Book Review – Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

Interesting Times is the 17th novel in Terry Pratchett’s comic fantasy Discworld series and the 5th novel in the “Rincewind” sub-series. The Patrician of the city of Ankh-Morpork has received a vexing message from the reclusive Agatean Empire, simply reading “Send Us Instantly The Great Wizzard.” Tasking Archchancellor Ridcully of the Unseen University with finding him, he and his faculty deduce that this “wizzard” can only be one man: the infamously hapless Rincewind. They retrieve him from his life as a castaway, goading him into visiting the mysterious Agatean Empire to see what it is they want. Magically transporting him there, Rincewind is placed smack in the middle of a polite rebel uprising, a barbarian invasion, and the schemes of an ambitious Grand Vizier who is pulling the strings.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – September 23, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

I’ve started reading Thermopylae by Paul Cartledge, though I’ve read very little of it so far; just the preface and the prologue, in fact. Getting to this point involved skipping over a fair amount of front-matter too, as I realized that out of a sense of obligation I could read through a timeline of significant dates that revolve around the history I’ll be told about, but I won’t really be able to retain that info in a meaningful way. It was oddly freeing to just admit that to myself and move on. Cartledge’s writing style is good so far, not too inaccessible, but just as with the science books I occasionally read, I can already tell it will require a little more mental legwork. I just hope I won’t be stuck on it too long despite its relatively short page count.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I finished reading Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett, the 17th Discworld novel. I meant to have a review up yesterday, but life happened and I didn’t have the review finished in time. Just a minor bump in the road, I’m sure. I should have it up by Friday. I didn’t like this novel as much as I wanted to, but I’m still coming away from it pretty satisfied, especially for how it reintroduced Rincewind as a character to the series. It did a good job of tying events to what happened in the very first books too, which was appreciable. I was surprised to find it ended by setting up his next book, which takes him to yet another strange locale. I’m intrigued to see how that will play out, if only for the fact that he wound up there by chance this time.


Reading Next

I hopefully won’t be on Thermopylae long, but in typical form for me I haven’t actually decided which novel I’ll be reading next. What I do know, is I’m definitely going to read through Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh as soon as I can. The author is known for her Hyperbole and a Half webcomics and book, which came out a number of years ago now. I’ve been eagerly waiting for this book to release, the date of which had been unknown for a while. All of a sudden I learned the date and found it was coming quite soon, so I preordered it and now it’s finally in my grasp.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – September 16, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Goodness, I am running behind today.


Currently Reading

I didn’t make as much progress with Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett as I would have liked, but I’m right smack in the middle with hope that I can get it finished by next week. Since arriving in a strange land, Rincewind’s travails have amounted to a lot of running away and being put on a pedestal as something he’s not. It’s been amusing character stuff, but I’m waiting to see what it’s all building toward. I had higher hopes at the beginning, and so far I’m not sure if he’s just going to bumble his way to success or if he’s going to develop into a somewhat better version of himself. It has still been an enjoyable read, at any rate, Pratchett is nothing if not consistent, so I’m just waiting to see if this novel is among the higher pedigree.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I read Fangs by Sarah Andersen, the author better known for her Sarah’s Scribbles webcomic. This book was another collection of strips, though of a different style and tone about a vampire and a werewolf in a relationship. I had read a lot of these online as they were coming out, but when I found out such a gorgeous hardcover was going to published, I decided to wait until I had it in my hands before I finished them. They’re cute, funny, and more adult that her usual strips, so much so that I was actually craving a plot line. There is a continuity, but story developments are typically contained within a strip. It’s a wholesome, macabre little collection worth checking out if it strikes a chord with you.


Reading Next

I’m still planning to read Thermopylae by Paul Cartledge next, it’s just a matter of finishing up Interesting Times. I’m also considering starting The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America by Matt Kracht as a little supplemental read, though that will invariably become something I have to power through so it’s not hanging around forever. It just looks cute and funny and I want to actually read it rather than occasionally peak at a page or two.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – September 9, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The other day I started reading Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett, the 17th Discworld novel. I’m just over 20% of the way in, and so far it’s feeling like it might be above average in the series. After 16 books patterns do emerge, so it’s good to see things mixed up. It’s kind of dizzying how long it’s been since Rincewind was a lead character. The faculty of the Wizard’s College has been so well-defined for so many books, but here it dawned on me that Rincewind had never interacted with Archchancellor Ridcully. That was quite enjoyable. There is a good balance between Rincewind acting exactly like his old self, while still giving the sense of all the development he’s had in the past. He is a seasoned adventurer, after all, even if he’s always running away.


Recently Finished

Over the weekend I finished reading Kong Unbound, a collection of essays about the 1933 King Kong film, and I was simply elated to get it finished. It wasn’t awful, but the fluff problem persisted throughout most of the book. Also, if I ever have to read about what someone thinks of Kong ripping off Ann’s dress again it’ll be too soon. One essay by Joe DeVito started like many others, just an old guy reflecting on his childhood love of the film, but fortunately developed into talking about a Kong book series he made that I’d never heard of before. I’d certainly like to check those out, so the experience isn’t a total loss if I come away with some new books. Alan Dean Foster had a good essay too, but I’m still pretty adamant about not reviewing this. I have little else to say.


