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Topic: The Pillars of the Earth

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Subject: The Pillars of the Earth
Date Posted: 7/26/2010 10:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2010
Posts: 56
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Everyone has been telling me to read this book- but it just doesn't even look interesting to me.  I read all kinds of books and like pretty much anything that is worth reading, but I cannot understand why so many people rave about this book.   Is it really worth reading?  I have so many books in my TBR pile at home and I keep passing this book up to read a different one.  Has anyone read this book?  what do you think?



Date Posted: 7/26/2010 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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Pillars of the Earth is one of my all-time favourite books. I read it initially when it first came out in 1989 and I have read it at least 5 times since my initial reading of it. It is a fantastic book, very involving, intriguing...I just can't imagine anyone not enjoying this book! By all means, read it -- I don't think you will be disappointed!

Date Posted: 7/26/2010 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2006
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I love Pillars of the Earth!!!  One of my favorite books of all time!  I read it years ago when it first came out and still think about it today!  A definite must read!  World Without End, the sequel to Pillars was also wonderful!!

Date Posted: 7/26/2010 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2010
Posts: 6,429
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On my top 10 list , an amazing epic but it has been quite a few years since i've read it and at almost 1000 pages (paperback) I'll probably not read it again . Just pick it up and start reading it , if you don't like you don't like it , nothing lost.

Date Posted: 7/26/2010 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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Sorry, but I have to politely disagree. This is on the top of my own all time worst books ever. The characters were all 20C planted into medieval times, the villains all very very bad, the violence excessive (let alone the multiple rapes) and worst of all a generally poor representation of the medieval period. There is no way those two *kids* would have been left alone in that castle with just a steward. There was a civil war going on, it would have been garrisoned lickety split.

Date Posted: 7/26/2010 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 1,438
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Last Edited on: 8/4/14 8:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/26/2010 11:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2010
Posts: 56
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thanks for the comments- I suppose it would be silly to not at least try it, so we'll see what happens :)

Date Posted: 7/28/2010 9:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/2/2009
Posts: 20
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I loved both Pillars of the Earth and World Without End (the sequel).  Follett is known for being able to grab the readers attention immediately - I found this more true with World Without End than Pillars - but I read World first.

Yes there are probably some anachronisms (I see some myself) but I think in general Follett has done some pretty good research.  I know he was thorough about some of his research and would be surprised to find many more anachronisms in facts.  I think it's worth a try - I found both books gripping.

Date Posted: 7/28/2010 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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It's been a long while since I read POTE -- and while I wouldn't rate it among the worst books I've read, neither was it even close to being one of my favorites. What stands out for me is the excessive violence, much of it gratuitous and some bordering on pornographic -- and generally I am not bothered by violence or sex -- this just seemed over the top. Amy, I suggest that you read some of the 1 and 2 star reviews on Amazon in addition to the raves to determine whether this is a book you'll enjoy.

Date Posted: 7/28/2010 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 387
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I was not a fan of this book.  It was a struggle or me to get through it.  The plot felt at times like it had been taken out of a soap opera (and not in a good way).  A couple of the characters seemed to exist for the purpose of doing mean things to them.

Date Posted: 7/28/2010 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I hated it.  It was so boring. Endless talk about monastic life and cathedral building.  I didn't finish it.  I decided I could read 5 books I really enjoyed int he time it would take me to slog through Pillars.

Date Posted: 7/29/2010 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,804
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My sister-in-law, my husband and I all read it.  And we all LOVED it.  Let me tell you, that in itself is an achievement as we all have very different likes/dislikes in general.  I know all 3 of us highly recommend it, and also the next book (sort-of a sequel -- same area with descendants 200 years later) World Without End. 

Date Posted: 7/29/2010 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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My husband read it and enjoyed it, but I'm like you..... I keep passing it by on the bookshelf to read something else. I just don't feel drawn to it.

