Delighted By Discworld
or… at least the Guards.
I remember in college, so many of my friends were reading the Discworld books, by Terry Pratchett. I read Wyrd Sisters, and giggled at some of the puns and Shakespeare references. I liked Witches Abroad. Then I tried to read the first book in the series, because I am a completist like that. I couldn’t get through The Colour of Magic. So, at some point, I gave up on reading Terry Pratchett. And relegated him to the “I’ll read this at some point, when I get around to it.” That’s quite a lengthy list.
When I was testing out the Nook, I figured I’d try some Terry Pratchett again, because I knew it would be a a fast read, something silly. They had Feet of Clay in the library e-books collection. That’s one of the Discworld books featuring the Guards.
Can’t remember who, I think it was Lisa or Architect Dave, who suggested that I would like the Night Watch books. I think now I like them even more than I would have in college. In the past few years I’ve gotten absolutely hooked on crime dramas, the funnier the better. I like NCIS precisely because of the sweet spot between mystery and hilarity. I like it when the people trying to solve crimes have plenty of time for ridiculous banter. And head-slapping.
Commander Vimes is grouchy, cynical and so much a part of his city and the Night Watch that he likes to wear thin-soled boots, so he can tell where in Ankh-Morpork he is by the feel of the cobblestones under his feet. And because he is responsible for a city with a wizard’s college, assassins and thieves organized by guilds, a librarian who’s an orangutang (DON’T call him a monkey) and all manner of trolls, vampires, witches, dwarves, seamstresses and even a golem or two… his police force is an… interesting bunch. There’s Nobby- short and filthy and honestly disreputable. Carrot, polished and virtuous and too good to be true- everyone listens to him. (Coming to Discworld after watching NCIS, I can’t help picturing McGee.) There’s Angua. (I’m picturing Ziva.) And others as the book go on. Because, of course, the police force has to reflect the diversity of the city. Even one that weird.
They make me laugh.
And Terry Pratchett’s writing makes me laugh, little incidental turns of phrase in descriptions. “His movements could be called catlike, except that he did not stop to spray urine up against things.”
“Ninety percent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact.”
“The memory rose up and hit him like a zombie with a grudge.”
“It looked like something some genius of metalwork– one of those little Zen guys who work only by the light of dawn and can beat a club sandwich of folded steels into something with the cutting edge of a scalpel and the stopping power of a rhinoceros on bad acid had made.”
Because there are so very many Discworld books, and, in terms of publishing order, they skip around, juggling storylines and sets of characters, I’m referring to Internet guides to let me go directly to Night Watch novels, and giggle at Vimes and Carrot and Nobby and the lot of them.
I can tell I’m going to reread these. Delightedly.