So you must all know by now how much I LOVE Terry Pratchett and his Discworld books, right? No? Really? Have I not gone on and on about how brilliant he is? So naturally I HAD to participate in the Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge hosted by Marg of Reading Adventures. I joined as a Guard of the City Watch (coincidentally my favourite group in the Discworld series) and needed to read 4-5 books or watch their adaptations. I was actually planning to do a bit of re-reading as well, but alas, too many books and so little time. But, I did complete the challenge and also got to see Sir Terry himself at the midnight launch of his latest novel, I Shall Wear Midnight and bagged myself a signed copy of his novel. Sweet!

So I read the following:

Unseen Academicals

Going Postal
I Shall Wear Midnight

You can tell it’s all the new stuff, can’t you? Yup, I’ve been reading Pratchett’s books for the last 20 years. I do have to say that they get better and better and I much prefer the later novels to the earlier ones. The characters are more developed and less of a caricature, there’s depth and darkness and a real love of the world (both ours and the Discworld). And you’ve got to love the Nac Mac Feegle! The adaptations also keep getting better with each one as well.

You can check out what the other participants have been reading here.

So, have you read any books by Terry Pratchett yet? If not, WHY NOT??

I’m actually rather surprised that I didn’t devour this book as soon as I got it. But then I’ve been participating in rather a lot of challenges this year. But you know what? I’m kind of glad that I waited a little because once the hype of getting the book signed by Sir Terry himself has diminished a little, I think I got to enjoy this book even more. I Shall Wear Midnight is Terry Pratchett’s fourth book in the Tiffany Aching series, part of the Discworld books (following The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith). I would recommend reading the books in order as things will make a lot more sense. But then I would read them in order anyway because they are that good. As you probably all know, I’m a die-hard fan of Pratchett’s, and with each book, it gets better and better.

In this one, Tiffany Aching is now 16, a working witch in her steading, looking after people, solving problems and generally keeping everything in working order, just so life can amble on unimpeded. And then there’s the Nac Mac Feegle who we first meet in the first book, The Wee Free Men, who have adopted Tiffany as their very own hag (a wise woman). I love the Nac Mac Feegles with their blue bodies and red hair and the way they shout ‘Crivens’ at every opportunity. And also for their strength, stubbornness and fearlessness even though they are only a couple of inches tall.

Although there are plenty of laughs in this book, and I found myself laughing out loud in some parts, there are also some very dark moments. In the last book, Wintersmith, Tiffany had awoken a dark presence who is determined to get her. There is a cold, wicked stench to this evil spirit with no eyes who turns everyone against witches, reminiscent of the witchfinders of the 17th century. Tiffany must learn to be strong enough to stand up to him. As the wedding of her ex and his blond and blue-eyed fiancée approaches, will she be able to accept who she is and convince others of what she is? And will she ever find love?

Pratchett has once again crafted a beautiful story, full of laughter, horror and a real sense of what it is to be human. He strips away the layers of what we see and shows us what life really is about. I thought this was a fantastic story and written with such depth and understanding that I defy anyone not to feel that you’ve come away with a little more understanding and respect for the world we live in. Pratchett really observes people and knows what he’s talking about.

And, in I Shall Wear Midnight we are once again reconciled with Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. What more can you ask for? So what are you waiting for? Go on and get yourself some Pratchett!

I read this just in time to complete my Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge. Yay! And don’t forget to check out the other reviews for this challenge.

I finally managed to watch the TV adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal which was shown over the bank holiday weekend. I tried not to read too many reviews as I didn’t want to spoil my fun, but good reviews kept trickling in, and although I was planning to wait until the DVD was released, I’m lucky enough to have a sister who doesn’t mind me hogging her Sky.

Going Postal is the tale of conman and ex-convict Moist von Lipwig as he is snatched from the jaws of death by Ankh-Morpork’s Patrician, Lord Vetinari, who gives him two choices: death or revive the Post Office. Moist reluctantly takes up the position of Post Master but soon hits on the idea that if he is successful, he could buy his freedom. Add to this a junior postman who is older than his granddad, the unexplained deaths of all the previous Post Masters and the beautiful, no-nonsense Adora Belle Dearheart, Moist finds himself in an adventure that will change his life as well as those around him. And we get to re-connect with some of our friends at the City Watch too.

