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3 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Unseen Aca... · 0 replies · +10 points

Yes! The look in Mark's eyes when he realized just how long the list was... *mwah*.

(Now who wants to tell him that the assistant wasn't writing down the names of the people in the crowd, but that all of those titles are actually one person...?)

3 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Unseen Aca... · 0 replies · +8 points

The song it's based on is "Guantanamera," a Cuban song that became an international hit when the Sandpipers covered it in 1966. That was the year that the UK won the World Cup, and football fans quickly adopted it for their chants. I do like that "one Macarona" sounds rather more like "guantanamera" than many other names that have been plugged into that song.

3 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Wintersmit... · 2 replies · +17 points

"Okay, I would definitely read a book about the eight-year-old witch trapped in Dogbend."

You already did! Kind of, I mean; that's a pretty good description of the first Tiffany Aching book, isn't it?

3 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Where's My... · 0 replies · +14 points

Mark picked up on the fact that the animals are "disguised" as cows in the book really fast! It took me SEVERAL reads to see that they all have not just fake horns, but "udders" too.

3 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Thud!': Pa... · 3 replies · +10 points

Ha! Yes. Or like the first season of Gotham where a young Bruce Wayne can't figure out his father's password.

Which is "Bruce."

World's Greatest Detective, everybody. Give him a hand.

3 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Thud!': Pa... · 5 replies · +24 points

The main thing I remember about Da Vinci Code was the bit where it showed you a bit of da Vinci's notes (or something) and expected it to be something of a puzzle for the reader... only to dramatically reveal a couple pages later that the solution was that it was written BACKWARDS! How strange and unexpected and not at all a thing that everyone knows about da Vinci! I had been very spoiled by Discworld at this point, which expects you to know a lot of the basic references--including this one, when Leonard da Quirm writes notes backwards--in advance. I was pretty grumpy at (what I saw at the time as) Dan Brown's condescension to his readers.

I've mellowed a bit since then; why shouldn't there be fun puzzle-y books for beginning puzzlers as well as for old hands? The only thing that still irritates me is when people think of DVC as a high-level puzzle-y book rather than a beginning one. For intermediate-level, I'd read Katherine Neville's The Eight (wonderful novel, does everything DVC does but IMO better), and advanced would be something like Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid (not a novel but fascinating--and it's come up in the comments before since it influenced Discworld a lot).

The other thing I remember was that Da Vinci Code was EVERYWHERE. It really took over the conversation about popular literature for a long time. Published 2003, and the movie was 2006. Thud! was published in 2005, so DVC must have been omnipresent when Pratchett was writing this book.

3 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Going Post... · 1 reply · +17 points

Buying ancestors is another piratical reference, though it wasn't the pirates who did it:

MAJOR-GENERAL STANLEY: Why do I sit here? To escape from the pirates’ clutches, I described myself as an orphan; and, heaven help me, I am no orphan! I come here to humble myself before the tombs of my ancestors, and to implore their pardon for having brought dishonour on the family escutcheon.
FREDERIC: But you forget, sir, you only bought the property a year ago, and the stucco on your baronial castle is scarcely dry.
MAJOR-GENERAL: Frederic, in this chapel are ancestors: you cannot deny that. With the estate, I bought the chapel and its contents. I don’t know whose ancestors they were, but I know whose ancestors they are, and I shudder to think that their descendant by purchase (if I may so describe myself) should have brought disgrace upon what, I have no doubt, was an unstained escutcheon.

The Pirates of Penzance, of course, by Gilbert and Sullivan.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Re-Reads 'Monstro... · 0 replies · +27 points

"But he’s also a fan of throwing people in the deep end and hoping they learn, which is why he bolts from the inn without really preparing Polly for what’s about to happen. And you know, even if he meant well—believing that Polly was skilled enough to defend herself or talk her way out of that situation—it’s still kind of fucked up that he’s like, “BYE, OFF I GO.” "

This also seems to be a very Pratchetty thing generally. Alllll the way back in Wyrd Sisters, Granny has just done a mid-air re-fueling of her broomstick from Magrat's:

"Magrat whirled away in the buffeting wind, clinging tightly to a broomstick which now, she feared, had about as much buoyancy as a bit of firewood. It certainly wasn't capable of sustaining a full-grown woman against the beckoning fingers of gravity.
"As she plunged down towards the forest roof in a long shallow dive she reflected that there was possibly something complimentary in the way Granny Weatherwax resolutely refused to consider other people's problems. It implied that, in her considerable opinion, they were quite capable of sorting them out by themselves."

Of course, it's not an exact parallel. Granny at that point has her own set of rather pressing problems to attend to, for example. And even the life-threateningness of the scenario seems less dire in the earlier, fluffier book. But this idea of teaching by pushing so that the student pushes back does keep coming up over and over.

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Monstrous ... · 10 replies · +34 points

Another change from the UK to the US, I think:

Mark read that Maledicta was "in full female uniform." My UK hardback just says "in full uniform."

4 years ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'Monstrous ... · 0 replies · +7 points

"-Olga Chambers is Enid Chambers in the preview."

HUH. My edition, which I think is the first UK hardback one, gives her name as "Eva Clambers"...!