Monday, March 18, 2013

What I'm Reading

(Graphic snagged from Mother Daughter Book Reviews.)

Unlike my friends at Eschaton, I don't spend my spare time reading books explaining our current economic and/or political situation.  After all the newspaper articles I read and all the blogs I visit during the day, if I did that kind of reading, I'd open a vein and be done with it.

Instead, I read fantasy.  Not mindless junk, however:  good solid intellect-stretching stuff that makes me smile in appreciation for the imaginative and creative powers of good story tellers.

Right now, I'm re-reading some of Terry Pratchett's Disc World novels.  The thing about Sir Terry is that his work may be fantasy based, but it is primarily satire.  It also helps that he is fall-out-of-your-chair-laughing funny.  I've needed that, especially lately.

I've just finished Lords and Ladies, which is pretty much a stand-alone book but which introduces the witches (Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Oggs, and Magrat Garlick) and some of the wizards from the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork (including Ridcully, the chancellor, and Ook, the librarian who was turned into an orangutan when a spell went bad and likes it so much he has chosen to remain an orangutan).

The characters are deftly drawn and memorable.  Granny is a practical witch, one who nonetheless has some pretty wondrous powers.  Nanny is a bawdy witch, one that Smolett and Fielding would have been proud of.  And Magrat (whose mother had a spelling problem when it came to naming her) is, well, kind of weak when it comes to witchery, yet when push comes to shove is a remarkably strong woman.

The plot involves the breaking into the human world by the fairies.  In this country, fairies and elves have been Disney-fied, but not so in the rest of the world.  The Lords and Ladies, the Gentry, are other and are frightening as Yeats reminded us.  It takes an enormous effort to drive them back into their own world and to save the human world.  And Pratchett has a helluva good time accomplishing that.

It is that closeness of the wondrous and the marvelous to the mundane that hooks me every time.  Right now, given the fact that I've fallen into the twin categories of "old" and "poor,"  I need that to keep going.

Which brings me to my final point.  Right now times are tougher than usual.  If you can help out with a little donation, please hit the PayPal button above.  I would be grateful, as would my cat.



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