Books: Making History by Stephen Fry

Yesterday while I was waiting for my blood test I was reading “Making History” by Stephen Fry. I’ve been reading the book for about three weeks now (I was definitely reading it in London on the way to #140conf). I had read the whole book and was down to the last two chapters. It’s ultimately a fiction story but huge chunks of it are set in historic fact – there is a sort of epilogue at the end that just sets it straight. It’s definitely better than sticking at the beginning like you get in *certain* books. I think if it had been at the beginning I would have spent the whole time reading it questioning what was happening. Alot of the story revolves around Hitler, the concentration camps and the history and the future around that. People sometimes question if Hitler hadn’t have been born would the world be different and somehow this kinda shows one of the perspectives that could have happened.

When I finished work at 5:30 I tried to read it as I crossed the car park but unfortunately the lights on the pathway weren’t bright enough for me to be able to carry on reading. So I had to surrender and put my book back into my bag. JD needed to nip to a friends house on the way home so I waited out in the car and carried on reading – I was so engrossed in the book that when JD got back into the car I jumped a mile! I was there in the action listening to the conversation and being a fly on the wall.

I got home and did a few bits and pieces like put my iPod on charge and chat to CJ about some bits but then curled up on the sofa and tried to finish the book. Why is it when I am so close to the end CJ wants to talk and start a conversation, but as soon as I’m finished and can join in the conversation he has nothing to say?!

It has taken me a little while to get through this book because of the amount of words that I had to label or look up because I didn’t understand them or because I had to go back and read the same page a second time because I didn’t quite keep up.

Thanks to the wonders of Twitter I was able to ask Stephen a question when I was half way through the book – I was in two minds whether to send him a message and also in two minds whether I would receive a reply – but I did so that was interesting to see why his character said something in particular. The character is mid-rant and quotes Cabaret – amongst other songs and films. The quote in the book is

“Life is a cabaret, old friend”

Now having done Cabaret (the song) in singing lessons and in my AS exam I know that it’s

“Life is a Cabaret, old chum”

 but then I thought it could have been a bit of artistic license so I dropped the message and waited for a response – well I kinda didn’t wait because I knew he’s a busy chap so probably wouldn’t have time to respond but then there was a response:

“Gosh. I shall have to check. Probably. I like things to be human in their fuzziness as a rule!”.

Okay so I think this means that it was on purpose so that while the character is ranting he’s not thinking straight so might get it in a muddle – I know I get my words in a muddle when I’m ranting.

Anyhoo there was a cliff hanger at the end and I was sure that it was going to finish there and it wouldn’t be resolved – but how wrong I was! There was a happy ending but I had to read the last chapter twice because I got a bit confused on the way through. I can’t tell you what happened – you’ll just have to go read it yourself!

The main thing that struck me about was the topic. Often in History at school and stuff like that we discussed the topic of what could have happened if the Allies hadn’t won World War 2 but it never crossed my mind to thing about what could have happened had Hitler not been around – okay there was a plan in there somewhere along the line and there were people standing in the gap and stuff like that.

I’ve just started reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom – I’m like 4 pages into it and don’t want to put it down. My Grandma and My Mum told me about her when I was younger but I never read the book. Corrie Ten Boom was an amazing lady. Someone told me a story about her recently, when her and her sister arrived in the concentration camp, they were lying in bed one night and were praying, they were being thankful for the different things around them and they thanked God for the fleas in their hut, it sounds so random but because of the fleas, the soldiers wouldn’t go into the hut and it meant that Corrie and her sister Betsie could hold Bible studies and things in their hut and they could pray without being bothered. (I have the feeling that I’m going to have lot to say when I finish the book lol).

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