The Wonder of Reading Terry Pratchett Aloud

Terry Pratchett, signing books

As I'm sure everyone who reads this blog already knows, Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series, passed away last Thursday at the age of 66.One of the hazards of being an evening and weekend blogger is that you miss the news cycle: by the time I'd even heard the sad news, several other bloggers already had posts up with their tributes to Sir Terry. But I wouldn't have rushed to get something out at the first moment anyway; my history with Sir Terry goes too deep for that.My … [Read more...]

How to Describe Characters

Magrat arrived at as near to a run as was possible in the queen outfit, which ought to have had castors. * * * * *Ponder said nothing. When you’re a cork in someone else’s stream of consciousness, all you can do is spin and bob in the eddies. * * * * *Granny Weatherwax seemed to generate a gyroscopic field—if you started out off-balance, she saw to it that you remained there. — Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies. … [Read more...]

Terry Pratchett on Consumerism

Magrat put on her best dress, the green silk one that was unfortunately now a mass of creases. She took out a bundle of tissue paper and slowly unwrapped her occult jewelry; Magrat bought occult jewelry as a sort of distraction from being Magrat. She had three large boxes of the stuff and was still exactly the same person.— Terry Pratchett, Witches AbroadWith me, it's computer and camera gear. And, yeah...still me, after all these years. … [Read more...]

Terry Pratchett on Family Feuds

The Oggs were what is known as an extended family—in fact not only extended but elongated, protracted and persistent. No normal sheet of paper could possibly trace their family tree, which in any case was more like a mangrove thicket. And every single branch had a low-key, chronic vendetta against every other branch, based on such well-established causes célèbres as What Their Kevin Said About Our Stan At Cousin Di’s Wedding and Who Got The Silver Cutlery That Auntie Em Promised Our Doreen Was To … [Read more...]

On Tyranny

Being an absolute ruler today was not as simple as people thought. At least, it was not simple if your ambitions included being an absolute ruler tomorrow.— Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (On Lord Vetinari's philosophy of government.) … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: The Check’s in the Mail

If, somewhere, any possible world can exist, then somewhere there is any letter that could possibly be written. Somewhere, all those checks really were in the mail.— Terry Pratchett, Going Postal … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: On Using Magic

Oh, you could do it all by magic, you certainly could. You could wave a wand and get twinkly stars and a fresh-baked loaf. You could make fish jump out of the sea already cooked. And then, somewhere, somehow, magic would present its bill, which was always more than you could afford.That’s why it was left to wizards, who knew how to handle it safely. Not doing any magic at all was the chief task of wizards—not “not doing magic” because they couldn’t do magic, but not doing magic when they co … [Read more...]

Review: Going Postal


So last night I finished reading Terry Pratchett's Going Postal to my wife and kids. Going Postal is in an odd category: it's a full-fledge novel that I have only ever read aloud. I read it to Jane when it was first released, and now to Jane and my kids. Jane and I loved it on the first reading, and I'm glad to say that it held up on the second reading.In fact, I might go so far as to say that Going Postal is one of Pratchett's best, and it's certainly one of my favorites, in part because … [Read more...]

Word I Wish I’d Written: Sweaters

It really was an awful garment, that pullover. It had a queasy zigzag pattern, in many strange, unhappy colors. It looked like something knitted as a present by a colorblind aunt, the sort of thing you wouldn’t dare throw away in case the garbage collectors laughed at you and kicked your trash cans over.— Terry Pratchett, Thud!Now that's an awful sweater! … [Read more...]