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The concept of a flat world carried on the backs of four giant elephants who themselves are carried by a humongous Turtle named A"Ttuim floating through the multiverse is a strange one. Add to this the many weird and wonderful inhabitants from witches and trolls to dwarves and wizards that populate this world and you get perhaps one of the most successful series in modern literature, Terry Pratchett's Discworld.
Like millions of others I am very much a fan of Pratchett's brand of silly intelligent humour with its wry observations on all aspects of modern life, the parody, word play and the downright awful puns he writes. Who can resist his larger than life characters from his anthropomorphic Death with his white horse Binky, the majestic Granny Weatherwax, the wise beyond her years Tiffany Aching and her sidekicks the vaguely y Scottish Nac Mac Feegles. Of course not forgetting my all time favourite discworld character the Unseen University's Librarian who just happens to be an Orang utan after being transformed in a nasty magical accident.
This Christmas I had been hoping the Hogfather (or even Santa) would have slipped a copy of the "I Shall Wear Midnight" the latest novel in the series under my tree instead I received "The Wit and the Wisdom of the Discworld". Following in the footsteps of a number of books such as the Discwolrd maps, "The Science of the Discworld", "The Folklore of the Discworld" and the Companion to the Discworld" this is very much a companion book to complement your collection of original Discworld novels. Published in 2007 with the only new materiel coming courtesy of Stephen Brigg's introduction to the book "The Wit and Wisdom of the Discworld" is a compilation of some (but obviously not all) of the best quotes from the series, as selected by Briggs.
I have the hardback version of the book and I really can not fault the presentation, The cover is faded and aged to make it resemble one of the ancienter tomes in the Unseen University's library and there's even a very useful ribbon bookmark incorporated in the binding. Its very easy to use, its written chronologically with a chapter dedicated to each book up to "Making Money". Each chapter is preceded by the official book blurb to introduce the book. There's also a useful index if you are looking for quotes about a particular, place character or situation.
"The wit and wisdom of the Discworld" could be viewed, as a book full of trailers for those new to Discworld or those familiar with the series its more like greatest hits compilation. I read my first Discwolrd novel "Witches Aboard" over a decade ago so it was nice to revisit those books I had read many years ago remembering half forgotten jokes, and plot line, as well as reacquainting myself with now elusive characters such as Gaspod the Wonderdog and Twoflower the first tourist.
Its the type of book that you don't need to read cover to cover, instead you can dip in and out of it when and where it takes your fancy. I must admit I read it cover to cover which I found it quite useful. It was interesting to see how the books, ideas, characters and plot lines have developed over the years from the original magic based books to the City Watch and Tiffany books that seem to predominate nowadays. It confirmed my original suspicion that I found Rincewind the useless wizard to a bit tedious despite loving all he other University wizards and it was nice to see how all th characters were introduced in the series.
A compilation is always going to be subjective, as the compiler is always going to miss out your own personal favourite quotes from the books. I'd love to have read some of the bad puns from Soul music such as "We're Certainly dwarves" The Whom and "He's a bit Elvish". Running and in jokes often make a series what they are but throughout the book similar quotes were published such as Anoia the goddess of jammed knives and Nanny Ogg's perception of her cat Greebo the killing machine as an old softy or references to witches s dancing around at night without their drawers cropping up frequently. It would have also been nice to have a few colour plates or illustrations from the cover art to make it a really nice book to look at.
It occurred to me whilst chuckling my way through the "Wit and Wisdom of the Discworld" that the format of the book would be better suited to a quote a day desk calender especially with the shorter quotes. Dooubleday and Sir Pterry take note.
The Wit and Wisdom of the Discworld" is a handy companion to the books for a discworld die hard or a nice introduction to the uninitiated. However it is not a book of original material just a book of quotes so not essential but nice to have nevertheless.
You can get the paperback version from Amazon from £5.99
The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld is a collection of quotes and funny little moments from all of Terry Pratchett's highly praised Discworld books. From the very first one The Colour of Magic, all the way up until Making Money (this book was published in 2007, so no quotes from the new one). The book contains all the best one-liners, gags, jokes, and all the sharp wit Pratchett put in all his books.
While it's certainly a good book, I only rate it three stars because it seems like a bit of a cheap cash-in. I mean, yes, it's a pretty cool book for the die-hard fans but sometimes, out of context, the quotes just aren't as good. Granted Pratchett's writing is especially good when he's describing objects, people and places. But to me, if you have the books you don't really need this. Why take the charm out of the books just to compile it all into one large one? I don't really see the point.
However, for what it's worth, it's nice to glance at occasionally, and you might even find some good ones to use in your every day life, just for the sake of it. A good book for the fans of Discworld, but it'll be lost on newcomers. To make things a bit easier, though, they have separated the quotes into their respective books (each in individual chapters), with a short synopsis of the book, just to set the scene and give the humour just a bit more context. I have to say that there are some pretty good ones in there that even the newest of Discworld readers would find funny.
The books comes in this quite cool jacket, with evokes a really old leather bound book, in fact the idea is Discworld-themed and was meant to give this "old book of magic" look, which I think works quite well.
The wit and wisdom of the Discworld by Terry Pratchett is a great reference book. It is split into chapters and each chapter is based on a Discworld novel. There are then quotes from the novel covered in the chapter. The quotes are numerous and will bring back wonderful memories.
Whilst not a story book. It contains all the funniest parts of each book in the series. The book is meant not to be read from front to back, although it could be, but to be opened at a random page, a few quotes to be read, and for said quotes to inspire you to read whichever novel the quotes are from.
I used it many time is university when i could not decide which book i felt like reading, but i also used it when i felt depressed and needed to be cheered up without something so time consuming as a plot.
The quotes are also useful in the pub, when it gets to quiet to start the conversations up again.
An essential book for all Discworld fans.