Vonnegut is one of those genius writers that you can't help but love. "Slaughterhouse 5" was my first venture into the realm of Vonnegut, but I have t...moreVonnegut is one of those genius writers that you can't help but love. "Slaughterhouse 5" was my first venture into the realm of Vonnegut, but I have to say that I think I enjoyed this tale much more. Perhaps because the topic is closer to my heart, or perhaps I was able to identify more closely with the characters, I found this novel to be both thought provoking and utterly hysterical.
The short synopsis - The heir to a ridiculously large family fortune would rather spend his days helping the poor and destitute than attending the large social gatherings which his family feels he should prefer. Naturally this means that he is insane right? His family and one rather unscrupulous attorney seem to think so. They begin their plans on having him declared mentally incompetent, but he may have a trick or two up his sleeve.
I often find that I have to be in the right mood to read through a Vonnegut book, for some reason this one gripped me and I was done with it in less than 2 hours. The characters were hysterical, slightly caricaturistic and over the top, but entirely identifiable and comparable to someone we all know. This entire tale is a treatise on capitalism, money, redistribution of wealth, and the question of selflessness vs insanity. If you like Vonnegut, then this is already on your list. If you haven't encountered Vonnegut, give this book a try for an amusing look at true satire. (less)
After finishing this book, I wasn't sure whether to be happy or mad. Certainly I paid what seemed to be a fortune for the book. The book itself is 80...moreAfter finishing this book, I wasn't sure whether to be happy or mad. Certainly I paid what seemed to be a fortune for the book. The book itself is 80 pages, and on Amazon costs $9.95 which comes out to about 12.4 cents per page (if you don't consider shipping costs). The font is large, the spacing is generous, and there is PLENTY of room in the margins for taking notes. So basically what I am saying is that... there isn't much here.
What IS here is a series of fictional interviews that Vonnegut conducts at the end of the tunnel following the bright light of the afterlife. He conducts 20 second interviews with the people on the other side of the pearly gates. The interviews are often a single question, or a history of the person followed by a single line by the person. The interviewees range from a man who died saving his pooch from a pit-bull to Hitler himself (who is very sorry by the way). The issue is that each of the interviews ranges from on page to at most, 3 pages. So much more could have been said and done. This book felt like more of a teaser than anything else. A preview if you will, of something great to come.
As always, what Vonnegut writes is brilliant. The problem is that I paid $10 for a book that I finished in under a half an hour. I would advise borrowing this from a friend, a relative, the library or just stand there in the bookstore and read it rather than paying for it. (less)
Offically the funniest book I have ever read... EVER.
I was worried that a comedy about the end of days would end up feeling rather... well... wrong. B...moreOffically the funniest book I have ever read... EVER.
I was worried that a comedy about the end of days would end up feeling rather... well... wrong. But they never crossed that Threshold and neither the Lord nor Jesus ever made an appearance so it ended up guilt free and I laughed my way from beginning to end. One of the few books that I will ever read a second time.(less)
I have been reading Pratchett's books in order and have now completed #26... I have to say that reading what has taken him a lifetime to write is actu...moreI have been reading Pratchett's books in order and have now completed #26... I have to say that reading what has taken him a lifetime to write is actually a very interesting experiment in watching a writer grow at his craft. Early Discworld books are one joke after another, with the plot simply stringing together the insanity of the humor... but as time has passed, his style had become far more plot driven and far less interested in the humor. True this book is still amusing, but one would read it for the plot versus the gags. I don't recall laughing out loud a single time while reading, though I did find much of the History Monks bits to be quite entertaining.
Though they claim this is on of the "DEATH" books, Death plays a very small part, taking a backseat to his granddaughter Susan. Susan has moved on from being a nanny and is now a school mistress. Once again the Death of Rats shows up to tell her that her grandfather needs her to save humanity again. Susan has quite a knack for saving humanity.
Then we have Jeremy, the clock maker... he has been employed by a mysterious woman to build a clock entirely out of glass that will tick with the beat of the world. She of course fails to tell him that a clock like this has been made before... and time stopped...
