What I’m Reading: A Hat Full of Sky

Considering how enamored I became of Terry Pratchett after reading Men at Arms and The Wee Free Men, it’s taken me a surprisingly long time to scoop up as many copies as I can and read until I can’t see straight. Maybe it’s because there are so many Disc World books that without suggestions I don’t know where to go next, maybe it’s because I thought The Color of Magic was only okay, or maybe it’s because the Pratchett books I did read were for school, and who the hell has time to read for fun when you’re in a graduate program. Whatever it is, I decided to shovel out some time and dig into those books again.

I decided to take it easy and get back into Pratchett with A Hat Full of Sky, the sequel to The Wee Free Men. We’re with Tiffany Aching again, and she’s on her way to the mountains to learn “haggling” from a real witch, Miss Level. The book is, of course, peppered with Pratchett’s wonderful, almost inexplicable humor. When Rob Anybody, a Nac Mac Feegle, refuses alcohol because he’s worried, his wife screams that he died: “He’s deid and still talkin’!” And one of my favorite bits in the book is funny in the way he words it, and the way he talks about something very, very true:

In the cupboard drawer under the sink, forks, spoons, and knives were all in neat sections, was was a bit worrying. Every kitchen drawer Tiffany had ever seen might have been meant to be neat but over the years had been crammed with things that didn’t quite fit, like big ladles and bent bottle openers, which meant they always stuck unless you knew the trick of opening them.

But aside from the humor, what makes this book so enjoyable is Tiffany. An 11-year-old girl who’s smart, brave, clever, and talented, and yet still worried about boys and upset when others are laughing at her. I want her to succeed, I want her to get credit, and yet I understand when she lets things pass her by. I’ll probably snag the next one, which I believe is Wintersmith, next time I get to the bookstore, and I’ll probably have just as hard of a time putting that one down.

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