Best and Worst Discworld

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EmptySet
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby EmptySet » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:51 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
the_bandersnatch wrote:
Spoiler:
The bizarrely changed character of Wilikins. It's mentioned that he's a good fighter previously, though a slightly stuck-up butler to the aristocracy. Suddenly he's this rough and ready cutthroat who is on matey terms with Vimes? I'm all for character development, but this just felt weird.
The convenient appearance of the Summoning Dark, which is barely mentioned in the latter half of the book, and is a plot thread just ignored completely by the end.
The fact that the ostensibly primary villain of the piece, Lord Rust the Younger, has no dialogue, and in fact is not in a single scene and is only mentioned in the third person, means it's hard to care about him one way or the other. And the actual main villain, Stratford, is only in a handful of scenes towards the end of the book, and poses no real threat since Vimes is one step ahead of him the whole time. Very much a let-down.
Not exactly, no. Just not as explicitly mentioned.
Spoiler:
In THUD, for instance, Wilikins took on a group of dwarves armed only with an ice carving knife
Now that being said
Spoiler:
I don't recall him being so... Right-Hand-Man-y as he was in this one. But I don't know how much of that is "wrong" characterization, and how much is character development that just wasn't on screen. I mean, the events of THUD are spoken of as if they happened several years ago, so there is that.


That being said, I can't really fault your other complaints. It... wasn't as well-written as his other works, and redoes themes from the previous book, only a bit more simply.


Spoiler:
I agree that Wilikins' character has abruptly changed. He's always been a good fighter, but the whole point of his character was the contrast between his extremely proper manners as a butler and his rough background. And then suddenly he's this thug who is completely informal with Vimes? It seems like a bizarre about-face with little explanation to me. I also agree with the rest of the rest of the complaints... Snuff is definitely a contender from Worst Discworld Book in my opinion.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Sytri » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:05 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:
the_bandersnatch wrote:
Spoiler:
The bizarrely changed character of Wilikins. It's mentioned that he's a good fighter previously, though a slightly stuck-up butler to the aristocracy. Suddenly he's this rough and ready cutthroat who is on matey terms with Vimes? I'm all for character development, but this just felt weird.
The convenient appearance of the Summoning Dark, which is barely mentioned in the latter half of the book, and is a plot thread just ignored completely by the end.
The fact that the ostensibly primary villain of the piece, Lord Rust the Younger, has no dialogue, and in fact is not in a single scene and is only mentioned in the third person, means it's hard to care about him one way or the other. And the actual main villain, Stratford, is only in a handful of scenes towards the end of the book, and poses no real threat since Vimes is one step ahead of him the whole time. Very much a let-down.
Not exactly, no. Just not as explicitly mentioned.
Spoiler:
In THUD, for instance, Wilikins took on a group of dwarves armed only with an ice carving knife
Now that being said
Spoiler:
I don't recall him being so... Right-Hand-Man-y as he was in this one. But I don't know how much of that is "wrong" characterization, and how much is character development that just wasn't on screen. I mean, the events of THUD are spoken of as if they happened several years ago, so there is that.


That being said, I can't really fault your other complaints. It... wasn't as well-written as his other works, and redoes themes from the previous book, only a bit more simply.


Spoiler:
I agree that Wilikins' character has abruptly changed. He's always been a good fighter, but the whole point of his character was the contrast between his extremely proper manners as a butler and his rough background. And then suddenly he's this thug who is completely informal with Vimes? It seems like a bizarre about-face with little explanation to me. I also agree with the rest of the rest of the complaints... Snuff is definitely a contender from Worst Discworld Book in my opinion.