Susan isn't the only one who will be out to stop Jeremy... we have Lu-Tse and his apprentice Lopsang who are sweepers at the dojo of the History Monks. The wisdom passed from Master to Apprentice is where you will find most of the humor in this book.
The five horsemen of the apocalypse show up... yeah, turns out there were five but one quit a long time ago... but now worries... when it's time to ride out they'll all show up right? I mean Famine, War, Pestilence and Death are always ready to ride out right? Are you sure? Perhaps their hobbies have become more interesting to them.
Then we have the bad guys... the Auditors, we all know them and despise them since they tried to take away Christmas, I mean Hogswatch. The auditors audit the Discworld and truly despise humanity because we are not orderly, tidy or easily cataloged. The auditors play a much larger role in this book than in any of Pratchett's previous works.
Though I enjoyed reading this book, it won't go down as one of my favorite Discworld novels. The introduction of the History monks was nice, and I love Susan as a character... but on the whole the humor was more subtle than I would have liked, and the plot really didn't grab me the way some of the other plot driven novels did. Though Death and Susan are among my favorite characters, they always end up in my least favorite books. Amazing how that happens. Still I would suggest reading this book, it has a wonderful take on logic, rules, and time in general.(less)
This book may be marketed to YA or Children, but I can't think of a woman who wouldn't enjoy it - not that men won't like it, but it's just so rare to...moreThis book may be marketed to YA or Children, but I can't think of a woman who wouldn't enjoy it - not that men won't like it, but it's just so rare to find a story of a smart little girl who no one notices that ends up saving the world through her wits (and she saves the nasty old boy too).
Tiffany Aching is a wonderful addition to the Discworld pantheon, I avoided reading this for the longest time because I was so upset that it wasn't going to be about one of the groups I already loved (the Guards and the Witches) and I just couldn't imagine loving any new character as much as I loved them. But I should have had faith in Pratchett. Tiffany is wonderful, funny and the perfect little heroine for a tale including the Nac Mac Feegle. I can imagine little girls all over the world wishing they had the Wee Free Men on their side, and that they could go and save the world from an evil queen.
The story is funny, adventureous and forced me to stay up way too late at night to finish it in a single sitting. You don't have to have read any of the other Discworld books to read this one, and for those of you who are "anti-witchcraft" I would advise you read this before harping on it - Pratchett has a very different view of witchcraft then most...
I highly recommend this book - I wish I hadn't read it so that I could have the pleasure of reading it again for the first time.(less)
Reviewing Pratchett is always hard, I absolutely adore most of his books, and his literary cannon is huge. I have been reading all of the Discworld bo...moreReviewing Pratchett is always hard, I absolutely adore most of his books, and his literary cannon is huge. I have been reading all of the Discworld books in chronological order and have finally arrived at “The Truth,” the twenty-fifth book in the series. “The Truth” introduces the character of William de Worde, a young son of a noble who chooses not to follow in his father’s footsteps, rather attempting to make his own way in the world. Late one night the local rumor that Dwarves have found a way to turn lead into gold comes to light right in front of de Worde. Lead can be turned into gold if you use the lead to make a printing press, and manage to find an excellent writer like de Worde to start Ankh-Morpork’s first newspaper.
As with all of Pratchett’s books, we have the evolution of the newspaper over a matter of a week rather than the hundred or so years that it took in our world. Soon there is competition across the street with headlines like “Woman gives birth to snakes” and “Man abducted by Demons.” William de Worde however, is obsessed with truth, stories come flooding in, and soon he has hired Sacharissa as a story writer, and Otto the vampire as a photographer. I have to admit that the first time Otto takes a picture for the paper literally cause me to snort my drink out through my nose, and tears to come to my eyes from laughing so hard. I think that scene is one of the funniest moments I have ever read in a book. Sacharissa is the daughter of an engraver who becomes quite the excellent reporter, and ends up being key to the discovery of the truth at the end of the book. Otto, a vampire from Uberwald has joined the temperance group and given up the red stuff, not that he doesn’t have his moments, but he tries so hard to keep himself under control.
