More Terry Pratchett

While typing my last post, I realized that there’s a whole world of Terry Pratchett stories that many people are unfamiliar with. This is honestly one of the greatest writers of our age, and has been recognized as such when he was appointed an Officer of the Order of British the Empire (OBE) in 1998, knighted by the Queen of England in 2009, received the Carnegie Medal for one of his young adult novels, earned four (4) honorary doctorates, and as of August 2010 he’d sold more than 65 million books world wide. Quite an impressive resume!

I got started reading Pratchett way back in the early 1990s, when I picked up an interesting book off of the shelf of the public library. This book, called “Good Omens,” was co-authored by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (yes, you’ve probably heard of HIM), and it was about the end of times. It sets the angel, Aziraphale against the demon, Crowley, to bring about the proper ending of the world (proper depending on the side you’re on, I suppose) via the Antichrist. Unfortunately for the powers that be, things take a bit of a turn when the Antichrist is switched at birth with another baby, and is raised as a normal child in a small British village. I took the book along with me for a long drive to visit family, and within the first 5 pages I was laughing out loud. My husband was driving, and demanded to know what was so funny, so I started to read the book aloud to him. I giggled my way through the book, meeting the Four OTHER Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Them, and all the other wonderful characters.

After my first adventure with Good Omens, I decided to find out more about both authors. Apparently, I wasn’t ready for Neil Gaiman just yet, as it’s taken me many years to get around to expanding my own home library of his books. Right away, however, I fell in love with Terry Pratchett’s already growing fantasy world. While his first novel, “The Carpet People” was published in 1971, he did not receive wide recognition until The Colour of Magic was published in 1983, and then serialized on British radio in 1985. Since 1986, Pratchett has published at least one book a year, and as of his latest novel, “Snuff,” he has written or contributed to over 50 books during his career!

As I mentioned previously, my favorite characters are the Nac Mac Feegle, a fierce group of fairy folk that are blue, 2″ high, and will fight anything (including themselves if they’re bored). The Feegles were first introduced in the “Wee Free Men” in 2003 when we meet a young girl named Tiffany Aching for the first time. The Feegles become her protectors of sorts, and have appeared in each Tiffany Aching book since. They’re tough, they’re slightly naughty, and they’re SO much fun!!

If my descriptions here inspire you at all, consider looking into this brilliant author, especially the Discworld books. Here’s a handy chart that might help you in your quest to read about this magical realm:


I’m Reading Terry Pratchett

He’s Done it Again!!

The “he” I’m referring to is Terry Pratchett, and the “it” is writing another awesome book! I’ve been a fan of this cheeky British author for years, and his latest offering, Snuff, doesn’t disappoint! Readers find themselves once again on the Discworld, and in familiar company with Chief Constable Samuel Vimes. Commander Vimes and his wife have gone for a visit in the countryside, but while you can take the copper out of the city, you can’t stop a good copper from finding and solving crimes! From Amazon.com’s book description, “Yet a policeman will find a crime anywhere if he decides to look hard enough, and it’s not long before a body is discovered, and Sam—out of his jurisdiction, out of his element, and out of bacon sandwiches (thanks to his well-meaning wife)—must rely on his instincts, guile, and street smarts to see justice done. As he sets off on the chase, though, he must remember to watch where he steps. . . . This is the countryside, after all, and the streets most definitely are not paved with gold.”

If all of this is total gibberish to you, then you have not been introduced to Sir Terry Pratchett and his remarkable world. Pratchett is known for taking a tongue-in-cheek look at impressive groups such as the post office, police force, and other such institutions, and successfully pointing out their foibles while also subtly reminding us that while we complain about these organizations, we’d be lost without them!

Why do I like reading Pratchett’s books? I loved fairy tales as a child, and while I’m all grown up now, I like to believe that happily ever after can still come true (even if it’s not the way we pictured it!). Pratchett is a master of spinning yarns that are part fairy tale and part cautionary tale, and written with such great skill that you will find yourself laughing out loud at some parts!

To date, my favorite characters from any of his books (and there are lots of good ones to choose from!), are the Nac Mac Feegle! Technically they’re a group of characters, but it’s my blog so I can get away with a little fudging! The Feegles are a rowdy bunch who swear amusingly (Crivens is the thing you hear most), steal well (anything that’s not nailed down and sometimes the nails too!), and are fiercely loyal to those they feel worthy. They are wee men who stand a towering 2″ high and will bite your ankle as soon as look at you…oh, and they speak with quite the brogue! Here’s a picture of the wee beasties:

Feegles

The Nac Mac Feegles in full battle charge

If you’re not intrigued yet, you may not have a pulse! Coming soon is a list of Pratchett books in the order in which they should be read to get the most out of them. However, if the whole list is too daunting, start with “Wee Free Men” and let the chuckles begin!