Blog Hop: Walking in a Character’s Shoes…

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you could take the place of any fictional character, who would it be and why?

This is a rather intriguing question…I assume this would be for a brief visit, and I assume I’m still me but occupying the role of a fictional character, with the other characters not seeing anything strange.  So!  With those parameters in mind…

The first one to come to mind is Dr. Watson.  I don’t think I could be Sherlock Holmes, and besides, I’d want to meet Holmes, so it would be better to have Watson’s role.  As long as medical knowledge wasn’t called for to help solve the case, I think I could be a decent Watson–even though I’m more squeamish than he is!

I definitely couldn’t be Anne of Green Gables, but it would be nice to try being her friend Diana Barry for a bit.  Or it might actually be more fun to be Ilse, friend of Emily of New Moon.  I like Emily a lot, and Ilse can get away with wild statements and flights of passion that, while not really me, might be fun for a change!

Continue reading “Blog Hop: Walking in a Character’s Shoes…”

Top Ten “Tuesday” – Bookish Couples

I love Top Ten Tuesday and rarely post for it–but this seemed like a perfect topic for Valentine’s Day!  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, with a new topic each Tuesday.  This week, it’s romance.

I wandered through my bookshelves, and pulled out a stack with my favorite romances in them–with a few bonus bromances and womances.  In no particular order…

1) The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
Arabella and Turnip – I’ve written at length about these delightfully unconventional romantic leads, who are overlooked by everyone but each other.

2) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane and Mr. Rochester – I know he has some serious problems…but Bronte punishes him so thoroughly and humbles him so completely that by the end of the book I really believe their romance.  And the last section is rather adorable.

3) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Catherine Morland and Mr. Tilney – Mr. Darcy is the famous Austen hero, but I ❤ Mr. Tilney instead.  A smiling man who reads Gothic novels and knows his muslins–what’s not to love?

4) Enchantress from the Stars by Silvia Louise Engdahl
Elana and Georyn – The only bittersweet ending on my list, a beautiful love story about two people from, literally, different worlds, who change each other forever but can’t ever be together.

5) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer:
Well, everyone – This quartet has four wonderful, engrossing love stories.  Cinder and Prince Kai were a hair behind the others; Scarlet and Wolf were as marvelous as Winter and Jacin; and my favorites were Cress and Thorne.  I have a soft spot for charming rogues with good hearts.

Continue reading “Top Ten “Tuesday” – Bookish Couples”

Friday Face-Off: Metaphorical Crowns

Today I’m returning to the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is “Heavy is the head that wears the crown”  – A cover featuring a crown

I thought I’d do something a little bit different, because the first book that came to mind was a metaphorical crown: The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett, last book in the Discworld series.  Unlike last week, all the covers for this one are pretty good–and no one’s made the mistake of showing an actual crown!

I like the simplicity of this one, and the way they evoked a crown without actually depicting one.  It has an appropriate natural and homey feel with the bees and the sand dollar.

This one is more communicative, and I like how the images glow against the dark backdrop.  The Nac Mac Feegle on her hat brim is a nice touch, and I can’t decide if I like that her expression isn’t sweet, or if it’s just a touch too irritable.  But it kinda fits!

I love the energy of this one, the action promised in her cloak and those massive boots, and I like the swarm of Nac Mac Feegles all around her.  And Tiffany’s expression here feels perfect.  This is also the only cover that makes it look like a comedy!

In some ways less striking than the previous cover, this one is still my favorite, because I think it’s the cover I needed on this, Pratchett’s posthumously-published last book.  We still have the witch’s hat, the swarm of Nac Mac Feegles and the mountain landscape, but I love the way Tiffany is clearly leading them here.  This cover captures an element the others don’t, that this book is about Tiffany accepting the (metaphorical) crown as a new leader in her world.  Tiffany actually looks like a (metaphorical) shepherd here, and there’s something very satisfying in that.

