I’ve fallen into a blogging hole again, and it’s not because I haven’t been reading. Oh no. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been reading too much, and it’s seemed like much more fun to go pick up another book than to write about the one I’ve just read. However, I do intend to review the books I’ve read in the intervening time, so apologies for the wait!
I read five of Ann Cleeves’ crime novels set in Shetland. I’d read about the recent television adaptation of the third of the series, Red Bones, starring Douglas Henshall as the very un-Spanish-looking Jimmy Perez, and failed to watch it (normally I only watch TV online, and ‘Shetland’ was unavailable on the BBC’s iPlayer). I spent a month in Shetland back in 1994 collecting specimens of chromite for my undergraduate dissertation project, and, although I’ve never been back since, I keep meaning to do so, and explore more than I managed then. The Shetland Quartet books are set mostly on the mainland (the fourth, Blue Lightning, on Perez’s home island of Fair Isle), and are wonderfully evocative of the isolation and scenery of the islands.
Then, still on crime, I’ve been reading John Dickson Carr, available on e-book, including once farcical adventure, The Blind Barber, set on board a trans-Atlantic liner, and a couple of Nicholas Blake’s crime novels which don’t feature Nigel Strangeways.
Lastly, Little Red Reviewer’s recent read-alongs of Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men and Hat Full of Sky have inspired me to pick up all four of the Tiffany Aching series, and they are excellent! I really enjoyed the mix of humour and genuine menace. So now I’ve read those, I’m now re-reading more Pratchett…
Oh Terry Pratchett. The disparity between how much I want to like his books and how much I actually do like them makes me sad. 😦
I can see why some might not appeal. Avoid the early books – you don’t need to have read them to enjoy the later ones. I’d recommend one of the witches books, such as ‘Witches Abroad’ as a first taste (if you haven’t already read it and hated it!), or ‘Lords and Ladies’. Alternatively, the Tiffany Aching books might be better – they’re amusing, but not farcical, and Tiffany faces genuine peril – she’s a great heroine. The Wee Free Men is the first of the four.
How much Pratchett have you read before this revisitation?
Oh, lots. I’m not a huge fan of the earlier books with Rincewind, but I love the books with the witches and the City Watch, in particular how the characters (and Pratchett as a writer) have grown and changed as they’ve progressed through the novels. The Tiffany Aching books, being some of his most recent work, are a lot more subtle and less one-note than the earlier books. I do also like how characters from other books (such as Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, or Captain Angua and Wee Mad Arthur) have been incorporated into Tiffany’s books without overbalancing her stories.
I’ve wanted to read Terry Pratchett novels for a while now. Which ones would you recommend? By the way, I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can read more about it here: http://aliera17.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/liebster-award/
I’d recommend the witches ones – try ‘Equal Rites’ or the Tiffany Aching series. Or, if you like crime novels, try ‘Guards Guards’ as a starter. Or a stand-alone such as ‘The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents’. Pratchett’s novels have got a lot more serious in intent (though are still funny) as time’s gone on, being particularly concerned with prejudice and intolerance and hypocrisy. You can read most of his novels without having read others, though it does help to understand, for example, why Magrat tries to stop Granny Weatherwax accompanying her to Genua in ‘Witches Abroad’ if you’ve read ‘Wyrd Sisters’.
Sorry it’s been so long to reply to this comment – it’s been ages since I’ve even logged onto WordPress, let alone written anything. Thanks for the nomination.