Mel’s Meme: The Bookshelf Overfloweth

I am very late.

I know.

I am sorry. I have no excuse, other than simply being an all-round despicable being.

So, after a quick perusal of my bookshelves – and deciding that owning three copies of each Austen novel doesn’t count – I must admit that the author by whom I own the most books is none other than Terry Pratchett.

This is partly because Pratchett has written so many books. I love Austen, but the entire sum of her work amounts to a very small finite number. Had she written 80 books, I would have them all and happily allow her to dominate my bookshelves.

Pratchett, on the other hand, can easily overrun a bookshelf. I did discuss this plenitude in last year’s meme, as my “Favorite Series“.

Pratchett is a skilled wordsmith; his work abounds delicious puns, linguistic oddities, and fun sounds.

Pratchett does not underestimate the intelligence of his reader; he plays with the genres and tropes, and bends, twists, and finds loop holes the laws of the worlds that we know, from physics to conventions.

Pratchett is a creative genius; the plots and narrative structures that spew forth from his strange mind are amazing.

I enjoy Pratchett. He amuses me. I adore his quirky characters.

And occasionally I enjoy the heart of his books. Going Postal? All about the virtue of hope! Thud!? An interesting dialogue on the personal responsibility of civic leaders.

But there are some issues with Pratchett. (The Other Egotists covered them pretty well here.) He tends towards preachy. With a decidedly, annoyingly liberal bent. Thud! also has strong overtones of “Lectures on Racism”.

Some people object to the extension of word to include spoof of basketball and rock music, rather than staying within the world of fantasy and fairy tales. But frankly, I find the willingness to include all aspects of the world charming,and Pratchett handles his subject with a light, humorous, and punny touch. And as much fun as the fantasy genre is, there is more to world than that.

And the way that Pratchett borders on Mennippean Satire thrills me to the very cockles of my cynical old heart.


6 thoughts on “Mel’s Meme: The Bookshelf Overfloweth

  1. By the way, when I point out typos, you are welcome to delete that part from my comments, as they’re no longer needed. I found a couple that I think are typos:
    “Pratchett write for”
    “And as much fun as the fantasy genre is, there is to world than that.”

    It’s quite possible that my still-sleep-clouded brain is simply incapable of comprehending the prose. Where did my tea get to…

    Ah, but yes! I agree with all you say. Pratchett can so easily dominate a bookshelf. He has created so many wonderful page-turners. Authors like Austen, or even more, Harper Lee, have little chance of doing so unless one counts duplicates, which I didn’t. I have a friend who owns numerous copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, though.

    I read the linked article on Pratchett’s preaching. I agree, for the most part. In fact, my only point of disagreement is that there is irony in a preaching atheist (though I consider Pratchett as more of a forceful agnostic). After all, it is a matter of faith, however much some people wish to consider it simply rational, and as a matter of faith, there is a burning desire within many people to preach it and prove it. In Pratchett’s case, I think he stumbled over that thin line between social commentary and preaching, and that is the sad thing. As long as he was allowing me to draw my own conclusions from his messy worlds, I loved them, but when he began pushing his conclusions on to me, I became frustrated.

    For all that, though, I love his writing, adore his characters and am willing to make some allowances for him when he becomes too heavy-handed.

    • I do love To Kill A Mockingbird, and am always sad the Harper Lee Never wrote anything else. And I do honesty own three copies of each Austen . . . . yes, I know I am pathetic.

      I find K’s analysis to be a a tad extreme in it’s own right, (I almost typed “write”! hahaha,) but he does point out the increasing annoyancy of the Pratchett books. Although “Monstrous Regiment” was awful when it came out a long time ago. He IS pendantic at times, and I rarely agree with the world view that he seems to advocate.

      But what I love about the best Pratchett books is the way that he does point out the ridiculous IN OUR OWN WORLD. His best books don’t preach, but unveil LIFE. Going Postal will always be my favorite Pratchett, not only because of how well the narrative is crafted – and it is a marvelous developed story – but because of the way that it opens the questions of hope, vocation (calling,) forgiveness, and the most basic How To Be Good Person. He doesn’t try to give pat answers, but to show the ultimately human struggle.

      Also, Moist Von Lipvig is awsome.

      • I cannot conclude that you are pathetic unless you have three identical copies of each. That would be a little odd, but owning various editions is perfectly legitimate, as is owning a backup in case you read one of the copies to pieces. 🙂

        Yes, but rants generally are extreme and opinionated.
        “But what I love about the best Pratchett books is the way that he does point out the ridiculous IN OUR OWN WORLD. His best books don’t preach, but unveil LIFE.” Yes, this is what I love about Pratchett. My issues arise when he doesn’t stop at unveiling and starts lecturing. Even his lecturing I can accept sometimes, though, for the brilliance of his writing.

  2. Mel gave me the first Terry Pratchett that I owned. It took about…112 pages of confusion before I laughed outright. I haven’t stopped laughing…

  3. “the very cockles of my cynical old heart”

    Haha, a delightful phrase, although in my experience you are neither cynical nor old, but a perfectly lovely young woman with the light of Christ in you. So there.

    The Pratchett’s I’ve found in my library booksales have tended to be so worn to shreds that i didn’t want to buy them — I’d rather wear a book out myself rather than buy it completely pre-worn, although I don’t mind a reasonably used book. I’ll keep looking, though. I greatly enjoyed Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy despite him occasionally preaching a liberal, atheistic worldview, so I think I’d like much of Pratchett.

  4. Pingback: Conclusion « Egotist's Club

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