Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “The Pillars of the Earth”

10 Books That Touched Me

open-book-on-top-of-pile-of-booksMy friend Dawnna tagged me in a Facebook post where she listed 10 books that stayed with her for one reason or another. The goal is simply writing down 10 books that touched you without listing them in any particular order or over analyzing what should or shouldn’t be included. Then, you have to tag five friends and ask them to do the same. Since I thought this was a cool idea, I’m turning my list into a blog post. Please feel free to list your “10 Books That Touched You” in the comments section below.

  1. The Mark – Jason Pinter
  2. It – Stephen King
  3. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  4. The Innocent – Harlan Coben
  5. Six Years – Harlan Coben
  6. The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke – Suze Orman
  7. Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life – Donald Trump
  8. No Way Back – Andrew Gross
  9. Sex Money KISS – Gene Simmons
  10. Napalm & Silly Putty – George Carlin

A Few Of My Favorite Things

2012 was a great year and now that it’s coming to a close, here are a few of my favorite things.

Kindle Fire HD & Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Fire HD

Kindle Paperwhite

Having spent countless hours with my Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite, I can easily say these are two of my favorite things to come out of 2012. If you’re a lover of books and entertainment, I highly recommend you check them out.

 

Joe Cocker – Hard Knocks

Hard Knocks

This year I’ve incessantly listened to Joe Cocker’s Hard Knocks. It’s an infectious, modern pop/rock album that is filled with beautiful, memorable music.

 

Ken Follet – The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the EarthYes, this book didn’t come out in 2012. But it is still one of my favorite things because I didn’t read it until this year. The Pillars of the Earth is a terrific book and the miniseries wasn’t too bad either.

 

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

This year saw the Dark Knight Trilogy come to an end with The Dark Knight Rises. It was my second favorite film in the series, with Batman Begins being the first, and it brought this masterfully executed trilogy to a satisfying conclusion. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend you do; it’s a great film from start to finish.

 

Parks and Recreation

Swanson Pyramid of Greatness

My new favorite TV comedy is Parks and Recreation. I’ve been catching up with it on Amazon Prime Instant Video, and it’s amazing. It starts off slow, but continues to build into an addictive show where you love nearly all the characters for their own quirky traits. There’s crude humor, wild stories and ridiculous one-liners. I’m on season three, and it keeps getting better with each episode.

 

Barry Manilow – My Favorite Things

What would a list of my favorite things be without Barry Manilow? Considering it’s the holiday season, I feel the following video is a fitting way to cap things off.

TV Review: The Pillars of the Earth

I finally finished the Starz miniseries The Pillars of the Earth. Having read the book, I have mixed feelings about the miniseries. Overall, it was a great piece of television that strayed too far from the source material.

First, I think the casting for the miniseries was great. All of the actors did a terrific job, especially Ian McShane as Waleran Bigod, a delightful villain. The other standout was Matthew Macfadyen as Prior Philip. He fit the character like a glove and was very likable throughout.

With this in mind, there were two major problems with the miniseries:

  1. It tried to condense a book that’s more than 1,000 pages into eight hours of television. Considering the unabridged audiobook is more than 40 hours in length, you can see how this could be a huge problem.
  2. Too many major and minor details were changed from the novel.

Because the miniseries was only eight hours, many of the story’s most important events felt rushed. Similar to the film adaptation of Angels & Demons, each scene moved at a break-neck pace. While this makes for entertaining television, the impact of certain events failed to resonate with me because they didn’t seem nearly as important as in the book. For example, when Aliena searched for Jack in the novel, it took her an extremely long time to find him, which made their reunion emotionally satisfying. In the miniseries, her search seemed to last five minutes and was therefore insignificant.

Another major problem was that the miniseries was vastly different than the book. While the overall story is the same, many things are different. For example, in the book, Tom Builder’s relationship with Ellen was a long, loving and tumultuous one. An entire portion of the novel dealt with how Tom raised Alfred compared to how he raised Jack. This provided a greater understanding of why the two boys didn’t get along. It created a tension that wasn’t felt in the miniseries until later on. Furthermore, it showed how this drew a wedge between Tom and Ellen, something that didn’t seem to happen in the miniseries. I could go on and on about the numerous alterations made to key relationships in the miniseries compared to how they were in the book, but the bottom line is this: Changing these relationships didn’t improve them; it weakened them.

One bright spot was the music. Trevor Morris did a wonderful job with the soundtrack, and the main theme embodied the majesty of the book perfectly.

Overall, this was an entertaining series, on it’s own. However, it was based on a book of legendary stature. Unfortunately, it failed by changing key elements of the book and by trying to condense too much content into too few hours of television. Nevertheless, it was still an enjoyable journey worth taking.

The Pillars of the Earth – Book Review

The Pillars of the Earth

Several years ago, my cousin told me I should read The Pillars of the Earth because it was one of the greatest books he ever read. After he explained that it was more than 1,000 pages and that it was about building a cathedral, I wasn’t exactly dying to pick up a copy.

I finally decided to read The Pillars of the Earth this summer, and I’m glad I did. Lately, I’ve fallen in love with audiobooks, and since this book is so long, I figured the audiobook version would be a great way to approach it; I was right. John Lee’s narration was exceptional, and his English accent brought the characters to life in a way that was simply marvelous.

This was my first time reading a book by Ken Follett, but it won’t be my last. I’ve already downloaded the audiobook versions of World Without End, the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, and Fall of Giants, book one of the Century Trilogy.

Ken Follett is an extremely talented writer whose ability to immerse readers in vivid, expansive landscapes is something to behold. But his greatest strength is creating rich, well-developed characters the reader can’t help but care about.

This book is about more than a cathedral. It’s about dreams, love, parenthood, religion, and war. It’s filled with action and packed with emotion. I would go into greater detail, but I don’t want to spoil anything. If you’re a fan of epic novels featuring captivating characters, then you owe it to yourself to read The Pillars of the Earth. Just like my cousin, I can easily say it’s one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.

Below is the trailer for the Starz miniseries that aired in 2010. I’m currently watching it on DVD and will post a separate review once I’m done.

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