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Sir Terry Pratchett and his Books

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This is an excellent interview with Sir Terry Pratchett.   It is always good to hear what he has to say, and as usual it is interesting and entertaining.    Tom Chivers,  the interviewer, has written about  Sir Terry's illness in a compassionate, thoughtful and honest way, which helps us to understand more about how this affects Sir Terry and his writing. 

Edited by megustaleer

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Interesting read, thanks for posting it. It was written in a respectable way which was nice given the topic. I only started reading Pratchett's books in January this year but already I'm hooked. The guy is a genius in the way he references things in his books and adds humour. One of my favourite quotes from one of his Disc World books:

 

"It would seem you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever," he said. "Have you thought about going into teaching?"

 

He also did the Dimbleby lecture in 2010:

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What book would be the best to start with then?

 

I like this quote from Pratchett's Reaper Man, (haven't read the book though) -

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

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As a Scot, Hazel, I think you, personally, should start with the YA book The Wee Free Men.  It is priceless and funny and will introduce you to his wonderful humour and you will find many special references to your heritage and if you can get hold of a copy of the hardback  illustrated edition, even better.  ;) You will finish it quickly and then, if you like the feel of how Sir Terry writes, carry on to the other Discworld books. The Long War series TP is writing in cooperation with Stephen Baxter are quite different from the Discworld series and I would give them a miss for a while as they are not typical of what has made his writing so loved.

I love Sir Terry's writing and his books and have read them all many times, so I always hope that those to whom I recommend them will enjoy them just as much, but these are only my personal choices.

I have suggested elsewhere you do not start with the first two books featuring Rincewind, ( The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic) as they are generally acknowledged as not really as good as the rest and have put people off reading more, but are worth coming back to once you are immersed in Discworld. These books are not just funny, imaginative fantasy, they are metaphorical and topical in so many ways, but it is never too obvious or laboured, just incidental. There are also so many outside references and little jokes that I think readers will be finding new ones forever. For example and especially for the Scots here - a pictzie bard and battle poet is known as a gonnagle and the name of the present one is Awf'ly Wee Billy. :D

Although nearly all the books are set in Discworld they generally fall into categories about certain groups of characters and locations. The whole series is so large I could not write it up as well as google does here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld

You could see which character group appeals to you most and start on the first of those, there is a bibliography at the bottom. 

My personal favourites and the ones that drew me in are those about The Watch, the gradual building up of an effective and very diverse type of Police Force as this gives a good understanding of the city society, the classes and trades in the city of Ankh Morpork and the range of characters and beings who interact in it. But don't expect some conventional medieval style city state - it is far more interesting than that and just as politically intriguing. These books start with Guards! Guards!

 

 Almost equal favourites for me are the ones about DEATH, (who always speaks in capital letters in the earlier books) and is such a special character.  He also acquires a kitten at some point of which he is very fond. He appears in nearly all the other Discworld books, but briefly and as required, but Mort is the book which introduces  him and his household to start with and then he is the main character in Reaperman, and prominent  in Soul Music, Hogfather and the Thief of Time.

The Witches books are funny, and set away from the city and tie in with the YA Tiffany Aching books and  The Wee Free Men. The ones about Moist von Lipwig are almost standalone.

Our BGO Rincewind and Angury and other TP lovers here  may have different recommendations and favourites as well, so hopefully you will get other good suggestions.

 

 

ETA  Mods, please could we change the title of this thread to something like Sir Terry Pratchett and his Books -General Discussion?

Edited by grasshopper

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Interesting read, thanks for posting it. It was written in a respectable way which was nice given the topic. I only started reading Pratchett's books in January this year but already I'm hooked. The guy is a genius in the way he references things in his books and adds humour. One of my favourite quotes from one of his Disc World books:

 

"It would seem you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever," he said. "Have you thought about going into teaching?"

 

He also did the Dimbleby lecture in 2010:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=90b1MBwnEHM

Angury thank you most sincerely for posting the link to the Sir Terry Pratchett Dimbleby lecture - I was not aware of it and am most grateful to have just had the opportunity to hear it in full. I am completely in accord with Sir Terry's thoughts on Assisted Death, but even were I not, it is undeniable that he makes a compelling, thoughtful, considered argument for those who would wish for one. The lecture was full of sense, understanding, and wonderful gentle humour. I was very moved by his words and to see him there, he is a man who so rightly deserves the great respect and admiration afforded him.

