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Friday, February 22, 2013

Currently Re-Reading: Terry Pratchett!

With all the new books in the world to read, why do I re-read some over and over?

There are a number of writers whose books I will always buy rather than borrow from the library, because I know I'll read them again. Two of them are Terry Pratchett and Kerry Greenwood. Kerry Greenwood might sound an unlikely candidate for a regular re-read, because her novels are mysteries and once you've found out whodunit, why look at it again, right? And that might be the case if they were just mysteries, even with great characters. But the thing is, one of Kerry's characters is the setting. The Melbourne CBD is a major character in her Corinna Chapman books, while Melbourne is also a character in the Phryne Fisher series - Melbourne in the 1920s - and occasionally other places of that time. And I never tire of that.

But right now I'm re-reading some of the Discworld novels. And I do it via the sub-series. The three witches stories, for example, beginning with Wyrd Sisters and finishing with Carpe Jugulum, and slipping into the Tiffany Aching novels, in which Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg appear regularly. Right now, I'm bingeing on the City Watch series, halfway through Night Watch, in which City Watch Commander Sam Vimes is flung into his own past and has to mentor his younger self because the man who did it in his own world was killed on his first day in Ankh-Morpork, by a vicious serial killer who travelled back in time with him. And he has about four days to put things right... I still have a couple more in this series to read. I'm looking forward to Thud, with Sam Vimes and Where's My Cow? and the most recent one, Snuff, in which Sam is dragged kicking and screaming on a three week holiday out of town.

The thing about Terry Pratchett is that when you read his books this way, you can see the characters develop and things changing in ways you might have missed first time around. And despite the huge numbers of Discworld books he has written, I've yet to find an inconsistency. He knows his universe down to the last detail. And re-reading an individual series lets you spend more time with the characters you love. Characters come back, too, if not as the protagonists. The Truth, for example, is a standalone novel about the Discworld's first newspaper, but the characters play roles in other novels, whenever a newspaper is needed to embarrass Sam Vimes or make things convenient for Moist Von Lipwig or report on the war.

I re-read for comfort. My bedside reading is old friends, not new ones, because I know I won't sleep if I'm wondering what comes next. I keep the new books, including review copies, for the tram and the train and over dinner.

So, what's your favourite re-read, dear readers? 


Lan said...

I've only ever read one of Terry Pratchetts books. I think it was the first in the Discworld series. I don't think I get what all the hype is about. I guess they're just not my kind of books.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Ah, Lan, there was your big mistake! :-) The first book is the weakest. Even Terry Pratchett admits it. I started reading The Colour Of Magic and felt the same. Then, one day, I found Mort in a remainders pile and my love of this universe began. And once, when I was at a talk by the Author, I mentioned this to the lady next to me and then when he came on stage, he said, "Don't start with The Colour of MGic, start with Mort." The lady next to me grinned and nudged me. Trust me, it's a wonderful universe ad deserves all the hype it gets!