My partner and I are in the process of organizing our new bookshelves, and as we’ve been moving things around and rearranging stacks of books, certain authors, genres and themes have started to stand out as favourites. While we’re both pretty eclectic readers, there are just certain favourites that we seem to come back to again and again.
I thought it might be fun to take you on a bit of a tour of our work-in-progress shelving unit and share some of our favourite authors, genres, styles and themes! To kick things off I’m sharing an author that the Raincity Software Engineer and I both love to absolute bits. The one, the only, the much, much missed master of the madcap, Terry Pratchett.
Oh, how I love Terry Pratchett! His works blend heart and humour to the most wonderful effect, creating colourful worlds and characters that you’ll never forget.
Pratchett was also an incredibly prolific writer, which is wonderful news for his fans. My collection represents a very small portion of Pratchett’s total output, many of which I simply borrowed from local libraries.
A quick note about me – when it comes to book buying, I am notoriously cheap. And I do mean cheap. I absolutely refuse to buy new books, and when I do buy secondhand books I refuse to spend more than $5 on a book (show me straight to the $2 rack please). I do work at a library after all, and even when I didn’t, I lived about a block from a very well stocked library system. Living in a city as expensive as Raincity means making tough budgetary choices on a regular basis, and books just don’t often make the cut!
So, the fact that I own so many Terry Pratchett books is really an indication of how much I love and treasure his works, and how much I enjoy diving back into Discworld!
Here, in no particular order, are the Terry Pratchett books I currently own:
Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses – until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into…a government job?
Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman)
According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.
So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.
And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . .
There are many who say that the art of diplomacy is an intricate and complex dance. There are others who maintain that it’s merely a matter of who carries the biggest stick. The oldest and most inscrutable (not to mention heavily fortified) empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays.
Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes; warlords are struggling for power – and what the nation wants, to avoid terrible doom for everyone, is a wizard. Rincewind is not the Disc’s premier wizard – in fact, he can’t even spell ‘wizard’ – but no-one specified whether competence was an issue. And they do have a very big stick…
Mighty Battles! Revolution! Death! War! (And his sons Terror and Panic and daughter Clancy).
The Colour of Magic (x2, for some reason….)
On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE on the planet…
Just because you can’t explain it, doesn’t mean it’s a miracle.’ Religion is a controversial business in the Discworld. Everyone has their own opinion, and indeed their own gods. Who come in all shapes and sizes. In such a competitive environment, there is a pressing need to make one’s presence felt. And it’s certainly not remotely helpful to be reduced to be appearing in the form of a tortoise, a manifestation far below god-like status in anyone’s book. In such instances, you need an acolyte, and fast. Preferably one who won’t ask too many questions…
Koom Valley? That was where the trolls ambushed the dwarfs, or the dwarfs ambushed the trolls. It was far away. It was a long time ago.
But if he doesn’t solve the murder of just one dwarf, Commander Sam Vimes of Ankh-Morpork City Watch is going to see it fought again, right outside his office.
With his beloved Watch crumbling around him and war-drums sounding, he must unravel every clue, outwit every assassin and brave any darkness to find the solution. And darkness is following him.
Oh . . . and at six o’clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, he must go home to read ‘Where’s My Cow?’, with all the right farmyard noises, to his little boy.
There are some things you have to do.
On Discworld, a dying wizard tries to pass on his powers to an eighth son of an eighth son, who is just at that moment being born. The fact that the son is actually a daughter is discovered just a little too late. The town witch insists on turning the baby into a perfectly normal witch, thus mending the magical damage of the wizard’s mistake. But now the young girl will be forced to penetrate the inner sanctum of the Unseen University–and attempt to save the world with one well-placed kick in some enchanted shins!
Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis (“noble dragon” for those who don’t understand italics) has appeared in Discworld’s greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all . . .).
Meanwhile, back at Unseen University, an ancient and long-forgotten volume–The Summoning of Dragons–is missing from the Library’s shelves. To the rescue come Captain Vimes, Constable Carrot, and the rest of the Night Watch who, along with other brave citizens, risk everything, including a good roasting, to dethrone the flying monarch and restore order to Ankh-Morpork (before it’s burned to a crisp). A rare tale, well done as only Terry Pratchett can.
‘Death has to happen. That’s what bein’ alive is all about. You’re alive, and then you’re dead. It can’t just stop happening.’
But it can. And it has. So what happens after death is now less of a philosophical question than a question of actual reality. On the Disc, as here, they need Death. If Death doesn’t come for you, then what are you supposed to do in the meantime? You can’t have the undead wandering about like lost souls. There’s no telling what might happen, particularly when they discover that life really is only for the living…
It’s bad enough being new on the job, but Teppic hasn’t a clue as to what a pharaoh is supposed to do. After all, he’s been trained at Ankh-Morpork’s famed assassins’ school, across the sea from the Kingdom of the Sun. First, there’s the monumental task of building a suitable resting place for Dad — a pyramid to end all pyramids. Then there are the myriad administrative duties, such as dealing with mad priests, sacred crocodiles, and marching mummies. And to top it all off, the adolescent pharaoh discovers deceit, betrayal – not to mention a headstrong handmaiden – at the heart of his realm.
If you pressed me to pick a favourite title from all of Pratchett’s many wonderful books (some of which I enjoyed more than others), I would probably have to say Reaper Man, for its masterful blend of heart and humour. It really is a wonderful book, and it just happens to be the first Pratchett novel I ever read. I still remember picking it up from a second hand book store on a whim, and just being blown away, and bitten by a bug that wouldn’t be satisfied until I’d read each and every one of the 30+ Discworld novels (I did say he was prolific….).
Have you read any Terry Pratchett novels? Which would you pick as your favourites?
And do you like buying used books? It seems to be a bit of a book blogger no-no to buy books with mismatched covers (not to mention broken spines), but I guess that’s just another reason why I’m not really a “book blogger”, so much as a person who just likes to read and write about books!