Returning to this Book Challenge – I fear optimistically as the prospect of returning to work looms! – we meet Day 18 and
A book you like by an author no longer living.
Now, as I’ve said before, I’ve had to read widely and enjoyed a huge variety of books written by people who have been dead for hundreds of years! Thousands of years. Aeschylus, Chaucer, the Pearl Poet, Shakespeare, Dickens, the Brontes…. Far too many to select.
Instead, I am going to select two author who died fairly recently: Maurice Sendak who suffled off this mortal coil in 2012, author of the iconic Where The Wild Things Are, and Terry Pratchett of the Discworld novels who died in 2015.
Where the Wild Things Are is everything that a child’s book should be: strange, bizarre, threatening, empowering, imaginative and inspiring imagination, comforting. It is an adventure story, a story of forgiveness, a story of parenting and love; of balancing independence and dependence. It is a hell of a lot to contain in a handful of pages.
It contains one of the most powerful opening lines in literature:
The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another…
And as for Pratchett, I think the Discworld series as a whole is testament to him but if I had to pick from it, I have a soft spot for the Witches of Lancre – Oh Granny Weatherwax’s death….! – which is where I started my journey with Pratchett. And Death and Susan Sto-Helit. I found the City Watch a little tired by the time they came to an end, replaced with the Moist von Lipwig stories. I found the Wizards quite irritating, but I think that was really the point of them!
To select one, I’d probably say The Hogfather, perhaps because of the time of year, perhaps because of Susan Sto-Helit’s teaching methods as a Governess, launching herself into battle with the monsters rather than dismissing them. Perhaps because the whole notion of the novel is twisted, surreal and ultimately wonderfully joyous!