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[Revised and updated July 2012]

Firstly, the author: Terry Pratchett is British. He is often compared to Douglas Adams. He has also been compared, quite wrongly, to J. R. R. Tolkien, who is also wonderful but completely different. His books are one part satire, one part whimsy, one part parody, two parts pure bizarre, all of which combine to create something wonderful. He writes fantasy or science fiction and yet somehow neither. He is popular in England and relatively little known in the USA, a situation which I am trying my best to change.

When Terry Pratchett writes his own back cover bios, they are brilliant. When others write them for him, they are very dull. According to the Pratchett-written bios, he lives in England, an island off the coast of France, although the location of his mind is probably not locatable in any normal atlas. He was born on his own birthday, and, oh, he also has a hat. Critics have observed that his "intricately eccentric and unfailingly amusing Discworld novels, arranged end to end, would extend all the way from one end of the arrangement to the other."

Secondly, the books: Pratchett does not take himself seriously, and neither should you. Remember to have a sense of humour while reading and you'll be okay.

...well, it's like this. If you started watching Star Trek halfway through the series you probably wondered why one guy had pointy ears. But since you liked what you saw, you probably let the question ride for now and just got on with enjoying the show.

Discworld is like that. There are mini-series within the series (the "witches" books, the "City Watch" books, the "Death" books --) and there are one or two big story arcs, but generally the books are written to be accessible at any point to anyone with a nodding acquaintanceship with the fantasy genre. Or even with real life. Admittedly, real life does not contain many librarians who are a full-grown male orangutan, and Death in real life does not ride a white horse called Binky, but Discworld readers now consider that this is real life's loss." -- from here

Note: slight (mostly British) profanity and innuendo are sometimes part of Pratchett's books. I do not find it to be problematic, but lest you find it offensive, now you can't say I didn't warn you. 

Thirdly, reading recommendations: they can be read in any order. You will probably feel lost no matter which book you read first, but persevere! Full comprehension is not necessary for full enjoyment. You can read the books in copyright order (but please skip the first several until later: see notes on The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic), in character groups (see below) or whichever ones you find at your library or hiding in the dark corners of your used bookshop. If you're the methodical type, there's a nice list of all the different orders the books can be read in here. My personal recommendation as a starting place is always Thief of Time. It hooked me, it's hooked many of my friends, chances are it'll hook you too.

The major groupings of Pratchett books are as follows:

"Death" books:
Reaper Man
Soul Music
Thief of Time

"Rincewind" books:

The Colour of Magic
The Light Fantastic
Interesting Times
The Last Continent
The Last Hero
Unseen Academicals

"Tiffany/Nac Mac Feegle" books:

The Wee Free Men
A Hat Full of Sky
I Shall Wear Midnight

"Witches" books:

Equal Rites
Wyrd Sisters
Witches Abroad
Lords and Ladies
Carpe Jugulum

"Watch" books:

Guards! Guards!
Men at Arns
Feet of Clay
The Fifth Elephant
Night Watch

General directions:

-Do not say "I'll stop as soon as I'm done with this chapter" because most Pratchett books don't have chapters.

-All Pratchett books are best read with the help of the annotations found here

-Don't skip the footnotes, as they're often the best part.

-Try to snigger quietly when in public places.

The Books:

The Colour of Magic (1983)

Rincewind, the inept wizzard (he knows he's a wizzard because it says WIZZARD on his hat) who can "scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four", guides the tourist Twoflower through the Discworld, a world strangly like ours, only different. As the name implies, Discworld is flat, and it travels through space on the back of a giant turtle.

This is Discworld in infancy. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK FIRST. It has a loosely-developed plot which is mainly a platform for a string of jokes. Read the later books where Discworld is more developed, then go back and appreciate the evolution of Pratchett's world and style. Trust me on this: it's a much better book if you don't read it first.

This book parodies fantasy swashbuckling literature in general.

Sample quote: "Let's just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are bastards'."

The Light Fantastic (1986)

The plot of this one goes like this: the world is about to be destroyed. The only person who can save it is Rincewind, the incompetent wizzard, who was last seen falling off the edge of the world. It's a Disc. There has to be an edge somewhere, and only Rincewind would be unlucky enough to fall off of it.

