I’ve got until October 4th to meet my goal of reading 100 books in a year. When we last met, I still had 12 more books to read. I’ve whittled that down, but I still have a lot of work to do.
#89 A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
The first of several Pratchett’s to be reviewed. A Hat Full of Sky is the second novel by Pratchett featuring young Tiffany Aching. She’s a bit older, a bit wiser, and still just as lovable. In this book, Tiffany heads off to be apprenticed to a witch in the mountains. She also happens to get possessed by an Hiver, which is a memory sucking ethereal parasite. Back for the ride are the Wee Free Men, who I love. Of all the Pratchett characters, the Feegles crack me up the most. Granny Weatherwax has a bigger role in this book as well, which makes me happy, since I also love her. All in all, I found this to be highly enjoyable.
#90 Guards, Guards by Terry Pratchett
The first of the Watch books, Guards, Guards introduces us to many of the key players in Ankh-Morpork. Vimes, Carrot, Vetinari, and of course, Nobby Nobbs (technically a man – he has the papers to prove it). I had read some of the later Watch books and didn’t get them – starting at the beginning though, I’m enjoying them much more. So much in fact that I read:
#91 Men at Arms, by Terry Pratchett
The second Watch books. The characters have evolved, the Watch has grown, and it’s fun to see the change. I find the these books, as far as grown-up Pratchett’s go, are a bit less allegorical (although perhaps I am missing something) and therefore, more enjoyable to me. They have so far been a faster read than the books featuring the Witches (although I still recommend those) and I am growing more attached to the characters than I thought I would. In both of the books, the Watchmen are clearly the underdogs, bumbling, but passionate. And Vimes is delightfully broody – even when he solves the crime, he still doesn’t seem very happy about it.
Grade for Guards, Guards: B
Grade for Men at Arms: B+
#92 Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
The last Pratchett of this batch of books, Wintersmith is the third Tiffany Aching book. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the others in the end, but only because I found the end a little abrupt. He’s writing a fourth, due out soon, so that will probably tie up some of the loose ends, but I was kind of surprised when I turned the page and it was over. That aside, it was generally enjoyable. My favorite part: Tiffany goes to live with Nanny Ogg, who is hilarious. I like that while Tiffany is clearly a good witch, she also has her faults and makes mistakes, which she then pays for. This story, which tiptoes into adolescent love, was easy to read, even if I did find it a little less engaging than the others.
#93 Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson
I read this a while ago and only recently realized that I had forgotten to add it to the count. I’ve mentioned the Berry/Pearson Peter Pan books before, but to refresh your memory: These books (this one was the fourth) tell the story of how Peter became Peter. I really enjoyed the first three – mostly because of the female protagonist Molly, who is a delightful girl – fiery, smart, and brave. In the fourth book, Molly is all grown up and mother to, who else, Wendy. While Peter was still his youthful self, I missed young Molly. Wendy was fine as a character, but nowhere near as memorable. I liked the book, but was a bit annoyed that it brought back old, dead enemies, instead of creating something new for Peter to fight. I highly doubt there will be a fifth book – there doesn’t seem anywhere else to go.
#94 The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
This had to be at least the fifth time I’ve read this book, the first of the books by Gregory about the Tudors. I credit this novel with sparking my interest in Tudor England. Since reading the first, I’ve read a lot of non-fiction about Henry VIII and his children. While The Other Boleyn Girl is clearly not the most historically accurate representation of the rise of and fall of Anne Boleyn, I find it really enjoyable. Gregory has a way, in all her books I’ve read, of making you feel something about the main characters – some you despise, some you have a love/hate relationship with (like Anne), but there are very few I’ve felt indifferent about. For those that have only seen the movie – your loss. The movie was terrible, in my opinion (firstly because I don’t like Scarlett Johansson). The book spans more than a decade and is told from the perspective of Mary, Anne’s sister. The phrase, “the other Boleyn girl,” is nicely played with – at times it refers to both. While some of the plot devices (incest, witchcraft) are clearly based on rumors from the time that are likely untrue, they do serve to move it along nicely. I’ve got a few other books by Gregory in my library and I just might need to pull another one off the shelf.
So, 94 books. Which means I’ve got just over 2 weeks to read 6 more books. I think I can do it, but we’ll see.