The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (a Discworld novel)
This was the first book I read on my Kindle. That’s right, you heard that… my KINDLE.
Oh, how long I’ve dreamed of owning an e-Ink based device… 10 years since I first heard of the technology. I imagined then it would be the end of paper.
Maybe that hasn’t happened yet… but it’s awesome. Truly awesome. Such readability! Such a nice case with built in light powered by the Kindle itself!
My excitement was overwhelming and only tempered by the fact that not a single one of my Amazon Fiction Wish List books were available for the Kindle. I cast about for something… anything… to download and read.
Terry Pratchett! He had some Discworld books I hadn’t read yet! Quick! Search! The Wee Free Men! Haven’t read that one! Purchase! Done! Right there on my sofa!
What I came to realize was that The Wee Free Men is a book for young readers, apparently. Not that I could really tell from reading it. My best guess is that the difference between a Terry Pratchett young reader book and a Terry Pratchett regular book is there’s less sex, and the protagonist is a 12 year old girl. Also, DEATH did not make an appearance.
So, it was okay. Not my favorite Discworld novel by far, but readable.
I have to imagine Pratchett was a bit tweaked when his frying-pan wielding protagonist showed up in the movie Tangled. But then perhaps C.S. Lewis was tweaked in the afterworld when the sweet-bearing, child-stealing White Witch showed up in The Wee Free Men.
At any rate, I’m now reading Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby (downloaded for free from gutenberg.org) as a title more befitting this wondrous e-Ink techology.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
I bought this book for a slew of good and bad reasons.
I was at my son’s Scholastic book fair, and we had a pile of books, way more than we should be buying because I have a really, really hard time saying no when it comes to books because they’re books and saying no is like telling them not to do homework and at that point the booklust hit critical mass and I needed to get something for myself and I was idly looking around when this cool looking hardback with a neat looking dragon drawing was there, displayed prominently like it was a big deal and it was either that or Super Diaper Baby or Twilight or something equally bad.
But the hardback, Inheritance, is apparently the last of a trilogy, so I grabbed the first one which was an attractive blue and had just a cool of a picture of a dragon.
And it was okay. I can’t think of a fantasy series I really liked… the Myth and Discworld series are fun, but they’re not serious fantasy. There was an interesting series I can’t recall right now that was a bunch of authors all contributing intermingled stories… [pause for Amazon search]… oh, yeah… Robert Lynn Aspirin’s Thieves’ World. I liked those okay.
What I did enjoy was a well defined description of how magic worked in this world that provided good, “believable” limitations, which help in keeping the story interesting. Even the much lauded Harry Potter series was deficient in this respect. You often end up thinking “Why didn’t he just [insert magic thing here]?”
Even more remarkable is that it was written by a 15 year old who self-published at first, and then got picked up by a large publisher and sold a whole lotta’ books. So… inspirational.