When we went to Rochester to see the castle, we found there was time left to visit the cathedral. I like cathedrals a lot; they are grand in general and rather pretty, and whilst churches and other religious buildings are lovely too (the large mandir in London is astoundingly beautiful), there is just something about cathedrals. Their history and sheer size are breath-taking. And in the case of Rochester there is the association with Dickens, a few ruins, and a large crypt you can walk around.
Not surprisingly, I took many photographs inside Rochester. I’m happy to say you can take pictures without paying (some cathedrals charge) and there is no entry fee. Looking back at my photographs the other day I thought I might share them with you all so that you could see the building for yourselves.
The plaque reads: Charles Dickens. Born at Portsmouth. Seventh Of February 1812. Died at Gadshill Place By Rochester. Ninth of June 1870. Buried in Westminster Abbey. To connect his memory with the scenes in which his earliest and his latest years were passed, and with the associations of Rochester Cathedral and its neighbourhood which extended over all his life. This tablet. With the sanction of the Dean and his Chapter, is placed by his Executors.
The crypt. Mainly empty except for this tiny altar.
Do you like visiting religious buildings as a tourist?
Love, work, and the environment.
First Published: 31st April 2013
Date Reviewed: 21st February 2014
Emily works at GeoForce, a charity that wishes to rid the planet of SUVs. She’s very forthright in her opinions and quick to dismiss from an argument anyone who thinks differently – until she meets Robert. Robert works for a car manufacturer and his political views are at odds with hers; Emily’s beliefs ensure a massive debate. But Robert isn’t deterred, and he’s not as ‘bad’ as Emily thinks.
The Drake Equation is a book full of politics (the amount may take some getting used to) and difficult characters, but also with a romance that is in the main well-written, and believable thanks to the amount of effort the author puts into the build up.
Let’s deal with the negative first. The book needs a lot of editing. There are unnecessary dialogue tags when there are only two people in the conversation, odd turns of phrase, and mistakes such as the couple walking out of a shop in a strange manner because they continued out the door still holding the same hands they had shaken. These sorts of problems can jolt you from the text momentarily but they are not major issues overall. What is an issue is Emily’s lack of time spent actually working when contrasted with her strong views and a later promotion up the charity’s ladder (albeit that the lack of work is considered by the character at that time).
Then there are aspects that many may find negative but which cannot be called issues in themselves. Emily will be difficult for many readers to like, and even readers who agree with her views about fuel-hungry cars may find her too much – but it is evident that you’re not necessarily supposed to like the character. In regards to GeoForce there are a vast number of conflicting thoughts, statements, and actions. A prime example is the charity’s working with McDonalds wherein the latter provides the former with drink for the public at the rally. Whilst McDonalds may be improving, it’s not the sort of company you would expect an environmental group to align with. Depending on the reader, aspects of this sort will likely be met with confusion, or the thought that the charity may work on one issue at a time. A lesser divide will be caused by the employees’ mocking of the people they cold call for donations.
As the book progresses, the author gets better at showing how the characters are a good fit despite their differing views. (This is not to say she is ever bad at it, but it of course only becomes apparent as you read on and come to know the characters yourself.) Debates and other conversations do go on for a long time, however this means that all the groundwork for the relationship has been done by the time they are a couple – thereafter Walsh can just get on with the scenes without needing any big purpose for them. It means she can write purely character-driven scenes and the relationship becomes extremely believable. The author shows how, views aside, the characters are similar and well-matched. Even if their views are different, their strength of belief and ability to converse on these beliefs are equal.
In the same way, sudden conversational changes work because of Walsh’s dedication to detailing Emily’s beliefs. Where a sudden change is generally jarring in a book, Emily’s switch to her topic of choice aligns with her personality. Emily is arrogant, narrow-minded, and selfish, and because Walsh has shown you all this, her writing decisions work beautifully. You may not like Emily but it is impossible to say that Walsh hasn’t written her well.
