Tag: Terry Pratchett

Review – A Slip of the Keyboard

Posted August 25, 2015 by Nikki in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry PratchettA Slip of the Keyboard, Terry Pratchett

This is a collection of Terry Pratchett’s non-fictional writing, including talks, articles, introductions and opinion pieces. It does include ‘Shaking Hands With Death’ as well, if you wanted to read that without actually buying the separate book with it in; this is technically better value for money, if you’re interested in all of the pieces. Most of them are interesting; one or two are odd without context — I haven’t read Nation recently enough, for example, to really appreciate his commentary on the writing of it, and the stage adaptation that was made.

If you’ve made the mistake of thinking of Sir Pratchett as like some ‘jolly old elf’, then Neil Gaiman’s introduction will begin to separate you from that notion, and then Pratchett’s own words will add to it. He had a burning anger which drove him in his writing and his activism, an anger at things that were wrong, an anger at the disease that was taking away parts of himself. He writes about that movingly several times; other essays talk about reading, learning, writing, the oddnesses of being an author…

I enjoyed reading it, though it’s not something I can see myself reading again. Worth it for the clear-eyed view on assisted dying and the kind of legislation we need on that.

Rating: 4/5

Tags: , , ,

Divider

Review – Shaking Hands With Death

Posted August 16, 2015 by Nikki in Reviews / 5 Comments

Cover of Shaking Hands with Death by Terry PratchettShaking Hands With Death, Terry Pratchett

This short book contains an essay based very closely on a speech Terry Pratchett gave, with the help of Tony Robinson, about assisted dying and, more widely, the end of life, autonomy, and dying in the way you choose. It’s a subject pretty close to my heart, as it’s always been a subject I felt was important to debate about, and all my family are aware of my wishes if I can’t make decisions for myself anymore.

The problem is that gap where you can make the decision, but you need help to carry it through successfully. It’s not just a passing whim or a cry for help: it’s a genuine feeling that to end it now would be wise, and that there’s no hope of going anywhere but downhill; not a decision based solely on mood, obviously, but one which takes into account medical realities. I think people should be able to make that choice and, having settled things the way they need to, follow through. I have always maintained that I would rather a friend or family member die suddenly than slowly decline, particularly when that decline includes a loss of mental function. Were a family member of mine to ask me, I’d strongly consider agreeing to help them. I’d have no ethical objections, as long as they had capacity at the point of making the decision.

So I’ve always been strongly in support of Pratchett’s decisions around this, and his campaign for a change in the law. Given that, I’m not sure the extent to which someone else would find Pratchett’s arguments convincing. Still, I thought his arguments were clear and direct, without sentimentality but with feeling. I teared up a couple of times, reading this, and had the strong urge to find and hand my mother a copy so we could talk about it.

Rating: 5/5

Tags: , , ,

Divider

Stacking the Shelves

Posted August 8, 2015 by Nikki in Reviews / 16 Comments

It’s been a bit of a spree week for me again, I’m afraid. I’m going to blame the heady feeling of getting paid for freelance work several times this week!

Bought

Cover of The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin Cover of The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac Cover of A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett

Cover of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch Cover of Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch Cover of Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Cover of Shadows by Robin McKinley Cover of Burning Water by Mercedes Lackey Cover of A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer

Cover of Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn Cover of Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn Cover of Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn

So excited to fiiiiinally have my hands on The Fifth SeasonThe Rights of the Reader was pretty interesting; I’ve been meaning to read it for a while. The Scott Lynch books were just because I didn’t have a physical copy of any of them, though I am intending a reread! The Lackey book is for a challenge to read a book published in the year I was born… The Kitty Norville books came as a bundle from The Works, always worth checking there for good deals like that.

Comics

Cover of Rat Queens vol 2 Cover of The Wicked + The Divine vol 2 Ms Marvel cover

Rat Queens… well, I wasn’t sure about the first volume, but I have been encouraged to try the second, so. I’ll try. The Wicked + The Divine was gorgeous in the first volume, so is probably just as stunning. And this issue of Ms Marvel is the one we’ve been waiting for, really: the team-up between Captain and Ms Marvel.