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As a Scot, Hazel, I think you, personally, should start with the YA book The Wee Free Men.  It is priceless and funny and will introduce you to his wonderful humour and you will find many special references to your heritage and if you can get hold of a copy of the hardback  illustrated edition, even better.  ;) You will finish it quickly and then, if you like the feel of how Sir Terry writes, carry on to the other Discworld books. The Long War series TP is writing in cooperation with Stephen Baxter are quite different from the Discworld series and I would give them a miss for a while as they are not typical of what has made his writing so loved.

I love Sir Terry's writing and his books and have read them all many times, so I always hope that those to whom I recommend them will enjoy them just as much, but these are only my personal choices.

I have suggested elsewhere you do not start with the first two books featuring Rincewind, ( The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic) as they are generally acknowledged as not really as good as the rest and have put people off reading more, but are worth coming back to once you are immersed in Discworld. These books are not just funny, imaginative fantasy, they are metaphorical and topical in so many ways, but it is never too obvious or laboured, just incidental. There are also so many outside references and little jokes that I think readers will be finding new ones forever. For example and especially for the Scots here - a pictzie bard and battle poet is known as a gonnagle and the name of the present one is Awf'ly Wee Billy. :D

Although nearly all the books are set in Discworld they generally fall into categories about certain groups of characters and locations. The whole series is so large I could not write it up as well as google does here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld

You could see which character group appeals to you most and start on the first of those, there is a bibliography at the bottom. 

My personal favourites and the ones that drew me in are those about The Watch, the gradual building up of an effective and very diverse type of Police Force as this gives a good understanding of the city society, the classes and trades in the city of Ankh Morpork and the range of characters and beings who interact in it. But don't expect some conventional medieval style city state - it is far more interesting than that and just as politically intriguing. These books start with Guards! Guards!

 

 Almost equal favourites for me are the ones about DEATH, (who always speaks in capital letters in the earlier books) and is such a special character.  He also acquires a kitten at some point of which he is very fond. He appears in nearly all the other Discworld books, but briefly and as required, but Mort is the book which introduces  him and his household to start with and then he is the main character in Reaperman, and prominent  in Soul Music, Hogfather and the Thief of Time.

The Witches books are funny, and set away from the city and tie in with the YA Tiffany Aching books and  The Wee Free Men. The ones about Moist von Lipwig are almost standalone.

Our BGO Rincewind and Angury and other TP lovers here  may have different recommendations and favourites as well, so hopefully you will get other good suggestions.

 

 

ETA  Mods, please could we change the title of this thread to something like Sir Terry Pratchett and his Books -General Discussion?

I would actually suggest someone new to Discworld start with one of the unseen university books or maybe one of the watch ones as they give you a feel for the world and you can get some of the humor in the other books. :)

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Guest AvidReader

I'm not sure I would start with the Wee Free Men - they are not overtly set in the Discworld universe and although enjoyable really are very much YA books with emphasis on the 'Y'. 

 

I would start with the Witches books and/or any of the 'Watches' books, although reading the series in the order they were written is also a good idea as there is definitely a chronological progression to the universe.

 

I disagree that the Rincewind books are 'less well written' - I started reading the series with those books. The humour in them is just slightly more subtle than the rest and quite frankly the luggage is just about one of the best characters ever written.

Edited by AvidReader

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I'm not sure I would start with the Wee Free Men - they are not overtly set in the Discworld universe and although enjoyable really are very much YA books with emphasis on the 'Y'. 

 

I'm not sure that Hazel was asking specifically about the Discworld series.

Grasshopper's recommendation was made specifically to Hazel, based on things what she has learned about her from previous postings

 

As a Scot, Hazel, I think you, personally, should start with the YA book The Wee Free Men.

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I'm not sure I would start with the Wee Free Men - they are not overtly set in the Discworld universe and although enjoyable really are very much YA books with emphasis on the 'Y'. 

 

I would start with the Witches books and/or any of the 'Watches' books, although reading the series in the order they were written is also a good idea as there is definitely a chronological progression to the universe.

 

I disagree that the Rincewind books are 'less well written' - I started reading the series with those books. The humour in them is just slightly more subtle than the rest and quite frankly the luggage is just about one of the best characters ever written.

LOL who don't like the Luggage? I love the first two books, between Two Flower and Cohen the barbarian and the Luggage eating anything and everyone, there is never a dull moment but I think for some there needs to be an understanding of the Discworld before reading them as some of the humor might be missed without the understanding of where the joke comes from.

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What book would be the best to start with then?