Of Note: in this book you meet the aged Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde. Just imagine, a horde of fierce barbarians, some of whom are in wheelchairs, talking about their false teeth (or lack thereof) and having to stop every 45 minutes to use the restroom. Now imagine them still winning. Cohen is pretty close to being one of my favorite Pratchett characters.

You also meet Death and the Luggage, two very important people -- er, things.

See note for The Colour of Magic, above. Although this is a better book than the first, it's still wise to read it after tasting some of the better Discworld novels.

Sample quote: He moved in a way that suggested he was attempting the world speed record for the nonchalant walk.

Equal Rites (1987)

Discworld begins to come into its own. On the Discworld the 8th son of an 8th son is destined to become a wizard ... only this child is a girl. In this book you meet Granny Weatherwax, a witch who practices "headology" (that'd be psycology to us). Although her powers are great, "Granny could, if she wished, curse people. However it is simpler for her to say she's cursed them, and let them assume she's responsible for the next bit of bad luck that happens to befall them; given her reputation this tends to cause such people to flee the country entirely." (from Wikipedia's article on Granny Weatherwax.)

Trivia: the Bulgarian translation's title is "Emancipated Magic", for no reason that I can discover.

Sample quote: They both savoured the strange warm glow of being much more ignorant than ordinary people, who were only ignorant of ordinary things.

Mort (1987)

Here's where it really starts to get good, with the introduction of Death. That's the anthropomorphic personification, not the concept. Mort is a teenager trying to find himself a job. At a job fair, he is hired by Death to help him usher souls into the afterlife. Death is a likable sort of fellow with a fondness for cats, and fascinated by the human experience, especially emotions. Being an anthropomorphic personification, he has none, but he tries really hard. He also SPEAKS LIKE THIS.

Sample quotes:The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can't have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles -- kingons, or possibly queons -- that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expanded because, at that point, the bar closed.

Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.

Sourcery (1988)

As we saw in Equal Rites, the 8th son of an 8th son is a wizard -- well, the 8th son of an 8th son of an 8th son is a sorcerer, and thus the reason that wizards are not allowed to marry and have children. Only, you see, some did.

In this book you meet Conina the Hairdresser, daughter of Cohen the Barbarian (see The Light Fantastic) and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse like you've never seen them before.

Sample quote: "I meant," said Iplsore bitterly, "what is there in this world that makes living worthwhile?" Death thought about it. "CATS," he said eventually, "CATS ARE NICE."

Wyrd Sisters (1988)

Fans of "Hamlet", take note! Wyrd Sisters is largely a parody of Shakespeare's masterpiece. There are the three witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg (the owner of the world's most evil cat, Greebo, who "could commit sexual harassment simply by sitting very quietly in the next room") and Magrat, who was born to a mother who couldn't spell. There is a murder, and a play (in a theatre called The Dysk, of course), and a rightful king.

Sample quotes: "I'd like to know if I could compare you to a summer's day. Because -- well, June 12th was quite nice, and..."

In fact, no gods anywhere play chess. They prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve Transcendence but Go Straight to Oblivion; a key to the understanding of all religion is that a god's idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs.

Pyramids (

This is the book that earned Pratchett the nickname Pterry, owning to the large number of characters in this book whose names begin with that peculiar consonant combination. (If it's not plain to you already, this book is about a culture strangely similar to but not quite Egyptian.) Pteppic is the prince of the kingdom Djelibeybi (Say it aloud, don't just read it, and you'll get the pun.) In the Discworld, pyramids warp the fabric of time, thus resulting in some interesting parodoxes.

Sample Quote: What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"

Guards! Guards! (1989)

The first Discworld novel about the City of Ankh-Morpork Watch. This one is hard to sum up ... there's a dragon, and an inept City Watch, and an idealistic rookie watchman named Carrot Ironfoundersson. Captain of the Watch Vimes meets Sybil in this book, which proves important later on. I think but am not quite sure that Sybil is a parody of all the well-bred British Ladies (and duchesses and princesses) who are happiest tramping about in men's trousers hunting things and being followed by a pack of dogs.

The Librarian of the Unseen University also makes an appearance. He happens to be an orangutan who communicates volumes with one "oook".

