This is my glass? I don’t think so.

“There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty.

“The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: ‘What’s up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don’t think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!'”

– Terry Pratchett (from The Truth)

I’m a huge fan of Pratchett’s Discworld book series. It has 38 books in it, following various groups of characters. He’s funny, his characters are terrific, and his stories are interesting and unexpected. I recommend them highly, even for people who don’t like fantasy.

The problem is, I never know where to tell people to start reading Discworld. The first two books give you a good introduction to the fictional world, but, well, they’re not especially good. They’re episodic and full of satire against specific fantasy tropes of the time. The rest of the books are much more interesting as stand-alone stories. Also, the main character in the first two books (Rincewind) is one of my all-time least favorite in the series.

So, if you’re a fantasy fan, start from the top with The Color of Magic. If you’re not, you could start with Mort (about death taking an apprentice), or Wyrd Sisters (about a coven of witches trying to get a bad king off the throne; an homage to Macbeth), or Guards! Guards! (a police/mystery story; first in the City Watch series).

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