I was early for the morning train and headed into the small book and newspaper store inside the train station. There was a time when this was a regular routine for me to check out new books and pick up something for the commute. Now there's a different store there. It's bigger, has more magazines, beverages, snacks and you can actually walk without knocking each other over, but it has lost its charm for me and I hardly ever go there.
Back to that one time about 20 years ago, though. I browsed through the books and came across one called Witches Abroad. I didn't know why, but Discworld sounded vaguely familiar to me, and I definitely knew I had seen the books before, but never read one of them. I liked the cover and got the book.
On the train I couldn't keep from giggling from page one. I didn't know it yet, but I had just become a Terry Pratchett fan, and I was more than ready to infect others, too. I remember coming to work, pulling one of my co-workers aside and showing him the first page to read.
My ex didn't take reading advice from me often (to be fair, I refused quite a few of his suggestions as well), but he did when it came to Pterry's books. When he was going through my (not so small) library, he often ended up on the Discworld once again at last.
We tried to decide which characters we loved most and what was going to be the next book. At first I bought German pocket books as there were quite a few available already, but when I already owned all novels that were published, it became harder and harder to wait for new ones until I finally starting pre-ordering the hardbacks in English.
And let's not forget that three of my cats are named after Discworld characters and who knows, maybe they will not be the last ones who are.
After hearing that Sir Terry had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I started worrying very selfishly about what that meant for a book series I had grown so fond of.
I don't want to speak about the feelings I had when I heard of his death last year, but about the feelings when I started reading his last Discworld novel The Shepherd's Crown. A part of me was pulling on its chain as always when a new book from the series had arrived. "Read it, you know you want to." Another part, however, made me put the book aside and staring at it whenever I walked by it. This would be it and I didn't want it to be it. I wanted it to go on and it couldn't.
I seriously can't remember a book ever making me feel like this before. Finally I decided that I just had to read it. Not doing it wouldn't change anything, doing it wouldn't change anything. How naive of me. I don't want to spoil it for you, but tears were flowing in abundance.
I have no idea if I will ever be able to read it a second time or even more often like I did with the other books.
I don't want to end this post on a sad note. I'm glad I got to discover this magic world. I'm glad I can visit it anytime and meet my favorite characters there.
Although my first book wasn't the first in the series, I kind of closed the circle as the witches appear in both Witches Abroad and The Shepherd's Crown.
I'm glad I went into the book store that day.
P.S. The title of this post is of course a Terry Pratchett quote.
P.P.S. I could still bite myself for getting sick when I could have had the chance to see him live.
P.P.P.S. Was there any doubt that he had to go on my fan wall?
Taking a Breather
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