Still working on book two of The Mongoliad this week — it’s a long one, as you might expect when Neal Stephenson is involved.
So this week I’ve been reading The Complete Midshipman Bolitho, by Alexander Kent, which is an omnibus of three short novels about Richard Bolitho and his adventures in the Royal Navy.
I keep wanting to call him Midshipman Bolingo, but that is something completely different.
So this week I’m reading Ramage, by Dudley Pope. No, “Ramage” is not Scooby-Doo trying to say “Damage”; it’s the first book in a 1960s-era naval series along the lines of the “Horatio Hornblower” novels — at least, I assume it’s along those lines, since I never read the “Hornblower” books or saw the television series. But look! Boats!
So this week I’m reading Helen of Sparta, a historical novel by Amalia Carosella that tells the story of Helen of Troy when she was just plain Helen.
No, not this empire:
Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth is one of my favorite books (even before Oprah featured it), so when the quasi-sequel World Without End came out, I immediately wish-listed it over on BookMooch. A few weeks later it arrived in an enormous package — this is one massive book, just like its predecessor. I’m not that far into it yet so I can’t do a full review, but I can say that it doesn’t hook the reader immediately the way that Pillars did. However, it does seem to be better than the last Follett book I read, Night Over Water.
One thing that is obvious already, though, is that the author’s breast fetish is operating at full tilt — pretty much every single female character who wanders across the page has her breasts stared at, felt up, fantasized over, or otherwise put front and center (so to speak) of her character’s description. Some would suggest, accurately, that all this indicates is that Ken Follett is a dude. But come on, Ken! We’re supposed to at least pretend to occasionally raise our gaze above chest level! You’re going to make the ladies paranoid, and that’ll just make it tougher on all of us …
Having said that, I have of course written my share of such descriptions, especially in my vampire book, Long Before Dawn (available now!). But you know how vampires are; being dead and all, they don’t have many amusements besides stalking humans and drinking blood (Spike’s addiction to the soap opera Passions notwithstanding; most vampires don’t have television in their crypts), so they spend a lot of time being horny. Which, I guess, makes them not so different from Ken Follett and the rest of us guys … 😉