British pop culture, Fantasy fiction, reading

Discworld Appreciation Day

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There are so, so many things I could say about my love for this series. Recently I’ve made a concerted effort to start collecting my favorites, because with the passing of the author, I’ve begun to feel the need to own as much as I can of the genius and beautiful words that came from his pen.

Two years ago in March, when I found out Sir Terry Pratchett had been carried away by his depiction of Death, on the back of Binky (come on, let us have that image), I cried for three hours straight. And then I started re-reading everything of his I’d already read, and reading what I hadn’t before (which wasn’t much), and feeling this little ache inside.

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The literary world had lost something spectacular, something magneificent. And while we do have so many of his published treasures to continue to adore, the loss in my own life took a bit more getting used to. When I was a young writer, I felt lost, not sure where to go with my intentions for pursuing a career in authoring fantasy. There was so much that had already been done, and wasn’t inspiring to me anymore. Then I stumbled on a copy of a Discworld paperback that had been left in our rental house (of the time).

It was The Fifth Elephant, and while it meant that, being so deep into the series (canon-wise, it’s around book 20), I had a lot of catching up to do and there were things I didn’t yet understand (like character traits and Pratchett’s love of footnotes), there was no stopping me afterwards. It was just what I needed to pull me out of that slump, and for the last 15 years, I’ve been happily catching up.

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With each foray into the magical multi-verse of Discworld, my love for the characters and their stories have only deepened. Although I hardly read the series in order (gasp! I know, a cardinal sin of booklovers), rather in whichever order I could get my hands on them (due to what was available in the library that week), I was able to put together the bits and pieces of backstory and connections and things you could expect to see in almost every installment.

My favorite sub-series are the ones involving Death (aka the Grim Reaper of Discworld) and the Watch. Before starting to read Terry Pratchett, one of my main phobias was skeletons. (Having to take an anatomy class in college was *torture*.) A major thing about becoming attached to a character portrayed as a tall skeleton in a long black cloak meant that I no longer have that phobia. It’s a pretty cool development.

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And, yes, I have owned a cat named Binky (supposedly after Death’s horse — I’m always letting myself believe that). And really, how could I, the Cat Whisperer, *not* have a soft spot for a Grim Reaper that loves cats?

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At the moment, I’m finishing a re-read of The Fifth Elephant. Just this morning, I came across a part I’d forgotten, that contains a significance that had previously escaped me, and…well… Let’s just say my Vulcan side experienced an extremely illogical moment of emotion.

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Although I recently changed my TBR for the summer, it does have me wondering how quickly I can get my hands on more Discworld re-releases.

This series will never stop amazing me with the wit, the humor, the beauty and poignancy in its honesty. Basically, I will remain in awe of the craft Sir Terry so compassionately shared with us. If my characters ever feel half as real to my readers as Death, or Sam Vimes, as Susan Sto-Helit or the Archchancellor of Unseen University have felt to me, then I will consider it the highest honor.

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books, Fantasy fiction, music, reading

What Are You Reading/Watching/Listening To Wednesday

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Another weekly theme? What is happening to me, you may ask? Hey, it won’t last long, trust me… (Mostly because I will run out of things to say on the theme, or will even forget what the theme is…)

I like this version for Wednesdays, where you give your community a little peek into all of your entertainment at the time, instead of just your reading material. You get a bit more information on a variety of topics, and you get to know your favorite bloggers a little better, too!

This week I am reading…

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Mort by Terry Pratchett. I’m re-reading it, more accurately, and truthfully, for about the 4th time. I hardly mind. Not only is it, in my view, one of the best Discworld novels, I think it should be considered one of the best fantasy novels of the 20th century. Mort gives us the real insider’s look at the beloved character of Death (think the Angel of, or the Grim Reaper, but really not so grim in Pratchett’s imagining). It’s full of humor and wit and plenty of poignant moments; the ending never fails to bring me to tears (and remember this is me, approximately 40% Vulcan).

I am watching…

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Riverdale. Now, this is the oddest thing — my cable network carries the CW channel (where all new broadcasts of this show originate), but for some reason, it is not offered in our particular subscription package. Huh? It’s among the basic channels, as well, listed right along with NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS. So, why, just, why, Time Warner/Spectrum? (This is part of a whole separate issue, so I digress.) Anyway, I can still access CW On Demand (again, huh?), but I am grateful for this, because it means I get to watch Riverdale. Have I ever read an Archie comic in my life? Nope. Do I have any idea of what the long-term/hardcore fans are talking about with references to the classic characters? Not a stitch. But I am really enjoying this TV series. It’s much darker than I expected, but it has surprising heart, and the writing isn’t half bad most of the time.

I am listening to…

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Dragonhearted by Captain Sparklez and Try Hard Ninja. White Fang first introduced me to these YouTube icons. They started with The Fallen Kingdom trilogy of videos (based on Minecraft, but with an original plot), then late in 2016 released a 4th to make it a quadrilogy (aaaargh to that word). The newest video is Dragonhearted. You really have to watch the Fallen Kingdom, then Take Back the Night, and Find the Pieces first, for Dragonhearted to make any sense, though. (As it is, Captain Sparklez has released an updated quad video on his YouTube channel. Thanks, Jordan!) These songs are catchy, clever, and the videos are like little movies, full of action and plenty of heartstring-tugging moments. (Hello there, I am The Invisible Moth, and I swear I am part-Vulcan…)