Friday, February 26, 2010

Loads of Books

What I found for Tuesday evening, in the dearth of books, was the TV! I watched TV from just after 6 p.m. when we like to catch the Calgary weather forecast, until 10 p.m. This is unprecedented! And it was possible only because Jim had a Library Board meeting to go to. I considered going along, but it would have meant spending two hours in the library, and then waiting in the hallway until his meeting was finished, and that was not too appealing. As it turned out, he didn't get home until quarter to ten, so I was happy to have stayed home. What did I watch? HGTV and the channel that had "The Little Couple", maybe the Health Network? They also carried "19 and counting." Shows that Jim would never watch, and he definitely holds the "clicker." My usual quota of TV watching stretches to cover about 1/2 hour of news per day. When he switches from local news to CNN I go upstairs and read.

On Wednesday the library called that two of the books I had ordered came in, so Wednesday evening I stopped by to pick them up. There were tables and tables of books for sale, for whatever donation you care to make, so I loaded up my tote bag with these six books. There were more that appealed to me, but with the ones ordered, and one new Elizabeth Berg book that I spotted my tote was full.

One of the "ordered in" books was a Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls, which I finished this afternoon. I enjoy her writing, and think she does a pretty good job of research. She generally chooses to write about some specific issue in our society, but does it in the form of a pretty readable novel.

The other "ordered in" book is one that I learned about from Elaine Adair, who writes at This is a good quilting blog that I've gotten lots of inspiration from. Elaine blogged about "The end of overeating" by Dr. David A. Kessler. I'm four chapters into it, and finding it quite interesting. For anyone who struggles to keep their weight at the right range, and that includes me, I'd recommend this book. When I've finished reading it, I'll let you know his recommendations.

One other book I ordered in lately was "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel. This book won the Man Booker Prize in 2009. It's hefty: 650 pages. It deals with Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VII, Ann Boleyn, Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas More. After reading it, I wondered what actually made it a prize winner.

Mantel definitely brought these characters to life, but there were many confusions to sort out. Most confusing of all was the fact that she rarely observed the "rules" of antecedents. It was only at page 60 that I finally twigged to the fact that "he" almost always referred to Thomas Cromwell, regardless of who was named previous to that pronoun. Sometimes after reading a half page or more I realized that she was not referring now to last mentioned, but to Cromwell. And yet other times, she hadn't switched subjects. I found this really annoying, a major flaw that made the reader hunt back through the text to decipher who was actually being referred to.

And for someone, like myself, not deeply knowledgeable about that history there were many allusions that were impossible to decipher. One of those involves the title, Wolf Hall, which was the home of the Seymours (Jane and her family). Wolf Hall had no place in the novel, except for one brief reference, until the last sentence. Immediately after the execution (beheading by axe) of Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell is planning a trip for King Henry, and says, outlining the destinations to his aide, " '...and what I think is, Rafe, we shall visit the Seymours.' He writes it down. Early September. Five days. Wolf Hall." Those are the last sentences in this huge novel. Well, sorry, but it just seems capricious to me to call all 650 pages "Wolf Hall" when the book is not about Wolf Hall.

So I wondered, what did I miss?

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