Date Posted: 7/31/2010 1:38 AM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2006
Posts: 6,234
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I agree with Sally W. for all the same reasons!  It really surprised me when it became a best seller AGAIN!  And now it's a terrific mini-series!  Ken Follet is a wonderful writer - and seems like a truly likeable fella.  When POTE first came out in '89 I saw him being interviewed on one of the network morning shows - and he also had his teenage son with him.  Gave the interview AND let his kid do a song with a band.  What a Dad!  I often wonder how that boy turned out.


Date Posted: 8/1/2010 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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I got to page 80-something. I could no longer suspend my disbelief.

Date Posted: 8/5/2010 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 280
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We read it for book club and it was liked by all   I loved it as did my husband. Give it a try

Date Posted: 9/28/2010 12:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2010
Posts: 1,207
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Amy H - did you ever try this?  It has been on my TBR for awhile too.

Date Posted: 9/28/2010 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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I'm about 90% (Kindle says) through with POE.  I started out loving it and still do like it.  However, I agree with the poster who mentioned a soap opera.  I put more comments about this on What are you reading-September.  Still, I'm enjoying it enough to finish it and probably to read World Without End later.

Date Posted: 9/29/2010 8:18 AM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2007
Posts: 126
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It's funny that I came across this question right now, because I finished Pillars last week and am about halfway through the sequel. I really, really enjoyed Pillars, and while it isn't one of my favorite books in the world and I can definitely see some of its flaws (some-not all, but some-of the characters lacked depth, some of it was quite melodramatic and just a little bit, well, TOO much misfortune to be believed) there's no doubt that it is really, really engaging. I often couldn't put it down, and even though it has many of the same flaws I am finding it even harder to put down the sequel. It really is very captivating and the world is created very well. 

Subject: Pillars of the Earth
Date Posted: 10/18/2010 9:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2009
Posts: 1
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I have a problem sometimes when I have a fairly large stack of books to read.  I usually want to go to the shortest one first, and anything with 700 - 1000 pages tends to sit on the shelf.  Right now, The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, is suffering that fate.  But I must say Pillars of the Earth was one of my favorite all time books, even though its size makes it a bit daunting.  It reminded me of Outlander, in that I felt as if I had actually lived the book myself.  The descriptions and character development were sensational.  Read it.

Date Posted: 10/24/2010 11:50 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,891
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I'm about 80% through the book. I am enjoying it very much, but I don't love it. I feel it drags on a bit - the length didn't need to be there to tell the whole story, imho. I probably won't tackle a book this long again for quite a while, because as Mary said above, I could read 4 books for the same time it's taking me to get through this. I do think you should try it though, it's a great read.

Date Posted: 10/26/2010 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 441
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OH no! I almost wish I didn't read this topic - I, too, have been procrastinating on reading this one because of it's size. It would take me a month or more to get through it based on the amount of time I get to read so I've been putting it off. But everyone I know who has read all raved about it being one of the best. Now that I see so many posters on this topic who did not like it or could get through it, I'll probably end up procrastinating forever on it. I'm curious if the original poster ever did tackle it?? Amy, let us know!

Date Posted: 10/27/2010 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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Interesting thread, since I just finished "World Without End." Not very impressed.

I read it all, but skipped fast over lots of it. Basically, I think he really does a great job of re-creating life as it was at the time. He obviously did tons of research.

But his dialogue is just ridiculous, the characters speak like moden-day people, with slang expressions! And the character development overall was poor, I thought; or at least unrealistic. But as for giving you an idea of what life was like then, I do think it's outstanding.

Date Posted: 10/30/2010 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2010
Posts: 56
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It's been a while- but I'm going to try it smiley  We'll see how it goes!

Date Posted: 10/31/2010 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2010
Posts: 128
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I'm in the middle of reading Pillars... Finally. I've skipped over it on my shelves many times and even started it years ago, only to give up. This time seems to be the charn- I'm really enjoying it