Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Sir Terry Pratchett Reading Challenge: The Folklore of Discworld

I've been waiting a long time to read this book. I first saw it last year, but decided not to borrow it because I had exams. And then, I didn't go to Jurong Regional Library (where I saw it) for quite some time. And now, I've finally borrowed (and read) The Folklore of Discworld by Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson.

At first, I was a little disappointed because it kept talking about the folklore of Earth. But gradually, I came to understand that the inside jokes about Discworld (and the folklore) exists only in relation to that of earth. After all, Discworld is very much like Earth, except when it's not.

If you're looking for a nice thick book to read, then look no further. This huge book is divided into 16 chapters, covering things like Heroes! Death, Beasties and so on and so forth. I loved how thick it was, because it showed the immense talent and work involved in building a good Alternate Universe (AU) and because it helped to solidify Discworld in my imagination. In order words, it gave this AU a solid history and character.

A very cute thing about the book is how they quote the Discworld novels so extensively, especially when talking about its folklore. It actually brought out some details that I'd previously thought was insignificant and showed how it contributed to the novel.

The folklore about Earth was interesting too. I liked how folklore from around the world was sourced, and an adequate background/explanation of those folklore's given. I feel as though I've learnt quite a lot about folklore from the book ^_^. And as an added bonus, I also felt like I understood the authors a bit more, because the stories they've heard is also mentioned, adding a personal touch.

Yes so basically, this is one awesome book. I'm glad I managed to read it before I leave for Japan. I'd say that this book is for all Discworld lovers, and it's actually very helpful to a newbie reader (for them to understand how the Disc operates). But as an introduction to Discworld, I think it'd be too confusing, so it's best to have some knowledge of the series before you read it. But then again, why would you want to read this book if you've never heard of Discworld?

Ok, so I read this book as part of the Sir Terry Pratchett Reading Challenge. It not only fufils the-one-book-a-month thing, but also the second part, where I want to read a book about Discworld but isn't a Discworld novel. But looking at the "Other books about Discworld" list, I really want to buy "Nanny Ogg's Cookbook" and read more of this kind of stuff.

P.S If you really love folklore, then this book has a nice bibliography, where they recommend books to read (as well as those that aren't directly related to folklore but good to know)

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