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The Wonder of Pratchett

From the time I can remember, I could never for the world of me understand why 'Introductions' are at the begnning of books.

Introductions are an authors way of telling the reader exactly what is inside the book - and usually in very boring terms. Sometimes (horror!) they actually quote from the book explaining the why and the wherefore of the quote.
As a self imposed rule, since the time I have read books with Introductions in them, by many prestigious authors, I have kept them for the last. To be masticated in peace when the fire to finish the book and learn whats in it has been doused. The portion to be read by someone who knows what the book has in store - and develop their own thought process - and therefore a person in a state to agree or disagree with the points noted in the Introduction.

It was with considerable glee then, that I noted that Terry Pratchett had, true to form obeyed my very wish. His latest book 'Making Money' has an introduction written by him (which has nothing -mostly, or at least directly - to do with the contents of the book) after the book ends. That made so much sense. Because when I read his introduction, I knew why he was talking about what he was talking about. And his freind who has written a co-introduction obviously did not expect that. Her introduction is custom made to begin the book - but ah! and the skill of the Author shows - hers also gives away a little bit of the story. But I can tell because I read the book1.

All in all, reading Making Money has made me remember Pratchett once again in all his glory, renewed, so to speak. And his small quirks of taking on the established rules. I have always liked the way he has made the England of legends live on for a few more legendary years by making them larger than life. What Neil Gaiman can never do, Pratchett's books do - they emit a pride of his country and his country's traditions, in a subtle tongue-in-cheek manner that only Pratchett can.

I can understand his penchant for jumbling up the stories - how else does one solve a jigsaw of events? And isnt life a jigsaw of events that we look back on and understand?
I understand his footnotes - how else does one dispense short stories and anecdotes in one fell sweep without cluttering up the page with parenthseses? (psst - this blog post has footnotes!)
And I so totally understand his need of the larger than life characters who are not evil, but are not good either, yet are only one of the above. And so I wait for their one liner thoughts.

It was surprising to read of a book so engrossed in money, in economy and their meltdowns and their revivals, in debates about banks with no money to back up their money and setting of new standards for currency, at a time like this. It was like a culmination of the real and the fantasy world. Only, the fantasy world seemed to make the real world clearer. With the exaggerated, twisted, multi- but strangely uni-dimensional characters of the Discworld, the real world economy seems to have become clearer and a hope for the future seems to have emerged.

I have introduced many to the fandom of Terry Pratchett's wonderful Discworld (My Mom, atanarjuat, rexzilla, kaddu10 to name just four in order) and with his books still coming out thick and fast, and me still reading something new by him often enough (Ive read all Discworld), I expect many more converts.

I became a fan sometime in my early graduation days.

I remain a fan still.

Its been almost a decade. And it all (coincidentally) started with Interesting Times2.

1 Usually he just writes a paragraph about himself at the beginning of a book. Something like how people ask him where he got the idea of Discworld from, and how he would have exactly 1 Pound, 5 Shillings for being paid 1 shilling per question. No, Im not as elegant an explainer as him. Go read his Introduction from somewhere to find out, will you?

2 Which I picked up because someone had written 'the most awesome book ever' on it - on a British Council Library book. And somehow, for once, I did not mind that a library book had notes on it - perhaps because they were arbit praises in pencil to make someone read the book. I later added my own. The only time in my life. Ever.


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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
27th Dec, 2008 06:26 (UTC)
i reads too :(
you forgot us u_u..
27th Dec, 2008 07:00 (UTC)
Re: i reads too :(
But not as much or enjoys as much as us. In fact, I remember you hated it when I asked you/ introduced you to TP's books way back during MBA days. (you'd told me that you had hated it)
As far as I know you've read only a couple, and they can never match god-level writing for you. Given a choice between JRR Tolkein and Pratchett, youll pick Pratchett whereas the rest of the mentioned ones will pick Pratchett. We like and are fans of Pratchett. Not just readers.
27th Dec, 2008 07:11 (UTC)
Re: i reads too :(
I see... its WE.. i guess we JRRT fans arent allowed to enjoy other authors.no my precious we arent.
Though i have read nearly half the discworld series and carry the rest in my Mobipocket to read while travelling to office.. i guess not.. :/
27th Dec, 2008 07:15 (UTC)
Re: i reads too :(
u never talk about that now, do u? >.<
27th Dec, 2008 07:22 (UTC)
Re: i reads too :(
actually it was my mistake.. I didnt realize the omission was deliberate. Or i wouldnt have left that comment in the first place. For the record though, whatever your little group's perception, i do like TP as also several authors that arent surprisingly JRRT..
27th Dec, 2008 07:27 (UTC)
Re: i reads too :(
I'm saying u never talk about your reading habits or discuss books, so how are we to know what u read? Last i remember was when u said u readed Anansi Boys ^^
27th Dec, 2008 08:56 (UTC)
Re: i reads too :(
Yup sash, relax. I never knew u read TP. Cmon! Talking of groups? I bet Rex has never really communicated with the other "group" members.

And then again, I was not the one who made you a TP fan now, was I? :D And Ive mentioned only my converts up there.
27th Dec, 2008 07:22 (UTC)
To return to the topic..
..what's with the Neil Gaiman reference? The guy is American, and his books are pastiches of world mythology and literature, not just specific to Britain. Sandman for eg, borrows heavily from Milton,Shakespeare, Greek/Norse mythos and so on, to name a few. Although he also does set some of his tales firmly in England (Books of Magic, for eg)
And TP has that nice 'gentle poke' style of writing that permeates at least all his Discworld books (haven't read any other) ^^

Neil Gaiman has a more differentiated style of writing, though he does funny too- read Anansi Boys :D
27th Dec, 2008 08:54 (UTC)
Re: To return to the topic..
Rex, gaiman has adopted the US. He is born and brought up in England, though sometime in his ancestral history he was from Poland. And hence my reference to him.see here

Plus, though his style of writing is different, at some level it is similar. Therefre the book they wrote together. Hence again my ref to him ;)

Now how about a lil more praise for Dear Pratchett :D
27th Dec, 2008 14:08 (UTC)
The wonder of TP in a fantabulous world! :)
Converts eh? :) and guess who criticized me about reading preface or intro in a book? :D i still remember first thing i used to do after buying any book was to read preface :)
Well, anything i have to say abt TP has been already summarised in ur Title of the post, I am just being gleeful in the thought that I now have a chance of borrowing a new TP. Mwahahahaha!!
29th Dec, 2008 06:13 (UTC)
Re: :)
yes converts.
and borrow a TP from me will you? Remember...taxes apply.
29th Dec, 2008 06:25 (UTC)
Re: :)
ok. what is the terminology the converts use to refer to the one who has converted them ? does it work like vampires? and does the supreme one has its/his/hers lair ?
well taxes are ok, if the rates are favourable ;)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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