Spoiler:
I think it shows the way that over the years Wilkins and Vimes have become friends of a sort, which I'd imagine you would after having a person be with you for most of your day, helping you dress, shave, prepare for the day etc. I wouldn't say he's a thug or that he's comletely informal with Vimes, infact a point is made that he's not when he refuses to sit and drink with Vimes when they first reach the house. I think Wilkins is being portraid as the best butler/ manservant he can be; he guards his employer's family and things with his life and carries out deeds that the employer would like but would never do or ask for. The only complaint I really had for the book is that the plot didn't seem his best but after so many books that's hardly a massiv complaint. That said I would love more Vimes books, I would even like a Carrot/Angua orientated one but I think that would only come out if the basis of their storyline is Vimes' death.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Jorpho » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:52 am UTC

Have any of you read Strata? I came across a copy in a used book store long ago; it might even have had a Kidby cover, or at least something Kidbyesque. However, in the intervening years, having failed utterly to find any reference to a tale of space explorers discovering Discworld, I thought I must be mistaken – until I finally found another copy recently.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby ConMan » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:53 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Have any of you read Strata? I came across a copy in a used book store long ago; it might even have had a Kidby cover, or at least something Kidbyesque. However, in the intervening years, having failed utterly to find any reference to a tale of space explorers discovering Discworld, I thought I must be mistaken – until I finally found another copy recently.

I read it long ago, and forgot most of what happened. However, I do remember that even fairly early on in Discworld canon it becomes pretty clear that Strata is more like "Hey, what if there was a sci-fi-ish way to have a Discworld?" rather than "The Discworld is really a sci-fi thing explained by the Clarkian Axiom".
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Thadlerian » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:07 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Have any of you read Strata? I came across a copy in a used book store long ago; it might even have had a Kidby cover, or at least something Kidbyesque. However, in the intervening years, having failed utterly to find any reference to a tale of space explorers discovering Discworld, I thought I must be mistaken – until I finally found another copy recently.

I thought Strata read pretty much like a Ringworld parody. Not related to Discworld in any way, but a similar space construction, explored by a human and two aliens.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Angua » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:11 pm UTC

Yeah, I'm pretty sure Strata was not meant to be related to the discworld. It predates it and is supposed to stand alone.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby MotorToad » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:09 am UTC

Yeah, a lot of the geology of Strata made it to Discworld, but that's about it. I felt like it was a great idea at the time, but maybe he felt there was more he could do with it and kind of rehashed it for Rincewind and that took off.

I really loved that book! I, too, found it in a used book store and thought it was one of the best books I'd read. Sadly I gave it to a friend to read and I doubt he ever did. I'd love to have it to peruse every few years.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby charliepanayi » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:35 pm UTC

The next Discworld novel will be called Raising Steam - no other details or a publication date yet though.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby JayDee » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:10 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:Holy damn, because Eric really wasn't worth the time spent reading it.
See now, I thoroughly enjoyed Eric, but had the edition where every page was illustrated by Kirby. It was my introduction to DiIscworld, and a very good introduction it was.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Sakutarou » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:04 am UTC

I just really liked Thud! Least favorite would probably be Moving Pictures; couldn't bring myself to read that one again.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Jorpho » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:58 pm UTC

I finally got around to reading Strata. I think it lacks some of the intricacy of his later books; there are a lot of clever concepts that a different author might have fleshed out a lot more. Still, it's a neat little story, and I say that without ever having read Ringworld.

I was kind of hoping the Annotated Pratchett File might have more to say on it, like the inspiration for the three-headed Thing or the other demons such as Sphandor. Alas, no such luck. (But it turns out it did have a Kidby cover once.)

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby charliepanayi » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:34 pm UTC

The next Discworld book (Raising Steam) is confirmed for late October.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Jorpho » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:26 pm UTC

Finally got around to reading Hogfather. I still prefer Thief of Time; this one was a little bit too rambly, I think.

Should I bother with the BBC series?

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby charliepanayi » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:32 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Finally got around to reading Hogfather. I still prefer Thief of Time; this one was a little bit too rambly, I think.

Should I bother with the BBC series?