Have you read this one?  Which cover do you like best?

Book Review: Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett has been on my radar as a soon-to-read Discworld novel, so when I needed a new audiobook and it was available–perfect!  This turned out to be one of Pratchett’s more overtly satirical novels.  It was still funny, but there were also some darker elements highlighted.

This one takes out of the familiar territories of Ankh-Morpork or Lancre, to Borogravia, a tiny country fighting a war against all its neighbors.  Polly’s brother Paul went away to war some time before, and now Polly has decided to set out in search of him–by joining the army disguised as a boy, of course.  She joins the last party of recruits heading for the front, a motley group including a troll, a vampire and an Igor (pretty much what you’d think).  It become quickly clear that nearly all are girls in disguise, although their commanding lieutenant remains blissfully unaware of that fact.  Meanwhile, Borogravia’s war is disrupting transcontinental communication for Ankh-Morpork, and Commander Vimes of the Night Watch has been sent to handle the situation.

Pratchett is at some of his gender-political satirizing best here.  A thematic issue since the third Discworld book (Equal Rites) he’s fully engaging here.  There’s much discussion of how the world feels different (and regards the girls differently) when they do something as simple as putting on a pair of trousers.  I don’t think (I might be wrong) that Pratchett ever directly states that women are as capable as men (but not necessarily wiser or more interested in peace).  He simply tells a story that shows equality between the genders in no uncertain terms.  It’s far more effective that way. Continue reading “Book Review: Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett”

Could I Have Some More, Please?

I was hunting for a bookish topic for this week, and as I often do, I went looking through the archives of Top Ten Tuesday from the Broke and the Bookish.  Which led me to one of their past topics: authors I want another book from!

1) L. M. Montgomery, because, obviously–I’ve run out!  But I’d settle for someone publishing the 200 unpublished short stories sitting out of reach in an archive (they’re real, and they’re unpublished!)

2) Edgar Rice Burroughs, not because I’ve run out of his or because I would expect anything new or innovative in one more novel, but–because he never finished John Carter and the Skeleton Men of Jupiter.  I don’t want a new novel from him, I want that new novel. And similarly…

3) William Shakespeare. Love’s Labors Won, anyone?  A play, not a novel, but close enough.

4) Harper Lee, but only in a perfect world where her second novel was not that terrible book I prefer to pretend doesn’t exist.

5) Terry Pratchett, because…Terry Pratchett!  And even though the last Discworld book was satisfying, even though there are others by him I still haven’t read, it still makes me sad that there will be no more new ones.

6) Diana Wynne Jones, because she was the first author who died while I was actively following her work.  And I am sad there will be no more new ones from her.

7) Susan Kay, because she only wrote two and one of them was Phantom and my favorite book ever, so what else might she write?

8) Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, who wrote three wonderful classic Star Trek books, then went off and wrote a bunch with William Shatner that I didn’t like as well.  I’d love to see another one that’s just them.

9) Tamora Pierce, because her last book came out in 2013, and we’ve been waiting ever since for her next Tortall book, which has an ever-receding publishing date (some time 2017, currently).

10) Robin McKinley, because her last book came out in 2013, and we’re still waiting for her promised sequel to Pegasus.  From what I can gather from reading her blog, she’d quite like to have a new book out too.

What author would you like to see another book from?  Do you have hope it will happen, or is it just a wish?

Book Review: The Shepherd’s Crown (Discworld #41)

The world grew less funny last March with the death of Terry Pratchett, creator of Discworld, my go-to author during blue times, and the reigning king of my “funniest book read this year” category every year.  Honestly, it makes me want to reach for a Pratchett book–which I did near the end of 2015, when I realized that Pratchett’s final Discworld book had somehow come out without my noticing!  That was The Shepherd’s Crown, fifth book in the Tiffany Aching subseries.

