Vanguard Spotlight Book of the Month: January 2024

Monthly Reads from ASU-Beebe Students, Faculty and Staff.

ASU-Beebe Book Favorites

Each month Abington Library will feature a favorite book from a faculty, staff member, or student. They will give a brief synopsis of their chosen book. Instructions can be found on the instructions tab or at

About Tyler

Tyler Bittle is Director of Admissions at ASU-Beebe.





About the Book

Going Postal: A novel of Discworld by Terry Pratchett

Reviewed by Tyler Bittle

Welcome to The Discworld, where magic is real and the world is flat! Not only that, it rests on the backs of four cosmically large elephants, which in turn stand upon the shell of an enormous space turtle as it swims through the cosmos.

The current ruler of Ankh-Morpork, the largest city-state on the Discworld, has a problem. The city’s Post Office has been criminally neglected for years by his predecessors. So criminally neglected that he’s decided to push the envelope by “appointing” a professional criminal as the new Postmaster General.

Enter Moist von Lipwig, a fraud, trickster, and confidence man who’s given the option to either tap-dance at the end of the hangman’s noose for his crimes or get a government agency back on its feet. After choosing the cruel and unusual punishment of reviving a decrepit, backlogged, and unfunded bureaucracy, Moist quickly realizes his new job may still be a death sentence. Corrupt robber barons will stop at nothing to keep the mail undelivered as they consolidate their monopoly on new communication technologies, and something is haunting the Post Office.

Moist will have to use all his wits, cunning, and luck to plot a route to his deliverance, come rain, sleet, assassin’s blade, or worse.

I believe many administrators can relate to Moist von Lipwig’s situation, sans the unorthodox (i.e., criminal) route of “earning” the job. It’s one thing to build an organization from scratch, but in a way that can be easier than inheriting one with decades of inertia and baggage. The book’s author, Terry Pratchett, was a master satirist, and “Going Postal” is one of my favorite novels to re-read year after year. Terry’s writing is dense with the types of puns, double entendre, and witticisms that a reader may miss on their first read through or happily rediscover on the third or fourth. However, anyone who reads Going Postal will soon discover that at the core of this “silly” fantasy novel is an unvarnished examination of the battle between unregulated capitalism and overly bureaucratic government and how the negative externalities of both extremes of the spectrum will affect how people live or die.

American novelist and close personal friend to Terry once wrote: “Terry’s authorial voice is always: genial, informed, sensible, drily amused. I suppose that, if you look quickly and are not paying attention, you might, perhaps, mistake it for jolly. But beneath any jollity there is a foundation of fury.”

Satire, after all, is exaggeration for the sake of examination. While you’re rooting for Moist to prevail against the fantastical odds on The Discworld, you might see echoes of those odds in our own Round World and wonder if maybe you could make changes for the better in your own way.

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