Six impossible things before breakfast.

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

Sunday, December 4, 2011


When finals season is getting you down there are two sure ways to get your spirits back up. Christmas shopping! And reading Terry Pratchett! When you are a penniless grad student, the second option might sometimes be your only option. (And conveniently one of the cures for penniless grad student depression is also reading Terry Pratchett! Two birds with one book!)

 Pyramids artwork by Les Edwards (yes, that is previously pent up time energy being released from the pyramids in the form of lightning; happens every night)

In this adventure, Mr. Pratchett takes his readers to a very Old Kingdom, a land that boasts a long and repetitive succession of kings and traditions and a large collection of stone pyramids. Prince Teppic, recently returned from school in a modern foreign city, is not excited about ascending the throne and has trouble putting up with the old fashioned habits of his army of palace priests. His reign gets off to a bumpy start as the plan to build his late father the biggest pyramid ever goes slightly off schedule and sucks the entire kingdom into a rift in space and time. Terry Pratchett's parody of ancient Egypt is hilarious, and especially as someone who was fascinated with pharaohs, sphinxes, hieroglyphics, and everything Egyptian as a kid, it is an exceedingly fun romp through a fantastical alternate history.

And of course Mr. Pratchett has a random library-related factoid for his readers. On the Discworld, "the fastest insect is the .303 bookworm. It evolved in magical libraries, where it is necessary to eat extremely quickly to avoid being affected by the thaumic radiations. An adult .303 bookworm can eat through a shelf of books so fast that it ricochets off the wall." (p. 201)

Consuming literature that quickly would come in extremely handy when writing papers...

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