Book Review: Nation by Terry Pratchett

nationNation by Sir Terry Pratchett 

Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle formats

As some of you may have heard, Sir Terry Pratchett has had to cancel an appearance at a UK  convention due to the embuggerance  catching up to him.  In 2007, Sir Pratchett was  diagnosed with an early form of Alzheimer. He made the announcement to his fan community on December 11th of that year.  In 2008, the Nation was released.  Over the course of his career, Sir Pratchett has published over 50 books, including his fantasy Discworld series.

Six years later, a helpful volunteer for the local library dropped off the paperback version at my school to spark the student’s interest. It was the end of the year by the time that noticed it sitting on a shelf. The  Nation‘s colorful cover drew me to it and I asked the teacher who had been gifted with the book if I could borrow it.  After all my years as a geek and book lover, I am a bit shy to admit that this is the first book of Sir Pratchett’s that I have read.  It did not disappoint in anyway.

The Nation tells the story of two young people who find themselves struggling to survive after a tsunami hits the South Pacific stranding them on the same island.  The bigger problem is that while Mau called the island home before the wave is that Daphane is a trouserman, an alien in his world.  As you might have guessed, they quickly form a bond that helps them transcend cultural and language differences.  It is then that the real action begins.  Throughout the novel, they will fight to protect the island and the people slowly begin to gather afterwards.

It is the novel’s approach to culture and how it explains both Daphane’s and Mau’s world, that really caught me. I knew that I could use this novel to teach culture and its intricacies in my classroom.  The potential for a love story would engage my classroom’s readers as well as its character’s logical approach to their world. The concepts of what it is to be adult and what defines community after  a disaster. Others have pointed out that this is a character driven story tackles themes of death and faith as well.   All of this is present in the novel and while that may should heavy, Sir Pratchetts’s narrative flows in a way that the reader absorbs the gravity of the situations faced by the characters, but is never overwhelmed by it.  It is as the Washington Post Book World said “A terrific thought provoking book.”

While this novel isn’t set his Discworld universe, it clearly demonstrates his gift for storytelling and why readers have been flocking to his books for years.

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Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

9780061972652_p0_v9_s260x420The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

with Illustrations by Dave McKean

Available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle Formats.

When young Nobody Owens was just a baby, a very bad man broke into his house and killed his family. The young tot escaped by making his way into a graveyard where he came under the protection of the spirits who reside there.  Bod has he comes to be called inhabits the graveyard walking in and through places that only the dead know.  Raised by loving and well meaning ghost, Nobody has little contact with the living save those who come into his twilight world. Most don’t even notice him.  When one does, it begins the first friendship Bod has with a living soul. Outside the graveyard, the world has forgotten about his parent’s murder and everyone except the murder who is waiting to finish the job.

Gaiman’s prose combined with the illustrations by Dave McKean give the book a unique feel not quite macabre, but definitely dark and twisted in a way that draws readers in. Basically, everything we love about Halloween except the candy.  The only thing that I would have liked to have seen more of were the illustrations. Thankfully, Gaiman with the assistance of another illustrator took care of that with the creation of a two volume  The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel.

Something I am officially putting on my wish list.

 

 

Preview from Another Pen

A wonderful excerpt from a book sure to become a classic.

Just Sayin'... 😉

early_morning_rowboat

Warren Bronck had had enough so he took a rowboat out to sea. He had grown tired of all the jibber jabber, folderol, and twaddle of the populous at large. All he wanted was a place to fish that was all his own. All he wanted was some peace and quiet.

Everyone knows that pelicans are natural fishers of the seas. Everyone knows that they are jovial, even-tempered, celebratory creatures. Warren Bronck was a pelican, but he was none of those other things. If you encountered him in the morning he was usually grumpy. By evening he was normally using a great deal of salty language.

Other than his temperament Warren was a striking figure of a pelican. He was tall, big chested, and had a deep rich voice. To most, he seemed distinguished and charming. In truth he was such a master of the obvious and ironic that no…

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