Thursday, December 27, 2007

World Without End by Ken Follett

image from LibraryThing

I must admit I was a little disappointed. I feel like sort of a traitor admitting that.

I so loved Pillars of the Earth!
 I've had World for quite a while and have saved it until I had the time to really sink into it....

I did like it, but World was almost the same as Pillars - just 200 years later.

The deep love relationships are thwarted again and again.
The pompous, hypocritical church tries to control events again and again.
The main characters are the only town members with vision and common sense - again.
The nobility are cold, heartless, twisted and only cared about appearance and money - again.

There were chapters I felt like I was watching a traffic accident. I was too curious to stop, but it was so painful to read the details.

Had I read this first - I think I might have called it my favorite.
I cared about the characters more than Pillars. The plague and the 'witch' accusations are a part of history that I've actually heard of - so it made it all more plausible.

But - I also need to admit that I read into the single digits of the night more than once with this story.

Bottom line - I really liked the story, the characters, the whole plot. But, standing on this side and looking back - it felt too much like a rerun for a wholehearted recommendation.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart

image from LibraryThing

Our December/January book club book.

This is a World War II story about two naive University of Iowa girls and their decision to move to New York City for the summer. They were led to believe there were easy to find and lucrative jobs for dependable Iowans. Instead, they find loads of girls for every opening in all the posh stores.

On a whim they decide to try Tiffany's. They are surprised to be hired as the first two girls on the sales floor. But, they aren't selling - they are pages earning $20/week. Hardly enough to pay for the rent of their two room flat, bus and subway fare and a little left for food. But, the adventure of living in the City makes the lack of money unimportant.

They meet more than one famous person - from a gangster with Marjorie's last name to Marlene Dietrich. They are also in the midst of NYC when a plane hits the Empire State Building and in Times Square with 2 million other excited New Yorkers when the end of the war is announced.

Marjorie discovers love, friendship and excitement. As well as a deep appreciation for her roots back in Iowa.

This was a fun and fast read. Although it reminded me again that memoirs aren't my favorite. I'd rather read a novel based on this summer!

I wish I had read this before our trip to NYC this summer. It would have been fun to find some of the places she mentioned. We did find New Yorkers to be every bit as friendly and supportive as Marjorie did! Maybe some things don't change.