William’s struggle as the head of the newspaper suddenly is flung into high gear when the Patrician is accused of murder. At this point the book begins satirizing the Watergate scandal complete with the anonymous tipster who is never seen (though readers of other discworld books will figure out who the tipster is fairly quickly). The guards, specifically Vimes, figure heavily into this book as they go about trying to discern what actually occurred with the Patrician. This book has one of the stronger plots in a Discworld book, rather than the humor coming from the plot, the plot is rather serious and the characters involved are the source of the humor. I personally find this to be a much better book than some of his earlier works because it feels as though it has more control over itself and doesn’t sacrifice for a joke except in some minor areas involving the bad guys.
Speaking of the bad guys, we have Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip… the bad guys from the Looney Toons, you know the ones… the big dumb guy and the little wise a__. They have been hired by a group of “concerned citizens” to set up the Patrician… these concerned citizens are of course, from the upper crust of society with a very defined idea of who should actually be in charge (preferably someone very dumb who will do what they tell him). I personally did not enjoy the bits with Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip (who has a cursing problem and an obsession with trying to get high, even though it’s never stated outright). I found them to be rather tedious though I know others would find them to be the most humorous part of the book. For those of you who either read these with your children or let your little ones read discworld books (we listen to many of them on audio CD while on road trips, our children think they are hysterical). I don’t know that I would hand this to a child under 12… possibly under 14. The main reason being that Mr. Tulip snorts anything he can get his hands on, though most of the time he’s completely unsuccessful, having snorted mothballs, flour, flea powder etc, I’m not sure that I’d want my kids hearing that (my kids are 7 and 10).
As a whole this book is brilliantly funny and the satire is genius. This will be funnier to people who are familiar with the press, particularly writing for papers and those with a pretty good idea of how Watergate played out. Although I considered making this a four star book because of my dislike for Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip… the fact that the scene with Otto made my drink exit my nose bumped it back up to a five star book. I highly recommend it to Discworld fans and those who are considering becoming Discworld fans. (less)
As an avid Discworld fan, I have never reviewed a Discworld book. This is mainly because I didn't feel that I could give a fair review. Last night I f...moreAs an avid Discworld fan, I have never reviewed a Discworld book. This is mainly because I didn't feel that I could give a fair review. Last night I finished "The Last Continent" and although it was entertaining, I have to say that it was not one of the better installments in the series.
This is the, let's see... there was "The Color of Magic", "The Light Fantastic", "Sorcery", "Eric", and "Interesting Times"... so that makes this the sixth book in the Rincewind Series. Not exactly the best place to pick up on the story, especially since so little of the previous five books is explained in this one. Had I not read them, I would be completely baffled by the concept of The Luggage, which was previously one of my favorite of Pratchett's inventions. It has very little page time in this book and is completely unexplained.
For those that have not read the Discworld series before, Rincewind was the first anti-hero from the first of the Discworld Novels. I say anti-hero not because he is a bad guy, but because it is hard to call a man who runs away from everything a hero... even though he does accidentally save the day on many occasions. In the end of "Interesting Times" The Wizards from the Unseen University botch and attempt to teleport Rincewind back to the University and accidentally teleport him to the unknown continent of XXX or Eksekseks. This continent is strangely like our Australia complete with Kangaroos, Wombats, and Mad Max style characters. Rincewind spends the majority of the book running away from amusing characters, searching for food and water, and trying to find his way back to Anhk-Morpork.
The secondary group in this book (Pratchett is known for having several stories going on at the same time) consists of the Wizards of the Unseen Univeristy. Ridcully, the Dean, The Bursar, the Senior Wrangler, and many others go hunting for Rincewind in the hopes that he knows the original name of the Librarian. Apparently knowing the Librarian's name is one of the only ways the Wizards can think of to cure the strange affliction that he has come down with... he is sick and every time he sneezes he changes shape. So the Wizards, incompetent as usual, managed to find their way to the lost continent only the get there several thousand years too early. Their presence manages to change the future... where Rincewind currently resides, and it is up to him to set things right.
