Friday, February 13, 2009

Making Money

The thing about all of Terry Pratchett’s books that I love is that they are laugh out loud hilarious. Pratchett is a master of puns and irony, and the satirical landscape of his work never ceases to bring forth a chuckle or two.

If you haven’t read any Pratchett, fear not. Although Making Money is a part of a series (and is, indeed, a sequel to a book in that series), this series has no beginning or end. You can pick up any Discworld book and you’d be starting at the beginning. Really. No joke.

I say series, but it’s more of a conglomeration of books. Some books focus on one set of characters on one side of the world, some on another set, and some even follow one man cross the continents on adventures that he never wanted to have.

And the Discworld is instantly recognizable. It’s exactly like our world in every way, except for all the ways that it isn’t. Huzzah for satire!

Quick English lesson-

Satire is a literary device used to point out ridiculousness or folly. It’s an indirect method of saying, “What the hell are you doing that for?” Each of Pratchett’s books have a specific habit, industry, or practice on the stand to be laughed at.

Making Money is about banking.

Main character Moist von Lipwig (the Post Master General) is put in charge of the biggest bank in the city of Ankh-Morpork through a series of odd circumstances and without any threatening whatsoever. He is told that he needs to make some changes because the bank is losing its credibility, but the only thing he knows about banks is how to break into them. Throughout the course of the novel, Moist deals with the gold standard, the issue of coinage vs. paper money, what a bank should do with deposited cash, and how to deal out loans.

Even though this book is mocking the banking system and tearing all of its practices to pieces in order to fit them together funny, it was actually very helpful. It taught me more about banking than any parent, teacher, or banker ever did. It certainly answered questions I had about why money is what we think it is.

The answer to those questions is, of course, “It is what we think it is because we said so.”

Obviously, I’m an of Mr. Pratchett’s, so of course I’ll be recommending Making Money to anyone in search of humor. It does have some adult humor, so it’s not for kids, but it wouldn’t be inappropriate for anyone in middle school and high school.

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