Sample quote:

People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

Moving Pictures (1990)

If the title and the fact this book takes place in Holy Wood doesn't clue you in ... well. Indeed, this is a parody of the film-making industry, and having a working knowledge of classic films helps tremendously in the reading.

Incidentally, there's a young wizard introduced in this book named Ponder Stibbons, whom Harry Potter seems to resemble rather remarkably. Moving Pictures was published in 1990, the same year J.K. Rowling says she came up with the idea for Harry Potter. Not that I’m making any assumptions.

Sample quote: "Did I hear things, or can that little dog speak?" said Dibbler.

"He says he can't," said Victor.

Dibbler hesitated. "Well," he said, "I suppose he should know."

Faust Eric (1990)

Rather obviously a parody of Faust. This is a short novel, and one I liked tremendously. It includes Rincewind, the Luggage, the Librarian, etc. etc.

Sample quote: The gods of the Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that's where they believe, in their deepest heart, that they deserve to go. Which they won't do if they don't know about it. This explains why it is so important to shoot missionaries on sight.

Reaper Man (1991)

Death tries living incognito as Bill Door, farmhand. It doesn't work. Hilarity ensues, etc. etc.

Trivia: Literally translated, the Hebrew translation's title means "The Harvester Man of the Harvest." Swedish is "Death Lies Low." Russian is, appropriately enough, "The Gloomy Reaper."

Sample quote: Dock-a-loodle-fod! (A dyslexic rooster)

Witches Abroad (1991)

I do believe that this is my favorite book of the Witches group. Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax are in fine form as they whirl through parodies of a myriad of fairy and fantasy tales, including Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince, The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella. Watch carefully: Gollum makes an appearance. (It'ssss my birthday!)

Sample quotes: The Yen Buddhists are the richest religious sect in the universe. They hold that the accumulation of money is a great evil and a burden to the soul. They therefore, regardless of personal hazard, see it as their unpleasant duty to acquire as much as possible in order to reduce the risk to innocent people.

"'S called the Vieux River."
"Know what that means?"
"The Old (Masculine) River," said Nanny.
"Words have sex in foreign parts," said Nanny hopefully.

Small Gods (1992)

This is a really interesting satire of false religions, particularly religions that murder in the name of their god. It's also a hilarious parody of philosophy in general and several famous individual philosophers in particular. My favorite monk, Lu-Tze, makes an appearance, as do the History Monks (you'll run into them again later in The Thief of Time).

Sample quotes: His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, "You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

And it came to pass that in time the Great God Om spake unto Brutha, the Chosen One: "Psst!"

Lords and Ladies (1992)

Okay, this is my other favorite of the Witches groups. It turns the typical view of elves in fairy tales (and Lord of the Rings) on its head, and incorporates many elements of A Midsummer Night's Dream. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK FIRST. You can start with almost any other book in the series, but don't read this one until you've finished Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad.

Sample quotes: For Magrat, stepping into a man's bedroom was like an explorer stepping on to that part of the map marked Here Be Dragons.

The Monks of Cool, whose tiny and exclusive monastery is hidden in a really cool and laid-back valley in the lower Ramtops, have a passing-out test for a novice. He is taken into a room full of all types of clothing and asked: Yo, my son, which of these is the most stylish thing to wear? And the correct answer is: Hey, whatever I select.

Men At Arms (1993)

I read most of this one in the Cincinnati airport. (That would be the time I slipped and fell while entering the pub, yes, and five men jumped to my rescue.) The main jist of this book is that Edward d'Eath is tracking down the lost heir to Ankh-Morpork's throne, Captain Vimes is about to marry Sybil (see earlier), and the City Watch deals with racial troubles in the form of the new troll and dwarf recruits. Oh, and there's a woman who is most of the time a woman but sometimes a werewolf. I'm not quite as fond of the Watch group of books, but this is one of the best ones. It's a lot funnier than it sounds.

Sample quote: The Librarian of Unseen University had unilaterally decided to aid comprehension by producing an Orang-utan/Human Dictionary. He'd been working on it for three months. It wasn't easy. He'd got as far as "Oook".

