Lauren's quotes

The Tea Time Book Nook

  1. There are two rules about fairy godmothers in Discworld. First, they come in pairs, and second, when one dies, another has to come along and replace her. Desiderata Hollow was a good godmother, but a terrible planner. When DEATH finally showed up, she had to pick a successor and skip the necessary training, So while the two elder witches head for Desiderata’s cottage to search for the wand, Magrat gets a package at home (where she is practicing New Age self-defense) and finds that she is now the only wet hen who can turn absolutely anything into a pumpkin.

    Worse, when Gytha Ogg and Esme Weatherwax recover from this shock they discover that Magrat has a pressing assignment. She must travel to Genua (a city far, far away in another place entirely) and keep a young woman from kissing a frog. And so, the three most unlikely (and irascible) travelers set off for foreign parts, victimizing vampires, werewolves and countless innkeepers along the way. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that Nanny Ogg brought along Greebo the (oversexed) cat along for company. Of course, that is exactly the kind of cat Nanny would keep.

    Leaving the countryside in shambles, the three ride their broomsticks into Genua and set about the arduous task of rescuing Emberella. You will like Genua: it is a combination New Orleans, Port au Prince, and Hong Kong. The food is wonderful. Voodoo witches ride their huts through the swamp, stories always come true, and everyone is either happy or dying in the effort. And the other godmother lives there. Book a flight now on the Trans Witch Airlines and you will arrive for the Fat Lunchtime Festival.

    Once again Terry Pratchett has written a tour de force of slapstick, sarcasm, and pure vaudeville. Witches Abroad is an opportunity to make fun of everything from world travelers to fairy tales, and no one escapes unscathed. Granny Weatherwax is one of my favorite Discworld characters, combining an acid tongue with Socratic wisdom- tough as nails and proud of it. She and Nanny Ogg simply shine. Magrat would too, of hens could shine. And even she has a grand moment or two. This is the best of the Discworld witch tales, if not one of Pratchett’s best overall.


  2. This fourth book in the Discworld series is the first to truly reach classical status in my opinion. Its predecessors were great reads, but Mort is a real riot. The skeleton of the plot has a few cracked bones and seems to be missing whatever connects the setup bone with the conclusion bone, but the humor is more than a saving grace for the awkward ending. Poor Mort is a gangly, clumsy lad seemingly made out of knees; his father is fond of him, but decides to apprentice him to someone else. That someone else turns out to be Death himself (although the father sees as him as an undertaker). Mort is whisked off to death’s abode to be trained as Death’s apprentice. On his first solo mission, he rips a big hole in the fabric of time by saving a princess from assassination. meanwhile, Death is off trying to experience living, so Mort attempts to make things right with the help of Death’s adopted daughter Ysabell (who has been sixteen for thirty-five years already), the young wizard Cutwell, the princess, and—with great reluctance—Death’s manservant Albert.

    This is a riotously funny novel. I can truly say that Death has never been funnier. Being the reaper of souls for untold years does wear a guy down, so Death goes out into the world of the living to discover what life is all about. We find him dancing in a kind of conga line at a party for the Patrician, asking the guy in front of him why dancing around kicking stuff over is fun; we see him getting boozed up at a bar and telling his troubles to the bartender; we find him seeking employment and dealing with a normal human customer; and we ultimately find him happily serving as the cook at Harga’s House of Ribs. His questions and comments about human life are simple yet complex, and they basically mimic the same kinds of question we all ask ourselves about the purpose of our time here on earth. I personally found the funniest scene to be the one in which death takes Mort to a restaurant just after hiring him and tries to figure out why on earth there is a cherry on a stick in his drink—as he keeps returning to this conundrum, the scene just gets funnier and funnier.

    To some degree, this novel is a bit simplistic compared to later Pratchett writings, but it is a quick, enjoyable read guaranteed to make you laugh out loud at least once. We get a glimpse of some new vistas of Discworld, and more importantly we gain great understanding and familiarity with Death, his abode, and his way of non-life. The wizard Cutwell is a young, beardless wizard who keeps finding his devotion to wizardry (especially the whole bachelorhood requirement) tested by the beguiling femininity of the princess—his temptation-forced words and actions provide another great source of humor in the book. The cast of important characters is fairly slim inn number, but we do meet up with our old friends Rincewind and the Librarian momentarily and learn a little more about Unseen University. The ending definitely could have been better, and that is the main weakness of this particular novel. Other Discworld novels will capture your imagination much more forcibly than this one, but few will make you laugh as hard as this one does.


  3. "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."
    — Terry Pratchett, Diggers (via itsfromabook)

    (via literatureismyutopia)