As the book reaches its conclusion, readers may be divided as to whether or not the ending is equal to the rest of the story. Walsh’s decisions on Emily’s growth as a person will likely please some and annoy others, and the book could have done with more time spent on the time just before the change, as it is rather sudden. Similarly, a suitable conclusion to the conflict in the relationship is reached but not every one may believe in the result. But given that, either way Walsh was swayed to write, some readers were always likely to have been disappointed.
The Drake Equation looks at opposites and shows that when the difference is big enough, the situation may circle back around to the effect that there are more similarities than would be supposed. It takes the romance genre and moulds it into its own creation; it digs deeper into the general idea of a good match.
It has its flaws and it won’t satisfy everyone, but in The Drake Equation many may find what they’ve been looking for in a romance.
I received this book for review from the author.
February was… interesting. The weather was good a lot of the time and the issues with the toilet and so forth finally got fixed. Flowers are beginning to grow again and we’re not having to use so much gas and electricity on heating and lights. But in February I had a bit of a slump and didn’t end up finishing a book until mid-month. I’m back to being motivated now but of course it’s difficult making up for 2 weeks little reading, especially when your current read is Anna Karenina…
All books are works of fiction.
Aimee Bender: An Invisible Sign Of My Own – Her difficult childhood still influencing her life, superstitious Mona tries to find happiness in a world where everyone has their habits and compulsions and where bad circumstances have awful effects. A good book but rather depressing – choose your reading time wisely.
Heather Walsh: The Drake Equation – Eco charity-worker Emily meets SUV-advertiser Robert and whilst the debates are constant, love becomes more prevalent. It needs a lot of editing, but the way Walsh has written the characters is excellent.
N K Jemisin: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – Yenie is called to ‘return’ to her ancestral home to become one of the heirs of her grandfather, but the earth-bound gods have other intentions. An okay book but lacking in focus.
My favourite this month was Bender’s An Invisible Sign Of My Own. That said, however, I liked it more from an objective viewpoint than personally. It had a good lesson to teach but was hard to get through. Jemisin’s book was an addition, of sorts, to my list for Long-Awaited Reads Month, as I had wanted to read it since Aarti’s first A More Diverse Universe and I had had my copy for a good while.
None this time.
March is the start of spring and thus busy-ness, so who knows how much I’ll read? But I’m glad for it.
What was your favourite book this month (or week if you round-up each week)?
I published the What’s In A Name challenge without a 6th category. It was forgetfulness on my part and I’m not sure how I managed to not notice it in all the time I was planning. Nevertheless many people have asked for a category, if they can create their own, or if I could come up with a subject for their particular blog.
So I’ve decided to create an official sixth category for this year. Because it hasn’t been available from the start and because I know not everyone will see this post, this sixth category will be considered a bonus. You can read for it or not – if you only want to read for the original five categories your last book of the five will still mean you have completed this year’s challenge.
Without further ado, here is the sixth, bonus, category for What’s In A Name 2014:
A book with a school subject in the title. And yes, that does mean you can get creative and use a magical academic subject if you wish – Hogwarts is a school, after all.
Examples of books you can choose: The History Boys by Alan Bennett, Angelology by Danielle Trussoni, Mastering The Art Of Soviet Cooking by Anya Von Bremzen
Hope you’re all enjoying your books, this reading challenge and others.
And if you’re wishing you had signed up, there is still time, head on over to the sign-up page, fill in your details, and get reading.
I’ve been waiting for homesickness to hit me but it hasn’t yet and whilst I can’t say I’m ‘home’ I am liking my work area very much. For this book lover who – at least whilst she doesn’t have too many books – has been ‘granted’ a fine section of wall for bookcases yet to be bought, there is excitement about the posts she can create. Assuming her readers would like to see them.
And no, that conservatory and garden are not mine, unfortunately.
How did you feel the last time you moved home?