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What are you currently reading?
Currently still reading Their Eyes Were Watching God, which I hadn't picked up in a while but did read several chapters of it last night. I'm just about halfway through now.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Raising Steam! Finally! Wow, what a slog. Considering it has my favorite character (Moist) and is my favorite type of Discworld story (new technology), it's sad to say this is probably my least favorite Discworld novel and I would only recommend reading it for completeness' sake. I have heard that the final Tiffany Aching book was better edited, so I do think I'll give that a go at some point, but reading this just made me sad for Pratchett and sad for Discworld that this was the last book in such a great series. Even setting aside the fact that his illness was almost certainly affecting his writing skills, it just feels so much like an early draft.

Once I no longer had that hanging over my head, I dove right into a new book and ended up finishing it up in just four days! That book was Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens. It's the first book in a murder mystery series set in a 1930s English boarding school. The narrator, Hazel Wong, is from Hong Kong and has been sent to boarding school in England. She and her best friend Daisy Wells have formed their own detective society, but until the mysterious death of one of their teachers, they've never had a real mystery to solve. I really enjoyed this a lot and have already loaded up the next book on my phone.

What do you think you'll read next?
Finish up Their Eyes Were Watching God (I'm going to try and read a bit each day; as it's a physical book rather than ebook, it's easier to neglect it) and read Arsenic for Tea, the next Wells & Wong mystery.
torachan: maru the cat sitting in a bucket (maru)
Title: Snuff
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 416 pages
Book Number/Goal: 3/10 for 2012
My Rating: 3/5

Summary: When Vimes takes a holiday to his wife's family manor in the country, he's expecting to be bored out of his skull, but when a goblin girl is killed, he finds himself with an investigation on his hands.

Review: This was enjoyable, but I just didn't love it. The theme of a species previously looked down upon and treated badly by humans and everyone else becoming more accepted has been used in many Discworld novels and it's really geting old. If the surrounding story is good enough, then I'm happy to go with it, but I just really found the story lacking in this. I kept putting it down and not reading for days or weeks because it just wasn't keeping me interested. I really like Vimes (I used to say he was my favorite character, but that's now Moist), but Vimes on his own is much less fun than Vimes with Vetinari and/or the rest of the Watch. I like Sybill all right, but I really dislike how anything with Vimes and Sybill together turns into all this stuff about gender stereotypes and "oh those women, how can we ever understand their ways!?" I guess that's part of Vimes' characterisation, since Pratchett doesn't do that with other female characters, but it's not something I enjoy and it makes me dislike any time Vimes is with Sybill (which was a lot of this novel). I do like Young Sam, but he wasn't in this very much. And I love Willikins. He was probably the best part.
torachan: charlotte from bad machinery saying "oh the mysteries of the moth farm" (oh the mysteries of the moth farm)
Title: I Shall Wear Midnight
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 368 pages
Book Number/Goal: 8/50 for 2011
My Rating: 5/5

Amazon Summary: This is the final adventure of the young witch, Tiffany Aching, and her obnoxious, fawning, and yet lovable small blue companions, the Nac Mac Feegles. In many ways it's a coming-of-age novel, as Tiffany is now on her own. Known as "The Hag O'the Hills," she spends her time tending to the messy, menial, everyday things that no one else will take care of, such as fixing bones or easing the pain of a dying man. But as she tries to serve the people of the Chalk hills, she senses a growing distrust of her, and a loss of respect for witches in general. Along with the Nac Mac Feegles, she has to seek out the source of this growing fear. Tiffany discovers she may have been responsible for waking an evil force when she kissed the winter in Wintersmith. The Cunning Man is in need of a host body and is searching for Tiffany.

Review: I missed the other junior witches and wished there was more of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, but I loved Mrs Proust and Letitia and especially Preston. The actual story with the Cunning Man didn't grab me that much, though. I think of the four, Wintersmith and A Hat Full of Sky are my favorites (especially A Hat Full of Sky). One thing I really didn't like about this one is that I hate when the plot of something requires everyone to hate/misunderstand the main character. I actually find it really hard to read. So all the parts where people were being affected by the Cunning Man and turning against Tiffany were really unpleasant. (Also the stuff with Roland.)
torachan: (Default)
Title: Wintersmith
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 295 pages
Book Number/Goal: 7/50 for 2011
My Rating: 5/5

Jacket Summary: When witch-in-training Tiffany Aching accidentally interrupts the Dance of the Seasons and awakens the interest of the elemental spirit of Winter, she requires the help of the six-inch-high, sword-wielding, sheep-stealing Wee Free Men to put the seasons aright.

