bookish posts

Favorite Authors: Terry Pratchett

I was planning to write a favorite authors post today and talk about Connie Willis. And I will definitely talk about Connie Willis soon, because she is wonderful, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to talk about Terry Pratchett a little bit.

I’m actually a very late-comer to Pratchett fandom. I read a few of the main Discworld books in 2009, but I bounced pretty hard off of them and decided that Pratchett might not be for me. Then for a reason I can’t now remember, I decided to try the Tiffany Aching books in 2012 and I loved them. And then several people told me to try the City Watch books and I tried Night Watch and cried a lot.

I still bounce pretty hard off of the main Discworld books (I WANT to like them, but something about the satire? irreverence? I can’t quite put it into words? doesn’t quite work for me) but I love both the Tiffany Aching and Watch books so much that they’re one of those series I retcon into thinking I’ve read them for far longer than I actually have. They’re a wonderful mix of trenchant and kind. I’m so grateful for his stories and so sad that they’re finished.

Favorite books by Terry Pratchett
1. A Hat Full of Sky
2. Night Watch
3. I Shall Wear Midnight
4. The Fifth Elephant
5. The Wee Free Men

All of my Terry Pratchett reviews
Mort, briefly (2009)
Reaper Man, briefly (2009)
Good Omens, briefly (2011)
The Wee Free Men, briefly (2012)
A Hat Full of Sky, briefly (2012)
The Wintersmith, briefly (2012)
I Shall Wear Midnight, briefly (2012)
Night Watch (2013)
Feet of Clay, briefly (2013)
Jingo, briefly (2013)
The Fifth Elephant, briefly (2013)
Thud!, briefly (2014)

bookish posts

February releases I’m excited about

monstrouspaper or plasticthis side of homebeastkeeper

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Dragons at Crumbling Castle by Terry Pratchett
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
Paper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes
This Side of Home by Renée Watson
Displacement by Lucy Knisley

displacementdragonskaren memorya darker shade of magic

bookish posts monthly book list reviews

February 2014 reading list

Books I’ve already talked about
Picture Book Monday
Engines of the Broken World by Jason Vanhee
And All the Stars by Andrea K Host
The Bearkeeper’s Daughter by Gillian Bradshaw
Imperial Purple by Gillian Bradshaw
The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Night at the Vulcan by Ngaio Marsh

Other books
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle: This is a delightful middle grade book about a boy who wants to be on Broadway more than anything else. There’s a lot of heart and a lot of complexity to its portrayals of the different characters. The sequel is out now, and I can’t wait to read it!

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu: There are shades of Pinocchio in this middle grade fantasy, but it’s not as straightforward as a retelling. It does have a lot to say about what makes people ‘real’ and the lengths they’ll go to when they’re afraid.

The Wagered Widow by Patricia Veryan: Anna recommended Veryan as a good Heyer read-alike, and since those are few and far between, I jumped on this immediately. I enjoyed The Wagered Widow quite a bit! Although it didn’t reach quite the same level as my favorite Heyers, I will definitely be reading more of Veryan’s books.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynne Barnes: Quickest summary? YA version of Criminal Minds, only slightly less creepy. I’m not sure I completely bought the solution to the mystery, but I liked the characters and it’s an intriguing concept. Definitely a quick, enjoyable read. (Plus a love triangle that did not hugely annoy me!)

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee: A middle grade retelling of “The Snow Queen”, sort of. I liked the way Foxlee played with the original story, while not simply telling HC Andersen over again. She certainly has a gift for resonant prose, and the characters were nicely drawn. I did spot the Big Bad very quickly, but I’m not the book’s target audience.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Several of my friends really, really loved this book, and so I had very high expectations for it. Unfortunately, something kept me from completely loving it, even though on paper it’s about the most Maureen-y book there ever was. I haven’t managed to put my finger on what that is, other than the fact that I never connected with the characters as I think I was meant to. Regardless, I’ll definitely be trying Hodge’s next book, because she’s clearly a gifted writer.

Snuff by Terry Pratchett: The last City Watch book, sniff. I liked the subtle Austen homage, and Sam in the country. The rest was fine, but didn’t quite click for me the way the best of the other books in the series did.

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando: I very much enjoyed this YA book about two girls who are about to become college roommates. I liked their different voices and the way their relationship went through ups and downs. I also thought that Lauren’s family was a nice depiction of a bigger family that isn’t shown as rednecks or the Duggars.

Plus, I wanted to highlight my post on Fairy Tales and Retellings again, because I’m really proud of that one.


Recent Reading 1-28-14

I’ve been sick the past few days and not up to much, so here are a few thoughts about books I’ve read recently.

