It’s time to update you on how my annual reading challenge is going. For those of you new to this blog I’ll give a quick recap. This is the second year I’ve set myself a reading challenge. Last year I decided I would have a go at reading 100 books in a year. It nearly killed me but I did it. If you want to read about it please do so by following the link above. This post however is about my current reading challenge. It’s the one where I try to read as many Pratchett novels as I can in a year. I started with the Discworld books and there are 41 in the series. I’ve managed to read 24 and thought I’d give you a heads up on the five I’ve found the most entertaining so far.
At number 5 is Witches Abroad
The triple act of the witches Weatherwax, Ogg and Garlic are crucial in giving readers a taste of Pratchett’s brilliance at character creation. He does a mean job of description and one of my favourites is of Nanny Ogg’s son Jason: “He didn’t look as if he could possibly have been born, but as if he must have been constructed. In a shipyard. To his essentially slow and gentle nature genetics had seen fit to add muscles that should have gone to a couple of bullocks, arms like treetrunks, and legs like four beer barrels stacked in twos.”
Coming in at number 4 is Lords & Ladies
It’s loosely based around A Midsummer Night’s Dream so naturally there are fairy folk. But as this is Pratchett, expect the unexpected. My absolute favourite scene is when Nanny Ogg takes a bath. It involves people and animals running for cover and is nothing short of brilliant as it has echoes of my own bath time regime and its effect on my lodger and neighbours. While this is a thoroughly good read in its own right I would recommend you read Wyrd Sisters or Witches Abroad before you do so as it is a sequel to them in many respects.
Pirouetting in at number 3 is Maskerade
I love it when Granny Weatherwax & Nanny Ogg get together to sort out a problem. I love it even more when their world collides with that of Ankh-Morpork. This tale travels through the opera house and along the rooftops of Ankh-Morpork with a satisfying disdain for snottiness. Truly befitting of some of Pratchett’s most entertaining characters.
Loping into the Number 2 spot is Men At Arms
In this novel we get the opportunity to get to know a deal more about both Sergeant Carrot and Lance Corporal Angua. I’m particularly pleased about this as I’ve always rather liked Carrot’s simple, affable character which masks an innate intelligence while I’ve been intrigued by Angua ever since I first read about her in later Discworld novels.
Finally at Number 1 is Guards Guards
The wonderful and terrifying thing about this novel is how aptly Pratchett captures the essence of society’s worst aspects. The main reason I read Fantasy is because it leaves me with the hope that right will always triumph over wrong. It’s an optimistic view which I find needs re-enforcing more and more as I grow older. This book contained so many favourite characters that it’s difficult to pinpoint whose performance I loved best. I however found the raw recruit Carrot totally and utterly endearing.
Pratchett takes the things we know and love and transposes them into more incredible versions of themselves. I love his unusual take on everyday items. His genius lies in the fact that he so completely transports you into the world these things and characters inhabit. And what a terrific journey it is.
If you’re into Fantasy and you’ve never read any Pratchett… you should really do it now!