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Truckers: The First Book of the Nomes (The Bromeliad Trilogy)
Truckers: The First Book of the Nomes (The Bromeliad Trilogy)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book by a fantastic author, 19 Sept. 2004
Terry Pratchett's Truckers, from the Bromeliad trilogy, is the story of a relatively small and unheard-of species, nomes, who live in parallel with today's humans. The majority of nomes resided in what was known as the store, which was in fact a large department store; there were different departments in the store, and each department had a tightly-knit factions of nomes (for instance, the Haberdasheri) who, for the most part, remained in their own departments. Arnold Bros (est. 1905), the founder of the store, was idolized by the nomes who resided in the store; to them, he was the akin to our God.
Then there was another, smaller group of nomes, led by Masklin, who lived in the outdoors; the two groups crossed paths when Masklin decided that he disliked the cold winters, the wild hunting and the general difficulty to survive in the harsh conditions - so they hitched a lift on a truck, which, by complete coincidence, was destined for this store. This store was, apparently, the perfect dwelling; there was food at every turn, and everything a nome could possibly want was easily found. It was discovered that the Store was to be destroyed within a few weeks - and Masklin's seemingly impossible task was to evacuate every single nome from the doomed Store.
Although this is a book aimed primarily at children, it is nothing less than enjoyable for anyone of any age-group. It is fascinating to look down on a completely separate species from a human perspective, and to see them fascinated by ours; the few nomes with the privilege of being able to read saw signs in the department as "messages" from Arnold Bros (est. 1905). The species is thoroughly constructed and cross-referenced to such an extent that you might even believe that nomes actually exist!
Pratchett provides vivid descriptions of both the characters themselves and the surroundings throughout - but the best thing is that these descriptions are written from the point of view of a nome. This makes you feel au fait with the characters and their starkly different observations.
The genre of the book is fantasy, and has many comic elements to it, featuring hilarious power-struggles, heated arguments, and a wonderfully ironic generation gap adding to the humour of the book. It is well worth a read, regardless of the type of book which you prefer.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2015 4:46 PM BST

Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog! (Penguin Popular Classics)
Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog! (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Jerome K. Jerome
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.00

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read, 19 Sept. 2004
Three Men in a Boat is the story of three middle-aged gentlemen, who discovered that they had, or at least thought that they had, possibly every illness that it is possible for one to contract; indeed, the only illness for which they did not show symptoms was Housemaid's Knee. They had heard down the grapevine that a boat trip was the only cure for this unfortunate assortment of medical conditions - so they decided to embark on this break away from life.
Featuring three gentlemen and one canine, Montmorcenery, who appears to have a constant dissatisfaction with his life, the characters of the book are certainly no letdown; the men are similar, but are provided with their own personality traits which adds a certain element of humour to their interaction.
The book, surprisingly, is much less about the actual boat trip than one might imagine, and much more the author's somewhat cynical - although suitably lightweight viewpoint on life. Although written in 1889, much of the humour of the book is still applicable today, and although some of the wording might seem a little dated, it is still very readable. One might be tempted to consider a book which generally moans about life to be a dull one; however, Jerome's tongue-in-cheek style is such that you will certainly be left with a smile after every page.
Possibly the best thing about the book is the fact that it has been written in the first person; apart from all the other obvious benefits (e.g. the accuracy that is usually associated with first-person accounts), it allows the viewpoint to be more than a little biased against his companions - and that, as much as anything, is amusing.
As soon as you start reading Three Men in a Boat, you'll notice the stark difference between this and other books: The lack of a storyline makes a refreshing change to the traditional sort of books which need to be follows closely; you will no doubt begin to recall similarities between the lives of these gentlemen and your own from the start. Its somewhat haphazard structure allows this book to be read time and time again, without diminishing in its appeal. This book has a style that is completely inimitable, and has truly stood the test of time - it provides a type of humour that is surely not found in books written today. Containing a wonderful blend of his pessimistic outlook on life combined with a sense of humour that exists on many levels - sarcasm, irony and wit - it is thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end, and I would certainly consider it a good contender for the best book ever written.

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