It was Sky rather than the BBC, and I'd say 'no'.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Jorpho » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:29 am UTC

I meant to add that I find it somewhat amusing that most of the relevant Google hits for "shovel purse" appear to be people trying to figure out what the heck Pratchett is referring to with the term. (What is he referring to?)

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby markfiend » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:13 pm UTC

I'm guessing but I think he means a shovel-shaped leather change-purse. Something like this:
Image
Attoc dna Sublab evol eht teews secoiv fo eht slrug
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby ConMan » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:30 pm UTC

In Discworld-related news, "Raising Steam" apparently comes out today, although I saw it in a store yesterday. I would have bought it, but I'm still working through "The Long War".
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Angua » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:41 am UTC

Cool stuff!

Also, would someone with Hogfather mind sending me the description of the Eater of socks? I think it's on page 203, as google books has decided to not preview that specific page!!!
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby EdgarJPublius » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:00 am UTC

For various reasons I've never actually read any Discworld and recently decided that maybe I should do that.

Trouble is, there's a lot of Discworld and I have no idea where to start. Is there any place in particular I should?
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Jorpho » Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:47 am UTC

It so happens there is a well-established Reading Order Guide.
Spoiler:
Image


The Rincewind novels were the earliest, but I prefer the other starting points, personally.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby pseudoidiot » Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:56 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Trouble is, there's a lot of Discworld and I have no idea where to start. Is there any place in particular I should?
You'll get a lot of different answers to that, most of them covered by what Jorpho posted.

Or you can do what I did. I read the books in published order and I really enjoyed seeing how the books and Pratchett's writing style changed as the series went on. It's not for everyone and most people will tell you absolutely not to do it, but it's another option.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Thadlerian » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:12 pm UTC

I see no reason not to read them in order of publication. That way you never get overdosed on one particular setting.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:07 pm UTC

I'm currently reading Discworld novels, in publishing order. For now, I'm finding it a very nice order. As others said, this way you keep going back and forth between storylines, and it's kind of cool.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Mambrino » Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:23 pm UTC

So, anyone else read Raising Steam? I was disappointed.

Spoiler:
The grags are reduced to the islamist expy. At certain point of book we get a sudden change of scene to random dwarf family, where the father lectures his son about how the grag extremism is bad. If you thought Snuff has a boring villain, this is much worse. I was screaming "show, don't tell!" in my mind half of the book.

The beginning is very boring, because there is no real conflict whatsoever related to getting the trains running, it reads like an ending of a fairy-tale. Everybody is honest and well-intentioned and generally good persons. Sir Larry is the honest businessman who struck a fair deal with Mr. Simnel, there is this one troll lawyer made of diamond that never lies and assures everybody that everything is done right. There are some annoying journalists, but their attempts to portray the railway in a negative light are easily foiled. Industrialization seems to arrive to Ankh-Morpork without any significant challenges or problems.

I guess this is supposed to be a Moist von Lipwig story, but unlike the previous stories where Moist was the main protagonist, it really doesn't feel like he has much to do or need to put his conman abilities into use against impossible odds. Reacher Gilt and the Bank problems where at least somewhat interesting (I thought how it takes a thief and conman to run a bank successfully and convince Ankh-Morporkians about the idea of paper money not based on valuable-metal standard was even amusing), there he was a element of... immediate crisis, or a problem that couldn't possibly be solved (which of course would be because the good guys win in the end, but there was the question of how). Instead we learn that he can kill three fully armed dwarfs wearing micromail armour by his bare hands.

So there's no villains around, except later, because the grags and delvers are now the radicalized generic evil terrorists. It feels like the politics of the dwarf society are not driven by their inner logic at all, but by the will of author to make a point by allegory subtle as a hammer. (There always has been that kind of element in the Discworld stories, but this time it didn't feel... enjoyable). For example, I had hard time recognizing Albrecht Albrecthson as the same character as in the Fifth Elephant; I was expecting some inner conflict between his political opinions and loyalty to the tradition and the legal Low King. Nope, he's a just another boring good guy.

