For many of us, we’re approaching the time of year where we read Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather; a lucky few may even read it for the first time. In this solstice classic, Death takes over for a thinly-veiled Santa Claus figure. I’ve only read it once, but I seem to recall that hijinks ensue.
I remembered this during the Pratchett thread the other day, and thought I’d ask the jackaltariat if you’d be interested in doing a little light-reading-for-the-holidays book club. We can meet here (maybe even with an embedded chat?) to talk about them. Obviously this would be the Christmas entry–but it would be cool to read a fun romp about a different seasonal holiday, too.
(Update: important note: you do not need to have read a single other Discworld book to read this one, or most other Discworld books)
Now, I know that asking you to read two books is a little silly, but I thought I’d gauge interest. Any takers? Just as importantly, any suggestions?
At the very least, let’s do Hogfather! Here’s a wonderful excerpt to wet your whistle. (For those who don’t know, Death speaks in ALL CAPS, which is how you can tell he’s a frequent correspondent of John Cole’s.)
“All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—”
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
“So we can believe the big ones?”
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
“They’re not the same at all!”
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME… SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—”
MY POINT EXACTLY.
(Picture is from a comic version of same; the novel is of course done only with words. Click to embiggen.)