Another Favorite Author Is Gone

There are currently three authors that take up an entire shelf each on my bookcases. And as of this weekend, these have all become shelves that will never grow again. :(

Sir Pterry

First off is the beloved Terry Pratchett. I discovered Pratchett just before college, I think? At any rate, I started collecting his work early in college. I loved Reaper Man, and went out of my way to track down the British editions (not only did they have the better cover art, but the American publishers would water down or remove too many jokes they thought Americans wouldn't understand). Pandemonium was one of the few places I could find the British editions.

Discworld was the perfect escape from homework and classes. Witty and entertaining and the complete opposite of the Nazi propaganda films I was studying in class. And they also hold up well after multiple rereads. They are great to lend out to friends

Pratchett was also my first introduction to the great Neil Gaiman, via Good Omens.

We lost Sir Terry last year. I feel lucky to have seen him as the Guest of Honor at WorldCon when it was in Boston.

Diana Wynne Jones

In 2011, we lost Diana Wynne Jones. I first discovered DWJ in my hometown library. I read everything I could find of hers, which admittedly wasn't much in that library. I remember being incredibly excited when I stumbled across a copy of Dogsbody at Pandemonium 20 years ago—a DWJ that the library didn't have!

I always say that the best thing to come out of Harry Potter was the reprinting of most of DWJ's work. I was lucky enough to be visiting Oxford around this time, and I found nearly every book she had published in stock there. I had to ship them home, but I was ecstatic. All those books that I knew existed because they're listed at the front of the book, but none were available in Western Massachusetts? Mine. All mine. An entire shelf's worth of mine!

My nephew loves to read and I cannot wait to introduce him to Chrestomanci. But where to start? Witch Week is my favorite Chrestomanci book, but is that necessarily the right place to start? This is a good problem to have...

RIP Sheri Tepper

I remember clearly the first time I read Sheri Tepper. Nick at the town bookstore knew everyone's tastes pretty well. One day when I was looking for a new-to-me author, he held up Beauty. He said he used to recommend Grass, but then Beauty came out and he thought it was even better. One of his favorite authors.

I did not care for Beauty the first time I read it. (It turns out to be the sort of book that grows on you. Each time I reread it, I like it more. Maybe it was the right book at the wrong time.) So I thought that I didn't like Tepper and that this was the first time Nick had steered me wrong.

About a year later I was living in D.C. for the summer and spent a lot of time hiding in the libraries because they were air-conditioned. I stumbled across Grass and decided to give Tepper one more try.

Grass blew me away. I still consider it pretty close to the perfect book. It has great characters, great world building, great writing, and deep thoughts that fit in to the story without weighing it down. Having read most of her catalog at this point, I'd say that Grass came at her peak—still has the fun world building of her earlier books (such as the True Game series), without the heavy-handed polemic of her later work. Sadly, Grass is currently out of print.

Sheri Tepper passed away a few days ago. My three longest shelves—Pratchett, Jones, and Tepper—will eventually be surpassed by newer authors (I'm looking at Garth Nix). But these three will always have a place in my heart in addition to a place on my shelves.


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