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Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
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Jun 10, 07

Read in December, 2006

Discworld. Someone's put out a hit on the Hogfather, but the show must go on, so this year Death's putting on the red suit and delivering the Hogswatch gifts. Every other year or so, I reread this at Christmas. It's about winter holidays, but also about that small wedge of truth where myth and belief meet. The story mostly focuses on Death and his granddaughter Susan Sto-Helit, but there are cameos by the Assassins' Guild, Foul Ole Ron's band of beggars, the Unseen University (and Hex!), and even a little Corporal Nobbs. Also features the Death of Rats and a raven with a fondness for eyeballs. Good, clean (mostly), holiday Discworld fun with maybe a smidge too much philosophizing at the end.

If you've never read a Discworld book, then you don't understand a word I just said, but this might be a good place to start. It's familiar ground that depends more upon your knowledge of holiday tradition than of Ankh-Morpork, the setting of most Discworld books. Pratchett is known for his ability to fold fantasy and parody together in a way that detracts from neither, and his writing is funny and human. Be advised, however, that he does not believe in chapters. There is never a good place to put one of his books down, and you may find yourself reading far longer than you intended, for sheer want of reaching the end of the chapter.

Four stars, because I've lost track of how many times I've read this book. It's got a lot of my favorite Discworld characters and it's Christmasy without being overly sentimental.
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