This book is full of hysterical lines and improbable discussions, specifically where the Wizards are involved. This is the first of the Discworld books where I have noticed sex being mentioned. Not that it ever takes place, but it is mentioned as they try to explain procreation to a slightly dense god of evolution. "The Last Continent" had all of the makings of a great Pratchett book, and it WAS a funny read. The problem is that:
1- You have to already know Discworld to completely understand what is going on... particularly the Rincewind series. 2- There is not enough of the Luggage 3- The switching back and forth between the Wizards and Rincewind happens so often and so quickly that many times your head will boggle. 4- The Wizards have become far more entertaining than Rincewind... which is a shame, Rincewind just wasn't as well thought out or cared for in this book.
On the whole, this is a good book, it's just not one of the best, and certainly isn't where I would start if I had never read a Discworld book before. (less)
I know that many have stated that there had been a decline in his writing as time goes on… I personally would have to disagree. There is a change in h...moreI know that many have stated that there had been a decline in his writing as time goes on… I personally would have to disagree. There is a change in his writing; however I feel that it has been for the better. As his book have progressed, he has leaned less toward the quick giggle and insane rush of nonsense and more toward a satirical plot with darker edges and the giggles interspersed within the story rather than his jokes running the story.
The Fifth Elephant is one of Pratchett’s more plot driven novels, there isn’t a giggle or a chortle on every page as with some of his others. I have always liked the Guard’s series for this reason, I like a good plot. If you have not read a discworld book before, I wouldn’t advise this be your starting place, instead I would start at the beginning of whichever series it is you want to read. This being part of the Guards Series I would start with “Guards Guards” which although it is by no means the strongest entry in the series, it is a good introduction to the lead character of Samuel Vimes and his crew. Each of the following books adds additional characters who become major players in the later books. The characters truly grow through each of the books and I think that having read the previous in the series will increase your enjoyment of this one.
Quick Summary: A strange theft and murder occur in Ankh-Morpork, and just as the Watch is about to investigate, The Patrician sends Vimes and his wife off to Uberwald to attend the coronation of the new Dwarfish Low King as ambassadors. While street hardened Vimes has to start learning about politicking, Angua disappears… and Carrot decides to go after her, unfortunately her trail leads to Uberwald, land of vampires, werewolves, and Dwarves who rarely come to the surface. As Sam Vimes always says – A cop will always find a crime, the origins of the strange crimes in Ankh-Morpork also lead back to Uberwald and the coronation ceremony. Vimes finds himself attempting to not only play politician and ambassador, but also detective to sort out the truth before the Dwarves are thrown into a bloody civil war.
The summary sounds a bit dark doesn’t it? Well this, much like “Carpe Jugulum,” is a darker more plot driven novel, but the humor is still there. Cheery accompanies Vimes back to her homeland as military attaché and unfortunately her modern ways cause issues amongst the more traditional dwarves of Uberwald. Detrius the Troll attends as the cultural attaché, unfortunately in Uberwald the trolls and dwarves have been at war for over a hundred years… then throw in Angua’s noble yet slightly psychotic werewolf family, and a Vampire clan that’s on the wagon from drinking human blood… everyone is moving their chess pieces and poor Sam has to figure it all out. Sybil has a much larger roll in this story than in the past, and her personality really begins to develop. This book is funny, full of action, and intrigue… who stole the Scone? Who murdered the prophylactics maker? Where is the fake stone? Who is behind it all? The opposing Dwarves? The Werewolves? The Vampires? Or is it someone from within?
Although I didn’t laugh nearly as much during this book, I found myself truly enjoying the read much more than some of the others. If I were to try to tell you what “The Color of Magic” was about… I really couldn’t other than to say it was about running away… True, I enjoyed it immensely, but this had a plot, a meaning, and more to learn from, I think this is an excellent addition to the Discworld series. (less)