by velocibadgergirl

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Equal Rites

Today I completed my first re-reading of the summer project by finishing Equal Rites. It's been years since I last read it, and I didn't recall most of the story. Equal Rites was my introduction to Granny Weatherwax back when I read it the first time, and I didn't like Granny all that much until very recently. Re-reading E.R., it was hard to say whether I'd been unfair to Granny back then, or if the fact that I like her now--very much--was coloring my re-reading of her first starring role.

E.R. is definitely not on par with Pratchett's later, better books, but it wasn't truly awful. It gave me the feeling that the city of Ankh-Morpork hadn't really been fully conceived yet, which is probably perfectly accurate. There wasn't a lot of continuity between the place-details in The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and E.R.. This is most noticeable when it comes to Unseen University. In later books, the faculty is pretty stable, and there are several recurring characters, including the Bursar and the Archchancellor, Mustrum Ridcully. No one recognizable has arrived yet in E.R., with the exception of the Librarian. The culture and physical setting of the Ramtop Mountains and main character Esk's village of Bad Ass are depicted in good, solid detail. Ankh-Morpork itself is beginning to take shape, but hasn't yet begun to occupy the nearly-a-character role it takes on in later books.

Granny is not as fleshed out as she will become in later appearances, but the framework is there, and some of the filling-in is starting to take shape. Pratchett's irreverent style and throw-away one-liners haven't quite come into their own yet, either, but two passages did catch me just right:

"They had been in Ankh-Morpork for three days and Granny was beginning to enjoy herself, much to her surprise. She had found them lodging in The Shades, an ancient part of the city whose inhabitants were largely nocturnal and never inquired about one another's business because curiosity not only killed the cat but threw it in the river with weights tied to its feet. The lodgings were on the top floor next to the well-guarded premises of a respectable dealer in stolen property because, as Granny had heard, good fences make good neighbors."

"[Granny] stood up. 'Let's find this Great Hall, then. No time to waste.'
          'Um, women aren't allowed in,' said Esk.
          Granny stopped in the doorway. Her shoulders rose. She turned around very slowly.
          'What did you say?' she said. 'Did these old ears deceive me, and don't say they did because they didn't.'
          'Sorry,' said Esk. 'Force of habit.'
          'I can see you've been getting ideas below your station,' said Granny coldly.'"


Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Light Fantastic

I finished The Light Fantastic today. It's the second Discworld book, and I liked it a lot more than I expected. I think I have been unfairly judging the first two books in the series for years now. Sort of embarrassing! I really enjoyed the story, even though the eleven days that have elapsed since my last post tell me that I probably won't be able to complete the reading / re-reading of the entire series by the end of the summer. I think perhaps it will be a good idea to figure on the project lasting into the fall, especially since I'll probably only be reading the Pratchett books at work on my lunch break, and reading other things at home. Next up, Equal Rites.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

summer reading project

I don't know how well this will go, but I am hoping to re-read Terry Pratchett's Discworld series in chronological order this summer. There are 30 books so far, not counting The Last Hero and the ones that are classified as young adult fiction.

I finished The Colour of Magic today, and I think it might be the first time I've actually read it all the way through. My first Discworld book was Soul Music, shortly followed by Small Gods, and I didn't really start reading them in order until a few years into my Pratchett habit. I also never went back and picked up the first two books in the series, until now. I'd tried to read them each at least once before and had trouble getting into them. I've never been a huge Rincewind fan, so I think that had something to do with it.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Colour of Magic. I'm sure many Pratchett fans will disagree, but I don't really feel that the author had hit his stride quite yet in the early Discworld books. Even the third book in the series, Equal Rites, didn't really zing like his more recent stuff. But the fourth book, Mort, had parts that left me with my mouth hanging open. It was as if suddenly Pratchett nailed what he was after and just ran with it.

It will be interesting to try to work my way through the books one by one instead of jumping around to just re-read my favorites.