Soul Music (1994)

Behold the introduction of Death's granddaughter, Susan Sto Helit, one of my favorite characters. Classic rock-and-roll fans, this is the book for you, as you will get far more of the jokes in this parody than other readers. The musical scene in the Discworld is changed forever with a new genre -- Music With Rocks In. The leader of the first rock band is Imp Y Celyn, a clever bit of Welsh that means "bud of the holly" = Buddy Holly. There's even the Discworld version of Woodstock.

Subplot of the book: Death takes a holiday, and his granddaughter Susan must step in for him. Susan is a very no-nonsense type of lady and doesn't take well to the news that she's half immortal.

This is probably ones of the best of Pratchett's satires. Really. Not only does it parody the music world in general (a guitar maker named Gibsson) but also:

-Classic song titles -- "Don't Tread on My New Blue Boots", "Pathway to Paradise", and so on.

-Band names -- "The Whom" (The Who), "&U" (U2), "We're Certainly Dwarfs" (They Might Be Giants), "Felonious Monk" (Thelonious Monk), etc.

-Movie scenes from A Night at the Opera, The Blues Brothers, even The Terminator.

Sample quotes: "Of course, just because we've heard a spine-chilling, blood-curdling scream of the sort to make your very marrow freeze in your bones doesn't automatically mean there's anything wrong."

"I'm mean and turf and I'm mean and turf and I'm mean
and turf and I'm mean and turf,
And me an' my friends can walk towards you with our
hats on backwards in a menacing way,

(Music with Rocks In song lyrics)

Interesting Times (1995)

Ever hear of the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times"? Now you have. This books well illustrates it. The plot of this book is ultimately a game between the Discworld gods Fate and Luck, where the Discworld is their game board. Not surprisingly, Rincewind, the most unlucky wizard, is the key player. Cohen the Barbarian and his aging group of heros, The Silver Horde (these be the ones who forget their false teeth and have to stop to use the restroom every hour) do a lot of remarkable fighting ... well, remarkable for elderly heros, anyway.

This largely is the Discworld version of ancient Chinese culture. The Silver Horde invades a city very much but not quite like China's Forbidden City, against a Red Army that doesn't do much more than shout slogans like "Mildly Unpleasant Conditions to the Forces of Oppression!"

In the end, Cohen declares himself emperor and finds out that he doesn't like being civilized very much.

Sample quote: Rincewind could scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four.

Maskerade (1995)

Discworld does The Phantom of the Opera! That's really all there is to say about this book, except that it is hilarious. There's an opera ghost, obviously, and singers galore, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax and the infamous cat Greebo, who sometimes turns into a human "just because it's so easy."

Sample quote: "Well, basically there are two sorts of opera,' said Nanny, who also had the true witch's ability to be confidently expert on the basis of no experience whatsoever. 'There's your heavy opera, where basically people sing foreign and it goes like "Oh oh oh, I am dyin', oh, I am dyin', oh, oh, oh, that's what I'm doin'", and there's your light opera, where they sing in foreign and it basically goes "Beer! Beer! Beer! Beer! I like to drink lots of beer!", although sometimes they drink champagne instead. That's basically all of opera, reely."

Feet of Clay, (1996)

A Discworld detective novel. (Among others, there's a reference to one of Poe's short stories.) Other than that, I can't say much without giving away the plot. I would need to read this one again before deciding if I really like it, or just like it.

Sample quote: There were no public health laws in Ankh-Morpork. It would be like installing smoke detectors in Hell.

Hogfather (1996)

If you want to get fancy about it, this book is about the nature of belief. The Hogfather is Discworld's equivalent of Father Christmas, this book has lots of Susan in it, and while one of my favorites is probably the only one that I've been able to read three or four times and still reach the end without a clear idea of what just happened. It's probably not a good one to start out with. But Susan shines in this story and proves to be exactly the type of nanny/governess I would wish my children to be raised by, should I have the need for one.

Sample quote: She'd become a governess. It was one of the few jobs a known lady could do. And she'd taken to it well. She'd sworn that if she did indeed ever find herself dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she'd beat herself to death with her own umbrella.

Jingo (1997)

Satire of war which some people find heavy handed; I thought it was one of Pratchett's best and most amusing, and I'm not even anti-war. The main plot is that there's a war going on between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch, a country that mostly resembles the middle-east. One of the more important minor characters is named 71-Hour Ahmed, if that tells you anything. And there's Leonard of Quirm, one of my absolute favorites (he's mostly based on Leonardo da Vinci) and his experimental invention Going-Under-Water-Safely-Device. He turns up again in The Thief of Time with even better inventions.