Reading Next

I want to stay on top of things better, with time being of the essence for completing my reading list, so I’ve decided I’m going to try and quickly read Thermopylae by Paul Cartledge, a history book about the titular battle between Greece and Persia, known by many for the famous 300 Spartans who held the position for so long, despite the odds. I read another book about Spartan history by the author many years ago. I meant this to be a companion read to that, but I didn’t actually crack it open in a timely fashion. Better late than never.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – September 2, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

I’m just over 40% of the way through Kong Unbound, a collection of essays by a number of writers. Have you ever started reading a book and just known in your heart that you have zero desire to review it? It’s rare for me, but I feel it so strongly with this book. It’s interesting enough, but it’s a lot of fluff. Perhaps it’s easy to see why, since this book came out specifically in time for Peter Jackson’s King Kong back in 2005. It even has an emblem that says “Official Movie Merchandise” on the cover. As a result, it has amounted to a lot of repeated information between the different essayists, really just talking about why they like the original film so much. It’s fine, but it doesn’t inspire critical assessment.


Recently Finished

Last week I finished reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I continued to enjoy this novel a lot, though I must admit that it could have used a stronger plot thread throughout. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I guess it comes down to wanting a continual sense of conflict; that something concrete and apparent throughout the book need be resolved. That’s not to say there weren’t some great story branches with their own unique tribulations, but something underlining it all, you know? I’ll get more in depth with this when I review it, I’m sure. The character stuff was absolutely golden, though. So much so, that I actually reread that section I gushed a little about last week. I never do that, which says a lot.


Reading Next

To keep up properly with at least some of my goals for the year, I need to finish a Discworld novel before this quarter of the year is over. So, I will be reading Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett next. Looking at this being the 17th novel in the series it’s just sunk in how many of these I have read. Goodness. It’s been a while since a book has featured the wizard Rincewind as well, and even longer since it was a full-length novel. I’m excited to see if and how his return from almost certain death back in Sourcery will be addressed.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – May 20, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

OtherMindsLast night I started reading Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith, a science and philosophy book about the emergence of consciousness, with a specific focus on the minds of octopuses. I only got a couple of chapters in, but I’m rather enjoying it so far. There was a fear that it would make for a dry nonfiction read, but fortunately that hasn’t been the case so far. I do noticeably have to work harder while reading it, though. So far it has been exploring the origins of the mind itself in life on Earth, considering the earliest animals and when they started sensing the world and other creatures around them, and how complex this sense was. It has made for a lot of new terms to learn, since I’m not exactly familiar with life that existed before the Cambrian era.

I’m still technically reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson, but I haven’t made any progress in the last week.


Recently Finished

Soul MusicOver the weekend I finished reading Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, the 16th novel in the Discworld series. I may be disappointed Death didn’t have a more active role in this story, but darn it this book was just so just solidly enjoyable that it didn’t matter too much. What was most surprising was how much I warmed to the story of “The Band With Rocks In” and their explosion onto the music scene of Ankh-Morpork. While the music itself was a more typical invasive force affecting the Discworld in a way that mirrors something about our own modern world, I appreciated how it was used more as a vehicle to explore the effects and costs of sudden fame. I posted a full review yesterday, which you can check out here.


Reading Next

Shucks, I haven’t made up my mind about this just yet. I’ve only just started Other Minds after finishing Soul Music. I did just buy a bunch of Star Wars graphic novels a couple of weeks ago, though, I’ll probably be checking out some more of those.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Soul Music by Terry Pratchett

Soul Music

Soul Music by Terry Pratchett is the 16th novel in the author’s Discworld series and the third in the Death sub-series. After a tragic carriage accident kills his adopted daughter Ysabel and his son-in-law/former apprentice Mort, Death becomes distraught and bemoans his inability to forget anything, wishing to quell his grief. Death wanders off into the world, leaving his vocation unfulfilled. It is soon foisted upon his bewildered granddaughter Susan, who was kept away from him for the sake of living a normal life. She struggles with the duties of the vocation, however, feeling she ought to use it to make the world a fairer place. Meanwhile, a young musician named Imp has traveled from his distant home in the mountains to make a name for himself in the city of Ankh-Morpork. Unbeknownst to him, something powerful and ancient has set its sights on him, shifting reality to make his dreams comes true…on its own terms.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – May 13, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Soul MusicI’m close to half way through Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, the 16th Discworld novel, and I’m continuing to enjoy it a lot. I do wish  we’d get more time reading about Death himself, as he’s clearly going through some stuff, but Susan and Buddy are making for more than worthy perspective characters in their respective story lines too. I’ve especially warmed to the latter, which is where the musical focus of the story comes from. Pratchett is clearly using this plot line as a vehicle to tell as many Rock industry jokes and references that he can, and I can sense the glee coming from it in a way that makes me smile. It’s yet another story about a force invading the Discworld too, but I’m finding it better told than the previous ones I’ve read.

