Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The End (Or is it...)?

The feeling of reading a really good book is like no other. At times, my life is wrapped around characters such as Kinsey Millhone, Harry Potter, or I follow the exploits of famous mountaneers Joe Simpson or Anatoli Boukreev. I love reading about the human spirit, adventures that top no other, exploits for the non-fainthearted, fictional history, mystery, and the mastery of overcomming challenges.

My latest read, Ken Follett's "Pillars of The Earth" was wonderful, deliciously long. The characters, plots, themes, history, and reference to art history and 12th Century England was superb.

And a few days ago, I found myself becoming inexplicably morose.

On the plane ride home, I figured it out.

It was because I only had 70 pages or so left. After 800 some-odd pages, I was nearing the end of the novel. My read was almost complete. And as a result, I was sad. Downright depressed.

Peanut M&Ms or Peanut Butter Cups would be no good in a situation such as this.

I am such a book nerd. I am picky about what I read, only allowing myself to delve fully in to a book when I am interested or engrossed. Some books take right away: like I've mentioned before, I'm a sucker for Sue Grafton's "Kinsey Millhone" detective series and Harry Potter.

Who doesen't love Harry?

Oh yeah, my Dad.

Oh well - I'm sure if he actually read the series, he too would be charmed.

But that's aside the point.

I guess that if I'm not interested by the first chapter or two, I'll put the book aside and instead, reach for another. And this methood is both good and bad. Good - because I really DO love the books I choose. Bad, because I have to go through a lot of bad ones to find that really great match...

"Pillars of The Earth" (POTE) was truly a diamond in the rough.

I stumbled across it on Greg Remaly's site - thanks Greg! Greg is a phenominal and really fast pro triathlete, who "likes stuff" (his quote, not mine). A few weeks ago, I saw POTE on his site, and resolved to pick it up and read it while home in Minnesota.

Within the prologue and first chapter, I was hooked. And it was only a few days before I was half way done.

On my return flight, I started off the (early!) morning with 150 pages left. By my final flight to Pensacola, I was a mere 40 pages away from the wonderful ending.

But I was sad.

Not because the book was a dissapointment, or because I missed my parents (although I DID miss them very much - already!), but rather because I was almost done with the book.

And this, my friends, is a new experience for me.

I can honestly say that I've never felt the same inclination while racing. I've never wanted to go back to the start of the run after finishing...unless the race was REALLY bad (but - knock on wood - it has'n't happened JUST yet). Instead I'm focused on the road ahead, compeditors ahead and behind, my own body, and my own race.

Never have I found myself grim at the prospect of only 1/2 mile left.

Usually it's the exact opposite.

Somewhere over Alabama, our plane hit a bit of rough turbulence, and even though my seat belt was firmly fastened, my water was covered, and I was focused on my book, I felt my heart rate spike and heard the airline flight attendant's laugh nervously.

Now THAT is something that you don't ever want to hear: the flight attendant who decides that he/she's had enough of turbulence and the crummy flights. The last thing I want is the person who is supposed to protect me when the plane goes down, is to be nervous themselves. Humbug.

So I heard the piar laughing nervously and JOKING about the new pilot up front.

Great - another thing to worry about when i fly.

BUT, in the process of gripping the side seat, one attendant saw what I was reading, and informed me that the sequel was just as good as the first.


Did she say sequel??

Sure enough, she did.

The rest of the book was spent in pure exultation and enjoyment, as I turned one page after another. Suddenly the ending, the conclusion of the book didn't seem so sad: I knew there was another great read AND a SEQUEL at that. Life was great!)

The thought of ending such a great novel was sad to me. Odd how we cecome attached to inanimate objects, or how our lives become intertwined with characters from a novel. Nnt that I'm planning on joining a convent or pursuing a carreer in architecture or cathedral building, but this book was one of the best I've read in a long time. I didn't want the storyline, the plot, or the characters who I've come to know and enjoy reading about so much to dissappear or to end.

But I relished the ending of the book, secure in the knowledge that a sequel was a mere car trip away at Barnes and Noble. And it was wonderful! (Although I do recomend reading it with a good Art History book or Architecute text book. Very helpful!)

So earlier this morning, when I finished my PT session, I hopped in the car and got myself the sequel. "World Without End" takes place 2 centuries later than "Pillars of The Earth" - but it's events and story line remain present in the main city of Kingsbridge.

And that's all I'm going to say.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read my sequel. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. But in the mean time, please understand if my entries are shorter than usual. I've got another 1000+ pages to read through, and I can't wait.


Ryan said...

Welcome Home.

I would like to my name with your Dad's as to not liking Harry. But, I am sure it is just due to lack of reading. I am way TOO up to date with Barbie's Fairytopia and High School Musical though.

I'm glad you were able to keep your eyes to yourself on the ride back ;)

Ryan said...

Oh, and I took your advice.

808's are now on my bike! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marit - OK I stopped right after the first sentence of your blog. I love Kinsey Milhone - I've read every book.

(I'll be in Destin on May 31 through June 7 - if you want to ride together one day just send me an email -

Anonymous said...

There is NOTHING better than being in a good book - totally absorbed by each detail. I am have my BA in English and it is a passion of mine as well. However, I DO have to admit, I do not like Harry at all. :) But, I like most everything else. Jen H.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marit,

Glad you loved the book too!!! I was sad as well to see the book coming to an end. Let me know if you like the sequel, I haven't gotten to it yet.

My "pro triathlete who likes stuff" quote I kinda borrowed from the Simpsons episode, "Ralph Loves Lisa." When they are walking home from school, Ralph asks Lisa, "So, do you like...stuff?" Lisa was like "groan."

I think Harry is great too, but Court doesn't care for him, just fyi.

Sarah said...

Marit! Welcome Home!!

I loved your description of coming to the end of a book. As much as I LOVE to read a great book, I always inevitably take some time before jumping into the next because...well...I just always feel so torn up afterward. I feel like I've lost a good friend. Or that something in my life is missing suddenly. It's such a STRANGE feeling. And so SAD!

I think I may have to pick that up - I too saw it on Greg's blog and thought "hmmm." Now you've put your stamp of approval - I'll have to go get it.

The book that I read most recently that really left me feeling like I never wanted to read again because I hated going through that loss was "A Widow For One Year" by John Irving. I love John Irving and this book was no letdown. I'd read it again. Makes me get all emotional just thinking about it!!

Also, if you want a book that will make you think you've found a new best friend, read Ruth Reichl's books. Her first was "Tender At the Bone" and her second was "Comfort Me With Apples." I still have yet to read "Garlic & Sapphires" but i can't wait. If you love food and great writing - she's just AWESOME.

Happy page turning!!

Anonymous said...

oh sure, sarah, don't take my word for it! Hmph.

Eileen Swanson said...

Ok, now you totally have me thinking I need to make some time to read some books. I too, like Jen H, have my BA in English and I have not read a whole book in SOOO long. Yikes! I better get to it! Thanks for the reminder ;-)

Happy Reading,

Sarah said...

NOOOO GREG I DID! I just meant that after TWO people said it was so great, I should really get to it sooner than later. ;)