I tried reading Mr. Pratchett's first book, The Color of Magic, and had a hard time getting into it, so I put it aside. Then I took Small Gods on a camping trip with me, and it was a revelation! It was a savvy, thoughtful critique of organized religion, religious fanatics and the power behind the structure of the church, along with a celebration of true faith, wrapped up in some of the cleverest wordplay and most hilarious scenes I have ever read, anywhere! After that I couldn't get enough! I went back and read all of the Discworld novels and have never been disappointed.
If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing any of Sir Terry's oeuvre, I can't recommend them enough. He manages to tackle some of the most serious and thoughtful issues, providing stinging critiques of modern foibles and fallacies all while making you laugh out loud, groan at puns and delight in the sheer joy of words! A brief sampling:
- Stupid men are often capable of things the clever would not dare to contemplate...
- A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.
- An education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.
- Of course, it is very important to be sober when you take an exam. Many worthwhile careers in the street- cleansing, fruit-picking and subway-guitar-playing industries have been founded on a lack of understanding of this simple fact.
- Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It's where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more.
- It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.
I find the fact that anyone can write like him both inspiring and paralyzingly intimidating.
Here's hoping he will continue for years to come.