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Wednesday reading experience #23

If you haven’t discovered Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, do give it a try.

Good starter books include the first books in each sub-series:
  • Equal Rites, which starts the Witches subseries. Good if you like female protagonists. This particular book is full of magic, but there is less magic in the books that follow, but plenty of good witches vs. evil people, vampires, witches, elves and so on.
  • Guards! Guards!, the starter book in the Guards subseries and a good place to start for a mystery fan. The books center on Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork city watch, and his trusty men, who have to solve various problems, ranging from a marauding dragon to civil war.
  • Mort, the starter book in the Death sub-series - if you’re interested in the supernatural.
  • The Colour of Magic starts the Rincewind subseries, and is the first Discworld novel, but I would only advice a purist to begin there, as it and its sequel, The Light Fantastic are not as good as some of the later novels. I do recommend starting with them if you want to follow the world-building in the series.

Of the books that do not belong to a sub-series, I recommend starting with Small Gods if you’re into religion and philosophy; or Moving Pictures if you like slapstick humour and movie references.

Gentler and less interwoven with cultural, cinematic and literary references (but just as entertaining) books in the series include the young adult novels about trainee witch Tiffany Aching, starting with The Wee Free Men, and The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, which is a non-series story with a Discworld setting. Both can be read without previous knowledge of Discworld, but The Wee Free Men is better if you have read the books in the Witches sub-series.

I thoroughly recommend the website L-space Web, which contains more information than any neophyte can possibly want about Pratchett and his books, and not nearly enough for the hard-core fans. I suggest starting with the Books & Writings chapter and continuing on from there. There is also a newsletter, which will start making sense once you have read the books.

Readers who want to get to know Pratchett without reading Discworld, can either read the Johnny Maxwell trilogy or the Bromeliad trilogy, both of which take place in fantasy versions of our world. Both are written for teens but are enjoyable for adults.

His latest novel is Nation, a non-Discworld YA fantasy novel. I haven’t read it, but am looking forward to doing so.


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