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View Full Version : Another (if more focused) "Tell Me What to Read" thread.



Verruckt
2009-06-04, 01:52 AM
Fair playground, another reader (me) is at your mercy.

In the past you have not steered me wrong. First directing me towards the man who sits firmly as my favorite science fiction author (if not author over all) Neal Stephenson, then to the Honorverse, with its delicious prose and pangs of relentless grim/dark imagery.

Now I've finally got room in my reading schedule to dip into Discworld, and the question I put to you is this:

WHERE THE HELL DO I START? It's HUGE! Should I start at the beginning? Is there any inter-book continuity? HELP!

Serpentine
2009-06-04, 02:13 AM
Uh oh, this again... If you do a search for Discworld in the Media thread (you'll most likely have to do so through Google, cuz the Playground search is broken), you'll find about... 4, that I can remember, of exactly this question.
Summary:
1. The start of a story arc is usually best.
2. His first couple of books are generally considered below standard for him, so it might be better to start with later ones to get an idea of just how good he is.
3. It depends what you're into. Are you interested in fairy tales, traditional fantasy, Egypt, time-travel, Australia, witchcraft, mysteries, drama, murder, civics, economy, technology, politics, racism.. what? Different interests will suggest a different place to start.
4. Mostly, it doesn't really matter. Most books are self-contained and have enough information from past books to avoid confusion. Most of the time, if you read a later book in an arc then go back to an earlier one, all you'll do is go "oooooh, so that's where that came from" or "oh, now I get that running joke..."

Also useful, though a bit out of date:
http://www.lspace.org/books/reading-order-guides/the-discworld-reading-order-guide-colour-1-25.gif

Starscream
2009-06-04, 02:13 AM
The is continuity between novels, but it is entirely optional. Each book is a stand alone story, and it is rarely necessary to have read what came before, even when the same characters are featured.

There are several "series" within the novels themselves. Rincewind, the Witches, the AMC Watch, Death and his granddaughter Susan, and now Moist von Lipwig have all starred in multiple books. But even these can be read in any order.

It might be tempting to start at the beginning, but it must be said that Pterry is an author whose work has gotten ten times better as time has passed. Much better than the many authors who get a hit early on and spend their careers trying to make lightning strike twice. You might actually enjoy it more if you just start somewhere in the middle and then pick up the older books after you are hooked and want the backstory.

Personally I'd recommend just going on Wikipedia or whatever and finding a book that has a plot that sounds interesting to you. Mr. Pratchett has written about everything from opera to time travel, so you won't want for variation.

The first one I ever read was Hogfather. That one is a spoof of Christmas stories and Nightmare Fuel. Very fun stuff.

Verruckt
2009-06-04, 03:02 AM
Much thanks to the both of you, I'm interested because I love skewed humor of all brands and flavors, but I think that will be prevalent in any of those books (I may of course be mistaken). Holiday Tales and Nightmare Fuel sound delightful, so I may as well begin there.

Philistine
2009-06-04, 07:14 AM
Concur on Hogfather. That may have been the first Discworld book that I read (hey, it's been a while), and it's still one of my favorites. It's a very good place to start.

Terraoblivion
2009-06-04, 10:00 AM
Hogfather is probably a pretty good place to start, it is not my favorite but it is relatively self-contained compared to several other books. However, of the different series within Discworld i'd recommend the Ankh-Morpokh City Watch series the most. I generally find that they manage their plots well, while the jokes play more to my taste than many of the others. And while i cannot say anything definitive, it appears to me that it is generally the most popular sub-series of Discworld. Starting at the first one is probably a bad idea though, it is far from the best in that series, Feet of Clay and Jingo would probably be better places.

Sneak
2009-06-04, 10:04 AM
I started on Hogfather, and it worked out for me.

Also, a link to the previous Discworld reading thread. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=105393)

Icewalker
2009-06-04, 10:05 AM
I started with The Color of Magic and then The Light Fantastic and they were both amazing and functionally introductory. I've just read around at random since then.

I know that I really need to read the series centering on Vetenari though.

Dr. Bath
2009-06-04, 10:19 AM
I started with The Color of Magic and then The Light Fantastic and they were both amazing and functionally introductory. I've just read around at random since then.

I know that I really need to read the series centering on Vetenari though.

None of them focus entirely on Vetenari. The books about the Night Watch and Moist Von Lipwig have a much higher Vetenari density that most of the others though. (particularly Jingo, Guards Guards and Night Watch)

Personally, something like Thief of Time or the Truth are fairly good places to start, although you'll want to read them again later on and spot-the-cameos of other characters.

Lord Loss
2009-06-05, 12:09 PM
I personally LOVE the Wee Free Men and a hat Full of sky, but that's me. Please don't throw tomatoes at me, guys? plz? Splat.

Brewdude
2009-06-05, 10:29 PM
I would recommend reading more other stuff before getting to discworld, as reading the parody before what it is a parody of ruins other books.

Starscream
2009-06-05, 10:55 PM
I would recommend reading more other stuff before getting to discworld, as reading the parody before what it is a parody of ruins other books.

Yeah, but Discworld is a parody of everything. From Shakespeare's plays to the history of the postal service, to the traditions of Opera.

