“Here are some of the words in Mantel’s Cromwell novels: Guiles, argent, couchant. Estoc. Exsanguinates. Fuckeur. There is hunting; there is jousting. There are sconces, velvet cushions, jellies in the shape of castles, and stuffed piglets. There are songs that can only be described as bawdy.”
Thomas Cromwell actually gets Henry’s blessing for the English Bible to be placed in every parish church — this is for the first time. There had been English Bibles a few years before, but they were not licensed by the king; their status was unofficial. But Cromwell actually managed to get, eventually, Henry’s commitment to the scriptures in English, and the decree was that anyone who could read could come up and read that Bible. So it’s a great turning point because it’s giving what people thought of as the word of God to the people in their own language. … You don’t have to ask the priest what it means. If you can read, you can read it in your own language, and if you can’t read, someone else can read it out to you. It puts the responsibility for your salvation in your hands; your relationship with God changes. You don’t have to go through an intermediary, as it were; you’ve got a direct line.
It’s time for the Friday Reads Club,
Gabrielle has been busy reading a couple of international titles:
I just finished an incredible book by Argentine writer Sergio Chejfec, My Two Worlds. If you like walking around unknown cities, read this. Now I’m faced with that horribly wonderful task of finding another book. I have two started and it’s coming up on decision-time. It’ll either be The Walk by Robert Walser or a collection of strange stories by Russian writer Sigizmund Krzhizanovsky, Memories of the Future. It’s going to be a rough Friday afternoon figuring this one out.
Anya, a lover of all things Tudor, is the next Picadorian to pick up Wolf Hall.
PJ is reading the upcoming Picador release, A Pimp’s Notes by Giorgio Faletti, which is an Italian mystery novel set in the seedy criminal underbelly of 1970’s Milan.
“No doubt you are a flawed and wounded person, a man who has carried a wound in him from the very beginning (why else would you have spent the whole of your adult life bleeding words onto a page?), and the benefits you derive from alcohol and tobacco serve as crutches to keep your crippled self upright and moving through the world.”
The New Guy’s Guide to Picador (Part 2):
It’s Independence Day! That means it is time for grilling and the second installment of The New Guy’s Guide to Picador. I’m stretching the guide into three parts instead of two because if there is one thing people like in this office, it’s books.
Elizabeth, Assistant Editor, couldn’t help herself and picked two titles:
PRIVACY by Garret Keizer: Keizer is one our greatest living essayists, and PRIVACY shows him at his most heartfelt and impassioned best. This is a hugely important book—an urgent outcry against the infringements that have been made upon our right to privacy (and, consequently, upon our humanity), but one that’s also full of hope. Read it, it’s something you’ll want to share with everyone.
HOTEL IRIS, Yoko Ogawa: This story of forbidden summer love is a page-turner, and one of my all-time favorites. Ogawa writes with such elegant precision, and her ability to see the grace in even our darkest impulses never fails to amaze. It’s the most darkly beautiful book I’ve ever read.
Alaina, my fellow bookroom compatriot, enjoyed these Picador bestsellers:
WOLF HALL, Hilary Mantel: The fact that Hilary Mantel can keep you on the edge of your seat even though you know how the story is going to end says all that you need to know about her ability to tell a compelling tale.
THE SUBMISSION, Amy Waldman: Waldman’s debut novel is both politically and emotionally nuanced. Set in the aftermath of a massive terrorist attack, Waldman’s characters are all intrinsically flawed and extremely believable. Readers go into the book with one opinion, but are almost guaranteed to emerge at the end with a newfound appreciation for the other side.
Happy Fourth of July, everybody!
Look out for the third and final installment tomorrow, and don’t forget to tell us about your favorite Picador titles?
“A man’s power is in the half-light, in the half-seen movements of his hand and the unguessed-at expression of his face. It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.”
― Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
THE PICADOR BOOK ROOM is a group publishing blog maintained by the employees of Picador Books. Any views expressed in these posts are those of the authors listed below.