Going Postal Group Read, Week Three

It’s Week Three of the Going Postal Group Read!  We’re past the halfway point now.  Here’s the discussion for the next quarter of the book:

1) So far we’ve talked about characters and settings.  What are your thoughts on either the plot or the romance?  Anything surprising, or anything you particularly enjoy?

I do enjoy the mere fact that Pratchett has a plot.  Some comedy writers rely only on the humpr and have novels that are basically just strings of jokes.  I like that Going Postal has a compelling plot driving it forward, centered on the restoration of the Post Office, the conspiracy and business competition of the Clacks, and of course Moist’s character development.  The romance is an interesting aspect of that.  He’s lived his whole life showing people only the outside.  I love that when he starts to fall for a girl, it’s because of what’s behind her outside, stern exterior.  “Outside exterior” is redundant, but I trust you know what I mean!

2) Pratchett has used a number of ideas throughout the book as satirical commentary on our society—golem rights, pin collecting, collective responsibility, business corruption…  What have you found the most interesting?

The Golem rights and the business corruption are probably the most obvious satires.  I was most intrigued, however, by Stanley and the pin collectors.  On the face of it, collecting pins is ridiculous, with all his fascination in precisely how they’re made and what year they’re from and so on.  But on the other hand, how many collectable items have value beyond what we put into them?  With all due respect to cute china figurines, for example, they don’t have any actual use.  And even things that may be useful in some capacity end up endowed with far more value because collectors decided they’re valuable.  On the other hand, is that genuine value?  I think to a certain extent it is–and at other times, as with Stanley’s pins, it can be taken to an extent that’s ridiculous!

3) And of course, share your favorite quotes and moments from this section of Going Postal!

The headlines screamed at [Moist] as soon as he saw the paper.  He almost screamed back.

This section featured Mr. Groat’s trip to the hospital, leading to some very funny remarks from the examining doctor.

“His trousers were the subject of a controlled detonation after one of his socks exploded.  We’re not sure why.”

“Oh, and do take his wig, will you?  We tried putting it in a cupboard, but it got out.”

As usual, leave links to reviews in the comments! 🙂

8 thoughts on “Going Postal Group Read, Week Three

  1. =Tamar

    Chapter “8” is Chapter 7A. This is a reference to the first book in the series, The Colour of Magic, in which it is stated that wizards never say the name of the number between 7 and 9 because it calls up horrible monsters. (Yet they can say “ate” anytime.) It doesn’t come up very often in the books but it’s fun when it does.

  2. Hope you don’t mind that I’m just putting my answers here…

    1. I’m really interested to see where this is going, as I don’t think it’s been at all clear. Apparently, Vetinari and Gilt are at odds with each other, and Moist is being caught in the middle. What I like most (whoops, I’m digressing into character analysis) is what it seems to be doing to Moist. Is he developing a conscience? He was willing to give up his fortune to get the Post Office up again. He’s confronted with someone he wronged in the past and feels bad about it. And still, still I’m enjoying seeing the post office get back into business.

    2. Oh, I’m horrible at picking up on this sort of thing! I take things much too literally sometimes and hadn’t even considered that about the pins. But you’re right. When I was a kid I collected Pokémon cards. Small pieces of paper, some of which were “worth” upwards of $100. And what was the point of all that? For a long time they just sat under my bed, unused. I finally sold them off, for much less than what they were once worth because they weren’t as popular any more. I thought it was funny when Stanley started getting into pins.

    It was as bad as being born, with the added disadvantage that your mother wasn’t there.
    You couldn’t stop at one! And, five minutes later, you remembered why you should have. Well I can’t say this about pigeons, but I could about a number of other foods!
    There was no point in looking for the cheapest thing on the menu. The cheapest thing theoretically existed but somehow, no matter how hard you stared, didn’t quite manage to be there. On the other hand, there were a lot of most expensive things. I’ve been to restaurants like this!
    Mr. Pony struggled manfully with the engineer’s permanent dread of having to commit himself to anything. As an engineer and someone who works with engineers, I can affirmatively avow that we. DO NOT. LIKE TO COMMIT OURSELVES TO ANYTHING. I deal with it every day. That’s amazing. How does he know?
    She’d wielded the sentence like a fist.

    Final thought: why no eighth chapter? It goes straight from 7A to 9. Significant?

    1. O_o I never noticed there wasn’t a chapter eight! I flipped all throughout this book trying to figure out where to split things up for the reading challenge, and I never noticed there wasn’t a chapter eight. *facepalm*

      On other subjects, of course it’s fine to post answers here. No rules for this challenge. 🙂 And Pokemon cards are a GREAT example of something with no value except as “collectables.” And great quotes. You seem to be relating to the story!

  3. mervih

    That’s a very interesting way of looking at the romance. I just dismissed it.

    “But on the other hand, how many collectable items have value beyond what we put into them?”
    Well, I like some of my books and comics enough to pay for them but I don’t know if anyone else would agree with me. 🙂 Certainly not collectors who don’t care about good plots or great characters but rarity of the item itself. (So ebooks and audiobooks don’t have collectible value?)

    Anyway, here’s my post: http://mervih.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/going-postal-week-three/

    1. I like to think books have some inherent value because they serve an actual purpose. But certainly some end up being worth far more than others for more “collectable” reasons. And I’ve been able to buy some very cheap (like a 1902 J. M. Barrie book) that I feel like ought to be more valuable!

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