The Rise of SkywalkerI also started reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson, the novelization of Episode IX. I’m only about 40 pages in, but already I’m appreciating the better insight into the story that it’s providing. Especially missed from the film, which couldn’t be helped, was a deeper look at the relationship between Leia and Rey as master and apprentice. Carson does a really good job of faithfully capturing the voices of the characters as well, which markedly contrasts with something else I finished this past week. More on that later. I’d prefer the film were more fleshed out, to be sure, but as a lover of the universe and characters I’m feeling rather satisfied with what this book is providing so far.


Recently Finished

Star Wars AllegianceOver the weekend I read through a single graphic novel, Star Wars: Allegiance by Ethan Sacks et al, and it was an unfortunately rough read. It’s a four issue miniseries collected into one volume and it tries to to somehow tell two separate story lines under such limitations. One was about Finn and Poe trying to secure weapons for the Resistance, with bounty hunters in pursuit, and the other was Leia, Rey, and the rest traveling to Mon Cala to try and get the king there to pledge ships to their cause. They weren’t the worst ideas, but they were thin and played out like filler. It would have benefited much more from focus on a single story. Much of the dialogue felt forced and awkward too. I was a little interested in what he was trying to go for with Rey, but for the most part came off as a little out of character.


Reading Next

OtherMindsSince it’s likely I’ll be finished with Soul Music by next week, I suppose I ought to finally choose what book I’m going to read next from my to-read list. As I write this, I really haven’t made up my mind yet. I guess I will go with…Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Things are a little fantasy-heavy at the moment, I really ought to vary things a bit by reading some science nonfiction. I do hope that the writing style doesn’t slow my reading progress to a crawl; that’s always a slight concern with nonfiction. We shall see.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – May 6, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Soul MusicI’m just over a hundred pages into Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, the 16th novel in the Discworld series, which I started over the weekend. I’m excited to finally dig into the third Death novel, though disappointingly he is once again sharing the spotlight with others. Well, mildly disappointing. I just really like him. It’s partly about his granddaughter Susan too, so in her discovering her connection with him and the memories she’s forgotten, it is very much about him even when he’s not on the page. The anthropomorphic personification actively dealing with grief over the deaths of his daughter and son-in-law has me most interested, though, so I hope there’s a good amount of that. Not sure how I feel about all the rock music stuff yet. It’s the odd man out in a trio of plot lines.


Recently Finished

The Strings of MurderOver the weekend I finished reading The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel, the first book in the Frey & McGray series of mystery novels. I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. It was an entertaining read much of the time, and when the characters are actively engaged with trying to solve the mystery I was pretty invested, but they were both just so exaggerated as characters. The writing leaned into their “odd couple” roles to a fault, and it just got grating by the end. I may need some assurances that these characteristics are dialed back in further books if I’m going to continue this series. I liked the book enough that I’m still curious, but we’ll see. I posted a full review on Monday, which you can check out here.


Reading Next

The Rise of SkywalkerI still haven’t made up my mind about what to move on to from my to-read list for the year, but I have made a resolution to read the novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson, which I purchased a copy of on Star Wars day. Since I don’t want it to cut into getting through my list, I’ve decided to make sure I commit free time I would otherwise spend on hobbies like video games or TV shows to reading this book. Though it didn’t stick the landing in a lot of ways, I still really liked the film and want to learn the finer details that were for some reason left on the cutting-room floor.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – April 29, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Strings of MurderI’m still in the midst of The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel, just a little over halfway through. I’ve warmed to the book some more since last week, though admittedly it has more to do with how much the mystery has captured by interest, rather than the characters. They’re still their trope-y selves: Frey is a prim jerk with a conscience and McGray is boorish yet intelligent. I’m still waiting for the penny to drop on them learning to like one another. I find I’m most interested in how much the novel will commit to it’s implied supernatural elements. Frey is the perspective character and sees it all as nonsense, whereas McGray is a believer, so I wonder if it will be debunked, left vague so neither loses, or if Frey’s worldview will be turned upside down.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week. That’s what I get for neglecting comic book volumes. My Goodreads challenge has suffered a tad too. I’ll have to fix that.


Reading Next

Soul MusicWhile a potential comic book read is a flurry of possibilities, I still have the adamant intention to pick up Soul Music by Terry Pratchett as the next novel I read. That will get me halfway through the Discworld novels I’ve allotted for the year. After that, I’m not certain what I will pull from my to-read list for 2020, but I’ve narrowed it down to Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith or White Tears by Hari Kunzru. The former is a nonfiction look into the intelligence of cephalopods, especially octopuses, and the latter is a novel centred around music that is partly ghost story, partly murder mystery. I don’t remember a lot about the second book, to be honest, but I’d like to keep it that way. I guess I’ll have to see which I’m in the mood for when the time comes, at any rate.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.