 

I like this quote from Pratchett's Reaper Man, (haven't read the book though) -

 

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

I would recommend picking a character and starting off with one of their books from this list:

 

http://img.docstoccdn.com/thumb/orig/3480123.png

 

Personally, I enjoyed Mort as Death is my favourite character. Small Gods is good as well, it was fun linking the plot to the religious orders in our own world. That's one of the things I love about Pratchett's writing - there are always some hints about the real world dropped here and there.

 

You don't have to read the series in chronological order - I began reading The Colour of Magic but didn't really enjoy it as grasshopper mentioned, so don't feel that you have to stick to a pattern. Just choose whatever book takes you fancy!

Edited by Angury

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I'm not sure that Hazel was asking specifically about the Discworld series.

Grasshopper's recommendation was made specifically to Hazel, based on things what she has learned about her from previous postings

 

Well I think that a question that goes 'which book should I start with then' in a thread about Discworld means which book in the series should I start with, but hey maybe it meant something else. *shrugs* Entirely not sure why you needed to get on my case about it. You make your suggestion like everyone else and then the person who asked decides. Simple, done. no problem.

Edited by AvidReader

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Well I think that a question that goes 'which book should I start with then' in a thread about Discworld means which book in the series should I start with,.

My mistake. I thought the thread was a more more general one, about Sir Terry Pratchett, his work and his illness.

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Maybe we have gotten a bit off topic but that is ok, as long as we are still talking about Pratchett and Discworld and not something as random as pointy shoes I think we can say we haven't entirely lost the path of the thread. So let's all just talk and be calm.

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My mistake. I thought the thread was a more more general one, about Sir Terry Pratchett, his work and his illness.

 

No worries, but may I refer -

 

ETA Mods, please could we change the title of this thread to something like Sir Terry Pratchett and his Books -General Discussion?

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Maybe we have gotten a bit off topic but that is ok, as long as we are still talking about Pratchett and Discworld and not something as random as pointy shoes I think we can say we haven't entirely lost the path of the thread. So let's all just talk and be calm.

Ugh, I can't stand pointy shoes. I feel like I'm a witch.

 

Back on topic, has anyone read Pratchett's new book Raising Steam? I read somewhere that it's about the character Moist Von Lipwig, so I'm thinking about reading Going Postal first as that's the book where he first appears, followed by Making Money. I know you don't have to read the books in any order, but I prefer to follow the characters arcs throughout the novels. It was nice reading the Nightwatch novels and watching Sam Vimes mature throughout.

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I'm not sure I would start with the Wee Free Men - they are not overtly set in the Discworld universe and although enjoyable really are very much YA books with emphasis on the 'Y'.

My introduction to Sir TP was Wee Free Men, and if the emphasis is on the 'Y' that pleases me a lot, because I enjoyed it tremendously. I enjoyed it for its Scottish-ness (although I'm not a Scot I have spend many dark Christmases in the far north-east) and I could hear that wonderful Scottish accent in my head. I enjoyed it for its perceptive humour. I enjoyed it for the oh-so-clever illustrations.

 

What book would be the best to start with then?

 Hazel I would highly recommend Wee Free Men.

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Ugh, I can't stand pointy shoes. I feel like I'm a witch.

Back on topic, has anyone read Pratchett's new book Raising Steam? I read somewhere that it's about the character Moist Von Lipwig, so I'm thinking about reading Going Postal first as that's the book where he first appears, followed by Making Money. I know you don't have to read the books in any order, but I prefer to follow the characters arcs throughout the novels. It was nice reading the Nightwatch novels and watching Sam Vimes mature throughout.

I would start with Going Postal as there is defiantly a theme and constant story thought the two books. :)

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it's amazing what happens in a thread when you are fast asleep downunder at the other side of the world!   I would like to clear up a few points.

AvidReader I am so sorry you have  misconstrued my post, so I feel I should explain more concisely.

1. Meg is absolutely right, this thread started life as An Interview with Sir Terry Pratchett and concerned the person and his illness. With the advent of a couple of TP fans lately and Hazel's question it seemed the perfect place for a general discussion thread of Sir Terry himself, all his books, not just Discworld, and a good starting point for people who have not read his work previously. To this end I posted an overview for encouragement. I asked for a title change to Sir Terry Pratchett and his Books and a few hours ago the Mods kindly obliged, although when meg last read it that had not happened, so she was perfectly correct in her assumption of what the thread was about and has no need whatever to consider herself mistaken.
 
2. My first paragraph reads " Äs a Scot Hazel, I think you personally, should start with.........." This is a direct answer to Hazel,  because I do know her tastes well enough to be fairly certain she would appreciate and enjoy the Wee Free Men, so meg is also completely correct in that respect.

