Hope, the greatest treasure of all

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“Going Postal” – Terry Pratchett

Good gods, the madness is catching, Moist thought, as the golem’s glow disappeared into the darkness outside. I am not the postmaster, I’m some poor bastard who’s the victim of some stupid . . . experiment. What a place! What a situation! What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.

Title: Going Postal
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publication date: 2004
Publisher: Corgi (Mass Market paperback)
Pages: 474

Summary: Moist von Lipwig is a free man. He has enjoyed the freedom to mess with people’s minds for quite some time now. After all, people want you to give them hope, the greatest treasure of all. Hope that the glass ring is a diamond one, hope that the money you’re getting is real, hope that a simple game of cards will make you rich…

But there’s also the freedom to face the consequences, a freedom he chooses over the freedom to… well, die. And all of a sudden Moist becomes the Head Postmaster of the deserted Ankh-Morprok post office. He has an exciting new life (complete with a golden suit and winged hat), an exciting new goal (to make sure that letters are being… well, sent) and most of all exciting new friends (two mad postmen and a golem parole officer who doesn’t sleep, doesn’t eat, doesn’t feel but does know how to hurt). Oh boy, Moist could never have wished for so much excitement…

No, really, he couldn’t and wouldn’t have. But there’s no way to quit now, so why not play along? If that means being on the front page of the paper every day, becoming the city hero overnight and getting a date with the cynical chain-smoker Adora Belle Dearheart… It  might even be worth it. Except that the corrupt owners of the clacks-system are out to destroy him and his post office. The only thing Moist has is the greatest treasure of all… and a few stamps, of course.

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Quotes:

“I wonder if it’s like this for mountain climbers, he thought. You climb bigger and bigger mountains and you know that one day one of them is going to be just that bit too steep. But you go on doing it, because it’s so-o good when you breathe the air up there. And you know you’ll die falling.”

“Sometimes the truth is arrived at by adding all the little lies together and deducting them from the totality of what is known.”

“Mr Moist, this morning you had no experience at all of being dead, and yet but for my intervention you would nevertheless have turned out to be extremely good at it. It just goes to show: you never know until you try.

“Theres no stink more sorrorful than the stink of wet, burnt paper. It means: the end.”

“Around them, the city happened. Between them, the ashtray filled up with ash.”

“They say that the prospect of being hanged in the morning concentrates a man’s mind wonderfully; unfortunately, what the mind inevitably concentrates on is that, in the morning, it will be in a body that is going to be hanged.”

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Where the falling angel meets the rising ape

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“Hogfather” – Terry Pratchett

Title: Hogfather
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publication date: 1996
Publisher: Corgi (paperback)
Pages: 445

Summary: Susan is desperatly trying be normal. She is a sensible young governess with clear views of the world, who won’t put up with any kind of paranormal activites around her, except maybe the occasional usage of the poker when boogeymen are around. But soon enough her genes catch up with her and her rather bony grandfather (read: DEATH) pays her a visit. But this time he has left the scythe and the hourglasses at home, going for a cheerful red-and-white outfit and a bag full of presents.

This isn’t the way things should be going. The jolly fat man shouldn’t be wearing a false beard and a pillow under his coat. There shouldn’t be a “COWER, BRIEF MORTALS” after the “HO HO HO!”. And she, of all people, shouldn’t be dealing with ravens with an apetite for eyeballs and squeky rat skeletons.

But she has no choice. She has to sort this mess out, even if that means sobering up the Oh god of Hangovers or looking for an annoying waitress/part-time tooth fairy. She has to bring the belief in the Hogfather back again, or the sun won’t come up…

Surely it’s gonna be one hell of a Hogswatch night, with cameo appearances from the Auditors of Reality, the assasins and of course the wizzards of the Unseen University and Hex (+++ Out Of Cheese Error +++ MELON MELON MELON +++).

