Six impossible things before breakfast.

A library science student's perspective on life, the universe, and everything.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I've been a fan of Terry Pratchett ever since I picked up my first Discworld book and fell headfirst into his zany cast of wizards, night watchmen, criminals, reformed criminal postmaster generals, vampire cameramen, and an anthropomorphic personification of DEATH, who all dwell on the Discworld, a frisbee-shaped planet carried through space on the back of four elephants balancing on the shell of a giant turtle.

DEATH appears in most of the books in small, aptly timed, cameo roles, but there are a couple books that focus more specifically on him as a central character. Mort is one of those stories. In this novel DEATH takes on an apprentice, an awkward teenage boy who's not very good at anything and reads far more books than his father believes is good for him. The plot resembles Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice in many ways, but with a slightly dark, wild, unhinged perspective you don't typically associate with Disney. One of the best parts of this book is the chance to get a closer look at the character of DEATH. He is fascinated by humans, has a great affection for cats, and makes an extremely efficient fry-cook.

I'm always on the lookout for library-related quotes in books, and of course Terry Pratchett doesn't disappoint. The wizards in his world study and work at the great Unseen University, which naturally houses a tremendous (if often terrifying) library of magical books and artifacts. The librarian is a giant orangutang for reasons I won't go into here, but even with this rather unique caretaker in place, Pratchett warns us that "things can happen to browsers in magical libraries that make having your face pulled off by tentacled monstrosities from the Dungeon Dimensions seem a mere light massage by comparison." I do say it makes our libraries on campus seem rather dull (and safe) in comparison.

If you ever need a break from the real world, just pick up a Terry Pratchett book, it will do the trick every time.

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