Save your books for The Antiques Road­show

The Covington News - - LIFESTYLE - PAULA TRAVIS COLUM­NIST Paula Travis is a re­tired teacher from the New­ton County School Sys­tem. She can be con­tacted at pnbtravis@att.net.

I have bought my sis­ter’s Christ­mas present and she will buy mine early. We have the same taste in books. So we have got­ten into the habit of buy­ing each other books for Christ­mas that we both want to read. We buy them early, read them first and then give the book as a Christ­mas present. It does mean we have one less sur­prise for Christ­mas. But at our ages who needs sur­prises? We’d rather have some­thing we want and will en­joy.

I have bought her Sharon Kay Pen­man’s “A King’s Ran­som.” Pen­man is one of our fa­vorite au­thors. The book is the last in a tril­ogy about Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard, the Lion­heart. This book deals with Richard’s re­turn from the Holy Land, his cap­ture in Aus­tria, his sub­se­quent im­pris­on­ment by the Holy Ro­man Em­peror, his ran­som and his death five years later from gan­grene. He was shot with a bolt from a cross­bow while be­sieg­ing a cas­tle in France. The shooter was later flayed alive (can you imag­ine that?). Richard was buried at the feet of his fa­ther in Fon­tevraud Abbey in France. His heart was buried in Rouen to re­ward the people of that town for his sup­port of him. His en­trails were buried in Chalus to show his dis­plea­sure in the way they be­trayed him.

He is one of the most renowned kings of Eng­land and yet none of his parts are buried there. He con­sid­ered his French lands more im­por­tant and ac­tu­ally spent less than two years in Eng­land af­ter his was crowned king. When my sis­ter and I were in Rouen and while ev­ery­one else was wor­ry­ing about where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, we went to see the tomb erected over his heart.

My sis­ter will buy me “Edge of Eter­nity” by Ken Fol­lett. It will not be out un­til the mid­dle of Septem­ber. It also is the third in a tril­ogy and traces Amer­i­can, Bri­tish, Rus­sian, Ger­man and Welsh fam­i­lies from just be­fore World War I to the 1980s. The last book is from 1960 to 1980. I re­ally liked the first book “Fall of Gi­ants.” I found the sec­ond book “Win­ter of the World” some­what for­mu­laic. How can a char­ac­ter be at ev­ery sem­i­nal event leading up to and in­clud­ing World War II? I think I like Her­man Wouk’s “The Winds of War” and “War and Re­mem­brance” bet­ter. I might just go back and reread them.

Any­way, what I was try­ing to say, be­fore I be­gan my long di­gres­sion about books, is that I have not been us­ing my e-reader for a while as “A King’s Ran­som” was 688 pages. I’m not com­plain­ing. I like a fat good book you can stay with and get im­mersed in the char­ac­ters (and three fat books in a tril­ogy is three times bet­ter). But it took me a while to fin­ish read­ing my sis­ter’s Christ­mas present.

And guess who missed me while I was busy read­ing a real book? Ama­zon. That great re­tailer in the tech­ni­cal outer space of com­put­ers must have some re­ally smart and de­tailed com­put­ers. Ama­zon knew I wasn’t spend­ing my usual monthly amount for e-books, and they missed me (or my money). I be­gan get­ting all sorts of e-mails of­fer­ing me en­tic­ing of­fers for “great sum­mer reads.” Or even bet­ter, you just fin­ished read­ing such and such a book, and we know you will like this book we are rec­om­mend­ing. The af­ford­able health care people should have used Ama­zon to set up their mar­ket place.

I re­mem­ber when a new book with an un­bent spine was a cause for re­joic­ing. Go­ing to the li­brary was a treat. My mother banned books from the din­ing ta­ble like I ban i–what­ev­ers that my grand­daugh­ters carry like an ex­tra ap­pendage.

There is a scene in Frank Her­bert’s “Dune,” when Paul Atreides, a child in the first book, is al­lowed to view an ar­ti­fact of an­cient Earth, a book. He is awed and amazed that such things once ex­isted. “Dune” was pub­lished in 1965. My Ma­con grand­daugh­ters have their text books and work sheets on an i-what­ever. The cost of text­books and reams of paper make, I am cer­tain, i-what­ev­ers the cheaper choice.

Save your books for The Antiques Road­show.

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