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Another fatastic novel by sir Terry Pratchett! This is his take on belief, rituals and mythology and it’s a wonderful combination of his humor and insight. It is written in such an engaging way, which slowly builds up to the truly exceptional ending, in which Pratchett gets really philosophical. 😀 A brilliant book with two of Terry’s best characters teaming up again, Death and Susan (I just love her!).

The following quote describes the novel best:

“You need to believe in things that aren’t true. How else can they become?”

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More memorable quotes:

“Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.”

“She’d become a governess. It was one of the few jobs a known lady could do. And she’d taken to it well. She’d sworn that if she did indeed ever find herself dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she’d beat herself to death with her own umbrella.”

“Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”

Equal rites

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“Equal Rites” – Terry Pratchett

Title: Equal Rites
Author: Terry Pratchett
Publication date: 1987
Publisher: Corgi (paperback)
Pages: 283

Being a wizard has its drawbacks, but there are also certain advantages. One of those is that a magician knows when he’ll die. The old wizard Drum Billet is no exception, and before he dies he has just one more thing to do – pass his own staff to a newborn wizard, an eight son of an eight son. He travels to the small village of Bad Ass to find the baby that will inherit his powers and quickly passes the staff before Death takes him.

There’s just one small problem – the new child is a girl. To you it may not sound like a problem, but on the flat and magical Discworld it certainly is. Girls aren’t supposed to be wizards. Men are wizard, women are witches. It’s an unwritten rule that has never been broken. Until now. But it’s too late, Esk has inherited the magical powers.

7 years pass. Esk is sent to the local witch, Granny Weatherwax, where she is supposed to learn to control her magical powers and become a witch – a profession that’s acceptable for women. But Granny soon discovers the growing magical powers in Esk – wizard power, something unfamiliar to the old witch. She gives Esk the staff that belongs to her and they set off to the city of Ankh – Morpork where they can find the Unseen University – the only place where Esk can learn to be a wizard.

This is the basic plot of Pratchett’s third book in the D series. Although it may sound weird, Pratchett delivers something far better than the first two books. He uses the theme of emancipation and gender differences and he puts it in an interesting plot, with exceptional character. Not to mention his writing style – it’s in one word, superb.

There are many things that make this book special. One of them are the characters. Esk is a fresh character, and she never bores us: she’s ready to face the whole world with her curiousness, bare inteligence and wit, exceptional for her age.  She often doesn’t understand the world and the way people think, and she is always ready to listen Granny’s explanations. Seeing the whole story through her eyes gives this book something special and makes you wonder about the clichés and stereotypes of our own world.

The other major character is Granny Weatherwax. She is just brilliant! She is incredibly funny, wise, and as a reader you could learn many things from her. Maybe you won’t agree with some things she thinks, but her life philosophy is really interesting: she does everything her own way and makes every single page with her enjoyable to read. As I said she is also wise, the things she says to Esk contain many life-thruths and you can’t help it but respect Granny for her personality.

The combination of these two characters is thrown into an adventure that’s typical for Pratchett. It’s all extraordinary entertaining; and while the two heroines face this adventure, the reader faces the stereotypes of women and men (wizards and witches). The themes aren’t compulsive; they go well with the plot and the characters and you can’t help but to judge your own opinionand your way of thinking. Esk’s emancipation is new, her view is different from other characters, and there’s also Granny, who goes on her own quest of discovering new things and emancipating, and at the end, she proves to be right about many things. Other theme’s in this book include sex and adolescence: they are shown in rather funny passages with Esk wondering about some things she heard or saw (as usual).

But what makes this book really sublime is Mr Pratchett’s writing style. He has it all! Sometimes this book will have you rolling on the floor and laughing, and sometimes it will have you thinking and wondering about people’s minds and the world. And it never bores, it won’t let you stop with reading; Pratchett succeeds in telling us things that we thought we already knew. But actually he shows us a new way to see the wolrd, something that keeps coming back in other Discworld books even in a greater extent.

