Book reviews / Non fiction

Book review: A slip of the keyboard

I remember I bought this book when out adventuring in the Lake District. It is the kind of book you buy on holiday.

I have read so much Terry Pratchett. I think I’m only one short of reading all of the Discworld. If there was a literary character that I could somehow make real it would be Commander Vimes. So, naturally, I’m going to like it.

Anyway, this is a book of his collected non-fiction; articles in newspapers, speeches from awards to assisted dying, book introductions and so much more. It’s an eclectic read but Pratchett’s voice is so strong that it reads almost like a novel.

I’ve almost been close to tears every time I’ve picked it up, either by laughter or by the sheer rage at his diagnosis Alzheimers. Terry Pratchett didn’t suffer fools, even when they’re part of him – he fought them at every opportunity.

Like any author who has to talk a lot, familiar anecdotes peppered the short essays and articles: his dad’s death of pancreatic cancer, his awful school, working as a journalist and so-on. I wish he had got around to writing a book on the nuclear industry because the few articles that mentioned it were a riot.

You find yourself wanting to read the next and the next, annoyed that you have to get off the bus or go to sleep or work. It was a delight. If you want equal parts laughter, rage and tears, this is a wonderful collection of writing.

About three quarters through I tweeted that it was unfair that Terry Pratchett is no longer around. He had a magical way with words.

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