Friday, June 18, 2010

Currently Reading: Mort by Terry Pratchett

I love reading Terry Pratchett books, but over the years I haven't done that regularly enough. That is one of the reasons why I felt the need to start the Terry Pratchett Challenge, which I have then managed to not do any updates on! I have every intention of doing so, I promise!

If this was a Teaser Tuesday post then I would struggle to choose just two lines because there are so many fun ideas that are clamouring to be shared. This is not only in the actual text, but also in the footnotes.

I thought for my Currently Reading post today, I would share just a few of the quotes that I have come across in the first 40 or so pages of this book.

Pratchett's descriptions can by funny, such as this example when he is describing the major town on Discworld:

So let's just say that Ankh-Morpork is as full of life as an old cheese on a hot day, as loud as a curse in a cathedral, as bright as on oil slick, as colourful as a bruise and as full of activity, industry, bustle and sheer exuberant busyness as a dead dog on a termite mound.

but sometimes his language use is poetic and beautiful as well:

Death nodded, and reined in the horse. It stood on the air, the great circular panorama of the Disc glittering below it. Here and there a city was an orange glow; in the warm seas nearer the Rim there was a hint of phosphorescence. In some of the deep valleys the trapped daylight of the Disc, which is slow and slightly heavy was evaporating like silver steam.

But it was outshone by the glow that rose towards the stars from the Rim itself. Vast streamers of light shimmered and glittered across the night. Great golden walls surrounded the world.

"It's beautiful", said Mort softly. "What is it?"


"Is it like this every night?"


"Doesn't anyone know?"



Death leaned over the saddle and looked down at the kingdoms of the world.


Of the Pratchett characters I have read so far, I have to say that Death is my favourite! This is a Death that gets upset when people kill kittens, who likes a good curry and always speaks in capitals. His endeavours to be somewhat human but never quite getting it right are entertaining, from creating his own personal garden:
Death's garden was big, neat and well-tended. It was also very, very black. The grass was black. The flowers were black. Black apples gleamed among the black leaves of a black apple tree. Even the air looked inky.

After a while Mort thought he could see - no, he couldn't possibly imagine he could see...different colours of black.

That's to say, not simply very dark tones of red and green and whatever, but real shades of black. A whole spectrum of colours, all different, and all - well, black.
to the fact he rides a real horse called Binky:

It is a fact that although the Death of the Discworld is, in his own words, an ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION, he long ago gave up using the traditional skeletal horses, because of the bother of having to stop all the time to wire bits back on.

and even tries to wink:

Something like a small supernova flared for a moment in the depths of his eyesockets. It dawned on Mort that, with some embarrassment and complete lack of expertise, Death was trying to wink.

Some times this is just the kind of read that I need, so now I am going off to read some more!


  1. Wohoo! I have the first three books of this series on my shelf and am going to be reading them soon! Excellent quotes! My husband has already read them and told me that I am in for a treat!! Great post!!

  2. Am I going to be persona non grata if I admit that I've never read a Pratchett book? You've intrigued me here with these snippets, though. :)

  3. I've never read a Pratchett book, but friends were raving about this author earlier this week. It doesn't sound like my usual fare, but I have an open mind and will take a look because I love the descriptions you included.

  4. I've yet to read a Pratchett book but have consistently heard good things about him. I know I will read something of his one day.

  5. I love Death! He is one of my all time favourite characters!

  6. I have yet to start Discworld...but I have all of them!! (My series OCD at work)...If you are new to Terry Pratchett you might try out the Bromeliad Trilogy: Truckers, Diggers, Wings. It is about gnomes who have lived underneath the floorboards of an English department store for a hundred years, but it is going to be torn down and they have to move. A fantastic series and great way to start out with TP.

  7. I haven't read The Bromeliad Trilogy yet. Give me another 10 years or so and I might get to them.

    He is fantastic isn't he Zee!

    Kathleen, he is really great at taking an every day event or common item that we use and turning it completely on it's head.

    RJ, I hope you give him a try and enjoy his writing!

    Michele, Michele, Michele. Not person non grata, but just gone down in my estimation just a fraction.

    Zibilee, I think the general consensus is to not read the first two books first. Start with Witches Abroad, or this book, or Guards, Guards. I think they are the three that are generally recommended.