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Terry Pratchett: Reading order for Discworld

By March 16, 2015April 27th, 2018Guest Blogs, Reading Habits

A lot of people have been asking which Discworld novels they should read and in which order. I always tell people to read Guards! Guards! first to get a real taste of Pratchett. Our friend Campbell McAulay suggests Wyrd Sisters or The Wee Free Men (for young Adults). It seems Pratchett fans all have their own ideas on what order is best. So I’ve composed a couple of suggestions on how to read them. I’ll start with the recommended chronological order.

The Chronological Order

1. The Colour of Magic
2. The Light Fantastic
3. Equal Rites
4. Mort
5. Sourcery
6. Wyrd Sisters
7. Pyramids
8. Guards! Guards!
9. Eric
10. Moving Pictures
11. Reaper Man
12. Witches Abroad
13. Small Gods
14. Lords and Ladies
15. Men at Arms
16. Soul Music
17. Interesting Times
18. Maskerade
19. Feet of Clay
20. Hogfather
21. Jingo
22. The Last Continent
23. Carpe Jugulum
24. The Fifth Elephant
25. The Truth
26. Thief of Time
27. The Last Hero
28. The Amazing Maurice & His Educated Rodents
29. Night Watch
30. The Wee Free Men
31. Monstrous Regiment
32. A Hat Full of Sky
33. Going Postal
34. Thud!
35. Wintersmith
36. Making Money
37. Unseen Academicals
38. I Shall Wear Midnight
39. Snuff
40. Raising Steam

Terry Pratchett Novels – US
Terry Pratchett Novels – UK

Okay so there you go that’s the chronological order. But what about the more adventurous amongst us? Those crazy cats who just love to mix up things a bit. Here are a few alternative orders to read these wonderful books.

The Penny Pincher Way

Visit all your local charity shops and buy whatever Discworld novels they have. They always seem to have them dotted around the place, but grab them quick, they sell. This way you don’t get to read them in any particular order but it is cheaper (he wrote 40 you know).

The You Should be in Jail Way

Terry Pratchett’s books were the most stolen novels a few years back. Yes they do have a list for that kind of thing. Obviously, you are restricted on the order in which you read them because it depends which ones you can reach when the assistant has their back turned. Combined with this approach is the ‘you can use the prison library way’ because if you choose this method you don’t belong on Reading Addicts you belong in jail, because authors deserve to be paid.

The Elitist Way

You only read the books from number 22 – The Last Continent onwards. Simply because Pratchett was knighted in 1998 and only books written by a ‘Sir’ are good enough for you! The rest are for commoners.

The Proletariat Way

Similar to the Elitist Way, but you only read up until number 21 – Jingo before ‘Our Terry’ became part of the ruling classes.

The Spoiler Way

Read 40 – Raising Steam first and find out what happens to most of the characters throughout the series. For added spoiler enjoyment you could read 23 – Carpe Jugulum next to spoil your enjoyment of the Witches series of books within the Discworld and don’t forget 37 – Unseen Academicals to get that overall ‘I wish I hadn’t’ feeling concerning Rincewind and the Wizards series.

The Cross Atlantic Way

Read 1 – The Colour of Magic (UK) then read The Color of Magic (US)

The Fibonacci Way

Read 1 – The Colour of Magic. Then reread 1 – The Colour of Magic. Then 2 – The Light Fantastic. Then 3 – Equal Rites. Then 5 – Sourcery. Then 8 – Guards! Guards! Then 13 – Small Gods. Then 21 – Jingo. Finally, 34 – Thud! If you really want to be pedantic about this way start with 0 – Strata which isn’t really a Discworld novel but you can see Pratchett’s first ideas forming about a flat disc world.

The Superstition Way

Read all the novels except 13 – Small Gods.

The Completely Random Way

Write down all the Discworld novels. Put them in A Hat Full of Sky and pick them out randomly. This way is likely to have no chronological order whatsoever, but don’t worry because Lu-Tze will probably sort that out for you!

Whichever way you decide to read the Discworld novels just throw yourself into the wonderful, witty world of Pratchett and enjoy the words he gave us.

Thank you to David Bowen for this guest blog. David Bowen is the author of Hell on Earth and The Eleventh Plague and counts Terry Pratchett as his biggest literary inspiration.

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  • Faith Davis says:

    I started with Guards! Guards! only because i found it in a book store and it sounded interesting. Then I fell in love and had to read everything else.

  • Smaranda Maxim says:

    For years, I have had a map, beautifully drawn, to guide me. I don’t need it anymore but I still keep it in my computer.

  • Susan says:

    A friend gifted me Feet of Clay and Unseen Academicals. I read Feet of Clay, and then went back to The Color of Magic and have been working my way in chronological order since.

  • Someone left Witches Abroad at a house I shared with a sci-fi fan. I read it before anyone noticed it was missing, then put it back where I found it. After that it was whatever I could lay my hands on till Carpe Jugulum came out. Then it was in order. I don’t think it really matters as long as you get to them all eventually.

  • Murray says:

    So true, Mark! For some reason some people suggested a couple of years ago that because I knew my way around on (some) social media, I could do social media marketing. Nope. I’ve met a couple of business owners. And I can make nice tweets. But I leave marketing strategy to marketers.

  • Tom Cotter says:

    The Shepherd’s Crown tore at my heart with the death of Mistress Weatherwax and the author Terry Pratchett. But I’ll read them all again and again, so they will live on. Great writing never dies.

  • Great Wizzard says:

    Hate to spoil the joke but STP was knighted in 09 he got a CBE in 98. Or is it even those poor snobs can’t live on 5 books

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