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Book Review: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

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The Discworld novels continue in a funny, philosophical succession of age-old fairy tales touched up by a modern hand. The sixth in the series gets its title from a fine distinction (weird vs. Wyrd) that reminds me of the distinction between “fairy” and “Faerie” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s story “Smith of Wooton Major.” Granny Weatherwax has returned (see Equal Rites), along with a newly formed “coven” of neighboring witches in the Ramtops mountains. They happen to live in the kingdom ... Read More »

Book Review: Whales on Stilts! by M.T. Anderson

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Whales on Stilts! by M.T. Anderson   This books comes from a series titled “M.T. Anderson’s Thrilling Tales,” which also includes the title The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen. You can probably tell already that there’s something goofy about this series. So I’ll give it to you straight: THIS IS A SPOOF. It is MEANT to make you snicker. What is being spoofed? Not just one book, movie, or TV series, but a whole genre of ... Read More »

Book Review: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

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This 1851 novel (full title: Moby-Dick; or, the Whale) is considered by many critics to be one of the greatest American novels. Some even regard it as the greatest novel in the English language, regardless of nationality. But it is an intimidating piece of work. My copy of it has probably sat on the shelf unopened as long as the next person’s copy. I made it through War and Peace while still dithering over whether to bother with Moby-Dick. ... Read More »

Book Review: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

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Already in this third Discworld book, it becomes clear that you can read the series in any order you please. Well, mostly. It has very little to do with the first two books (The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic), but it introduces another set of characters you will enjoy for many Discworld novels to come. First you meet Granny Weatherwax, a village witch from the rustic Ramtop mountains, who understands as well as anyone that Witch Magic and Wizard ... Read More »

Book Review: The Empire of Gut and Bone by M.T. Anderson

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The Empire of Gut and Bone by M. T. Anderson In The Game of Sunken Places, best friends Brian and Gregory learned that the destiny of Earth is tied up in a game played by two humans in every generation, representing two pointy-eared races with very different ideas about what to do with the planet. The elfin Norumbegans would peacefully coexist with mankind; the alien Thusser intend to invade, conquer, and replace us. And though Brian ... Read More »

Book Review: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

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The 22nd Discworld book is a bizarre story. Rincewind, you may or may not remember, was accidentally sent to the isolated continent of XXXX at the end of Interesting Times. Maybe I’ve said it before, but I just love Rincewind. His very name has the ring of someone who spends a lot of time running with his robes flapping behind him, usually with a rictus of horror fixed on his face. He is a terrible wizard (I mean, ... Read More »

Book Review: The Hunter’s Moon by O. R. Melling

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Findabhair (pronounced Finn-uh-veer) is a teenager who believes in fairies. She’s Irish, so I guess that’s all right. But her American cousin Gwen believes in fairies too, and thereby hangs a lot of trouble. When the two girls get together for a summer holiday, they set out on a tour of the ancient sites of Irish folklore, especially those kissed by a memory of magic—starting with Tara, for two thousand years the spiritual heart of ... Read More »

Book Review: The Suburb Beyond the Stars by M.T. Anderson

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The Suburb Beyond the Stars by M. T. Anderson   Several years ago, during a visit to New York City’s Books of Wonder, I picked up a copy of The Game of Sunken Places, by this author I had never heard of, and thought it was great. And though I’ve read a number of his other books, it was only quite recently that I found out that the above title is only the first book in the ... Read More »

Book Review: Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

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The seventeenth Discworld tale once again features the most powerless and chronically-frightened Wizard in Discworld, Rincewind. The title is based on the “ancient curse”: “May you live in interesting times.” Dear old Rincewind reunites with his old partner in adventure, Twoflower, from the original two books that started the Discworld series (The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic). Now Rincewind is summoned from a peaceful interlude on a tropical island, where he and the Luggage are stranded, apparently ... Read More »

Book Review: The Game of Sunken Places by M.T. Anderson

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The Game of Sunken Places by M.T. Anderson For their October vacation from school, Gregory and his best friend Brian accept an invitation to visit Gregory’s strange, sort-of-adopted Uncle Max in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Together the boys ride a train from Boston into the middle of a spooky, magical, and dangerous Gothic adventure. Maximilian Grendle lives in a huge mansion in a woods where the local people believe wicked things are going on. ... Read More »