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Making Money (Discworld, #36)Making Money by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Terry Pratchett likes jokes. He likes to set them up, he likes to - shazam! - reveal them, he likes to play with words. He writes entertainment, and he writes satire.

He's light entertainment, occupying a peculiar halfway point between satirising the present and the genre of fantasy.

He's also in that position where, after a successful career, he can write anything he wants and it will be bought by the millions. It must be hell being his editor. Hell that editors scramble for.

This book was suspiciously heavy for light entertainment. I'm not sure where it could be cut, though, just saying.

As with most of Pratchett's Discworld stories, this one is an episode in an ongoing saga. Many of the characters and settings are familiar, we meet a few new ones, we chuckle at a few old jokes, we enjoy old ones.

There, that's a quarter of the book done, just setting the stage for the rare new reader. There's not a lot of detailed description - it's all well-crafted - but we still get to learn about the King of the Golden River and the workings of the Patrician's office - the Oblong Office - all over again.

We meet - or rather re-meet - Moist von Lipwig, from "Going Postal". This time he's making some real money and sharing adventures with some of the characters from the previous tale.

Terry Pratchett must have been inspired by the Global Financial Cooling. This book is all about money and banks and trust. In a typical Ankh-Morporkian way. The Royal Mint coins the currency, usually spending more on minting the coins than the coins are worth. Some of the smaller ones are handcrafted at enormous expense. The impressive facade of the Royal Bank conceals a great many dark secrets, not least the source of the glooping sound from the basement.

Von Lipwig takes all in hand, and at the occasional peril of his life and the gold-ish standard, finds a solution. Along the way there are golems, small dogs, small gods, necromancy under a new name, a wizard with round eyeglasses, things stuck in drawers, romance and ripe fingers.

It's all good.

Nothing earthshaking. A few good jokes, a few good lines, a few good scenes.

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I went out to set the chickens free for their daily romp and found that some leftover rainwater on the sheltering sheet of corrugated plastic over their coop had frozen.

I didn't actually see the temperature get below zero last night - the cab has an external sensor which I highlight on the dashboard display to frighten people who have just gotten off the plane from the Gold Coast or anywhere, really - but it got to 00° and then I decided to come home and get into a warm-ish bed.

I've begun a new blog, in co-operation with some co-writers. Flat Jay Walking is a vehicle for displaying the photographs of the lifesize picture of Discoverylover I took to Amsterdam (and left there, to be picked up and carried around Europe by various fun-loving folk). I'm hoping that everybody who had a hand in the adventure will make a post or two and upload some of the fabulous photographs.

It's easy to register as a contributor, and if I or my co-admin (RealJay) recognise the name, we'll upgrade the privileges.

Yeah, it's silly, but it's fun. There's a marvellous photograph of BookCzuk having a laugh as she cuddles FlatJay, sandwiched between her two menfolk, who look as if they'd rather be somewhere else.

I've discovered Goodreads. Aaargh! Another booksite. Which is better, does anybody know? This or Librarything or Virtual Bookshelf or anything similar? I like books, I really do, but I'm not going to spend ALL my time reviewing them on a dozen sites, including my own blogs.

I thought our new Prime Minister was doing really well, but I think she may have lost me with the asylum-seeker plan. Not the plan itself, which would likely work, but her declaration that it wasn't anything like the "Pacific Solution" of the Howard Government which cut the boats to zero and was roundly condemned by Labor. Every newspaper in the country is talking about the "Timor Solution", lady. It's the same bloody thing with a different name!

Is she going to try to win the election on the trivial differences between her plan and the last one? She's going to lose credibility big time if she tries that.

There's one more issue to be cleared off before she makes the trip out to see the Governor-General. That's climate change. I think that, rather than dream up a whole new plan, she'll advise a double dissolution election on the old one that Rudd didn't have the guts to stand up for. That doesn't mean she is required to have the joint sitting to pass the legislation after an election win, just that it clears the issue off the table and makes her appear firm where Rudd was foul.

She's the favorite to win the election. I can't say I love her - I love very few politicians, apart from Jed Bartlet - but she seems marginally less unsuitable than Tony Abbott, the Liberal leader. Why is it that the only people we get putting their hands up to be elected nowadays seem to be those who have been active in student politics and working as a party functionary ever since? Aren't there any real working people around? People who haven't spent their whole lives telling lies?
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Well-Travelled Tote Bag

I posted a couple of days ago about packing. All my books go in my big yellow BookCrossing tote, which is made of awesome and holds about a bazillion book and gets slung around by airline baggage handlers and puzzles Customs people: "It's books ALL the way down, buster!"

So I got a package of books from the wonderful Jenny-G and others from here and there. I've been snaffling up the light books at recent BC meetups, and they have all been accumulating in corners.

So I drug up the big rolling duffle from under the house and began piling clothes and Tim Tams in, and hunted around for my big yellow tote bag. Hmmm. Not under the house. Not in the study. Not in the bedroom. Not in the shed. Not in the library. Not in any cupboard. Not under couches. Not in the roof space. Not in the cars. Not, *gulp*, anywhere!

I must have left it at a BookCrossing meetup, possibly beside my car when I drove home. Maybe it was chucked out with piles of old clothes, possibly as a container, not meant to go into the charity bin but nevertheless included by well-meaning offspring.

Stressing about this. I don't think they still make the BC tote bags, and I loved this one a lot. OK, it's battered as anything, having been around the world six times and six halves, not to mention here and there in Australia and New Zealand. It isn't new anymore, and there's only so much that even the "durables" heavy-duty washing cycle will do for it.

Oh well. Have to buy a new bag. Rollaboard size. Nice and square to carry books. Yellow for preference. Do it on Tuesday when the shops are open again.

Never mind that Easter Monday was positively BUZZING in town on half-price Easter Egg day. I coulda gone in and bought it yesterday, but I have this naiive idea that on a public holiday shops will be shut, you know?

Lucky I didn't. Mentioned this to the offspring this morning as a last forlorn hope, and DD, bless her heart, looked around in her wardrobe and brought it out!

I don't go into my daughter's room. Kerri does, but I don't. Kind of an Abandoned Area. How it got into her wardrobe I don't understand, but that's by the by. I have my big yellow BC bag back and it's filling up with books and I'm a happy chappy again!

Pete and Bron
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Friday was the opening day of the Lifeline Bookfair. I collected Ken from work and we were able to spend an hour or so browsing. Of course, we both headed for the travel section!

I picked up a few books, and trust me, this is restrained for me!

Susan Kurosawa, coasting: a year by the bay. Susan K and Graeme Blundell retreat from Sydney to the Central Coast. Hardback with DJ, signed by author.

Paul Theroux, grumpy railway traveller:
Sunrise with Seamonsters: Travels and Discoveries 1964-1984. HB with DJ
The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean. Trade PB
The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas. Mass market paperback
The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific. Penguin MMPB
Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China. Penguin

Joan Sutherland,The Folio Book of Literary Puzzles.
Saki, Short Stories. HB, No slipcase.
Siegfried Sassoon, Sherston's Progress. HB/SC
Anthem for Doomed Youth: Poets of the Great War. HB/SC

Lonely Planet: Edinburgh 2002
The Rough Guide to Edinburgh 2002

Michael McGirr, Bypass, The Story of a Road, TPB
Tony Hawks, A Piano in the Pyrenees, PB
Edward Rutherfurd, Sarum. MMPB
Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines, Penguin

I'm pretty sure I've already got copies of the last three, but I can't lay my hands on them.


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September 2010

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