London very quickly became a smouldering membrane, a reeking tarpaulin flung over the hill and not smoothed out. The only features of consequence were the Fire Monument, the Bridge, the Tower, and St. Paul’s. The Bridge, as always, seemed like a Bad Idea, a city on stilts, and a very old, slumping, inflammable Tudor city at that. Not far from its northern end was the Fire Monument, of which Daniel was now getting his first clear view. It was an immense solitary column put up by Hooke but universally attributed to Wren. During Daniel’s recent movements about London he had been startled, from time to time, to spy the lantern at its top peering down at him from over the top of a building—just as he had often felt, when he was a younger man, that the living Hooke was watching him through a microscope. (The System of the World)Here is how thoroughly The Baroque Cycle has permeated my brain: when walking across London Bridge, I thought, "hey, the Fire Monument must be nearby! let's find it!" And then I located it by using St. Paul's and the Tower, based entirely on the above quote. If Stephenson had included a fictionalized London in his works, I would have wandered around, looking for unicorns and rainbows in the real world. Compelling writing induces credibility.
This post's theme word is quire, "a quantity of 24 or 25 sheets of paper; one twentieth of a ream." May I inquire how many quires your reading notes required?