Also, I'm starting to find Vetinari as-perfect-tyrant less amusing. Maybe it's just because the Discworld feels less like absurd satire, so the monarch reading other people's mail is more a uncomfortable thought, likewise a wife spying his husband's (or anybody's) movements with the help of all-encompassing clacks tower network turned into panopticon. (The offhand mention of Vetinari reading other people's mail was also a little lame; I was always thinking that Vetinari would of course know what there was in the letter without ever needing to actually read it. The previously this kind of activities were mentioned, it was presented as a game of "Lady Margolotta knows that I know that she knows that I'm going to read this letter." Maybe I'm just reading too much into one bit of dialogue.)


Also,
Spoiler:
interestingly enough for a Watch novel with the Low King storyline, I don't think Carrot was mentioned anywhere in the book. At all. What happened to him?

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:56 pm UTC

Raising steam stuff follows. Not going to spoiler since it's been out for a bit, but consider yerself warned if you care.

I agree that it was weaker, though not to the level of Snuff, I think. Well, maybe. It was against severely lacking in the interesting villain department, and there was no real "how are they going to get out of this scrape" feeling. And I miss the little elements. Some silly scheme by CMOT Dibbler or Nobby or whoever....maybe not the most critical to the main plot, but you get these lively silly b-plots that make the world really come alive. I don't mind a big of allegory so long as the story is good, and so forth, but it really did feel a bit ham-fisted, simply because there wasn't a great deal else there. I know the disc is modernizing and all that, but I still want the stories to feel like light hearted fantasy.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Jorpho » Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:37 am UTC

Picked up Eric for the first time a little while ago. It's definitely not as refined as the later stories, but the description of Hell is a masterpiece.

Is it worth tracking down the illustrated version (one way or another) ? Has anyone here even seen it?

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby PolakoVoador » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:28 am UTC

Just finished Monstrous Regiment, and I believe it is one of the best I read so far

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:07 am UTC

The thing I found to like about Raising Steam was the author's enthusiasm for the technology. It's been a while since I read it, but I remember it feeling like the story of the real world development of the steam locomotive transferred to the Discworld.

Well, apart from the bit with the flying train.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby HungryHobo » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:19 am UTC

In a way I think Equal Rites was sort of the first "discworld" discworld book.

The color of magic and the light fantastic were mostly a D&D game put to paper but Equal Rites was the first that felt like part of the series.

I honestly don't know how much of The Shepherd's Crown was Terry and how much was his daughter but many sections sort of felt sketched in. More like fanfiction than a discworld book with lots of "hey, remember that bit of trivial from the discworld books?" moments without much new.

The broad sweeps certainly feel like Terry, it feels very much like closing the circle of Equal Rites with the young man who wants to be a witch.

But it's mainly a very sad story about big boots.
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Angua » Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:52 am UTC

I read an article about how Neil Gaiman said that Terry Pratchett didn't want anything he'd been working on published after his death, because the way he did his writing process (write broad story, then rewrite lots of bits and add in the footnotes and other humorous stuff). I think the reason this last one feels so off is because he hadn't had enough time to do all that.

Spoilers for the Shepherd's Crown
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/authors/terry-pratchett-wanted-different-ending-shepherds-crown/
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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby PeteP » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:59 am UTC

Angua wrote:I read an article about how Neil Gaiman said that Terry Pratchett didn't want anything he'd been working on published after his death, because the way he did his writing process (write broad story, then rewrite lots of bits and add in the footnotes and other humorous stuff). I think the reason this last one feels so off is because he hadn't had enough time to do all that.

Spoilers for the Shepherd's Crown
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/authors/terry-pratchett-wanted-different-ending-shepherds-crown/

Yeah I think that fits.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:25 am UTC

A friend who's read it described The Shepherd's Crown as finishing the farewell tour that began in Raising Steam...