The only disadvantage of this book is the (suprisingly) weak ending. This story is about Esk, and it should have ended with her saying what she’s learned of the whole experience and what she wants to do from now on… But Esk’s ending isn’t as strong as the rest of the book. Granny’s story in the end of this book is much more enjoyable, funny, wise, interesting: in all aspects it beats Esk’s. And at the end there’s almost no Esk, instead it’s all about Granny. Of course, it is fun to read about the witch, but as a reader you do want to know what happens with Esk.

In conclusion, this book is a real masterpiece (not that we expect something else from Pratchett). The characters, the plot and the theme match really well, the story stays enjoyable till the last page. And in spite of the weak ending, Pratchett does something to us, the readers: he makes us wonder about life and about the way we see things. And any author that can do this, may consider himself a genius.

Raiting: 8,5/10

(Thank you for reading, I LOVE Terry Pratchett and his Discworld, something you may have already noticed. I am happy with criticism, but I would also like your opinion about the book.)

He’s just not that into you (2009)

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An entertaining story about the relationship between men and women

He’s just not that into you (2009)

   

Genre:  Romantic Comedy
Directed by:  Ken Kwapis
Starring:  Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Justing Long, Jennifer Connelly, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Copper
Release date:  February 6, 2009
Running time:  126 min.
Trailer: Click
Rating:  4/5 stars

“I have this guy, he left me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry, and so I texted it to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals, just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting!” – Mary

 As you can see from this quote, misunderstandings between men and women still form a major theme for entertainment. “He’s just not that into you” is a romantic comedy, which uses this theme as a major source of humour.  With a full star ensemble cast (Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore,  Scarlett Johansson), and directed by Ken Kwapis, it perfectly does its job: it entertains well.

 In the film we follow the lives and the romances of nine different people, all loosely connected with each other. At the core of these multiple stories is Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), a young women who repeatedly misinterprets the signs that men give her about their level of interest in her. Alex (Justing Long) helps her to understand if a man is interested or not. Gigi’s co-worker Janine is married with Ben (Bradley Copper), but she never seems to trust him. And it’s justly – her husband cheats on her with Anna (Scarlett Johansson), he can’t choose one of them. We are also introduced to two friends of Anna – Mary, who uses different technologies to find a man, and Conor, who wants to have a real relationship with Anna and not just the friendly talking-for-hours.  Finally, we also get to know Beth (Jennifer Anniston) and Neil (Ben Affleck), a couple that break-up because of Neil’s unwillingness to marry Beth. 

All these stories are constantly crossing, and they deliver some pretty funny situations. The film isn’t hard to follow, it gives you a slight joy of watching it and the atmosphere is delightful . In spite of the classic theme, it has this fresh feeling, and you don’t seem to get tired of watching it. The romances are well-worked out, making this film irresistible for everyone. 

I was really impressed by the performances of all the actors. Their portrayal was real, well-done: it’s hard not to get affected with both the men and the women. The feeling of love was present, and the actors make you understand the problems of all the characters. The stand-outs are Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly and Ben Affleck: they all succeed to show the development of their character.

 You shouldn’t expect something wonderful, breathtaking, spectacular from this film. The plot isn’t really original, it’s been used before. The film doesn’t really add something to one’s knowledge about men and women. It serves exactly its purpose: it’s an joyful piece of entertainment.

 If you want a nice, funny and light romantic comedy, you should watch this film. Although the story isn’t really original, the character portrayals of the whole cast are outstanding. The main target of this film are women, but men will surely enjoy it as well.  Watch it, you won’t be sorry.

(I hoped you enjoyed my first review!)

 

 

Blessings be upon this… blog!

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Hello, visitor, and welcome to my new blog!

I think I should do it the old-fashioned way – with a proper introduction. (which has mysteriously disappeared and will surely appear as mysteriously again in the near future)