Terry Pratchett

Crivens! It was “Wintersmith” what done it!

Wintersmith
Photograph of the cover of Terry Pratchett’s “Wintersmith”. Illustration by Paul Kidby copyright 2006.

As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m late to the joyous party that is the writings of Terry Pratchett. I’ve just completed reading his third Tiffany Aching novel and he has leapt into  the distinguished company that is my favourite authors. Notably, he is the first male author I have included. He sits with Rosemary Sutcliff, Philipa Pearce, Joan Aiken and Ursula K Le Guin (as I said – ‘distinguished company‘).

Like Le Guin, Pratchett is able to stage epic battles that are fought and won without bloodshed or with very little bloodshed (the way that Tiffany Aching deals with the Wintersmith is a fine example) and he writes about the finiteness of human existence with rare beauty and a certain kind of poetry (the passing of Granny Weatherwax in “The Shepherd’s Crown” is beyond simply moving). And he loves people but hates injustice, that is crystal clear.

Tiffany Aching is a heroine very much in the mould of Joan Aiken’s Dido Twite though far more introspective with her first, second and third thoughts to guide how she acts and reacts. As a Pratchett witch, she constantly puts the welfare of others before her own and strives to learn from each action she takes, often putting aside a response until she has considered alternatives . My kind of protagonist!

Of course, TP spins the narrative with many puns asides and much social commentary. I love the way has footnotes augment the main text.- my particular favourite is *’Werk’… (page 340 of my edition). He has the uncommon ability to create characters that are engaging and complex and this is true equally of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

I’m continually struck by the cinematic and visual quality of Pratchett’s storytelling. He must have imagined these novels as moving pictures, surely!

I have two more Tiffany Aching novels to read – the second and the fourth and then it’s back to the main Discworld novels for me!

But first… I shall treat myself to a reread of “Wee free Men” and “Wintersmith”… you can’t have too much of a good thing.

 

 

 

Taking a break from taking a break

Thought I’d just take break from taking a break from the blog and just post that music and graphics for the CD are moving at pace. Getting to know Logic and Daz Studio and Photoshop (Elements) very well now. I’ve ditched the idea of drawing and painting the physical artwork by hand as I don’t have the hours required to acquire efficient skills. I will be investing in a set of Rode M5 microphones shortly, to record acoustic guitar solos, in addition to my ‘band’ style work.

I also have to mention that I’ve begun reading my first ever Terry Pratchett novel (Unseen Academicals – not the best Discworld novel with which to begin ((it’s the 37th)) but it was a bargain hardback, in a charity shop, in Monmouth). My kind of (brilliant) author! There’s some clever wordsmithery going on and some well realised character development. I haven’t laughed out loud quite so much with a book before now!

Unseen

 

Back to the music!

Charity shop bargain books

I managed to buy some fantastic books from charity shops in Swansea today:

  • A hardback version of Michael Morpurgo’s “Arthur High King of Britain” with illustrations by Michael Foreman
  • “The Fantastic Kingdom” a collection of illustrations from the golden days of storytelling
  • A hard cover first edition of Ian Serraillier’s “The Challenge of the Green Knight” with illustrations by Victor G. Ambrus
  • A hard cover copy of Rosemary Sutcliff’s “Sword at Sunset”

Perhaps a bit too much Arthur in one day for me but what a wealth of great story tellers and illustrators!

Looking forward to reading.

I’m also currently reading and thoroughly enjoying Sherwood Anderson’s “Winesburg, Ohio”

My bubble in Cyberspace

I have begun reading UKLG’s “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters” and this morning finished reading the story “April in Paris” and it illustrates perfectly (for me) the profundity of the author. Most other writers would have had the main characters  (who have used ancient magic to meet) die at the hands of the supernatural to ‘restore the cosmic balance’ but not Ursula K Le Guin. She has them all walk off together into the sunshine (dare I say, “Happily ever after”?). No lesson cruelly learned or any intervention of fate, just four lonely humans and an equally lonely dog enjoying the company of each other.

Daoist indeed.

Apologies for a title that has little or perhaps everything to do with the post.

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Tyke Tiler

There was very little on TV last night that I considered worth watching so I went to bed and re-read Gene Kemp’s “The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler“.

It’s so obvious that the author worked as a teacher, the book is full of references to everyday life in a primary school that are as true now as when the book was published in the late 70s.

Kemp’s characterisations are well developed without the need to describe the children in great detail – their actions speak for themselves. The teachers featured in the narrative are such accurate characterisations – we all know a teacher like each one of them. I might even be able to recognise myself in one or two of them. Other people might recognise me in different ones :).

And even though I knew of the revelation on the penultimate page, it was still as enjoyable and still as much a surprise when it came. On re-reading, the clues are there throughout the narrative.

If I still had year six, I’d be using this as a class reader.

tyke

Jenny Nimmo – Snowspider

I finished reading the second of Jenny Nimmo’s “Snow Spider” trilogy mid week. “Emlyn’s Moon” turned out to be a well told and plotted novel, much darker and creepy than the “Snow Spider” novel itself. It helps that it has a female protagonist – Nia and the story is told very much from her point of view (but in the third person). The final book of the trilogy “The Chestnut Soldier” is even darker and more menacing. Nina is once again the main character and Gwyn (from the first book) takes very much a back seat.For me it’s suitable for children a little older than the other two novels although I’m sure that my ‘adult’ reading of elements of the plot would go over the head of most child readers. Again, I’m looking forward to seeing how the plot resolves itself.

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Emlyn’s Moon

I’m currently reading the second book of the “Snow Spider” trilogy – “Emlyn’s Moon”. It’s a great read. It’s more about the character Nia than the titular Emlyn at the moment. There are some truly effective passages that I know I’ll use in the future with my class(es) as exemplar of descriptive writing. There’s a kind of spiritual awakening for the main character Nia through the book and I’m looking forward to reading the resolution of her personal problems. The book is much more about the characters than the first in the trilogy. The narrative is less linear than “The Snow Spider” too.

Apologies for my ‘lumpy’ expressions in this post but it’s difficult to express my enthusiasm for this book in the trilogy.

Edit: just to explain and to clear up any misunderstanding, I love this book!

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