Having discovered a treasure trove of books (including an almost complete set of the Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett) recently, I dove in and settled down for uninterrupted reading of around 35 books. I’m happy to say I’ve finished them, and are even now engaged in the process of finding the ones not included in my original discovery.
The first Terry P. book I read may well have been Lords and Ladies, almost five years ago. I’ve also read Wintersmith at some point, but now I no longer recall when that was. I was so enchanted by Lords and Ladies and by Esme Weatherwax that I immediately set about finding the rest of Sir P’s books. Being someone with a bit of OCD, I tried to start by reading Colour of Magic. Don’t do that. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll spend another five years being deprived of these wonderful works of art before you can work up the courage to start again.
I restarted my Discworld attempt with Monstrous Regiment. It was lovely. It was hilarious. It was followed in quick succession by Unseen Academicals, Making Money, Going Postal and a good many other highlights of Terry P.’s work.
Then I tried reading Colour of Magic again, and to my amazement, this time it actually made sense. Fair warning though: Colour of Magic and it’s immediate sequel – The Light Fantastic – are both Rincewind novels, and those are invariably the most boring and annoying of the Discworld books.
Within themselves, the Discworld books have separate plot lines that you can use to follow your favourite characters on their adventures. If every Terry P. fan followed this method, all the Rincewind stories would be thoroughly neglected. Interestingly, however, it’s also in many of Rincewind’s novels that very important things happen to occur, and all of the books reference each other a lot, so you might as well read them in order if you can.
Along with Rincewind, there are also the Wizards, the Witches, The Night Watch of Ankh Mopork, Tiffany Aching (who’s a witch), DEATH (who’s Death) and the progress of the Industrial Revolution in the great city of Ankh Mopork.
In addition to his incessant parodying of everything under the sun, Sir Terry’s writing reveals an excellent knowledge of humanity which is passed down in perfectly acerbic sarcasm. He tackles various political issues without ever seeming to have tackled them, and leaves racism, sexism and general elitism looking a little shamefaced and confused. In this sense, he’s a little bit like Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh Mopork, who seems to get everything done his way despite never seeming to lift a goddamn finger.