I’ve been in a reading slump lately. Ever since I finished Terry Pratchett’s Jingoaround Christmas last year I’ve been reading only non-fiction, and slowly at that (I started a book on Quantum Theory a month ago, and am not even halfway with it yet). Among all the novels on my shelves I just couldn’t find anything I felt like reading.
Then Sir Terry died, and the next day I got Dodgerat half price. I finished it on Friday (review to come), and picked up Mort (with which I’m almost done). I’ve decided to make my way through the whole Discworld again, or at least through those titles I already own, which brings up the question of which order to read them in.
Over time in the Discworld novels, the inhabitants of the Disc came up with a long-distance communications method called “the clacks” – a cross between the telegraph and semaphore. Initially they’re only used in Anhk-Morpork, and mostly by the Watch, but soon there are towers all across the land conveying messages between cities and countries.
In Going Postal we learn that the clacks have something called “overhead”, meta-data, of sorts, for the messages being sent, not unlike the header data contained in emails or web pages which doesn’t appear on the screen, but which contains important instructions on how the page should be displayed. When one character questions the presence of a name in the overhead, another tells her it is the name of an operator who was killed. A code is transmitted with his name, ensuring that it will always be sent on to the next tower, for “A man’s not dead while his name is still spoken”.
Yesterday the wife and I headed to the neighbouring town, as she was in need of some clothes and it has the only mall within eighty kilometres. Also the only bookshop. Yeah, I know.
I was browsing the shelves, not looking for anything in particular, and as is my wont I gravitated towards the fantasy section. This particular chain has never heard or either Jim Butcher or Neil Gaiman, but they often have significant markdowns on the titles they do stock, and I was pleasantly surprised to find not one, but two of Terry Pratchett’s more recent publications at half the regular price. Considering the great man’s passing this week, I took it as a sign.
I also picked up The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. It’s not a Pratchett, but I’ve seen many references to this novel online, it looks like a fun read, and it was also half-price, so why not?
As I’m feeling all melancholic at present, I think I’ll be putting my current read (a non-fiction book on Quantum Theory) aside for now and first read Dodger.
While we’re talking about reading, head on over to The Book Notes Project for a fun questionnaire on what you’re reading at the moment.
People often talk about how they remember what they were doing when they heard the news of some or other historical event. I will probably always remember that I was washing the dishes when my phone beeped with the email from Penguin Random House carrying the news that Sir Terry Pratchett has passed away.
While Guards! Guards! was the first Discworld novel I ever read, my first Pratchett was Diggers, the second instalment of the Nomes Trilogy. Shortly after those two a friend told me about The Carpet People. And I was hooked on Terry Pratchett.
A Knight of the Word, the second instalment or Terry Brooks‘s Word and Void trilogy, takes place several years after the events of Running With the Demon. Nest Freemark is now in college. Her grandfather has recently passed away and she’s thinking of leaving Hopewell, and the park and Pick along with it for good. She hasn’t used her magic in years and is not even sure that she still has it, especially since Wraith, her mysterious protector, also seems to have disappeared.
Then she is visited by a tatterdemalion, a messenger of the Word. John Ross, the Knight of the Word who had helped her defeat her father years ago, is in trouble. He has forsaken his calling as a Knight of the Word, and the servants of the Void are trying to turn him and his magic to their ends. He is already being subverted by a demon and it may already be too late. Nest must go to Seattle and confront him, give him one more chance to take up the black staff again. Should she fail, his life will be forfeit, and possibly hers as well.