The Super Nice Book At The End Of The Week

by Ahalya on October 4, 2009

Does an author’s work end when the last word on the page is written, and when the last book is signed in a store full of readers?
I think not. Powerful words written by a good author can change your whole life, pick you out of a foul mood, help you make that one important decision, give you strength, make you happy, amuse you, taunt you, bring on the tears, defy your beliefs and show you how you can be the person you are.

And then there are authors whose very lives are inspiring. Important people whose words live beyond the page, whose actions affect the way we see the world.

Sir Terry Pratchett is a hugely popular author. And several people here have written to say that he is their favourite author. He is surely my favourite author, for his books are always the right book at the right time, no matter when you read them. In fact I was thinking about his books when I wrote those words in the first paragraph.

He has written many books, and I especially love the Discworld Series. I love the way he writes, the images shoot at me, faster than I can think. The witty jokes, the strong characters, the wily rascals and the all too real, all too human people/ and orangutan/ and Conan/ and Talking Cat/ and so on… Pratchett showed me that words can have fun. A writer can make words work hard. Language is not boring, you do not have to be afraid to write down what you are thinking, the way you are thinking them.

Sir Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. I was reading Making Money when I wondered why there weren’t so many jokes as before, I was halfway through Nation (and grumbling about the book not being funny at all) when I found out that he has this disease which will take away his memories. And make it impossible to write the same way again. For a reader this is seriously sad news.

But, he is coming out with more books (Unseen Academicals releases on Oct 6). He hasn’t stopped writing. I am surprised that I thought he would. But the man who wrote Granny Weatherwax, Commander Vimes and Tiffany would fight anything. For me, this is where life looks up and sees a giant and feels humble. This is what an author does. Writes. Despite.

It is too painful to contemplate what will happen next. I feel sorry, I feel incredibly helpless. His sharp mind? My favourite author? Did it have to be this way? At the moment I feel angry, upset that there is no cure for this disease that affects so many people, in such dark ways. Pratchett continues to channelise his anger and uses his name and his writing to bring attention to Alzheimer’s, he is also speaking out about why increasing funds for researching dementia etc will help people. He is, by my reckoning, a damn good author, in more ways than one.

Which is why, his books are the Super Nice Book At The End Of The Week. Which is the best Pratchett book you have read yet? For those who haven’t read Pratchett, what do you think of humorous fantasy fiction which is witty, intelligent and offers a deep insight into contemporary society. Do write in, I am hoping to send the link to this post to Pratchett. I said, hoping 😉

I will be announcing the winners of the Super Nice Book At The End Of The Week later today. It has been an incredibly satisfying week. I connected with several really avid readers and I hope to meet many more. Although this giveaway is over, I will announcing more very soon, so please do fill up your contact details here, so I may send you updates.

May you never run out of good books 🙂

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Meethil October 4, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Ahalya recently gave me a Terry Pratchett (TP) to read. I could not read it. I returned it unread. The sentences were too short. Too short for me to absorb them. I could not soak in the essence. It was like rain in Ladakh. And much like this paragraph.

Having said that, i might be wrong. I just read a few pages, before i put the book down. I could not cope with the pace of his writing (note: not the book; i did not read it) but the pace of thoughts and happenings, its just too quick for me.

But Ahalya had described to me in great detail how TP plays and animates words and language. I was terribly impressed and extremely curious. So i asked to borrow a book. I am still extremely curious how he does it, and will pick up another TP someday soon. Hopefully won’t put it down this time around.

I don’t read humorous fantasy fiction, i am a great fan of novelised history. Conn Iggulden is my current hot favourite, and Valerio Massimo Manfredi is my all time favourite.

Maybe you should try reading novelised history, it’s a great insight into our past written in a very entertaining (with minimum creative liberties, the books generally quotes the author’s research and sources, etc.) and memorable format.

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Vishal Devgon October 5, 2009 at 9:30 am

Honestly I haven’t been through any of TPs, but from the vivid narrative given by you curousity has got the better of me and i can’t wait to grab one and check out for myself.
Yes i surely enjoy humorous fantasy fiction. But of late i’m more into Paulo Coelho kinds and not much books of some gud literary value. Yes ‘First Proof’ of Penguin books was a good collection of fiction/non fiction literary classics.
I’m very much entertained by the Khushwant Singh’s, Shobha de’, which offer some literary input besides being very entertaining fiction.
But Meethil ‘Novelised History’ is something i have never tried. The sheer volume of the book is enough to scare me away from them 🙂 but who knows when i’ll be reading them. The literary interests change like any others with time and then what we will be reading, who knows.

