Contented Reader

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I Shall Wear Midnight

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I Shall Wear Midnight

Terry Pratchett




How is it possible that Terry Pratchett’s books keep getting better?  I thought he might be a genius when I first read Wyrd Sisters, well over a decade ago.  But still, he keeps getting better.  I was amazed by Nation, which used its amusing story to say some very serious things, and here I am amazed again.

I Shall Wear Midnight is about how Tiffany Aching, the teenaged witch, had to deal with the rise to power of a new Baron who is her old sweetheart, and his pink and fluffy new fiancee, and her fearsome bully of a mother, and also of the battle against the ghost of the Cunning Man, who is turning the minds of people against witches in ugly and terrifying ways.

I Shall Wear Midnight is really about religion, and how it can help or poison people’s lives.  It’s about wisdom, and the uses of it.  It’s about pride.  It’s beautiful, and it taught me things I needed to know about the woman I want to be.

This book is more than a year old, but I just read it today.  Because Terry Pratchett’s new book, Snuff, which I have no short-term plans to read, has come out.

Reviewers confine themselves to talking about the book at hand, and I’m glad they do, because that’s what I want to read about, when I read a book review, and Pratchett doesn’t want his Alzheimer’s to be the only thing people write about him.  But of course, I’m not a reviewer, and he isn’t going to read this blog entry.

Reading a new Terry Pratchett book has some layers of difficulty for me these days.  There are two Terry Pratchetts in the world, from my point of view.  There’s Pratchett the writer, and Pratchett the man.  I only know Pratchett the writer.  Once in a while, maybe once a year, Pratchett the writer delivers to me a book that is thought-provoking and delightful.  I can buy that book happy in the knowledge that, as much as I’ll enjoy reading it, I’ll enjoy re-reading it again and again, probably for the rest of my life.  There are many of those books, all lined up in my library.  More than any other author in the library, even Mark Twain, the only writer to whom Pratchett takes a second place in my heart.  Pratchett has been prolific, and yet keeps getting better.  Pratchett the writer can never die- those books will always be there, for as long as I can read them.

But Terry Pratchett, the man I don’t know and will never meet, is going to die.  Not immediately, but much too young, much too soon.  There will come a day when I will wake up, and turn on my computer, and I’ll read that far away, he has said goodbye to his family and drunk poison and died.  For his family, that will be a deeply personal loss.  For me, it will mean no more new books by Terry Pratchett.  It’s a lesser loss, but still, for me, and for the world, a significant one.

And I’m having a little trouble dealing with the idea of reading a new book by Terry Pratchett for the last time.  The way I’ve been coping with that is by waiting until it isn’t the last book.  I Shall Wear Midnight is not Pratchett’s last book.  That means I can read it and enjoy it for what it is, which is a wonderful book.  I’ll certainly read Snuff.  But I’ll wait to read it, until a next book is released, and I know that I’m not reading the Last Book..  Eventually, a time will come when I will have to read the Last Book.  But by delaying, I only have to have that experience once.

Written by Contented Reader

August 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Reviews


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