Arrow by R.J. Anderson: Faery Rebels #3. I really like this series, and especially the sense that the world keeps expanding with each new book. I also like the way the characters think a lot about big things without feeling false or preachy.

Thud! by Terry Pratchett: Nearly the last book in the City Watch series, alas. I liked it a lot (and especially enjoyed Young Sam’s favorite book), but it doesn’t have the gravitas or emotional heft of Night Watch. On the other hand, I wasn’t expecting it to.

Scepter of the Ancients by Derek Landy: First Skulduggery Pleasant book. I had tried this one a few months ago and hadn’t quite gotten into it, but this time I really enjoyed Stephanie and Skulduggery. It’s one for a very specific kind of reader, and that reader will likely LOVE it.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel) by Ellen Raskin: I love The Westing Game, so when I had the chance to read another Raskin book, I seized it. Sadly, I found that MDoL(IMN) lacked a lot of the charm of The Westing Game, leaving instead merely a rather clever puzzle. However, it did occur to me that Raskin is a nearly perfect recommendation for readers who have reached the end of the Lemony Snicket books and are sad there are no more.

bookish posts monthly book list reviews

November 2013 reading list

Books I’ve already talked about
Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood by Abby McDonald
A suggested Diana Wynne Jones reading list
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Cherry Money Baby by John Cusick
Dr.Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos
The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

Other books
Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud: This is a lovely, spooky read. I really enjoyed the interaction between the three main characters, although I occasionally wished that the descriptions of George had not fallen into problematic tropes. Aside from that, this is pure enjoyment. Stroud is sometimes hit or miss with me, but this is a keeper. Can’t wait for the sequels!

Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan: Short stories from Lanagan. I think I like her short stories, since her writing is often like dark chocolate: intense, bitter, and great in small doses. “The Point of Roses” and “Ferrymen” were, I think, my favorites.

Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett: I started to warm up to the Watch books with this one. Sam started to be more competent and I liked the way Pratchett used the golem tradition.

The Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand: I like the way Florand plays with the themes she uses. Here, her heroine hates Paris, for good reasons, and hates desserts, also for good reason. As usual, there’s a subtle weaving in of fairy tale/mythological themes, and some lovely writing.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: A Cybils book. I liked this one, but not as much as others have. I never quite managed to engage with the characters or the story, and I felt a bit lost as to the setting. I didn’t dislike it, but it never quite clicked either.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller: A Cybils book. I liked this one a lot, even though the plot summary sounds a bit ridiculous. The glimpse into Greek sponge-diving culture in Florida was nice, and Callie is a gutsy, wonderful main character.

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu: A Cybils book. I wasn’t super wild about this one. I appreciated some aspects of the depiction, but the relationship between Beck and Bea never quite worked for me, somehow. And I felt overall that the characters were so completely defined by their diagnosis, which bothered me.

Mrs. Pollifax at the Hong Kong Station by Dorothy Gilman: More Mrs. Pollifax. Dated, and more than a little ridiculous, but lots of fun.

Jingo by Terry Pratchett: I loved this one. Nobby and Fred Colon, Sam Vimes really coming into his own (wild cheers!), 71 Hour Ali. The way Pratchett sets up expectations and then deftly turns them on their heads.

The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett: Loved this one, loved the way we get more of a sense of who Sybil is. My only complaint is that this means I’m getting close to the end of the Watch books. Nooooo.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina: A Cybils book. The best book about bullying I’ve ever read. In fact, it’s not even fair to call it that, really. There are no easy answers, no adult judgment making it clear that if only you did this, the problem would be solved. Medina captures the helplessness and insensibility of bullying, while also creating some great characters.

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr: A Cybils book. I loved Lucy and her relationship to music, her search to find the thing to fill that gap in herself. I hated Will. I loved the way Lucy’s perceptions of her family and of herself began to change, becoming more complex and faceted. It’s one I’m still thinking about a few days after I read it.

The Lampfish of Twill by Janet Taylor Lisle: A middle grade title. I liked a lot of it–the worldbuilding, the descriptions of fishing and the sea. Ultimately it felt a little too precious for me to love it completely, but it’s a nice quiet fantasy for kids who like that sort of thing.

This is How I Find Her by Sara Polsky: A Cybils book. I wasn’t sure what I would think of this one, but I ended up loving it. Sophie and her vulnerability, her fears about what her mother’s life means for her, her realization that she can’t do it alone–it was lovely stuff and I actually got choked up at the end.

Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavirel Kay: Sequel to Sailing to Sarantium. I loved the way Kay structured the book, and the world, and the characters. I was a little dubious about the very very end, which needed a bit more set-up to work for me. But overall, LOVE these two.