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Apple

Terry Pratchetts books - any good and where do I start?

I was talking to a bloke I work with about how much I missed the fact there were no more Harry Potter books - I actually went through a kind of grieving process after I had finished reading the last one because I knew that that was it.

Anyway, he suggested I try Terry Pratchetts books as if I liked Harry Potter I might find them entertaining, at which point someone else joined in telling me not to bother because they are crap!

What are the views of people here, is anyone an authority on this subject? are his books any good? and if so which would you recommend?
Not_Smart_Just_Lucky

I don't know about authority, but I've read all of the books. And I don't know if I'd consider them in any way similar to the Harry Potter books, but they are great books in my opinion. If I were recommending a book for someone to start with, I'd choose 'Mort' or 'Small Gods'. 'Mort' is the first of Pratchett's books where he starts to get into the swing of things and 'Small Gods' is my favourite Pratchett book and one of the few not on a character arc, so no back story is required.
Baron Morgan

I suspect that if you enjoy one you are quite likely to enjoy the other. There are certainly similarities, particularly in the sense of humour that underlies both characterisation and plot. I agree that Small Gods is among the best, written once he'd got into his stride but before he became too wrapped up in his own creation. However, the first few are among the cleverest, if less elaborate and consistent, and also seem to have been written more for the fun of it than to target an established audience.
Ann

I think Mort was the first I read and I was absolutely astonished. I'd never read anything like it in my life!
I've read all the Harry Potter books but they are not very me - I think I don't quite have the right sense of humour, though I do enjoy fantasy usually.
I would agree Small Gods is a great read and a good place to start. I was also very taken with Wyrd Sisters because of the parallels with Macbeth. You definitely need one of the earlier ones because there are a lot of in jokes that develop during the series. Guards Guards is another great one to begin with. If it is your sense of humour you will be highly entertained, but he is not everyone's cup of tea.  Laughing
miranda

My tip is usually to pick the first one in a character set.  For instance Guards, Guards for the Nightwatch,  Wyrd Sisters for the witches and Wee Free Men for Tiffany.     The latter is also a later book so you can see how his writing has developed.  And it's very funny but pitched to a younger audience.  

You could read later ones straight off but there is a lot of back story so you will miss things.  

But probably the best thing is just pick one and see if you like him!
Simon The Sponge

I confess to not being over-smitten with Pratchett the first time that I read him.  It was his first two The Colour of Magic and The light Fantastic that I first read and although I warmed a little to the Rincewind and the other characters, I think my expectations in the level of humour were a bit too high.  

Despite these two disappointments, spurred on by a friend who lent them to me and by others on the board that insist that his humour didn't really develop to the stage it's at now until later, I have read 3 or 4 other Pratchetts which I've read now with varying degrees of enjoyment.  Although his characters are a little 2D, he has a great wit and delivers jokes and references at such an incredible pace that I am certain that I miss at least half of them - of course he makes a whole raft of cultural and popular cultural references which, if you are not familiar with, you will obviously not "geddit".  There are also a range of character sub-worlds to explore - if you don't enjoy Colour of Magic centred around Rince wind - try Soul Music or Mort featuring my favourite characters "Death" and his Granddaughter Susan

Give him a try Apple - I can't say I'm a massive fan - but equally If someone gives my one to read, I wouldn't turn my nose up at it either
Apple

Well I have done it, I have taken the plunge, with the favourable comments in answer to my original post along with the discussion on the Pratchett tie of the BR cup I sought him out. Quite serendipidously I came across an offer on play.com where they had an offer on some of Terry Pratchetts books, I deliberated and ummed and aard but in the end I settled on "Mort" as the blurb about it quite appealed to my sense of humour, the thought of someone being Deaths apprentice in itself appealed so watch this space!...
Apple

I'm just bumping this up to the top of the list for Gary in response to his comments about Terry Pratchett as it contains various posts which offer advice on which are good TP books to start with!
miranda

I loved Soul Music!  If you like music, it's got loads of references and has to be read at least twice before you get them all!  For instance, the one about the leopard skin trousers.  Took a few reads until I got that one!   And the final gig, that still brings tears to my eyes.......
county_lady

miranda wrote:
I loved Soul Music!  If you like music, it's got loads of references and has to be read at least twice before you get them all!  For instance, the one about the leopard skin trousers.  Took a few reads until I got that one!   And the final gig, that still brings tears to my eyes.......


Moving Pictures is the same for movie buffs who would enjoy the holywood angle.
miranda

Oh yes!
kitsumehime

It is hard to pick a Pratchett novel to start with since he usually provides enough "clues" to the reader to get on board Discworld with the current novel.  I think I have read most of his Discworld novels.  My favorites are (in no particular order):

Mort
Wyrd Sisters
Hogfather
Thief of Time
Night Watch
Going Postal
Unseen Academicals

Right now I am reading Nation and It is soso.  

I would love to see a book about Vetinari!
Melony

Unseen Academicals was where I started and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  My husband is now reading it and he also has gotten a big kick out of it.  He was a medieval history major and I think it reminds him of some professors and university settings!
Ann

Like Kit I have many favourites but one of them is certainly Witches Abroad.
county_lady

The more I re-read the Discworld novels the more I love them.  Very Happy
Unseen Academicals is certainly top notch.
spidernick

I think they're fine, but not as good as many people seem to think, although the whole concept of discworld is very well imagined.  Personally I find I cannot read more than a couple a year for some reason, even though some people read one after the other.  The lack of chapters can grate, but some of the humour is very good, but for me only in small doses.  

I cannot see how they're in any way similar to the Harry Potter novels, but that may just be me.
Ann

spidernick wrote:

I cannot see how they're in any way similar to the Harry Potter novels, but that may just be me.


I suppose that the similarity may just be that they both come into the fantasy genre and are written with a sense of humour. I think they are totally different too. I rate Terry Pratchett very highly, as I expect you all know. I find him very re-readable because some of the humour is  subtle,  often based on serious issues and sometimes only strikes me after reading a book the second or third time. Watching the Dimbleby lecture it was very funny as well as devastatingly sad.

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