As you may know, I wasn’t that impressed with the TV adaptation of Hogfather (although I was excited about it being made into a live-action film, Hogfather is one of my favourite Pratchett novels so naturally I would be critical) but was impressed with their second offering, The Colour of Magic. But Going Postal was so much better. The script was well written, the acting superb (in particular Richard Coyle as Moist, Claire Foyle as Adora and David Suchet as the deliciously evil Gilt) and the general feel was more mainstream than niche but with all the details that would make any Pratchett fan chuckle to themself. Even my sister who ‘doesn’t do elves and fairies’ exclaimed that ‘it was actually pretty good’ even though she fell asleep near the beginning (but she had a tough week and she’s a mum). I’m just excited to see what they will produce next.

Naturally I would urge you to read the book first. It will boost your enjoyment of the adaptation a thousandfold.

I watched this as part of the Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge.

OK, so we’re halfway through the year and the question is, am I halfway through all of my challenges? Let’s see, I’ve put my name down for a lot of challenges this year and at one point I thought my brain was going to spontaneously combust. However, on noting down what I’ve read, it seems I’m on track. Sort of.

Suspense and Thriller 2010 Challenge: 6/12
Flashback Challenge: 1/3
Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge: 1/5 – I missed seeing Going Postal so will wait for the DVD
South Asia Authors Challenge: 6/5 – but I’m planning to read more
TBR Challenge: 1/12 – not very impressive
Women Unbound Challenge: 4/5
Once Upon A Time IV Challenge: 1/1
1930s Reading Challenge: 0/1

Not as bad as I thought, although my TBR pile needs some serious seeing to.

I’ve also decided that I will allow myself to buy one book with every three books I read from my TBR pile (unless I really need to, of course!) Just to keep the ball rolling.

Anyway, to end on a cheerful note, I received the following in the post:

The Killer of Pilgrims by Susanna Gregory – from the lovely people at Little Brown. Matthew Bartholomew and Brother Michael are two of my favourite medieval sleuths.

24 Hours Paris by Marsha Moore – which I won from Me and My Big Mouth. My whole family loves Paris and it’s got some great ideas about what to do there hour by hour.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley – from the lovely people at Orion Books. I have belatedly discovered the delightful Flavia de Luce in the first volume The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and can’t wait to tuck into this one.

And I found this at my library:

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde – I need a bit of Fforde fiction to tide me over until proper summer is here. I mean it, proper summer. You’re on your way, aren’t you??

2010 Challenges

5 December, 2009

Seems to be the season for announcing challenges. I don’t know what it is about reading challenges but I think I’m drawn to them like a moth to a flame because they put a structural emphasis to my reading and gives it a pattern and some sort of rationale. Instead of reading random books and quickly forgetting about them as soon as I switch genre, they make me think about the plot, character and histories within each book and allows me to connect them with other books, the bigger picture and my life. I quite like that, it makes me feel as though I am part of something fluid yet tangible.

I have seen many mouthwatering challenges popping up all over the blogging world and have finally succumbed to several. I was going to write separate posts for each, but I’m already getting confused myself and have decided to put it all under one roof.

The South Asian Author Challenge
January 1st – December 31st 2010

Here is a challenge I cannot possibly ignore. The South Asian Author Challenge is hosted by the lovely Swapna of S. Krishna’s Books who also hosted the Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge. Busy lady!

The rules are a little tricky so I’ll need to choose my books carefully:

There are two requirements for a book to qualify for the South Asian Author Challenge, both of which must be met:

1) The author must be of South Asian descent. It doesn’t matter if they’re third or fourth generation, or are only half South Asian – I’m pretty flexible on this issue.

2) The book must be about South Asia in some way. It doesn’t have to be set in South Asia, as long as it’s about the culture or history in some way. On the other hand, it can be set in South Asia and not be about South Asians.

