Discworld recommendations

I’ve read a fair number of Pratchett’s earlier Discworld novels (Eric, Small Gods, Mort, Pyramids, and so forth) but then fell out of the habit some years back. I kept hearing how the later books in the series are much richer and, y’know, even more awesome, so recently I picked up Going Postal and am really enjoying it. What others would you folk particularly recommend?

Here are the parameters: (1) I prefer relatively standalone novels…I don’t know if I want to be plopped into the middle of the Granny Weatherwax books, but neither do I necessarily want to start at the beginning of them to get the full and proper flavor. (2) I’m not a huge fan of overt silliness in my comic literature, however you’d like to define that term. (3) Feel free to recommend otherwise if you feel I’m not doing them justice, but I also have an instinctual wariness of Discworld books that are very obviously “themed” – like, Interesting Times is the one about China, and Hogfather is the one about Christmas, and Carpe Jugulum is the one about vampires, et cetera. I guess they could all be classified like that, though, so I leave it to your collective better judgment. I like Going Postal because it’s more about the person and the situation than it is some larger parody of anything.

So…yeah. Which Discworld novel should I read next?

I would go for either The Truth or Thief of Time.

They were published around the same time as Going Postal and both take place at least mostly in Ankh-Morpork. They’re relatively serious, and while they are all Themed, I suppose, they’re no more so than Going Postal. They’re also both stand-alones in that you need know absolutely nothing going into them.

The Truth is about journalism and, more broadly, about the nature of Truth. Thief of Time is about… time, but more about what it means to be human.

You might also try Monstrous Regiment, which is a bit sillier. It has an utterly perfect cameo bit by Vimes but it’s non-silly hysterical and, despite having almost no other familiar characters, fits into the world and the series perfectly. It is a trifle silly, but you’ll find it (and most of Pratchett’s later stuff) is MUCH less silly than his first dozen or so. He starts getting at least fairly serious around-about Men at Arms, thinking from the top of my head.

ETA: Being that you like the more personality-based stuff like Moist’s characterization, I would again suggest all three of these but double-suggest Thief of Time and possibly quadruple-suggest getting into the Guards series because you kind of need their background to read Night Watch and Thud!. I am not quite alone in thinking Pratchett outdid himself with Thud!, but most of the people who disagree with me complained “It’s just not as funny as the other ones!” Well… yes…

The Truth is another one that is relatively stand-alone. It introduces some of the characters that show up in Going Postal, specifically, those working for the newspaper.

Thief of Time, is good, although not one of my absolute favorites. It does involve Susan Sto Helit and her grandfather Death to some degree.

All the Susan/Death books are pretty self-sufficient, really. The Night Watch series is really the only one that needs to be read somewhat in order, I think.

I’m a huge fan of the city watch books. Night Watch was the first of them I read, which was spectacularly out of order, and I liked it so much I went back and started at the first with Guards, Guards!

Really? I have been very very wary about suggesting Night Watch to first-timers; it just seemed to me that an understanding of who Sam Vimes is and why he is that way, all the books beforehand, is almost vital to really getting Night Watch. It’s one of my favorites in the entire canon, but it just feels like introducing people to Firefly by having them watch Serenity first.

and though I should not say this anywhere, Moist’s next book is pretty entertaining but they’d better get an editor back on there to fix a few copyediting and number problems. Cosmo is terribly entertaining, even if he is a bit of a ripoff of a character 20 or so books ago

Even though I didn’t exactly, I’m inclined to agree. The only one I really read out of order was Night Watch itself, and that worked because it was a Sam Vimes book and didn’t really deal with Carrot much at all.

Small Gods – a standalone novel that deals with religious/spiritual themes very deftly.

If you haven’t read Hogfather, you should. It’s not about Christmas nearly as much as it’s about Belief. Just as *Going Postal * was about Hope and The Con. I will admit that it has more silly bits in it, and definitely more magic, but there’s serious stuff, too.

I third the Sam Vimes books. Read them in order, and savor Nightwatch as the Literature it is.

I guess I wouldn’t recommend others starting with Night Watch like I did, but it really worked for me in a way that’s hard to explain. It seems like it worked well as a standalone book and an introduction to Vimes, sort of beginning by seeing what he and the watch are destined to become over the course of the other books. Sort of out of order in a “Star Wars” style. Plus, in a way, it is kind of the first watch book. :wink:

Admittedly, that wouldn’t have worked for me with Carrot. For example, I’m glad I read Guards, Guards! before Men at Arms. Night Watch didn’t ruin the rest for me because there’s no real expostion of Carrot or Angua or any of the other characters, but yeah, you probably want to save it for it’s proper place.

Thanks to everyone so far, particularly Little Plastic Ninja. Right now The Truth, Thief of Time, Monstrous Regiment, and Hogfather are next on my list. If I’m not Pratchetted out by that point, I’ll try my hand at the Guards series.

I loved Soul Music. It’s a themed book and has a lot of Death and Susan in it, but it’s the first Susan book (if I recall it correctly) and I think Pratchett did a great job weaving the “Soul” of Rock&Roll Music into a novel.

I’d put Soul Music before Hogfather. You’d miss all the subtleties if you don’t. Did you read Moving Pictures during your earlier sojourn to the Disc?

Yeeeah! Music wit’ Rocks in! Yeeeeah!

Damn you LPN

I have been suppressing the desire for the new TP book for weeks now (Deathly Hallows will be a minor diversion in the path of literary satisfaction).

It’s back :mad:

Si

Yeah, how do you think I felt, I… may or may not have acquired something that may or may not be an unedited proof of the book to come… but someone else had dibs on reading it first.

Finally had to sneak it away while they were having a nap. :smiley: Otherwise I’d be desperately trying to read two books at once.

I really hate getting proofs. I can’t always manage it, and all it means is that I devour the book in one sitting and I have no Pratchett until next year. :frowning: