Reading for Pleasure

For years, Ted has told me I should read Terry Pratchett, and for years, I’ve said I would but didn’t.

I tried some of his earliest books in Braille, but I couldn’t get into them. Ted would occasionally read me passages in whatever new Pratchett he was exploring, usually after a few minutes of uproarious laughter.

I’ve had “Maskerade” since late last year, borrowed on cassette from the Library of Congress. I don’t know what I was waiting for to start reading it, but somehow, every time I thought I had the perfect opportunity to start, I’d put it aside for another perfect time. Needless to say, I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Last night, I decided to bake applesauce cakes. One is for a friend whose Christmas gift from me was a dessert of the month. Since the recipe makes two, though, Ted and I get to enjoy the other one ourselves.

By the time I was finished and the cakes were in the oven, it was almost ten o’clock, and I had a forty-minute baking time ahead of me.

So I went downstairs and got my cassette player, plugged it in in the dining room, and popped in the first cassette of “Maskerade”.

I proceeded to get completely engrossed in the book. Ted ended up taking the cakes out of the oven and taking the dogs out for the last walk of the night. I listened as Pratchett drew me in, mixing the stories of a country girl with amazing musical talent who gets a spot at a city opera house, two old witches, and various other characters into his unique blend of fantastic fiction.

You’ve got to pay attention while reading Pratchett, because there’s not a line that goes by that doesn’t include some buried treasure of ironic wit or sharp observation about people. The references to music, magic, farming, and just plain human nature come so fast and thick that you could easily stop and have a deep consideration of any one of them. But the characters are too well-drawn and the plot too much fun, and you just can’t stop yourself. You have to keep turning pages, or, in my case, keep listening.

Finally, at almost midnight, I quit. I’d reached the end of the first side of the first cassette. Of course, I could have easily turned it over and kept going. But I knew I’d never be able to stop until I was finished, and I might never go to bed at all!

If you’ve ever enjoyed opera, or explored metaphysics, lived on a farm, or read classic literature, there will be something for you to relate to in this book.

I think one of the reasons God gave us winter is so we’d have a great excuse for getting wrapped up in the written word. There are “winter” books and “summer” books, and while I think that each person can make their own lists of these, for me, it seems that the British authors seem to do “winter” books best. A few years ago, I got lost in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” during a frigid January. I think Stephen King is better for summer, but I’ve read some of his “Dark Tower” books with abandon during the colder months, too.

Pratchett, I think, is going to be another one of the “winter” authors for me. I haven’t started reading again yet today; I’m saving it for after my teaching is done and I have no other obligations for the evening. And, on the recommendation of Ted, after “Maskerade” I’ll look into “Weird Sisters” and “Witches Abroad”.

He may be enjoying several months of chances to say, “See? See? I told you so!”, but I’m going to enjoy several months of laughter over goatkeeping, the futility of reading tea leaves, the stereotypical ballerina at a 19th-century opera house (who faints carefully to avoid dirtying her clothes!) and who knows what else.

Oh, and the applesauce cake was good, too!

Explore posts in the same categories: Family and Friends, Food, metaphysics, music, Reading

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