Serpentine
2009-06-05, 11:19 PM
Law, politics, bigotry, fairytales, music, various countries, superstitions, religion, mythology, economics, civics, theatre... Yeah, if you want to read up on everything it parodies, you won't read 'em 'til you're 80 and you'll still be missing a lot. I do agree that being wide-read, reasonably up-to-date with popculture, normal culture, and other cultural things, and generally having a wide field of knowledge will help you to get a lot more of the jokes, but I don't think it's totally necessary. I read Maskerade with barely even a passing knowledge of opera and so am totally certain that I missed a lot of jokes, but I still enjoyed it, and I don't think it will have damaged my apprecation for opera.

Verruckt
2009-06-05, 11:24 PM
I would recommend reading more other stuff before getting to discworld, as reading the parody before what it is a parody of ruins other books.

What do you mean by "Other Stuff"? I've read everything from the Animorphs to Dostoevsky, R.A. Salvatore to Stephen King, Tom Clancy to JK Rowling. What am I missing that I need to get into Discworld?

Nevrmore
2009-06-05, 11:25 PM
My first Discworld book was Going Postal. I don't know how good of an introduction into the series it is, but it was very enjoyable and one of the few occasions that a book made me laugh out loud.

Cheesegear
2009-06-06, 12:19 AM
First DW book I ever read was Wyrd Sisters. And to this day, Granny Weatherwax is still my favourite DW character (moreso than Sam Vimes, who comes a close second).

As a whole; The Last Continent, Maskerade, Witches Abroad and - of course - Night Watch are my favourites.

Serpentine
2009-06-06, 01:07 AM
What do you mean by "Other Stuff"? I've read everything from the Animorphs to Dostoevsky, R.A. Salvatore to Stephen King, Tom Clancy to JK Rowling. What am I missing that I need to get into Discworld?Unfortunately, as I said, you pretty much need to have read/seen/experienced everything to really get everything/avoid spoiling parodied media. I think the most broadly significant topic to have a pretty good grasp of is myth and legend, general fantasy and their tropes -hell, a decent reading of TVTropes could just about do it.

Bouregard
2009-06-06, 05:10 AM
"Going postal" followed by "Making money" would be my way to introduce someone into discworld. Its the shortest subarc and fairly new.

Cheesegear
2009-06-06, 09:16 AM
Unfortunately, as I said, you pretty much need to have read/seen/experienced everything to really get everything/avoid spoiling parodied media. I think the most broadly significant topic to have a pretty good grasp of is myth and legend, general fantasy and their tropes -hell, a decent reading of TVTropes could just about do it.

This. Pratchett parodies myths/legends and classic Shakespeare more than anything else. I don't think Pratchett parodies other literature. I think he parodies popular culture and myth.
The Gods are a mish-mash parody of the Norse/Roman/Greek Gods.

Of course, there are references to other works (like swords that glow blue when lawyers are near). The City Watch books routinely have subtle references to Cop-like things.
A lot of funny things in references to witches, and what and what does count as a 'real' witch.
Lots of parodies of faerie tales. Elves are particularly malicious (although that could also be a nod to 'before Elves were cute'...Grimm Brothers stuff).
Magic isn't about throwing fireballs around...
Ridcully the Brown...
The Lancre Witch Coven 'The maid, the mother, the...other one.'
Maskerade parodies Phantom of the Opera, like...A lot.
Why do Trolls turn to stone?
Jingo...Well, the title of the book says it all, really; Is possibly a soapbox-like book (although humerous) about a war with a desert-country.

The Last Continent is a bizarre (and hilarious) mish-mash of popular Australian culture. 'Didjabringabeeralong' makes me crack-up. Also FourEcks (XXXX) makes me laugh everytime.

Serpentine
2009-06-06, 09:52 AM
The Last Continent is a bizarre (and hilarious) mish-mash of popular Australian culture. 'Didjabringabeeralong' makes me crack-up. Also FourEcks (XXXX) makes me laugh everytime.It's the book that made me realise that our loathing and mistrust of politicians is not shared with other peoples, and that it's not normal for trees to moult.

Cheesegear
2009-06-06, 10:09 AM
It's not normal for trees to moult.

Wait...It isn't? Word.

wadledo
2009-06-06, 03:27 PM
It's the book that made me realise that our loathing and mistrust of politicians is not shared with other peoples, and that it's not normal for trees to moult.

I'm sorry, I live in Massachusetts.
You can have politicians who don't steal 50 million a year to pay off the other politician who wants to construct a casino on non-native American land who then makes the reservation then sells it all off and tries to molest a 12 year old girl?
And that's the stuff you don't hear about.

Yea, there are other places who hate their politicians as much as you.:smallannoyed:

Finn Solomon
2009-06-06, 09:12 PM
This. Pratchett parodies myths/legends and classic Shakespeare more than anything else. I don't think Pratchett parodies other literature. I think he parodies popular culture and myth.


Yes, he does. You even said it yourself. He parodies crime mysteries with the City Watch books, fairy tales with the Lancre witches books, Sci-fi with the Golem stories and Lovecraftian horror with many of his Rincewind books. One book titled Faust Eric parodies the Tragedy of Doctor Faustus quite well.

Jalor
2009-06-06, 09:32 PM
I started out with The Colour of Magic, but only because it's the beginning. You're really better off Wiki-ing his books and picking ones that seem fun.