Library

Cover of Soul Music by Terry Pratchett 4788658 Cover of Built by Animals by Hansell

Cover of Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie Cover of The Stainless Steel Rat omnibus by Harry Harrison

A somewhat random grab bag of library stuff, really. I blame The Stainless Steel Rat on Ryan from SpecFic Junkie, of course, and Soul Music on Cardiff’s SF/F bookclub — I figured I’d read it even though I won’t make it to the meeting.

What’s everyone else been getting their hands on? Anything particularly exciting?

Tags: , , , , ,

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday

Posted January 20, 2015 by in General / 6 Comments

This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is a freebie, so I’m gonna go with ‘top ten desert island books’. These are the books I’d take for when my ereader runs out of charge, which would happen all too soon…

  1. The Dark is Rising sequence, Susan Cooper. It comes in an omnibus, so this only has to count as one. I can’t imagine life without this series at least once a year.
  2. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien. I am positive I could read this over and over again and get different things out each time.
  3. The Earthsea Quartet, Ursula Le Guin. A long-term favourite of mine, and even better, it’s been a while since I read it.
  4. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith. Another one I periodically reread; I love the development of Cassandra’s character, and I don’t know a first and last line that stick better in my head.
  5. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay. I don’t think the Fionavar Tapestry books come in an omnibus, so I’d have this instead, although those might be my actual favourites.
  6. The Inheritance Trilogy, N.K. Jemisin. Just come out in an omnibus! I love these books so much, and I think they’d stand up to more rereading.
  7. Among Others, Jo Walton. This book means too much to me to be left behind.
  8. The Complete Brandstetter, Joseph Hansen. I think I’d enjoy rereading these, and there’s plenty of them in this omnibus.
  9. Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett. Because I think I’d need a touch of humour now and again.
  10. The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison. I’m taking a bit of a chance on this, as I’ve only read it once so far, but I’m pretty sure I could enjoy reading it over and over, imagining myself into the world, etc.

Looking forward to seeing what other people have done with the freebie theme, now!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Divider

Review – Good Omens

Posted October 6, 2014 by in Reviews / 10 Comments

Cover of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry PratchettGood Omens, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett

It’s been a while since I read Good Omens, since I rather overread it when I was about seventeen. It kept my spirits up during boring free periods at school, and let me feel like I was really cool by reading it (as cool as I ever got at school, which wasn’t very, because I read too much and answered questions in class — you know the type). It was fun returning to it now: the jokes and puns are familiar by now, and I greeted each character like an old friend. I still adore Aziraphale and would now like to crochet him a sweater, and perhaps I would give Crowley a pot plant to terrify.

Generally, this is an inventive and funny novel, and I love the way they choose to portray angels, demons, and the general struggle between them. I also love the way they choose to wrap things up: Adam’s moment of choice is perfect, his decision, the small ways the world changes afterward. The two authors worked well together, for my money, and created something that is more than either of them would be apart. Some parts are obviously one or the other, but not many.

In the latest ebook edition, there’s also a short interview with them and a piece from each about how they met the other. They didn’t write those blind, without talking to the other, and so somehow those bits still have a bit of the style of the other, and they tend to agree on events. I love the image it gives of them, though, ringing each other up excitedly to contribute bits of the story — there’s a kind of joy in creation here that I find it impossible not to appreciate.

Maybe one thing I could do without is the constant harping on Aziraphale being ‘a Southern pansy’ and the like. It might be funny once or twice, illustrative of the type of person (angel) Aziraphale is, but this time through I started rolling my eyes at the gay jokes. Particularly as I recall Gaiman and Pratchett kind of denying the undercurrent between Crowley and Aziraphale that becomes completely apparent if you start taking notice of how often everyone assumes it.

It’s like someone said to me in university: “You know when people keep saying, ‘oh, if we keep doing this people will think we’re a couple?’ Most of the time, it really means, ‘I wish we were a couple and I want people to think that’.” Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship is highlighted so many times that that’s the effect, for me.

