Thursday, December 01, 2011

Books: Terry Pratchett, Bill Maher

Snuff (Discworld, #39)Snuff by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The venerable fantasy series Discworld has many sub-plots among its nearly forty books, but my favorite involve the city watch commander Sam Vimes and his ever present search for law and order. Asked to finally take a vacation on his wife's country estate, Vimes is bored stiff in the sticks, and soon begins to sniff around in search of wrongs to right. He doesn't have to look far. After the local blacksmith Vimes quarreled with goes missing and he is nearly arrested by the clueless local constabulary, Vimes is heralded by local goblin leaders looking for "just ice," justice that is for a goblin woman found murdered and eviscerated while others were shipped off to slavery in the dead of night. Vimes attacks the crime with his usual vigor, making for a very entertaining story. As with much of Pratchett's work, the story is rife with thinly veiled social commentary, about the nature of good and evil, rich and poor and especially about the outcasts of society and how they are often mistreated. He can be a little preachy at times, with characters getting long grandstanding speeches, but the world and the memorable characters that he has created over the course of thirty plus years of storytelling win the day with a very entertaining book for fantasy fans, and open minded fans of police procedural that don't mind the satirical fantasy setting. Snuff - amazon.com

The New New Rules: How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their AssThe New New Rules: How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass by Bill Maher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Comedian and commentator Bill Maher takes snippets from the commentaries from his HBO program and adds them to short vignettes about life in the modern United States and comes up with a very funny and occasionally thought provoking book. In the New Rules segment at the end of each television program, he adds humorous editorials on popular culture and American politics, and many of the more recent ones are included here. The order is alphabetical by topic rather than chronological by date, which can make things seem a little jumbled at times, but the book is more about satire than serious scholarship, so its no big deal. Maher skewers politicians from both sides of the political spectrum and also takes swipes at big business and fatcats of all stripes. While his pro-drug, anti-war statements may turn off people, his scathing wit is often laugh-out-loud funny, and should make this short book appealing to people who don't take themselves too seriously. The New New Rules - amazon.com

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