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text 2018-12-13 19:10
Reading progress update: I've read 21%.
Hogfather: Discworld, Book 20 - Random House Audiobooks,Terry Pratchett,Nigel Planer

The gap between story and reality demonstrated in one paragraph:

 

"It was a strange but demonstrable fact that the sacks of toys carried by the Hogfather, no matter what they really contained, always appeared to have sticking out of the top a teddy bear, a toy soldier in the kind of colourful uniform that would stand out in a disco, a drum and a red-and-white candy cane. The actual contents always turned out to be a bit garish and costing $5.99."

 

I find myself sighing with pleasure because I'm reading someone who is able to use long, complex sentences that sound in the ear, like a well-tuned guitar, even when not read aloud.

 

 

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text 2018-12-13 16:05
Reading progress update: I've listened 379 out of 585 minutes.
Hogfather - Terry Pratchett,Nigel Planer

I always have to bring up the stuff to give the troops exchange.

 

‘Um . . . excuse me, gentlemen,’ said Ponder Stibbons, who had been scribbling thoughtfully at the end of the table. ‘Are we suggesting that things are coming back? Do we think that’s a viable hypothesis?’

The wizards looked at one another around the table.

‘Definitely viable.’

‘Viable, right enough.’

‘Yes, that’s the stuff to give the troops.’

‘What is? What’s the stuff to give the troops?’

‘Well . . . tinned rations? Decent weapons, good boots . . . that sort of thing.’

‘What’s that got to do with anything?’

‘Don’t ask me. He was the one who started talking about giving stuff to the troops.’

‘Will you lot shut up? No one’s giving anything to the troops!’

‘Oh, shouldn’t they have something? It’s Hogswatch, after all.’

‘Look, it was just a figure of speech, all right? I just meant I was fully in agreement. It’s just colourful language. Good grief, you surely can’t think I’m actually suggesting giving stuff to the troops, at Hogswatch or any other time!’

‘You weren’t?’

‘No!’

‘That’s a bit mean, isn’t it?’

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text 2018-12-13 12:33
Reading progress update: I've read 9%.
Hogfather: Discworld, Book 20 - Random House Audiobooks,Terry Pratchett,Nigel Planer

"Education had been easy.

 

Learning things had been harder.

 

Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on."

With my education long behind me but my learning far from finished, this quote made me go - what a wise man Terry Pratchett was - then I thought about how quickly he'd have seen through my self-serving stance. 

 

The thing about reading Pratchett is that, while I might hope to be like Grimes or Ventinarri, I know that theirs are robes I can only wear when Pratchett helps me shrug into them.

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text 2018-12-13 04:30
Reading progress update: I've listened 230 out of 585 minutes.
Hogfather - Terry Pratchett,Nigel Planer

I'm at the part where the store manager is complaining to the Watch that a fake Hogfather is giving away gifts in his shop.

 

Unfortunately, Mr Crumley wasn’t in the right receptive frame of mind. He stood up and waved a shaking finger towards the top of the stairs.
‘I want you to go up there,’ he said, ‘and arrest him!’
‘Arrest who, sir?’ said Corporal Nobbs.
‘The Hogfather!’
‘What for, sir?’
‘Because he’s sitting up there as bold as brass in his Grotto, giving away presents!’
Corporal Nobbs thought about this.
‘You haven’t been having a festive drink, have you, sir?’ he said hopefully.
‘I do not drink!’
‘Very wise, sir,’ said Constable Visit. ‘Alcohol is the tarnish of the soul. Ossory, Book Two, Verse Twenty-four.’
‘Not quite up to speed here, sir,’ said Corporal Nobbs, looking perplexed. ‘I thought the Hogfather is s’posed to give away stuff, isn’t he?’
This time Mr Crumley had to stop and think. Up until now he hadn’t quite sorted things out in his head, other than recognizing their essential wrongness.
‘This one is an Impostor!’ he declared. ‘Yes, that’s right! He smashed his way into here!’
‘Y’know, I always thought that,’ said Nobby. ‘I thought, every year, the Hogfather spends a fortnight sitting in a wooden grotto in a shop in Ankh-Morpork? At his busy time, too? Hah! Not likely! Probably just some old man in a beard, I thought.’
‘I meant . . . he’s not the Hogfather we usually have,’ said Crumley, struggling for firmer ground. ‘He just barged in here!’
‘Oh, a different impostor? Not the real impostor at all?’
‘Well . . . yes . . . no . . .’
‘And started giving stuff away?’ said Corporal Nobbs.
‘That’s what I said! That’s got to be a Crime, hasn’t it?’

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text 2018-12-12 19:52
Reading progress update: I've read 6%. - the Assassin's Guild reminds me of Eton
Hogfather: Discworld, Book 20 - Random House Audiobooks,Terry Pratchett,Nigel Planer

 

 

I've just started my re-read of "Hogfather" and I'm already asking myself how I can have left it so long* without re-reading it

 

         *(for context, I've only read it once... in 1998... is twenty years too long?)

 

 

 

I'm pleased but not surprised by  philosophical gems like opening with

 

"Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.

 

But people have always been dimly aware of the problem with the start of things. They wonder how the snowplough driver gets to work, or how the makers of dictionaries look up the spellings of words. Yet there is the constant desire to find some point in the twisting, knotting, ravelling nets of space-time on which a metaphorical finger may be put to indicate that here, here, is the point where it all began..."

 

Wonderful stuff, not least because it is at the beginning and because it uses the word ravelling in a sentence.

 

Or the dry wit of statements like:

 

"The only sticky bit had been the embarrassment when her employer had found out she was a duchess because, in Mrs Gaiter's book, which was a rather short book with big handwriting, the upper crust wasn't supposed to work."

 

What caught me by surprise was how much the Assassins' Guild reminded me of Eton. It started with Lord Downey's pride in the Guild he leads because it:

 

"practised the ultimate in democracy. You didn't need intelligence, social position, beauty or charm to hire it. You just needed money, which unlike the other stuff, was available to everyone. Except the poor, of course but there was no helping some people".

What really reminded me of the alma mater of English entitlement was this:

 

"...the Guild took young boys and gave them a splendid education and incidentally taught them how to kill, cleanly and dispassionately, for money and for the good of society, or at least that part of society that had money, and what other kind of society was there?"

 

In the current climate in England, this came off as gallows humour.

 

 

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