3. I then went on to make general suggestions for other readers of where to start as follows:

"Although nearly all the books are set in Discworld they generally fall into categories about certain groups of characters and locations. The whole series is so large I could not write it up as well as google does here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld

You could see which character group appeals to you most and start on the first of those, there is a bibliography at the bottom."
 
4. My comments re The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic  are from my experience of many TP discussions in other places, but which I also a qualified by  " but are worth coming back to once you are immersed in Discworld."  Your comments are helpful and I am glad they did not deter you from progressing further into Discworld. 

 

I hope I have managed to explain the post more clearly for you and you are now more comfortable in your understanding of what I wrote and we can all go on to enjoy the wonderful world TP has created.

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 I still feel that regardless of one's Scottishness Wee Free Men is not a good introduction to the Discworld universe as it is not overtly a Discworld book. Is it funny - yes. Is it inimically TP -  yes, but representative of all that is Discworld - no. That is my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Edited by AvidReader

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Yes Angury, loved Raising Steam - to Lord Vetinari's dismay the steam engine arrives in Ankh Morpork and becomes the new "in thing!" Great book, go for it, although as you suggest, it would be even better to read Going Postal and Making Money first as you get the background of Moist and also progress through his friends and relationships in the city.

If you haven't already seen the production of Going Postal made a few years ago  for TV see if you can get hold of it to watch after reading the book. I doubt it will disappoint you, recreates Ankh Morpork and casts characters well. Also, there is a little bonus cameo -

 

Edited to correct error re TV film and my attempts to quote which do the strangest things lately. The link was also meant to be as usual but insists on the full blown effort above.

Edited by grasshopper

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"Yes Angury, loved Raising Steam - to Lord Vetinari's dismay the steam engine arrives in Ankh Morpork and becomes the new "in thing!" Great book, go for it, although as you suggest, it would be even better to read Going Postal and Making Money first as you get the background of Moist and also progress through his friends and relationships in the city.If you haven't already seen the BBC Production of Going Postal made a few years ago see if you can get hold of it to watch after reading the book. I doubt it will disappoint you, recreates Ankh Morpork and casts characters well. Also, there is a little bonus cameo -

Haha, that is brilliant. I'm definitely going to read Going Postal now - thanks for posting that. Have you seen the Hogfather by the way? That's on my Terry Pratchett to-read list (along with Reaperman), but I only found out recently it's also a TV series!

I'm glad it was made into a TV series and not a book though; I always get a bit apprehensive when I hear a book I like is being turned into a film.

Edited by Angury

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Glad you liked it Angury, but I made a mistake about it being a BBC production and will edit my original, apparently Going Postal and Hogfather as well as The Colour of Magic have been produced by The Mob for Sky One as 2-part TV series. They should be easily available locally to you in UK, probably through your local shops and definitely through Amazon.

Hogfather is not one of my favourite books but quite enjoyed the production, it has Susan Sto Helit, Death's granddaughter as the lead character.  :D I can't remember but you may well find TP has cameos in all of them.  I have also heard that TP has given permission for the Watch books to be made into a long series, but am desperately hoping that if so they do it well. I couldn't bear them to mess up my most favourite characters.

By the way, if you buy through Amazon, it would be helpful if you used the link at the top of this page as that brings a little income back to help support BGO whenever we make a purchase.
It is explained better here
http://www.bookgrouponline.com/topic/7098-the-beginners-guide-to-book-group-online/

The Amazon link at the bottom of the page is for Amazon US and used by our members there .

Edited by grasshopper

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I saw the Colour of Magic movie, it looked like it was both Colour and Light Fantastic in one, and it was AWFUL!!! I have no idea how they managed to make something soooooo bad out of two perfectly good books but they managed. I hope that they do better with the other adaptations from books to on screen format.

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Wow! So many suggestions and discussion! Having read everyone's comments, I think I'll plump for Wee Free Men and see how I get on with the genre and humour. Thanks everyone for taking the time to speak so passionately!

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I saw the Colour of Magic movie, it looked like it was both Colour and Light Fantastic in one, and it was AWFUL!!! I have no idea how they managed to make something soooooo bad out of two perfectly good books but they managed. I hope that they do better with the other adaptations from books to on screen format.

Thanks for the warning, Rincewind, I haven't seen that and won't bother as it is so depressing awful when a bad film ruins a good book., because then the characters and scenes the film has created stay in my mind,  instead of the good ones I'd imagined.

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