Trivia: The Bulgarian title translates as "Chauvinist".

Sample quote: Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.

The Last Continent (1998)

This book takes place a few years after Interesting Times on the mysterious continent of XXXX (pronounced Fourecks) which is mostly like, you guessed it, Austrailia. (Harken back to the end of Interesting Times -- yep, this is where Rincewind ended up due to the wizard's miscalculations.) There's a strange kangaroo, sheep theft, escapes from prison under interesting circumstances, fast-evolving life-forms, and the real story behind the creating of the duck-billed platypus and Waltzing Matilda.

Sample quotes: Ridcully was to management what King Herod was to the Bethlehem Playgroup Association. His mental approach to it could be visualised as a sort of business flowchart with, at the top, a circle entitled "Me, who does the telling" and, connected below it by a line, a large circle entitled "Everyone else".

Carpe Jugulum (1998)

Vampire lit, parodied and turned on its head. (Young rebellious vampires drink wine, wear bright colors and stay up ‘til noon.) Similar in tone to Lords and Ladies. I believe the Nac Mac Feegles make a small appearance in this one.

Sample quote: Lancre operated on the feudal system, which was to say, everyone feuded all the time and handed on the fight to their descendants.

The Fifth Elephant (1999)

Let's see ... Commander Vimes is sent to Uberwald (a country that is strangely rather Transylvanian) on a diplomatic mission. Racial tensions exist, to put it mildly, between the vampires, werewolves, and dwarfs, so things not unexpectedly get rather messy. Oh, and the Scone of Stone is stolen; that would be the piece of dwarf-bread (think waybread on steroids) that the Dwarf king must be crowned upon.

Sample quote: The one positive thing you could say about the bread products around him was that they were probably as edible now as they were on the day they were baked. Forged was a better term. Dwarf bread was made as a meal of last resort and also as a weapon and a currency. Dwarfs were not, as far as Vimes knew, religious in any way, but the way they thought about bread came close.

The Truth (2000)

Very simply: the invention of investigative journalism!

Sample quote: There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!

Thief of Time (2001)

Hands down, this is my favorite Terry Pratchett book. If I were going to be stranded on a desert island, yada yada, I'd want this book with me. It centers around an evil plot to stop time, Death's granddaughter intervenes, the five horsemen get ready to ride out, etc. etc. Oh. Don't let the small bald wrinkly smiling monk fool you. There are some great inventions by Leonard of Quirm and some mind-blowing ideas about time. Bikkit!

Sample quotes: Do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly smiling men!

In the second scroll of Wen the Eternally Surprised a story is written concerning one day when the apprentice Clodpool, in a rebellious mood, approached Wen and spake thusly: "Master, what is the difference between a humanistic, monastic system of belief in which wisdom is sought by means of an apparently nonsensical system of questions and answers, and a lot of mystic gibberish made up on the spur of the moment?" Wen considered this for some time, and at last said: "A fish!" And Clodpool went away, satisfied.

The Last Hero (2001)

The aged barbarians Ghenghiz Cohen and the Silver Horde get a starring roll in this adventure book, richly illustrated by Paul Kidby. I think it contains some of the best dialog Pratchett has ever written, namely, "Nork nork!" (You'll have to read it to find out, but I'm being completely serious.) It is, however, a Carnegie Medal Winner.

Sample quote: This man was so absent-mindedly clever that he could paint pictures that didn’t just follow you around the room but went home with you and did the washing-up.

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (2001)

I don't consider this technically a part of the Discworld series, although it takes place there. It's Pratchett's first young adult book, and is a take on the story of the Pied Piper. It's good, but it always struck me as a little creepy in a way I can't explain.

Sample quote: Humans, eh? Think they're lords of creation. Not like us cats. We know we are. Ever see a cat feed a human? Case proven.