Review: These Tiffany Aching books just keep getting better and better. I loved Miss Treason and her Boffo, and Annagramma. And omg Horace! Horace was the best! And I'm liking Roland, too. (And of course Tiffany and Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, as well.)
torachan: (Default)
Title: A Hat Full of Sky
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 350 pages
Book Number/Goal: 6/50 for 2011
My Rating: 5/5

Jacket Summary: A real witch can ride a broomstick, cast spells and make a proper shamble out of anything. Eleven-year-old Tiffany Aching can't. A real witch never casually steps out of her body, leaving it empty. Tiffany does. And there's something just waiting for a handy body to take over. Something ancient and horrible, which can't die. Now she's got to fight back and learn to be a real witch really quickly, with the help of arch-witch Mistress Weatherwax and the truly amazing Miss Level... 'Crivens! And us!' Oh, yes. And the Nac Mac Feegle - the rowdiest, toughest, smelliest bunch of fairies ever to be thrown out of Fairyland for being drunk at two in the afternoon. They'll fight anything. And even they might not be enough...

Review: I liked this a lot more than the first one. I hadn't been planning to read it all in one day, but I read the first hundred pages on the bus yesterday, then kept reading a chapter here and there when I got home, and finally just ignored everything else to finish it. :p I loved Miss Level, and of course Granny Weatherwax.
torachan: maru the cat sitting in a bucket (maru)
Title: The Wee Free Men
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 318 pages
Book Number/Goal: 1/50 for 2011
My Rating: 5/5

Jacket Summary: There's trouble on the Aching farm - nightmares spreading down from the hills. And Tiffany Aching's little brother has been stolen away. To get him back, Tiffany has a weapon (a frying pan), her granny's magic book (well, Diseases of the Sheep) - and the Nac Mac Feegle, the Weee Free Men, the fightin', thievin', tiny blue-skinned pictsies who were thrown out of Fairyland for being Drunk and Disorderly...

Review: I liked this a lot, but then I would have been surprised if I hadn't. It's Pratchett, after all. Although it is a Discworld book, it didn't really feel Discworldish to me, and I can't really explain why. I had the same feeling with The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. It's not just that it's mostly cut-off from other Discworld locations and characters... Anyway, it's a fun book and I'm looking forward to reading the rest in the series.
torachan: (Default)
Title: Nation
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 367 pages
Book Number/Goal: 1/50 for 2010
My Rating: 4/5

Mau is the only one left after his entire village is washed away by a giant wave. The wave also washes up Daphne, who is the only survivor of a shipwreck, and the two of them have to learn to survive on their own and to help rebuild the island once other survivors start arriving.

I was hesitant about this because Pratchett is one of those white writers who tries to write about race but doesn't realise how faily he sometimes is about it. And man, I almost set this down for good quite a few times because it seemed like it was heading to a bad place. But in the end, while there were some things that didn't sit right with me (everything European/white is pretty much real/historical, but Mau and his people and that whole part of the world are made up; I could really do without any more cannibal natives in stories, even if they are the badguys and there are plenty of non-cannibal people of color; though the book is anti-colonialist, there is still some "what these people need is a honky" that slips through; etc), I'm glad I stuck with it because he totally turned around what seemed like a major fail.

I didn't enjoy this as much as his Discworld stuff, but I did like it a lot and thought Mau and Daphne were great (and I loved that they both got equal pagetime, too, so it wasn't all about the white girl, but it also wasn't all about the boy).
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Title: Unseen Academicals
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 400 pages
Book Number/Goal: 71/75 for 2009
My Rating: 5/5

Ponder Stibbons discovers that the university will lose a large bequest if they don't have a football team. The wizards are unsurprisingly reluctant, but when he tells them it will affect the food budget, they decide football can't be that bad.

In addition to the wizards we all know and love, this introduces several new characters who work at the university, with three of them (Glenda, Trev, and Nutt) being the main POV characters. There are also several other new minor characters and I especially liked Pepe, the dwarf who might not be a dwarf.

This was a bit of a slow starter, but once it got going, I found it really hard to put down. I could have wished for a bit more Vetinari, but I loved him when he did show up. I loved the new characters, especially Glenda, who was awesome and a nice surprise, as I was expecting a book about the university to be a mostly male cast. Which it was, but she was the character we spent the most time with.

The whole thing with Nutt was kind of awkward. I liked him a lot and the history was neat, but I wish he'd stop the racism metaphors.
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Title: Truckers
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 288 pages
Book Number/Goal: 38/75 for 2009
My Rating: 4/5

The story is about a group of nomes (like gnomes, but without a g!) who hitch a ride on a truck and find themselves in a department store, where they meet other nomes who have lived all their lives in the store and believe it to be the whole world. Then the store goes out of business and they all have to find a new home.