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Breakfast » Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:28 pm UTC

I've only just started reading this series about a month ago (5 books in) and here's how I'd rank those at least:

1) Men at Arms
2) Small Gods
3) Guards! Guards! / Going Postal
4) Mort

Men at Arms is one of the best books I think I've ever read and I read a fair amount.
Mort is a distant fourth. It was good but I wasn't as attached to the characters as the other books.

I just started reading Feet of Clay last night and I have Equal Rites and Wyrd Sisters waiting for me after that.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:19 pm UTC

Mort is where (arguably) Discworld started getting done 'properly', G!G! is where the human-level (magic/belief as mostly background flavour, apart from the Queen naturally) layer of Discworld really started.

Obviously it gets 'better', depending on your metric of enjoyment, so I don't begrudge you not putting them as high as the others, and that you're continuing shows that you obviously don't place the scale down low on any Absolute scale, which makes me glad.

As a prediction (whilst not actually knowing you) you will probably enjoy WS more than ER. (If you particularly like ER, then you may be interested in not leaving Monstrous Regiment for too long, but I wouldn't rush as there's definitely more City-based books that you really need to read in the interim. And GP, but you've already read that. Which is not to imply the opposite conclusion.) But ER is the prototype/introductory book for the WS-and-onwards subseries. And I make no claims that you'll take to the Witches books (sporadic frequency, sporadic quality, some would say, but definite tour de force moments, depends a lot on the reader) but I think you need to get to the end of WS before actually forming your real 'first' impressions of that arc.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Breakfast » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:56 am UTC

Been a little while so here's an update to my ordering:

1) Men at Arms
2) Small Gods
3) Guards! Guards!
4) Wyrd Sisters
5) Feet of Clay
6) Equal Rites
7) Going Postal
8) Mort

It's really hard to order these books because they are all so damn good. I've started Reaper Man but I've got somewhat lower expectations because I didn't like Mort as much as others. I'm hoping I'll be surprised. I also have Making Money waiting for after that but I've heard it's just more of Going Postal.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:58 pm UTC

Going by your list I, think you'll not put Reaper Man above Mort. But the presence of ER at #6 might mean you like it more than I think. If I knew how you perceived the (early but post-Sourcery) Wizards books I might be more sure. But you seem to have avoided the Rincewind/UU stuff. Perhaps your appreciation of RM might then indicate if you want to avoid or seek out the UU-related ones, somewhat aboutface. (Moving Pictures and Soul Music could be the way to go, the latter maybe makingbup for Mort.)

IMO (and no spoilers) you'll accept Making Money as the "difficult second album novel" for Moist but appreciate some of it, but GP, MM and Raising Steam (that latter not as good as I'd anticipated1) are all from the opposite end of the series from pretty much every other book you have their, with an evolved authorial style and intent that makes them quite different.

As a different suggestion, there's always Maskerade. The city and the witches and the early-mid phase of the books all converging?

1 Perhaps because of being post-'embuggerance' and over-crafted and overlaiden with 'message'. Different from the madcap "two books a year" phase that most of the others were written in.

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Re: Best and Worst Discworld

Postby Breakfast » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:05 pm UTC

My problem is I really liked Equal Rites! It had great tone and imagery! It's just getting compared to other amazing books.

I have a general feeling that some of the ones I've already read will keep floating to the top and I finish more.

I'm not particularly avoiding the Rincewind stuff. It's just I haven't gotten into it yet (what with me only being about ten books into a forty book series). When I do stop them, though, I'll start at the beginning with The Color of Magic.

I'm curious to read the other Witch books because I'm liking them as much as the Guard books, just in a different way.

*edit*
I really liked Reaper Man. It was funny throughout. However, orverall, it felt like a mish-mash of ideas. Partly a retelling of what was already covered in Mort and partly themes that were underdeveloped when compared to Men at Arms.

I'm about 200 pages into Making Money and it's good but so far it's just a story. It's not speaking to me in any really meaningful way.


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