Thursday, April 30, 2009

Equal Rites

by Terry Pratchett

I have so thoroughly enjoyed my dips into the fantasy of Discworld. This one was especially fun. When the father and an old wizard call to the midwife to bring the new baby to them, they were expecting the eighth son of an eighth son, as was predicted by the wizard. The wizard took a hold of the infant's arm and pulled the wee hand from under the blanket. He then held the staff close by so the baby could grasp it and thus become a wizard. The baby took hold of the staff with firmness. The midwife, a respected witch, kept trying to tell them but they wouldn't listen that the baby was not a boy but a girl.

Mort still remains my favorite of the Disworld books, but Equal Rites is a very close second. Brilliantly written - I could have put a bookdart on just about every page there were so many clever phrases. Sometimes I will mark a phrase just because it catches my fancy and I want to reread it. Othere times the phrase will hold meaning or wisdom. I'm listing quite a few quotes so when I come back to this review I can reread them. Please, don't feel like you need to read any or all of them.
"You're a little young for this but as you grow older you'll find that most people don't set foot outside their own heads much."

"He told me there's no women allowed in the University!"
"He's wrong."
"No, I could tell he was telling the truth. You know, Granny, you can tell how--"
"Foolish child. All you could tell was that he thought he was telling the truth."

She knew what she meant. The idea was right up there in the front of her mind. But she didn't know how to say it in words, even to herself. It was a horrible feeling to find things in your head and not know how they fitted.

"They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half as bad as a lot of ignorance."

Animal minds are simple, and therefore sharp. Animals never spend time dividing experience into little bits and speculating about all the bits they've missed. Your normal animal, in fact, never tries to walk and chew gum at the same time.
The average human, oth the other hand, thinks about all sorts of things around the clock, on all sorts of levels, with interruptions from dozens of biological calendars and timepieces. There's thoughts about to be said, and private thoughts, and real thoughts, and thoughts about thoughts, and a whole gamut of subconscious thoughts. To a telepath the human head is a din. It is a railway terminus with all the Tannoys talking at once. It is a complete FM waveband - and some of those stations aren't reputable, they're outlawed pirates on forbinned seas who play late-night records with limbic lyrics.

In the Ramtops witches were accorded a status similar to that which other cultures gave to nuns, or tax collectors, or cesspit cleaners. That is to say, they were respected, sometimes admired, generally applauded for doing a job which logically had to be done, but people never felt quite comfortable in the same room with them.

She gazed out across the rooftops of Ankh-Morportk and reasoned like this: witing was only the words that people said, squeezed between layers of papper until they were fossilized. And the words people said were just shadows of real things. But some things were too big to be really trapped in words, and even the words were too powerful to be completely tamed by writing.

I like to refer to the Discworld reading guide. This reference shows the starter novels for each group, i.e Wizards, Witches, Death, etc. I have printed out the Microsoft Excel version and added numbers to the book titles that show the order the books were published (check the bottom of the page). When it comes to reading the novels, Pratchett wrote them all as stand-alones except for The Coulour of Magic which is followed by The Light Fantastic.


Bee said...

I love the Discworld books! Mort has to be my favourite too! I wish I had started to read them in order, my first discworld book was Equal Rites and I have been hooked ever since, I am just about to start Thud! Death has got to be my favourite character though!

Framed said...

I've only read a few Pratchett books but loved them. Maybe I'll read one of my growing pile next. Probably The Colour of Magic.

Kailana said...

After saying over and over that I have to read more Pratchett, I finally did! I read 'Nation' the other night. Good book! Now to decide what to read next!

Staci said...

I loved, loved, loved this review. I've been so confused as to where to start in the discworld series...Now I've got somewhere to start!! I loved your passages. I stared a whole new blog just to list my favorite passages from the books I read. Easier than keeping them in a journal and fun to look back at it!! Great review!!!

I have the 3 books that introduce the girl witch...forgot her name!! Wintersmith is the 3rd one and I have nation on my book pile right now!!

Bookfool said...

Equal Rites was my first Terry Pratchett book and I keep thinking I need to read more. It was loads of fun. Thanks for mentioning the guide. I wasn't sure where to start, either.

Zibilee said...

Thank you so much for gathering all the information on the publishing order of the books and which group each belongs to each category in one place! have heard so much about these books, and every time I read another review I wonder just how and where to start with them. I am going to have to check out that list.

Kristi said...

I've never read in Pratchett, but this one sounds really good. Thanks for the link to the Excel spreadsheet. I hate to start a series in the middle. Think I'll pick up a Discworld book sometime soon!

Booklogged said...

Thanks for your comments - they brighten my day. One of the things I like is that you don't have to read the discworld boods in any order. Each book is a stand alone that may feature characters from all walks of like, such as the wizards, Death, the withced, Moist Von Lipwig to name a few. Even tho there are books that feature Death, he might make a cameo appearance in anaother book featuring Rincewind.

You get a complete and satisfying humorous stand-alone story in each book.

So far Death is one of my favorite characters, with Mort being my favorite book. It's followed, oh-so-closely by Equal Rites. Luckiy I have many Pratchett books to read, so my decision may change.

For all of us it means there some terrific literature to look forward to and enough to keeping us enjoying them for years.

Anonymous said...

I also love the DiscWorld books. I think the Death books are my favorites as well.

I came over to your blog from Lost In Books, to check out your meme answers. I had to stick around for a Terry Pratchett fan that also enjoys Maisie Dobbs.