I've never read any non-Discworld stuff by Pratchett (other than Good Omens), and was kind of meh on the concept of "nomes", but I ended up really enjoying it.

Title: Diggers
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 224 pages
Book Number/Goal: 39/75 for 2009
My Rating: 3.5/5

After the nomes make their escape from the store, they crash the truck in an abandoned quarry and make their home there. But the quarry isn't abandoned for long, and when the humans start making plans to reopen it, the nomes once more have to find somewhere else to live.

This one felt slower than the first, but I still enjoyed it.

Title: Wings
Author: Terry Pratchett
Number of Pages: 215 pages
Book Number/Goal: 40/75 for 2009
My Rating: 4.5/5

While Grimma and the rest of the nomes are trying to make the best of it in the quarry, Masklin, Angalo, and Gruder head to Florida with the Thing to try and get their spaceship back.

This was definitely the best of the three. Diggers suffers from middle book syndrome for sure. It was kind of slow and laggy. This was much more exciting. None of these were anywhere near as good as the Discworld stuff, but I did enjoy them a lot.
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I never read any of these young adult Discworld novels, because, well, they were YA, and they weren't "proper" Discworld novels, but recently I decided to give them a try anyway.

This is the first of the YA discworld novels (though I don't think the other ones are connected?) and I'm honestly not sure why it wasn't put out as just part of the main series. Sure, it doesn't have any of the familiar characters (except a cameo by Death and the Death of Rats), but there have been other Discworld books with entirely new characters. The reading level didn't feel any different, either, so I don't know. Was it just because Malicia and Keith were children?

Anyway! I'm glad I decided to give it a try as I really enjoyed it. I loved Maurice and the rats (especially Dangerous Beans) and Malicia. I have the rest either on my BookMooch wishlist or already on their way, so that will tide me over til the next Moist book comes out, whenever that may be.

Also, this was my eighteenth book this year! I have two other books in progress (both around halfway done) and a third that I plan to read as well, so that should actually put me over my goal of twenty books for the year. (I'm also reading two more manga to give me an even 200 vols there.)
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I had vaguely known this was out, and I think even put it on my Amazon wishlist for Christmas, but then we were at the library the other day donating another batch of books, and I remembered to look for it and there it was! So yay for not having to spend money.

Of course I couldn't help but read it with the fact of his Alzheimer's diagnosis in the back of my mind. :( Pratchett is one of my top five favorite authors and I just love Discworld so, so much, and argh!

This was really good, though. I loved Going Postal as a one-off, and I'm thrilled that Moist von Lipwig has become a character with his own series (the next Discworld book is going to be about Moist, too). There was lots of Vetinari, but very little Vimes. That's okay, though. There are lots of Vimes books, and I love Moist almost as much as Vimes and Vetinari. I really love Adora Belle, too, and Gladys.

More with spoilers )

Other books I picked up at the library:

School's Out by Christophe Dufossé
What You Have Left by Will Allison
No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July

I have never heard of any of these people or these books, they just happened to catch my eye on the new books shelf. I shall report on them when/if I read them. Anyone familiar with any of them?

ETA: I finally remembered to change the title of my journal to a quote from the Simpsons last week. Duffman says "I'm just giving it to your wife. She is gonna be sore tomorrow." Perfect title and subtitle, Y/Y?
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Well, I didn't finish my work for today, but that's all right because there's only a couple more minutes of footage and then I just have to run through and get the timing, so it'll be done in the morning.

I did, however, finish Night Watch. Oh God, Terry Pratchett never fails to amaze me. That was another absolutely spectacular book. I remember when Men at Arms first came out and I didn't like the Watch. I liked the old characters, Rincewind and Death and the witches. I didn't care for Vimes and Carrot and all the other watchmen. Well, I'm still not so keen on Carrot, I mean he's OK and all, but eh. But Vimes! The man just rocks.

And the end of this book had me absolutely drooling with desire to read more Vimes/Vetinari slash. Cause Vetinari is just so damned clever, and he figured out the whole thing, and just squeee! And he was so cool as a young assassin, too. He killed the old Patrician and hell, he probably killed that new Patrician, too, later on.
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Yesterday and today, in between work I've been reading Night Watch. Now when I first heard about this, about the plot, I thought it'll be one of those Discworld novels that I like, but I don't love. I'll like it because it's Vimes and God, but I love Vimes, but I won't love it, because it's taking place in the past and that means no Patrician.

But no! There is! Vetinari is a young member of the Assassin's Guild and he is oh, so very intrigued by Vimes and I am all over feeling the Vimes/Vetinari love here. Gah!

Er...but aside from my own slashy prejudices, the story's really great, too. There's this magical thingey that sends Vimes back into the past and Lu Tze the time monk makes an appearance! Woot!


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