Rating: 5/5

Tags: , , , ,

Divider

Top Ten Tuesday

Posted September 23, 2014 by in General / 4 Comments

This week’s top ten list prompt from The Broke and The Bookish is “Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list”. Which is a little difficult for me, because I don’t really sort my books into appropriate seasons or anything. I just have a perpetual, massive, glorious to read list. But here are some books I’m looking forward to getting round to…

  1. Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal. This is actually a reread of a book I wasn’t wild about the first time round, but now I have this urge to reread it and read the rest of the series, and I suspect I’ll like it more this time around. We’ll see, but I’m hopeful.
  2. Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett. This is a reread, too. I know I’m going to love this one because I always have before, though I somewhat over-read it so that I could virtually quote it, and thus have given it a couple of years’ rest.
  3. River of Stars, by Guy Gavriel Kay. I’ve had this since it came out, but it’s at the end of a long list of rereads of GGK’s work, so I can watch his craft developing. I started pretty well but stalled on A Song for Arbonne, which is funny, because I do like that book and it covers exactly the sort of historical period I’m very familiar with and have done work on. So hopefully I’ll get through them all and get onto this new one sometime this fall.
  4. Friday’s Child, by Georgette Heyer. Because I haven’t read it yet, and it’s Heyer.
  5. Blindsight, by Peter Watts. Because it’s been recommended to me a couple of times, I got a free copy, and it’s been mentioned quite a bit in one of my book groups.
  6. Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie. Because it’s about bloody time.
  7. Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean. Ditto. And the opening, with starting at university and settling in and all of that, it seems a good time of year for that, even if I’m not a student this time.
  8. Possession, by A.S. Byatt. Speaking of scholarship and stuff, I’ve been meaning to read this for a long time.
  9. Little, Big, by John Crowley. I’ve had this book around far too long, and I’ve been meaning to read it. I just… never seem to have found the time. About time I fixed that.
  10. Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson. I generally enjoy Sanderson’s work, and this one includes superheroes. So very sold.

What about everyone else? Comment, link me, you know the drill.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Divider

Stacking the Shelves

Posted September 20, 2014 by in General / 18 Comments

I have lots of excuses for a big haul this week, I promise. Reacquiring books I want to reread but have given away, ARC requests being granted all at once, book vouchers, etc. I won’t bore you with the excuses, but I promise, I’m still actually 0/10 on my until-November acquisitions allowance, and even my partner agrees. I will probably ruin that tomorrow, going shopping with my sister. Ah well!

Library

Cover of Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn Cover of The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth Cover of Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer

Because hey, Georgette Heyer. I’ve actually read two of these already — The Wild Girl is the only one I haven’t touched yet.

ARCs/review copies

Cover of Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor Cover of Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes Cover of The Human Age by Diane Ackerman

Cover of The Galaxy Game, by Karen Lord Cover of The Amazing Tale of Anna Himmel Cover of Bad Grrlz' Guide to Reality by Pat Murphy

Cover of Fair Play, by Josh Lanyon Cover of The Lord Won't Mind by Gordon Merrick Cover of The Younger Gods by Michael R. Underwood

A very mixed batch, I know! Some of them I really didn’t expect to be approved for, like Lauren Beukes’ Broken Monsters. I still haven’t read The Shining Girls… ach. But yeah, some I’m very excited about here: Josh Lanyon always works as brain candy for me, though I need to pick up Fair Game first… Such a hardship, heh.

Reacquired to reread

Cover of The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan Cover of The Novice by Trudi Canavan Cover of The High Lord by Trudi Canavan

Cover of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder Cover of Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder Cover of Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Cover of Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb Cover of Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb Cover of Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb

Cover of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

I’ve enjoyed Trudi Canavan and Maria V. Snyder’s work as light reading whenever I’ve tried it, but I gave away all my copies a while ago. Now I have them on my Kobo! And Robin Hobb, well, I haven’t given away my copies of her books, but I haven’t got the heart to get my dad to drag them all down from where I grew up to where I live now, either. Besides, having copies on my Kobo is no bad thing. Ditto for Good Omens, plus, I was reading my paperback copy to bits.

And finally, what you were all waiting for…

New acquisitions

Cover of Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear Cover of Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas Cover of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Yep, I finally gave into the hype. Sarah J. Maas and Stephanie Perkins better be as much fun as you guys tell me! Mind you, Throne of Glass was only 99p on the Kobo Store, so it’s not like it was a major investment, particularly for a book everyone seems to adore.

What’s everyone else been getting their hands on? Link me, chat to me, let me know what you’re thinking. (Aside from the bit about my blatant addiction to books. You don’t know the half of it, guys.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Divider