Night Watch (2002)

Remember the Twenty-fifth of May! The plot has several parallels with Les Miserables and various uprisings, rebellions, and massacres. Also, some funky things go on with time, possibly correlating with events in The Thief of Time. It's kinda confusing but good enough that most rabid Pratchett fans (that would be me) have adopted May 25th as sort of a national Prachett holiday, rather like Towel Day for fans of Douglas Adams (which I also observe)

Sample Quote: "When Mister Safety Catch Is Not On, Mister Crossbow Is Not Your Friend."

The Wee Free Men (2003)

I cannot swear to it, but I am told that this is the first Discworld book in which Death does not appear (the anthropomorphic personalization, remember). It's another young adult book (but doesn't read like one, I promise -- it's just that the heroine is of a younger age) and I love it because it not only has a very mature, logical young woman as the heroine, but it also is full of 6-inch-high blue men who speak in a dialect taken from Scots and Scots-Gaelic. They are strong, fierce, and it only takes four of them to steal a sheep -- one for each foot.

I didn't connect this until later, but the Fairy Queen in this novel is the same one that tries to invade the Discworld in Lords and Ladies, and she's every bit as ruthless as before. Tiffany, our heroine, has to enter the elvish world to save her baby brother and keep the Queen from taking over the Discworld. Granny and Nanny make small appearances.

Sample Quote: Miss Tick sniffed. "You could say this advice is priceless," she said. "Are you listening?"
"Yes," said Tiffany.
"Good. Now...if you trust in yourself..."
"...and believe in your dreams..."
"...and follow your star..." Miss Tick went on.
"...you'll still get beaten by people who spent  their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy. Good-bye."

Monstrous Regiment (2003)

I suppose the primary theme of this one is gender issues (plot inna nutshell: female dresses as a male in order to join the military), but the highlight for me is the reformed vampire (think "people are friends, not food") who has transferred his addiction from blood to coffee.

Sample quote:
There was this about vampires : they could never look scruffy. Instead, they were... what was the word... deshabille. It meant untidy, but with bags and bags of style.

A Hat Full of Sky (2004)

This is the sequel to The Wee Free Men, and is more of the same, only featuring much more of Granny and Nanny.

Sample quote: I'm trying to have a moment o' existential dreed here, right? Crivens, it's a puir lookout if a man canna feel the chilly winds o' fate lashing aroound his netheres wi'out folks telling him he's deid, eh?

Going Postal, (2004)

As far as I can remember, this is the first Discworld book divided into chapters. In it, Moist von Lipwig attempts reform the Ankh-Morpork Postal Service. Hilarity ensues; also many parodies of computers and the internet.

Sample quote: People flock in, nevertheless, in search of answers to those questions only librarians are considered to be able to answer, such as "Is this the laundry?" "How do you spell surreptitious?" and, on a regular basis, "Do you have a book I remember reading once? It had a red cover and it turned out they were twins.”

Thud! (2005)

Sam Vimes, Captain of the Watch, has to unravel the mystery of the death of a troll to prevent a massive war from beginning. But he also has to make it home by 6:00 pm without fail to read Where's my Cow (this is actually a real Pratchett-written picture book, check it out) to his little son. It's very touching, and rather symbolic.

Sample quote: Coffee is a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your older self.

Wintersmith (2006)

Third in the Tiffany series. As far as I’m concerned, if the Feegles are present, it’s a good book.

Sample quote: “Ach, people are always telling us not to do things" said Rob Anybody, "that's how we ken the most interesting things to do.”

Making Money (2007)

A sequel of sorts to Going Postal, in which Moist takes on the banking system.

Sample quote: The dark moppets of dread played their paranoid hopscotch across Moist's inner eyeballs.

Unseen Academicals (2009)

The wizards of the Unseen University have to win a football (soccer) match … without magic. Hijinks ensue. I don’t dislike this book, but it’s not the best place to start. From here out on they seem more sober, less full of delightful wordplay and Pratchettisms.

Sample quote: “The female mind is certainly a devious one, my lord."
Vetinari looked at his secretary in surprise. "Well, of course it is. It has to deal with the male one.”

I Shall Wear Midnight (2010)

Fourth Tiffany Aching book. I have somehow managed not get my hands on this one yet, but as I’ve said before: if it has Feegles, I’m all for it.

