I don’t remember when I read my first Terry Pratchett novel but I do remember that it was Men At Arms and that I quickly followed it up with Guards! Guards! and The Hogfather before starting to make my way through every Discworld novel that my school library owned.
My brother has always loved them and I’m sure that’s why I picked them up in the first place – they ended up being something we very much had in common. We both have hefty collections of them on our shelves.
Looking at the list of Discworld novels I have read 30 out of the 40 published books and I own three of the ones I haven’t read – they are just waiting for me to pick them up!
I haven’t read them in order – two of the ones I own but haven’t picked up yet are the first two in the series – but luckily that doesn’t overly matter.
I love Pratchett’s style of satirical comedy and the way he manages to weave together legends, fairy tales, politics, science, folklore, cultural issues and classic authors such as Shakespeare, Lovecraft and Tolkein. His humour sits well with me, which is unusual as most people I know will tell you that when it comes to ‘comedy’ I have a distinct sense of humour failure.
I often laugh out loud at Discworld novels and I adore the way Pratchett uses footnotes to add to the humour throughout his stories. I love the complex world and I simply adore the vast cast of characters, both the regulars and the one-offs are all richly diverse and unique and they carry the storylines excellently.
My favourite characters are probably Death and his daughter Susan – the dry humour around their characters is genius and my favourite Discworld novels are generally the ones where Death is a main character (The Hogfather, Mort, Soul Music).
I got some money for books for Christmas and I am planning on buying a couple of the novels in the series that I haven’t read yet – filling in some gaps and getting some newer novels.
It makes me sad that Terry Pratchett, someone with such a sharp and witty mind and clever way with words, is suffering from a rare type of early-onset Alzheimer’s. It must be beyond frustrating to have most of your mental faculties in tact whilst the rest of your body slowly gives up on you – although, on the bright side, apparently dictating his novels is a lot easier than writing them down was!
Pratchett believes there are a few novels left in him yet and is doing better than some of the earlier predictions about his condition implied, though he still wishes to choose his own time of death once his condition deteriorates – fingers crossed that when the time comes he gets the death he wants with dignity and respect and not having to go through some ugly fight to get there. And hopefully he will leave us a few more novels before then, too.