Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wolf Hall Wednesday

Amused by Books and Gerbera Daisy Diaries are hosting a Wolf Hall Read-a-thon. What a brilliant idea!! This has serendipitously coincided with my decision to read Wolf Hall so I have decided to participate in the read-a-thon because I felt a bit daunted by the book. So the aim is to read 100 pages a week, quite an achievable goal, and so far, I'm on track!! Fabulous!!

So my initial fear of reading Wolf Hall has been completely unfounded, yes it is a big book, yes it is set in the 1500's, yes it has about 1500 characters (with a list of characters in the beginning, a foreboding sign), and yes it won the Booker Prize, but for once, I am finding these all endearing attributes!! I thought I would really struggle through this book but am finding reading it a breeze.

I love the atmosphere in this book. There is something ever so wonderful about England in the 1500's, well England at all, and I just feel it. I can feel the early darkness, the candlelight, the cobblestones, the cardinal's robes, the barge travel. Everything is alive in this book. I don't feel like I am reading a historical novel here, the language flows and is easy to understand, the story is littered with real life characters and despite my poor historical knowledge, I know enough to be excited by where this book is heading.

My only criticism of this book so far is that all the characters seem to be called Thomas. Thomas Cromwell, Thomas More, Thomas Wosely, Thomas Boleyn... I find I have to keep flicking back to remind myself which Thomas is which!! However this cannot be a criticism of Hilary Mantel, or her book, simply a criticism of Tudor England, a time in which the glossary of baby names consisted of a mere 6! Thomas, Henry, George, Elizabeth, Anne and Mary.

I also find it funny what the characters look like in my head. Due to the vast representation of these characters in various media, my visualisation of them is a mish-mash of historical art and popular culture. This results in this Henry VIII:

Image from here

dancing at Court with this Anne Boleyn:
Image from here

I'm very much looking forward to the next 100 pages. This read-a-thon is super cool.


Amused said...

I'm so glad you are participating! Since you are a day ahead over there we will be posting some questions tomorrow morning - feel free to answer those as well if you want but your thoughts seem to be pretty in line with ours. I love the photos you posted. I agree, the character list at the beginning kind of scared me too! And yes, so many Thomas' - how do we keep them all straight?!

Jessica said...

this is a great idea for a read-a-thon, just the right kind of book to do it with. glad you are enjoying it.

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

I'm so glad you've joined us!! I loved your comments -- we may have to do a three way Q&A next week!

I totally agree -- I was daunted by this book -- but I am amazed at how "easy" it is to read, once you get past the Thomas part. I figured out "he" is always Cromwell. I think...:)

Anonymous said...

This book has been sitting on my shelves ever since Mantel won the Booker. I just can't find the time to read those 650-odd pages. Plus, it's not really a 'tag along with you' book, is it? It's good to hear that you're enjoying the read-a-long so much, though! :)

Rebecca ♥ said...

I'm very excited to read your opinion once you've finished the book! I've picked it up several times, but am always a bit intimidated by its volume. The read-a-thon seems to make it a bit more manageable! Lovely blog, by the way.

Elise said...

Amused and Gerbera Daisy Mom - I'm loving the read-a-long!! Such a good idea!! Thanks for the kick start :)

Jessica - thanks... I agree, some books you need a little bit of help reading. This was one, but I'm really enjoying it!

thebookaffair - the tag along thing is working well for me, it is forcing me to read it, more so than my library due date at the moment!!

Rebecca - thank you :) And yes, the read along is so good for motivation!

Jodie said...

That's an interesting pairing. I couldn't get the cast from the Tudors out of my mind while reading.