Monday, November 23, 2009

Books again: Soul Music by Terry Pratchett and The Gates by John Connolly

So Barb left a comment that she made it to the movie and loved it. I thought about taking my angst out to a forest in the hopes that a wolf-y werewolf would show up. But I didn't. (It's from the book. If you didn't read the book, Edward leaves Bella and she decides to have a little rest in the forest. I would never do that. Forests are creepy in my opinon, vampires or no. I stay out. I believe that is why I have never met a werewolf.)

(Yes, I am a dork. I realized it keenly on Saturday in the Barnes and Noble, listening to the "artistic" types that work there talk about their favorite t.v. shows. I know them all. I watch them all. And clearly my reading material doesn't help.)

On that note, I finished two books this week.

I picked Soul Music out of a very large collection of Terry Pratchett books at my local library because they didn't have the one that has been suggested to me. The plot is this: Music With Rocks In It is discovered in Ankh-Morpork and the whole place goes wild, rebellious, out of control. There is dancing, funny clothes, and strange hair. Death has taken a leave of absence and his granddaughter Susan is forced to step in and take his place, aided by the Death of Rats and the flying horse Binky. Imp travels to the big city to make his way as a serious artist, but after a freak troll/harp accident he's forced to find a new instrument, a magical guitar that takes over his life. Literally.

Hillarity ensues. And just a little bit of soul searching about the importance of duty, the hope of changing the way things have always been, and maybe getting by with the help of your friends. It's heavy on inside jokes but since Pratchett always lets me inside, I really appreciate those.

And the second book, a young adult book placed in the regular old adult sections at the Barnes and Noble and the library, was The Gates by John Connolly. I picked it up because I enjoyed The Book of Lost Things so, so much. And I enjoyed this one too. But not quite as much. If you're curious at all about the Big Bang theory, black holes, worm holes, and the suspicious activities of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider, you should perhaps look this one over. My biggest problem is Chapter 1, where the world clearly has no creator and evil has existed since the beginning of time. Chapter 2 should be the beginning, hell is just an alternate dimension, and we leave the whole idea of faith out of it because it seems like there should be more discussion if you stick with the story as it is.

The plot is this: Samuel Johnson decides to go trick-or-treating a few days early and spies the opening of a portal to the gates of hell in one of his neighbor's basement. And then thanks to the Large Hadron Collider, all hell breaks loose. Literally. Demons arrive, planning nothing less than the end of the world. It's up to Samuel, his friends, and an unlikely ally in the form of Nurd, the Scourge of Five Deities to stop it. Luckily, the end of the world occurs on Halloween and nobody takes that demon stuff seriously on Halloween, you know?

What I like about this book is the narrative style. There is something old fashioned about that makes it perfect, the best way to get a story, a master storyteller is recounting it to you just as it happened. Connolly has plenty of inside jokes and relies on the use of footnotes which I have soundly criticized (in Oscar Wao), but those, serious history and stuff. I never like serious, bloody history in my books. Connolly's footnotes may include some information, but they are also very, very amusing. I have no idea if they are true at all but that's OK with me. I won't quote it in dinner conversation, just to be on the safe side.

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