30 Day Book Meme: Day 4

Your favorite book or series ever.

This one sprang to my mind immediately: Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Those books have everything — satire, tragedy, comedy, drama, romance, religion, philosophy… it’s not surprising, considering how many books there are in the series (something like 38 books total as of this writing, if you include the five young adult novels. Plus there are all the related books, like The Science of Discworld!).

I first stumbled across Equal Rites, the third book in the series, when I was fairly young. I found it at the library, read it, liked it, but totally failed to see if there were any other books. I rediscovered the series when I was in England as an exchange student in college, starting with Guards! Guards!, and devoured the books, purchasing all the ones that were out at the time (24) in their surreal UK covers. I fell in love with Lord Vetinari, the Patrician of the city where many of the novels take place, and found the other characters either endearing or fascinatingly horrible.

I continue to be grateful that the first books I read were Equal Rites and Guards! Guards! because boy howdy, the first two books are a poor representation of what the rest of the series is like. They’re basically straightforward parodies of the fantasy genre, and packed with bad jokes and so-so writing. As the series has gone on, however, Pratchett’s writing has gained considerable skill and depth. His latest books are even starting to leave comedy behind and seem to prioritize looking seriously at their central themes over simple entertainment.

Every time a new book comes out, I almost always wind up rereading the entire series. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Guards! Guards!, which continues to be my favorite of them all.

It’s impossible to do justice to the series in a single, brief blog post, so I won’t try. I’ll just say, if you enjoy comedy, fantasy, and intelligent writing and haven’t read any Discworld novels, you are missing out. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea (I know some perfectly wonderful people who don’t like them), but if they are your sort of thing, you will adore them.