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Wyrd Sisters: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett

Wyrd Sisters is one of Terry Pratchett’s earlier Discworld novels, focusing on his cast of witches: Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick. The three, at Magrat’s prodding, have formed something of a coven, and meet every so often to do what Magrat considers are witchy things (like chanting over a cauldron).

Witches in the Discworld universe are generally solitary (except for when they are apprentices to a more experienced witch), and shirk structure, unlike the wizards at Unseen University. Overall, Pratchett’s witches tend to lead quiet lives and don’t have a designated leader.

Among them, Granny Weatherwax was “the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn’t have.” She’s also disinclined to admit when she’s wrong, bears a grudge like a cat (although she hates cats), and has a habit for shelling peas at inopportune times. Nanny, on the other hand, has had five husbands, more children than she can count, and an inclination for getting hammered and singing inappropriate songs about hedgehogs and wizards’ staffs. Magrat, plain and unworldly, wants only to be a proper witch, with all the occult accoutrement that comes with it, whether her fellow witches like it or not.

If it weren’t for events outside of their control, Granny, Nanny, and Magrat would likely have continued along quietly, with the occasional arguments about whose turn it was to make the tea. When they find themselves unwittingly responsible for Lancre’s infant heir to the throne, Granny realizes that fate has aimed its beady eye at them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Author: Terry Pratchett, Fantasy

 

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Poll: Will you buy ‘Harry Potter’ e-books?

From EW’s Shelf Life column. I’ve already bought all of the books a couple of times now and I was thinking of re-reading them, but I’m on the fence about whether I will actually buy the ebooks. I wonder what the illustrations look like in digitized form? I love ebooks for convenience, but there’s still something about paper books.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Reblogs

 

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The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (Tiffany Aching Quartet)

The Wee Free Men is the first in Terry Pratchett’s young adult series following Tiffany Aching, a young witch living in the countryside of the Discworld.

Although the Tiffany Aching books have already been out for years, I’d never bothered to read them until last May, spurred mostly by boredom during a car trip. This is why I love having a Kindle–I don’t need to pop into a bookstore, shift through the stacks, pay at the register, go home, and finally begin reading. With the Kindle, I search, I sample, I purchase, and I read. Simple. I was impressed by the Kindle editions of this series–virtually error-free. I loved being able to search the books while reading the series, too, as old friends reappeared throughout the series. I’ll probably end up tracking down the hardcover editions–the one thing I do regret is not reading these when they first came out.

The Wee Free Men sets up the rest of the Tiffany Aching books. As I devoured them, it was clear that Pratchett intended for Tiffany to grow up and come to terms with her power (while facing down the forces of evil, of course). I didn’t expect to like the Nac Mac Feegle (who bungle an attempt at kidnapping a sheep and, eventually Tiffany), but they grew on me with their penchant for violence and their love of liquor. In this book, Tiffany takes on the Queen of the Fairies in order to rescue her little brother (whom she had seen as something of a nuisance).

Writing about a child prodigy can be a dangerous thing. Flavia de Luce is a good example of this. She’s interesting enough, but not at all likeable, and her preciousness drives her into the unreadable category. Like Flavia, Tiffany is a precocious child prodigy. What keeps the reader with her, however, is empathy. As the books progress and Tiffany grows up, she comes to intimately understand empathy and why it’s important in a witch: it keeps her tethered to her own sanity. She also has an unflinching sense of justice, which keeps her from becoming too irritating.

If you’re at all familiar with Pratchett, or even if you aren’t, you should definitely track this gem down: it’s funny, touching, and utterly engrossing.

 
 

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Too Many Books

I’m reading so many things right now, they are all starting to blur together in a mishmosh of print and pixels. Thanks to Kindle library lending, I now have too many books in my queue. To date, I’m perusing:

  1. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien – my third read. I’m on the second book of The Two Towers and feeling a little anxious. This book always depresses me, mostly because of Gollum. He comes so close to redeeming himself, and ultimately fails.
  2. Scat by Carl Hiassen. I read Flush, which was a fun, caperesque romp in the Florida Keys, but I’m finding Scat hard to immerse myself into. I may have to shelve this one for a while.
  3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Another one I’m having a hard time immersing myself in. Perhaps my attention span is slipping.
  4. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor. For my book club. We’re reading a few stories at a time. I don’t remember these being so depressing, but I’m soldiering on (as my book club vows never to allow me to choose the books again).
  5. A World on Fire by Amanda Foreman. I’ve always been fascinated by the American Civil War, and this book from a Brit’s perspective is compelling. It’s long and will probably take me a good while to get through.
  6. Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons. I really have to pick this one up again, but it’s not as snappy a read as Cold Comfort Farm.
  7. The Once and Future King by TH White. I really wish they would release the Kindle edition in the US, because the tiny print in my crumbling mass market paperback edition is a real annoyance.

I am also eyeballing Howl’s Moving Castle, but since I’ve read that umpteen times before, I really need to finish some of the other books on my list before I read it again.

Originally posted at my Tumblr on Oct. 16, 2011.

 

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The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

My book club read Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s memoir The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating for its February discussion. I suggested the book after downloading and reading the Kindle preview. The odd title snared my interest (and garnered odd looks and quizzical emails from my book club), but the book itself is surprisingly engaging. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Author: Elisabeth Tova Bailey, Memoir, Science

 

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At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

It’s no secret that I love the hell out of Bill Bryson. When At Home was released last fall, I ran out and bought it (by running out, I mean looking it up on my Kindle browser, and clicking the Buy Now button, but that’s neither here nor there). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2011 in Author: Bill Bryson, History

 

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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell has been sitting on my bookshelf, in all its hardcover glory, since 2004, when it was first released. I bought it without having read any extracts, on the strength of its reviews alone (as well as Neil Gaiman’s flattering blurb). I did not, however, have the physical strength to hold up this 800-page doorstop long enough to read it and not concuss myself, so it’s languished and collected dust, ever since. Until, of course, I decided to download the Kindle sample and read a few lines, and was annoyed that I hadn’t gotten around to reading it sooner in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Author: Susanna Clarke, Fantasy, Literature

 

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