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Posts Tagged ‘terry pratchett’

I was slow to get on the smart phone bandwaggon.  Mostly because I really don’t like contracts, and couldn’t justify paying sooooo much for a phone.  That and I would often get my father’s hand-me-downs when he would upgrade his Blackberry.  I liked Blackberry.  It started long ago when I saw the U2 concert that they had funded.  Seriously.  the tesselated screen they developed was a marvel.  I almost bought a Blackberry on principle.  If it could wow me that much on stage, how about in my pocket?

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When my latest hand-me-down started dying, surprisingly like the company that made it, I decided it was time to get technically with it.  One of the major bonus’s of a smart phone with a touch screen is the ease at which one can take a picture and then post it to social media.  I thought to my self “Self, this might be the next best thing to having a husband beside you, whom you can hit, and read book quotes to when they strike you as interesting, or well written, or just plain funny. You can take a picture of the phrase, post it on facebook, and share the brilliance/humor/wit/biting sarcasm/poignancy/[this is good] with the world at large.” I decided that I was quite intelligent in this, and started this practice.  It has been a fun way to to document my reading, and my approbation of the books I read.  The system was working well.

That is, until Terry Pratchett.

Mr. Pratchett.  You, sir, are a genius, and I am unanimous in this.

I kept finding things to photograph, from the opening paragraph, to the book’s end, and I felt they were too much and too good to just randomly throw out on the interwebs without context.  Instead I thought they warranted a blog post, so that I could combine quote and review in one nice spot.

Dodger. The Goodreads summary can be found here.  You can read it if you like.

I will say this.  A) Terry Pratchett knows a lot of history. B) Terry Pratchett has a good of respect for Henry Mayhew, and we all should. C) Terry Pratchett cares about things like poverty, and injustice, and the fact that he can make a discussion about them funny and entertaining is just splendid. D) Any author who can reference “that nice young man, Karl, that I hid from the cossacks with once” and make it clear who he is referring too without being OBVIOUS should be my friend.

I liked the characters in this very much, especially since they have a place in my pop culture and literary reference library.  It isn’t a fantasy novel the way most of the other Discworld books are.  Instead Pratchett explores Victorian London from above and below, allowing the flights of fancy point to the things our society has been battling for a long time: Poverty, injustice, the difficulty of choosing the welfare of one vs the many.  I especially enjoyed Solomon who was unique, fascinating, full of surprises, scandalous stories and philosophical wisdom. Read the book, enjoy the sewers, meet Sweeney Todd, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, and a very amused royal ‘We’.

So for you here, I present my many photographs.  I hope they prompt laughter, thought, and a little bit of snarkiness in you too.

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So my night last night was very melancholy.
In the first place the weather has been classic England weather.  It took me by surprise when I walked out of my house yesterday and it smelled like, well, home.

Then I was in my room listening to music on the computer and reading, and looked up and saw that my picture screensaver  had kicked in, and it was showing pictures of my Uncle Norm, and things we had done together. He died last summer, and I was sucker-punched with how much I missed him.

It's so odd how some things can really catch you off guard. 

You're going along, and every thing seems to be ok.
You're coping.
Life has more things in the pro column than the con column.

And then you step outside and the smell takes your breath away.
Or the picture glimpsed out of the corner of your eye makes you cry.

And then I made the mistake of watching part one of Terry Pratchett's BBC program on living with Alzheimer's. It broke my heart.  It was like a real life Flowers for Algernon.  I really could see what a fun, intelligent, sardonic, perceptive man he was, and how so much of this was slowly being taken away, by a foe he can't beat.  Many of you know I've been reading through his books the last couple years ( I would love to own them all!!!!) and I've enjoyed them thoroughly.  It was heartbreaking to see this man, the age of my father, just a few years younger than my uncle Norm,  battle to be himself as his very self was ebbing away.

I had such love for him last night.  This brave, and yet scared man. It brought tears to my eyes.  The fitting end to a Melancholy day.
I wish I could have known him.

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A Year in the Merde
Stephen Clarke

In the first place I finished this book.  It was really amusing.  Laugh out loud so.  Especially after spending time growing up in London, seeing a succesful, late 30's, single Londoner moving to Paris for the year to help start a series of Tea rooms was a treat.  It is sort of the fictional telling of a memoir. The premise is different, but a lot of the story has things that ring true.  His sh*tlexia, the story of purchasing a house in the country, the various pariesian strikes, and even the name of the Tea houses all made me laugh uproarously.  It was all written in that sardonic, calculating british voice that I enjoyed immensly.  I will definately read the other books in this series.

Then I picked up this one:

Monstrous Regiment
Terry/ Briggs, Stephen Pratchett

tis by far one of my favorite Terry Pratchett books. "On my oath, I am not a lying man". It is the story of the last group of recruits going to fight in the on going war between their country and their neighbors.  What is interesting is that all of them, eventually, have the same secret and, coincidentally are very good at what they do.  It was wry, witty, amusing, and trademark Pratchett. I laughed aloud a lot, and really enjoyed his ways with words.

 

This book was a treat.  I am going to look for more by this author.  It starts off seeming like your traditional teen novel, but really blossoms into a witty and, surprisingly, intelligent book.  Frankie Landau-Banks doesn't have the typical comming of age novel. Instead she learns much about what it means to belong, and be recognized for who she is, and not underestimated.  I love her pranks, her genius, her attitued, and her forgotten positives.  Like Whelmed [overwhelmed], Gruntled [disgruntled], and all the other words that, with their beginnings removed are forgotten words.
I loved this book.
I'm going to buy this book.
I highly recommend it!

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I finished the following last week, just failed to post about them.  Here they are in all their splendor.

Saturnalia
Lindsey Davis

I'm a big Lindsey Davis fan.  My friend Margaret gave me the first in the Falco series when I went to England for the year to work with a charity.  Needless to say I owned all the books to date by the time I was done with the first month in London.  I tear through them.  Marcus is earthy and sarcastic, and his wife Helena is strong, bright, and affectionate.  I love this series, eagerly anticipating each one as they come.  They are mysteries set in Ancient Rome, during the time when Vespasian was Caeser.  I find, however, like I am with the Amelia Peabody Emerson series by Elizabeth Peters, that I've become increasingly affraid, with each new novel, that this is going to be the last in the series, and I will no longer have new adventures in it, so it takes me longer and longer to read the stories.  I spend a day and a half on the first one, and about 4 months on this one. I enjoy the characters so much, and am so invested in them, that I don't want it to end.  This book didn't disappoint.  Davis is a witty observer of human nature, and has created an authentic world in this ancient time.  I like the fact that she doesn't feel the need to wrap up everything neatly, but rather let life be messy and real.  I highly recommend this series to mystery lovers everywhere.


The second book I finished was another in the Terry Pratchett series.  I've been on a quest to read all  his Discworld novels in order, but jumped out of order to read Making Money.  I got hooked on the series when I picked up Going Postal a few years ago, and watched petty criminal and con artist Moist Von Lipwig make sense of the defunct Ahnk-Morpork Post Office, and found it most amusing.  When I discovered that he was featured in the newest Terry Pratchett, well, I broke with tradition, and got it from my library.  It did not disappoint.  Pratchett's humor gets better each book, and I had many a laugh out loud moment,  from the clown/banker with Nichtlachen Keinword syndrome (the absense of a sence of humor) to the antics of the bank 'chairman' Mr. Fusspot, all the while making snide comments and assides about our financial and banking systems.  Mr. Pratchett proves to be an engaging author with an astute understanding of the world we live in.  I again Highly reccomend the Discworld series to anyone.

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