About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

N is for Novels and Novelists


My news lately has been so nasty that I decided to tell you how I've been coping with the nausea caused by all the stress - by reading books by my favourite novelists.
The first is Ken Follett, a Welshman who is well known for his spy novels. You might recall his first Novel, Eye of the Needle, which was made into a movie starring Kate Nelligan and Donald Sutherland. Another of my favourites from Ken Follett is On Wings of Eagles, the true story of how two employees of Ross Perot were rescued from Iran during the revolution of 1979. This book was made into a miniseries with Richard Crenna as Ross Perot and Burt Lancaster as Colonel 'Bull' Simons.
Because Ken Follett was so well known for the spy genre, his fans were surprised when he came out with Pillars of the Earth in 1989. I read this book while I was recuperating from back surgery last year and found it full of strong women characters, suspense, and intrigue. The Novel is about building a cathedral during the Middle Ages and it received rave reviews. It was on the No. 1 position on reading lists in Canada, Great Britain, and Italy as well as being on the German best-seller list for six years! The sequel, World Without End, published in 2007, takes place two hundred years later and features descendants of the original characters. At the heart of the story is the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race: the plague known as the Black Death, which killed something like half the population of Europe in the fourteenth century. The people of the Middle Ages battled this lethal pestilence and survived – and, in doing so, laid the foundations of modern medicine. The book is on my desk at this moment, but I plan to read it over the summer while lazing in the garden. And the other great news is that it, too, is being made into a miniseries starring Donald Sutherland as Bartholomew.

My other favourite Novelist is Phillippa Gregory, who lives on a small farm in Yorkshire, England where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. She was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the Novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Now, six Novels later, she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds.
With a keen interest in all things British, I truly enjoy reading her Novels about King Henry VIII and his six wives along with her other Novels that take place in Medieval England. So far I have devoured not only The Other Boleyn Girl but also her Wideacre Trilogy (Wideacre, The Favoured Child, and Meridon), The Wise Woman, The Queen's Fool, The Boleyn Inheritance, and The Virgin's Lover. Currently, I am about halfway through The White Queen. I would dare to say that Pillippa Gregory's Novels are more interesting to women than to men, but who knows? Maybe some men read her books.

25 comments:

Sylvia K said...

What a great post for the day, Leslie! Not to mention that you gave me some great books to add to my reading list!! Thank you! Hope things get better soon! Holding good thoughts for you both! Have a good week!

Sylvia

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh! I loved the Other Boleyn girl so I simply MUST pick up one of her other books : ) Thanks for the good recommendation. Books are marvelous, aren't they?

Paula Scott said...

Juicy stuff! Those Tudors and predecessors! A very iNventive post!

sally in norfolk said...

I so like the look of the Phillippa Gregory books especially The Other Boleyn Girl but with my track record on reading i think these would be too heavy for me :-(

Willa said...

Sounds like a good read. the last novel I read,I wasn't happy about the ending.
Nice take for N.:)

Beverley Baird said...

I love getting recommendations for books! I have started"The Other Boleyn" but got interrupted by books by Jodi Picoult( Change of Heart, House Rules - both excellent) I will have to get back to nthe Bolyn book!
I have seen Follett movies but have nevewr read his books. The Medieval books sound intriguing. Thanks for the new list!
Hope you are doing ok. I continue to keep you both in my prayers.

photowannabe said...

Thanks for the reviews. Now I have some new books to add to my reading list.
Summer, lazing in the garden, a good book...does it get any better?

Wanda said...

Enjoyed reading about your reading and Novels.

Powell River Books said...

I love to read too. I've always got a book going. Hope the pages capture you and transport you to a happier place. But I'm not sure the black plague is light reading. - Margy

nancygrayce said...

I loved The other Boleyn Girl! I'll have to read more of her books!

Jayne said...

Phillippa Gregory is not a writer I've come across before but her books sound like my cup of tea - so thanks for pointing me in her direction. :)

Hildred and Charles said...

Great post Leslie, - I like your choices of books. Read the Ken Follett many years ago, but didn't know about the sequel, and I am a fan of Phillipa Gregory as well. But not of Henry VIII - not a good time for the King's wives.... Hope your nasty news improves....

Reader Wil said...

Good idea! I am going to look for books written by Ken Folett and Philippa Gregory! I am also very much interested in British history and geography. That's why I often try to find a place of historical interest to write about.
BTW Historically, St Michael's Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France and there's also a St Michael's Mount in Canada.(see Wikipedia)
Leslie what I wanted to ask is: how are you doing now? Are you okay? I wish you a speedy recovery, Leslie!

jabblog said...

Fabulous recommendations, Leslie. I've never read anything by Phillippa Gregory and it sounds as though I've really missed something. Thank you:-)

Trubes said...

I've read 'The Other Boleyn Girl', it was really, very good reading.
Mmm, the thought of sitting out in the Sun, with a good book is a tantalising prospect, Leslie.

Di.xx

Roger Owen Green said...

A great idea, books.

I'm betting we have the same topic next week.


ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Liz said...

I read one of Ken Follett's years ago and didn't enjoy it but I do like Ms Gregory, although some more than others.

Shrinky said...

I haven't read the book, but I did see the dramatisation of "The other Boylen Girl", and found it riveting. Looks like you have a great read lined up to sink your teeth into over the summer, it's good to take some time out to relax now and then, and what with everything else you have on your plate at the moment, it's even more important than ever to (hugs).

lv2scpbk said...

Not sure why I never thought of novel. I'm reading a good book right now.

Tarun Mitra said...

Nice post..Leslie...but while reading I don't usually have favourites :)

jinksy said...

Trouble with reading books, it eats into Blogland writing time! LOL :)

Rositta said...

I loved Ken Follett and read both Pillars of the Earth and World Without End last fall in Greece and loved them both books. Currently I just finished The Girl With THe Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson and I'm just starting The Girl Who Played With Fire. Great heroine... enjoy reading...ciao

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I enjoyed the reviews, Leslie. Thank you. I've never read Ken Follet, but I might give him a try now. I do like Philippa Gregory's writing. Thinking of you both. xx

Anonymous said...

Sending prayers your way...

saz said...

o too have these books to read....l cant read at present, not read magazines....it will return..good to have a stash ready l find...

saz x