January 11th, 2007

Malibu headshot

Winter Rose + Pratchett's Going Postal

Whenever I see those lists of the best cities, I always think the livability mavens should compile two rankings, their usual one, and one that takes into account the climate. I've lived in Boston, New York, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, all lovely cities, but winter in the city is not much fun. (A friend of ours in Boston lived on a street where the residents fought pitched battles over the parking spots they'd shoveled out.)

Anyhoo, I'd like to submit the following photo for L. A.'s portfolio, the next time they make up one of those lists. I took it out my front window on Wednesday, January 10. The rose bush on our front lawn is starting to bloom in winter:

Winter rose

In other news, I just finished reading Terry Pratchett's novel Going Postal. I will admit it was my first Pratchett novel, as I'm in the remedial class in the speculative fiction curriculum. It was a fun read, and I was definitely impressed with Pratchett's ability to get to the essence of a thing in his hilarious descriptions. Here he tells what it's like when the main character ("Moist von Lipwig") gets hit with a torrent of technobabble:

Moist missed the rest of the sentence. Innocent words swirled in it like debris caught in a flood, occasionally bobbing to the surface and waving desperately before being pulled under again. He caught "the" several times before it drowned, and even "disconnect" and "gear chain," but the roaring, technical polysyllables rose and engulfed them all.

I loved the universe, with the robot-like golems and the pre-Internet "clacks." I don't want to drop any spoilers, so I'll just say that the part about the dead letters in the post office and the power of words was very special. I had no trouble at all jumping in with this novel, even though I hadn't read the prior entries in the Discworld series.

With the light tone of the book, I did find it a little hard to get invested in the story at times--to believe something was really at stake--but things did take off for me in the last third of the book. I'd definitely recommend Going Postal, if you're looking for a good time--bookwise, that is.