Shaking hands with death

Thanks to all those who have followed me here and via my Twitter handle @pratchettjob during the past few days. I’m extremely keen to hear your opinion on each book as I publish my thoughts on them.

This Friday, I turn my attention to Equal Rites, one of my favourites as a young ‘un and a book I was slightly wary of going back to. Does it stand up to how the younger me saw it? Find out in a few days.

Between each book review, I’m going to try and populate the blog during the week with smart pieces of Pratchett ephemera from around the web. Just in time for lunch (for those of you in the UK), I’ve gone for Pratchett’s moving and humane Dimbleby lecture from 2010.

If you are reading this, I am sure you know Pratchett was diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy, a rare form of Alzheimer’s, in 2007. The ’embuggerance’, as he puts it, has led to him campaigning for research into the disease and also the right to die on one’s own terms.

His condition meant he couldn’t deliver the lecture himself, with Tony Robinson giving the speech. For Pratchett, when the time comes, he wants to go out as he desires, “in my own home, in a chair on the lawn, with a brandy in my hand to wash down whatever modern ­version of the “Brompton cocktail” some ­helpful medic could supply. And with ­Thomas Tallis on my iPod, I would shake hands with Death”.

It’s a fascinating lecture: full of the clear thinking and humanity that drives the very best of his books. The fact he can’t actually say the words himself gives it all the more power.


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