Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bill Bryson

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. I found the descriptions of Elizabethan England very visual, as was the vision of the elderly Queen with her bodice undone and her going to bed clutching a knife. Life as the ordinary citizen experienced it was interesting. We frequently learn of the aristocratic and political life of the country from the media and history books.It was good to be reminded that there was so much starvation and the average age of man so low. The facts and figures were many, but at no time did the story become bogged down.

The sheer numbers of people going regularly to the theatre during the day, was astounding. Many of these people must have had little or no education, but seemed able to enjoy the serious plays as well as the comedies. I wonder how many more plays would have been written if the theatres did not have to keep closing due to the plague. I was also surprised at the plagiarism between writers.

Bill Bryson really has a way of writing that keeps the reader interested. He has a fluency and clarity that makes the book a pleasure to read. However, I am looking forward to re-reading it, to remind myself of the many interesting snippets that will soon fade.

Did you see the article on the high rat population at the weekend. Apparently, when the brown rat was introduced into the country in the early 17th century, it displaced the black, plague carrying rat rather like the grey squirrel is displacing the red. I feel rather more friendly towards the brown rat now.