I spent most of my evening reading The Blessing Stone, by yet another one of my guilty pleasure authors – Barbara Wood. Because it's too late in the night for me to summerise this book outside a book review, here's a synopsis plucked from the website:
Three million years ago, a meteorite plunged to earth in a cataclysmic collision, out of which emerged a beautiful blue stone. One hundred thousand years ago, a girl named "Tall One" discovers the crystal on the African plain and finds her destiny after looking into the mysterious stone.
Thus begins the story of The Blessing Stone, an account of the ways in which the stone changes the lives and reveals the destinies of those it comes into contact with. The history of the world unfolds as the stone is passed from generation to generation, and across 5 continents from the Jordan River Valley to ancient Israel, from Imperial Rome to Medieval England, from fifteenth-century Germany to the eighteenth-century Caribbean and finally to the pioneers of the American West.
Wood's 19th novel is comprised of eight individual books linked by a common thread—The Blessing Stone. Each story is set in a different country and period of time featuring Wood's trademark attention to historical detail. This backdrop provides a compelling canvas on which are painted the lives of the book's characters as they search for truth, courage, solace and even revenge, aided they believe, by the mystical powers of a cosmic blessing stone.
I'm exactly halfway through the book and it's hurting my head, but in a good way. In fact, I took a break to look at my review copy of 'Beads of Borneo', which I am saving until I finish the current novel and clear my head to receive incoming non-fiction.
Usually, I'd zip through a book with shameless speed. This means I tend to miss the finer details, and mildly unfortunate habit that carried over into writing. On the other hand, I discover new things during rereads. Sometimes, I smack myself for missing it the first time.
I read two books a week. Not every book end up in the book review column. There's always the extra one or two, which I hesitate to claim that I read "for pleasure". Reading itself is a pleasure. Writing a review is just the extra work.
The extra reads are sometimes necessary because there is always that one book that defies description. A simple "WTF?" may just about sum things up, but I need at least 399 more words or I'm going to get a call from my editor. It's just faster to read another book than wrap my mind around an unfortunate choice.