A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Monday, June 19, 2006

Vacation Book Review

As is my want, I took along some recreational reading materials on my vacation. For this trip, I was very jazzed to have found a new (well, relatively-- Sept. 2005) Terry Pratchett novel at the library. Sweet.

If you have not read Terry Pratchett, you should. If you have read Terry Pratchett, well, then you don't need me to tell you how good his stuff is-- but rest assured that THUD! ranks right up there with the best of his books.

If you have not read Terry Pratchett you should because his writing ranges from sublimely satirical to laugh out loud funny-- and I mean real laugh out loud funny, not this crappy lol substitute that's being bantered around these days. You should read his books because they are smart, wise and reflect human nature in all of its glory and all its ridiculousness. You should read his books because they make you think and they make you feel and they make you laugh and they even, sometimes, make you cry. And they have trolls, dwarves, gnomes, golems, magic, orangutans, cows, death, gods, dragons, cabbages and all sorts of other things.

You should read them because they are, quite possibly, the best books I have ever read. Period. End of story.

Okay, not quite. A quick review of THUD!, Pratchett's most recent work. It ranks up there with the best of his work (think I mentioned that already). A Sam Vines/City Guard book, THUD! pokes fun, both gently and not so much, at The Da Vinci Code, the stupidity of fundamentalist religion in general, the stupidity of fundamentalist Islam in particular, the stupidity of mobs, the dangers of unchecked power, and gangs of all sorts. It also highlights the importance of family-- including one of the most touching scenes I have ever read in a fantasy novel, maybe in any novel regardless genre-- and both the importance and dangers of diversity and the inter-mingling of cultures.

There is male bonding, there is female bonding, there is even werewolf and vampire bonding. Mystery, intrigue, politics. All there. All pulled together with a grace and ease and humor that is simply phenomenal and simply delightful. Finally, and very importantly, it highlights the importance of having somebody watch the watcher-- a very apropos and vital point at this juncture of human history.

Read it. Savor it. And think on it.


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