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Aditya October 7, 2009 at 12:26 am

I wanted to dive into Discworld from a long time, but the amount of books in the series has always intimidated me. Would be a serious investment of time to thoroughly run through it. Reading your post has convinced me. Love it when an author taunts/teases the reader though – that’s when you really feel involved with the book. However, I avoid thinking of the process of writing, about what the author was thinking when he wrote the words in a book, and accept the book at face value, as an entity independent of the author – Dorian Grey influence speaking here.
Have you read any of Tom Holt’s books – Humorous Fantasy better than Douglas Adams. Read Valhalla a while back.

@Vishal Devgon, try Delhi by Kushwant Singh, has loads of strange literary allusions, I hope it is historically accurate, and it is of course, entertaining 😉

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kunal October 7, 2009 at 10:05 am

terry terry oh, terry. i lovvvvvvvvvve him. and yes, he has been diagnosed, but i also loved him for the way he put it on his webpage[ or some such place]. typical pratchett. it wil be hard. but who knows. whether science or will. i do hope one or the other[ or both] work 🙂
he is truly a beautiful writer.
favorite pratchetts,,, hahahahahhhaha… very difficult to say the least. so i wil mention a few- small gods, for showing ‘gods’ for what they are 🙂 and showing it in such a way that the fundamentalists cant say anything. wow,,,imagine that. i hope richard dawkins reads this for the pure humor on god and religion. its toooooo much 🙂
thief of time. for being such a complex tale, for showing how simple Lao Tzŭ,sweeper as he is also has some common sense tactics of dealing with anything and everything 🙂 with a wink too 🙂
some of his science books are also v v good[ he has studied science rather wel, and has written atleast 3 science books,with a couple of other chaps, all r grea great reads]
witches abroad,sourcery ,the truth and a few others spring to mind, but i have always felt closest to these two.
the characters, their names, their behaviours,the understanding and lack of of magic, the way the city anarmorpock runs,and is run by its ”democratically” elected head ;). its beautiful.
my alter ego by the way is rincewind[ both for the lack of spelllings as wel as the mad adventures 🙂 ] 🙂 hooray to Sit Terry Pratchett.

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kunal October 7, 2009 at 10:08 am

aditya, each books is a separate one and none are connected, the connection is for u to make. so dont be intimated by the series as it were.perhaps looking at it as a unlimited thali is a good way. eat what u want. dont eat everything 🙂 so then u know u can go for it 🙂 hehehe

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Vishal Devgon October 7, 2009 at 11:40 am

Yipeeeeee Super nice book for me.
🙂

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Meenu Aggarwal October 7, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Congratsssssssssssss… 🙂

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kunal October 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm

yey for all of u[ and me too ;)]

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admin October 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

🙂 hey hey hey, glad to see the post on Pratchett has made some people curious 🙂 I had disappeared for two days, reading the new Dan Brown, will post about that later.
But first! Hey Kunal, welcome back, how was your trip? Glad you are a pratchett fan! And you have read quite a few of them! Som day we will have a Pratchett reading group, what say. We all nod our heads at each other and say the same things over and over again 🙂
Vishal, congratulations! Stellar work on spreading the word! I hope you like Pratchett!I read Khushwant Singh and felt a little depressed because of the frequent references to death, but then again that is also a sign of a long full life!
Aditya 🙂 read about the M&B episode, you are definitely inspiring another post! I have read Tom Holt and I think he is very brilliant! Douglas Adams usually leaves a message behind in his text, remember ‘Apologise for the inconvenience?’ That sent shivers down my spine, I don’t know why.
Meethil, will definitely be giving you another Pratchett soon. Sometimes, you find the right author at the right time, any other time and it doesn’t ‘click’. I have read the ‘Athenian Murders’ which is damn interesting, will try to find it for you!It is written by Spanish author José Carlos Somoza and is mindblowingly scary!

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kunal October 8, 2009 at 3:09 pm

i may have read all but two. took a long long time getting all of his books[ i am a second hand book specialist :), so its takes some time getting every book i want] i think i got only two of his books brand new 🙂
buying a lot of books each year comes up to quite a bit …err 🙂 hehehe.but its the best thing 🙂
nowadays i read less,which is ok too,cause when i do take a book up i usually finish it in a day or two.
the singing went suppppppppppppper.sang from5 am to 10 at nite.its was bliss!!!

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kunal October 8, 2009 at 3:09 pm

rinsewind to the fore…followed by a curious piece of luggage with a looooot of feet 🙂

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