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.

 

 

 

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”

More Bradbury

Having finished reading Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes”, I’ve just begun his anthology “Summer Morning, Summer Night”. This set of stories contains one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever had the good fortune to read – “All On A Summer’s Night“. It seems quite autobiographical in nature when set against the interviews with Ray Bradbury that I’ve watched and read recently. Young Douglas Spaulding , who lives at his grandmother’s house with a varied set of boarders, makes a touching gesture to local librarian (and also another boarder) Miss Eleanora Welkes who mistakes the gesture for a romantic one from one of the male boarders. Everything about the story is delightful.

I bought my copy from Waterstones – a Harper voyager edition with a cover price of just £2.99. Really, a bargain!

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Picture of the cover of Ray Bradbury’s “Summer Morning, Summer Night”.

Bradbury

A very informative presentation by the late Ray Bradbury in which he talks about the importance of metaphor in short stories:

Thanks again to Calmgrove for introducing me to Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes”.

UKLG notes

Thanks to calmgrove, I’m seriously considering a series of pictures (and perhaps music) inspired by the writings of Ursula K Le Guin. I thought I might share some of the notes I’ve been taking from “A Wizard of Earthsea“. Apologies for the untidiness, handwriting never was my forte.

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Picture of vocabulary from “Wizard of Earthsea”. Copyright Ursula K Le Guin.

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Also, this from the UKLG website, looks fascinating (though, as always, I’m somewhat late for the party): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arwencurry/worlds-of-ursula-k-le-guin

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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