Blog – words & images

Introducing Discworld

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is old enough that it should hardly need an introduction but some people have been unfortunate enough not to encounter his magical (in both senses) world. It’s their loss, not mine, but I am always sorry to see people missing out on such a feast of freewheeling humour, ingenious invention, sharp satire and humane wisdom.

For their benefit, then, I have put together a quick introduction to the series, short reviews of two of the books, and advice about making the sprawling series more approachable. All of that makes this blog post long enough to need its own index but I’m also going to put the Reading Guide here at the top for convenience.

IntroductionMaking MoneyI Shall Wear MidnightNavigating the Series

discworld-reading-order-guide-2.0
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About the ‘words & images’ blog

This blog was created in October 2020 as a place for all of my writing and photography which doesn’t naturally belong on Green Path, my long-running environment and wildlife blog.

Most of its initial content has been transferred from my older website and consists of book reviews (primarily fiction and mainly 2005 – 2010). It’s worth noting, however, that there are also book reviews (nonfiction and environmentally-themed fiction) on Green Path. All of my reviews are indexed here, whichever blog they are on.

Numberplate Scrabble

My family and I have been playing Numberplate Scrabble intermittently ever since I invented the game while driving my young daughter to school through inner-Melbourne suburbs.

It was one way of getting some fun out of the trip, and I’m sure it had some educational benefit at the time. I’m sharing it here for posterity (I hope Posterity is suitably grateful) and more particularly because a friend of mine was interested when I described it today. Here goes:

The Simplest Rules

1. Take the three letters in any numberplate you spot and use them in a word.

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Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus

Night Circus - cover shot The Night Circus

Erin Morgenstern

Harvill Secker, $32.95, October 2011

The Night Circus is an astonishingly rich and detailed work of the imagination, bringing to life a world firmly grounded in late nineteenth century England and, within it, a small group of people with magical powers.

Two shadowy master magicians pit their prize students, Marco and Celia, against one another in a duel which neither of them wanted nor fully understands. Their arena is a travelling circus, the Circus of Dreams, which is a mix of illusions and real magic, circus artists and magicians – acrobats, a tarot reader who can indeed see into the future, an ice garden, jugglers and an illusionist whose feats are not tricks. Only after Marco and Celia find themselves in love do they discover that their duel can end only in death. Or can they escape the trap their teachers have so callously constructed?

Twilight has driven a surge of interest in paranormal romance but The Night Circus rises far above that level, beautifully written and seamlessly integrating a wealth of esoteric knowledge. It merits comparison with Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which won nearly every fantasy award in its year of publication. That was a debut novel, as is this. History may be about to repeat.

• Review written and first published in 2011, added to this site in December 2020.