scribblings as a teen. Pillars is mostly a book from the Middle Ages, about a church. Everything you might ever have wanted to know about the concept and building of a church. Follett writes a book similar to Michener, as far as the depth and creativity with the people(s) who inhabit the history. Pillars was wildly popular - has been translated into 51 languages, I believe he said. Some incredible number of the books have been printed.
And, he talked about the folly of trying to write a sequel, and his fear that people will say "oh, it's okay, but not as good as the first one." He wants us to like this one even better. We'll see . . .
Interestingly, Follett's wife is a politician in England, a member of Parliament. She was briefly interviewed too. She rolled in with Tony Blair's Labour Party, and is still in office with the new P.M. Ken got into a squabble with Tony Blair about Blair's proclivity to gossipmongering.
If you haven't read Pillars, I recommend you read it first. I'll try to remember to give an update on the sequel once I've read it.

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