Tag Archive: Ankh-Morpork

Jul 13

Book Review – Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

WHAT’S PLAYING: Janet Jackson feat. Nelly “Call on Me”

This week’s book is Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett.

 

Everybody wants more time, but one man is about to stop it for good by constructing the world’s first truly accurate clock. The Auditors—spirits who, like Accountants from Hell, try to keep the Universe in order—have decided their task would be much easier if time would just stop. Then they could sort everything out and it would stay that way. So, they hatch a plan to commission the Perfect Clock. It falls to History Monk Lu-Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd to find the timepiece and stop it before it starts. Because if the Perfect Clock starts ticking, Time as we know it will stop. And that’s when the real trouble will begin.

This is one of the darker, more satirical Discworld novels. I’ve been looking forward to revisiting the Monks of History ever since they first appeared in Small Gods. But, the monks aren’t the only familiar faces. Two of my favorite characters, Death and Susan Sto Helit feature heavily. Nanny Ogg has a cameo as Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Not to mention the supporting cast of heroes, villains, yetis, martial artists. And we mustn’t forget the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (who left before they became famous).

A superb send-up of science and philosophy, religion and death, Thief of Time provides the perfect opportunity to kick back and unwind.
 

Favorite Line/Image:  Jeremy was completely baffled as to his next move. He’d never been very good at talking to people, and this, apart from Lady LeJean and a wrangle with Mr. Soak over an unwanted cheese, was the longest conversation he’d had for a year. Perhaps it was because it was hard to think of Igor as coming under the heading of people. Up until now, Jeremy’s definition of “people” had not included anyone with more stitches than a handbag.

“I’m not sure I’ve got any work for you, though,” he said. “I’ve got a new commission, but I’m not sure how…anyway, I’m not insane!”

“That’th not compulthory, thur.”

“I’ve actually got a piece of paper that says I’m not, you know.”

“Well done, thur.”

“Not many people have one of those!”

“Very true, thur.”

 

Bottom Line:  Don’t put off until tomorrow what you could do today. Read Thief of Time.

 

Coming Up Next: My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid

 

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/07/book-review-thief-of-time-by-terry-pratchett/

Nov 28

Why You Should Get Lost in Discworld or How Terry Pratchett Changed My Life

WHAT’S PLAYING: AdeleLovesong

I received a strange package in the mail last Monday, but because of work and the general chaos that is my life, I didn’t get a chance to open it until the night before Thanksgiving. Imagine my surprise when I opened the envelope to reveal a signed copy of Terry Pratchett’s latest Discworld novel “Snuff”.

Cue happy dance!

Happy Dance

After jumping around and screaming for about twenty minutes, I settled in and started reading. Bedtime came and went, chores went undone, and phones and e-mails unanswered.  (Sorry, Dad.) I finished it around 3AM, and fell asleep still wanting more.

Now, I could tell you how great the Discworld books are. Funny, relevant, and brilliantly written, they are an awesome combination of fantasy, humor and satire.

Instead, I think I’ll tell you how these books changed my life.

When I was nine years old – per a custody agreement drawn up before I was even born – I left my home on the reservation and moved in with my father. I still visited my mother fairly often, but it wasn’t the same as living with her. I was something of a loner before I left the rez. After, I became down right reclusive. I rarely spoke and spent most of that summer in my room, only coming down for meals or at my father’s insistence.

Problem was that I didn’t speak English very well. I could barely string three words together.  So, that fall, my father enrolled me in a Catholic school that specialized in teaching ESL (English as a Second Language). I excelled at math and science, but my grasp of the English language remained sketchy at best. Truth is, I didn’t want to learn. I already spoke one language fluently. How many did I need?

Then one day, a nun handed me an old, dog-eared copy of “The Color of Magic”. It took me over a month to finish it, but after that, I was a goner. I decided that if I had to learn English to read books like that, then I would learn. Six months later, I had reached “proficient” level. Two months after that, I was fluent. My love of reading didn’t end with Discworld – over the years, I discovered Twain, Gaiman, Shirley, Norton, McCraffrey, Lackey, and so many others – but it began there. And the result is that I now get to make my living doing the two things I love most: chemistry and writing.

Don’t get me wrong, not everything is roses. There are mornings I wake to the gray and featureless void of depression. When the very act of breathing is a struggle and I feel about as worthless as tits on a telephone pole. It’s on these days that I force myself to look for pleasure in small things: a funny movie, an uplifting piece of music, a hot shower, even a spoon of ice cream. (To paraphrase Raymond Carver: eating is a small, good thing in a time like that.)

And, of course, a good book.

The Discworld novels saw me through my first transition from reservation life to the mainstream. Ten years later, they helped me cope when I lost my twin brother, and my fiancée five years after that.

I’m not saying that reading is some sort of magical cure for depression. It’s not. But, you have to admit that a world in which books like “Snuff” or “The Color of Magic” exist can’t be all bad.

What about you? What cheers you up when life gets  hard? Friends? Family? Music, art, or books? Where do you find your little wonders, your small pleasures?

Stories not only shape our perceptions, but can also shape our lives if we let them. They remind us that there is no such thing as a hopeless cause, that we can all be better if we choose. If they’re really good, stories can leave us feeling uplifted and a bit wiser.

And that is no small thing.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2011/11/why-you-should-get-lost-in-discworld-or-how-terry-pratchett-changed-my-life/