I think I will attempt 5 books in this challenge, maybe more depending on what I find on my up-coming trip to Sri Lanka. Some of the books will be from my list in preparation for the Galle Literary Festival 2010 posted here to which I also want to add Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children which I found the other day on my TBR shelf and Story Wallah a collection of short stories by South Asian writers edited by Shyam Selvadurai.

The Flashback Challenge
January 1st – December 31st 2010

Seems like I’m addicted to challenges. I keep finding more and more that I want to join especially if it fits in with what I’ve been planning to or have been thinking about reading for a while. The Flashback Challenge is hosted by Aarti at Booklust and Kristen M at We Be Reading. Aarti is also one of the hosts of the Women Unbound: A Book Challenge together with Care of Care’s Online Book Club and Eva of A Striped Armchair. It’s a longish challenge so that gives me time to try and clear my TBR shelf and complete my other challenges.

The Flashback Challenge is exciting because now I get to reread my favourite book of all time. Yes, it’s the beautiful The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I don’t think I’ve looked at it since I first finished it in the summer of 1993 when I was revising for my first year finals. I think I’ve been a little scared to revisit what was a sensational reading experience, just in case I don’t like it so much. But you know, I like rereading books, and I normally do so when I’m back at home on holiday. I don’t know how many times I’ve read Anne of Green Gables, The Witching Hour and all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels plus all the manga I have at home including Asterix.

I will also be giving Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself another shot. I read this a few years back and didn’t really feel the love (he is one of the brightest stars of fantasy together with my favourite Scott Lynch), so I want to see whether it will be better second time around.

I will be opting for the Bookworm level which means I will be rereading upto three books. I think that’s doable.

My final book will probably be a Terry Pratchett which takes me neatly to…

The Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge
December 1st 2009 – November 30th 2010

See, another challenge I cannot bypass. I seem to be addicted to reading challenges and I’m also addicted to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. So this is like a dream come true. Reading Adventures is hosting the Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge. I’ve read most of Terry Pratchett’s books except for his latest two, Nation and Unseen Academicals and his childrens books which form The Bromeliad. So I think I’ll be tackling those first before doing some rereads. I generally tend to reread Terry Pratchett’s books as part of my comfort reading package: bath, book and cake.

I will be participating as a Guard of the City Watch (my favourite group of characters together with the assassins of the Assassins’ Guild and the wizards of Unseen University) which means I will be reading/watching tv adaptations of 4-5 books.


The Thriller and Suspense Challenge
January 1st – December 31st 2010

I found the following two challenges on Melody’s Reading Corner and will be joining them because 1) my favourite genre is mystery and 2) I am determined to decrease my TBR pile next year.

The Thriller and Suspense Challenge is hosted by Book Chick City. The challenge is to read 12 mysteries in 2010 and the books can crossover into other challenges. This is great as I probably read more mysteries than any other genre. I’ll be posting about some of the prospective titles a little later.


The Original TBR Challenge
January 1st – December 31st 2010

After completing the Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge, I feel more optimistic about doing this. It was fantastic to go through my TBR shelf and slowly start reading some of the books that have been sitting there for over a year. All the books I have are books that I actually want to read. It’s just that I want to read everything so reining in my enthusiasm when confronted with the library and bookshops is really tough. And since I’ve started reading book blogs, it’s even tougher. There are just so many intriguing books out there.

Instead of the TBR ‘Lite’ Challenge, I think I will try the Original TBR Challenge for 2010, both hosted by MizB’s Reading Challenges. The Original TBR Challenge is a bit more hardcore: you have to make a list of 12 books to read from your TBR pile to read in 2010 and you cannot change that list after January 1st. However, you can make an alternative list of 12 books from which you can substitute books. So not bad. I’ll just have to have a long hard think about which books to read so that I can read a book for several challenges at once (since I’m doing so many challenges I have a feeling I will end up very dazed and confused). I’ll be posting my list up soon once I have a quick scrutiny of my TBR pile and see what treasures I can find.

*You can find my list here.