This was an unusually fraught read, because the previous book, Raising Steam, just…wasn’t very good.  And it made me really, really sad.  So I am doubly pleased by how much I liked The Shepherd’s Crown!

As to the story here (there’s no way to soften this so I have to just say it) it begins with the death of Granny Weatherwax, who is not the leader of the witches (witches don’t have a leader–Granny wouldn’t allow it).  Tiffany, somewhat to her own dismay, finds herself as Granny’s successor.  She struggles with what it means to walk, not in Granny’s footsteps but in her own.  The Nac Mac Feegle also careen through at times; Tiffany has to make a decision about Geoffrey, a boy who wants to be a witch; and the witches have to deal with an incursion by the fairies (far more scary than you might think). Continue reading “Book Review: The Shepherd’s Crown (Discworld #41)”

Favorite Moments with Terry Pratchett

As sad as I was to hear about Leonard Nimoy, it was even more devastating a couple weeks later to hear that Terry Pratchett had died.  Pratchett’s Discworld series is my go-to resource on bad days and sad times, the funniest book I ever read came from his pen, and I consistently pick one of his books for funniest read of the year every year.  When I heard of his death, inside of fifteen minutes I was on my mobile phone to–what else?–request a Discworld book from my library.

So in honor of Sir Terry, I’m re-posting my collection of favorite Discworld moments…not quotes exactly, because several are all about the dialogue or the back-and-forth.  Hereare some moments that always make me think or make me laugh or do both!

First, a philosophical one, about the power of knowledge:

They thought the Library was a dangerous place because of all the magical books, which was true enough, but what made it really one of the most dangerous places there could ever be was the simple fact that it was a library.

– Guards! Guards!

And another time, Death waxes philosophical.  It should be noted that Death always speaks IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS:

WHO KNOWS WHAT EVIL LURKS IN THE HEART OF MEN?
The Death of Rats looked up from the feast of potato.
SQUEAK, he said.
Death waved a hand dismissively. WELL, YES, OBVIOUSLY ME, he said. I JUST WONDERED IF THERE WAS ANYONE ELSE.

– The Truth

And because Death is so brilliant, another one, after someone suggested that he should be “more of a people person”:

KNOCK KNOCK.
He looked up.
“Who’s there?”
DEATH.
“Death who?”
There was a chill in the air. Beano waited…
I WONDER… CAN WE START AGAIN? I DON’T SEEM TO HAVE THE HANG OF THIS…

– Men at Arms

Maskerade is probably a favorite moment in its entirety, and I could quote most of it…but here’s just one moment.  A dead body turns up, along with a note from the Opera Ghost:

Hahahahaha!  Ahahahahaha!
Yrs, The Opera Ghost
P.S. Ahahahahaha!

“I don’t understand!  Is this man mad?”

Salzella put an arm around his shoulders and led him away from the crowd.  “Well, now,” he said as kindly as he could.  “A man who wears evening dress all the time, lurks in the shadows and occasionally kills people.  Then he sends little notes, writing maniacal laughter.  Five exclamation marks again, I notice.  We have to ask ourselves: is this the career of a sane man?”

“But why is he doing it?” Bucket wailed.

“That is only a relevant question if he is sane,” said Salzella calmly.  “He may be doing it because the little yellow pixies tell him to.”

– Maskerade

The image of the Phantom of the Opera, chatting with the little yellow pixies, never fails to crack me up.  It’s the same for this very odd bit below, about a crazed artist:

“He was convinced that if he went to sleep at night, he would turn into a chicken.  He’d leave little notes for himself saying, ‘You are not a chicken,’ although sometimes he thought he was lying…  Scholars have puzzled over the notes ever since, seeking some insight into the poor man’s tortured mind.  They are not in any order, you see.  Some are very…odd.”

“Odder than ‘You are not a chicken’?”

– Thud!

I think I need to re-read all of these books now.  🙂  Other Discworld readers, what are your favorite quotes or moments?