Snuff (2011)

Vimes goes on vacation and gets caught up in police work anyway. I saw one reviewer describe this as “earnest” and I have to agree – it’s a lot less of the comedic Pratchett I particularly love, and a lot more serious and sober and tackling-of-hard-subjects. That won’t be a bad thing for many people, but it is a change. I wouldn’t start with this one.

Sample quote: I know that I am a small, weak man, but I have amassed a large library; I dream of dangerous places.

And, as a bonus:

Good Omens (Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) (1990)

Full title: Good Omens: the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Not recommended for those who find it sacrilegious to parody the --gasp-- End Times. This is a quasi-parody of the movie "The Omen" (The 1976 one, not the remake) and I thought it was quite hilarious, perhaps because I was surrounded by too many people in my earlier years who believed that The End Was Near, as in, next week. The Horsemen of the Apocalypse feature prominently -- that would be War, Famine, Death, and Pollution (Pestilence retired after the invention of penicillin). They try to adapt to modern times by trading the horses in for motorcycles and becoming the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse. I love this book with a deep and abiding love forever and ever, amen.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
This, my dear, is amazing.

I've always been inclined to read the Discworld novels, but just never got hold of one. They generally don't magically appear by your nightstand. At any rate, I think I shall be proactive in acquiring some now.
May. 11th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
Oh dang, you weren't supposed to look yet. It kept messing up my formatting something terrible ... I just spent thirty minutes trying to fix it all, so it's at least better now. =P

LJ's rich text annoys me to death sometimes. Mostly because if you give it something too complicated, it doesn't work.

However: I am intrigued to see what you would think of a Pratchett. :D
May. 11th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
I noticed some issues, but I got the general gist of it. And it's done it's job! I'm going to get my some Pratchett.

Besides, this late at night, you should just go ahead and assume I'm on LJ. :P
May. 11th, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
Get ME some. Err, it's late.
May. 11th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, yeah, I know. All us night owls hang out in LJ-land all night. =P

It really is better now, and I'll fix it more tomorow. Right now I'm going to bed. *yawn*
May. 11th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, that sounds like a plan. I think I may do the same.
Nov. 11th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Oh dang, you weren't supposed to look yet

HAHAHA. I read this and thought you were referring to the above poster not having pratchett books magically appear on the nightstand. I thought you were being one part clever and two parts devious with a side of nice.
Nov. 13th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
Knowing the devious nature of the friendship between myself and ransomedsea, your interpretation is not really that far off. :D

Edited at 2009-11-13 08:16 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
May. 11th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
It only took me, what, two weeks to finish? =P
May. 11th, 2007 09:15 am (UTC)
*squee* This makes me so, so, so happy! I'm adding it to my memories. Thank you!
May. 11th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! It made me want to read every single one of them again, though, so badly. Argh!
May. 11th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)

Brilliant. I love Pratchett, but have only read 5 books. I have three more that are awaiting my attention, and this will help me decide what order to get the rest! I too want a complete Pratchett Library!

May. 11th, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
I am within about 10 of having the complete set, which isn't too shabby. And I have an Amazon order planned in the near future. :D
Apr. 29th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure my dad has every Pratchett book ever. I've read two. One was Maskerade, but I have zero recollection what the other one was. It must have been over my head.

Then again, British humour is frequently over my head.
Apr. 29th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
I kind of love your dad now.
Apr. 29th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)
He also loves Douglas Adams.
May. 2nd, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC)

Mar. 13th, 2015 12:06 am (UTC)
I'm here from a friend of a friend on Facebook. I've been quietly grieving the loss of one of my favorite authors today. I appreciated reading this post and remembering some of my favorite stories.

I've used Mort and the Tiffany Aching stories as introductions to Pratchett for those unfamiliar with him. I began my relationship with The Colour of Magic; without having a prior warm relationship with the characters, the story felt disjointed and lacking. Once one knows Rincewind and other eccentricities, the book benefits from a re-reading.

I've learned I can't read most Pratchetts in public. He is one of the few authors who can make me forget myself and laugh aloud in public.
Mar. 13th, 2015 12:31 am (UTC)
I need to update it with the newer books!

This was the first time a favorite author of mine has died - and even though I knew it was coming (a suspected it would be soon, based on what Neil Gaiman said when I heard him speak Tuesday night), it just feels so ... wrong. He had so many more books to write.

Thank you for sharing. :)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )