How To Read Terry Pratchett's Discworld Novels1. Skip the first two books in the series.
This is crucial. If you read these first, you will be rightly annoyed by their just-barely-okayness, and spend the rest of your life muttering about how overrated he is.
Terry Pratchett wrote these two books. Then all of a sudden he started writing really, really well. I don't know what happened. Maybe he sold his soul. My own theory is that his long-suffering wife waited as patiently as she could for him to pull himself together as a writer; and then, after she proofread his second novel, something in her snapped and she thwapped him in the head with the book in question. "You're better than this, damn it!" she shouted. "Now get in there and write something good!"
And he did.2. Start with the first book in one of the subseries'.
The Discworld books all take place on the same planet, but they involve different groups of people:
The witches (my favorites)
The Night Watch (my also-favorites)
Death (granted, he's not a group, but he does have a family)
Okay, there are standalones, like Small Gods
. And in a way, all
the Discworld books are standalones. (Except for the first two, because the first one ends on a cliffhanger. Like I said, skip them until you've read some of the really good ones, and then brace yourself and read them purely for continuity purposes.) I started with the 23rd book in the series, Carpe Jugulum,
and was perfectly fine, other than a tendency to preach the gospel of Discworld Is Flippin' Amazing And You Have
To Read These Books, which I'm trying to get under control.
But it's a lot of fun to follow the threads. To start, for instance, with Equal Rites
, which introduces you to both the witches and
the wizards. (This isn't Hogwarts, and those most definitely are not
the same thing in Discworld.) Then you can go on to Wyrd Sisters
and Witches Abroad
, and fall absolutely in love with Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. (I fully intend to be Granny Weatherwax when I grow up, right down to the goat farm and the ability to terrify people just by saying "Good morning." Watch this space.)
Or you can start with Guards! Guards!
, and be introduced to the men of the Night Watch. Just bear in mind that I'm first in line if Captain Vimes becomes available, so keep your inevitable crush on him to yourself.
I posted approximately 17,000 updates while I reread this book, all quotable quotes. That's not even all the bits I wanted
to post, but Goodreads has a strict word-count limit on updates because Goodreads h̶a̶t̶e̶s̶ ̶m̶e̶ knows how I get.
You can get a perfectly good sense of whether or not you'll enjoy Guards! Guards!
by perusing said updates. You will enjoy it if you already enjoy fantasy; you will very likely enjoy it even if you don't generally enjoy fantasy, because the humor, characterization, and dialogue are ridiculously good.
Have a good time. And remember – hands off Vimes. He's mine.