Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Unseen Academicals

I will never be able to turn this into a book review blog, because I always feel like I ought to read a book twice before I can properly review it, and who has time for that? But I do want to make sure I keep track of what I'm reading, what with the New Years resolution and all.

We have a long-observed Christmas tradition in which D* gets me whatever new work Terry Pratchett has put out (he now has more shelf feet than any other author in our library). Even a bad Pratchett book is usually pretty good. Unseen Academicals is not a bad book, but it may be impossible to fully grok unless you've been brought up with English football; I don't think American sports fandom works quite the same way. I liked it quite a bit, not least because he continues to introduce new characters and themes to the Discworld. I laughed out loud at several points. He plays somewhat fast and loose with his own continuity, which is entirely normal for him, so I don't mind.

One of my recurring thoughts about Shakespeare is that he could not leave well enough alone, that given a stereotype or a hackneyed storyline he would happily use it, but could never resist adding complications just for the hell, or the poetry, of it. I had that same thought after reading this book; there's a couple of fun cameos from other books, but the main characters are entirely new, and they carry the story along well--and I wondered at points if they carried the author along, as well, having started out as simple sketches and finishing as something quite other.

Reading any Pratchett book now is a somewhat melancholy experience, but so far, he's still got it.

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