I’m pretty sure that the first Terry Pratchett book I read was Jingo. It was… formative, to say the least. It’s a book about warring nations and crazy geniuses and police. It’s also a book about Justice and Politics and Cultures, in the extremely capitalized forms of those ideas.
That’s the thing about Terry Pratchett. He wrote funny little books that were sort of parodies and sort of satires, and they were about goofy characters stumbling into getting the job done at least half by accident, and they were set in a silly fantasy world, and it was all a good, amusing time.
But his books were also about great big Ideas, and uncovered little bits of Truth, and driven by stubborn old women and anti-heroes and cowards and sometimes outright con artists.
And I get that Terry Pratchett might not appeal to everyone. He was an old white British guy, and his books are written from a very old white British guy perspective, but there’s a lot in those books that are universal. Things about hope, justice, truth, and love. Things about accepting people for who they are, and understanding what people are and why they do the things they do. There’s things about democracy and freedom and equality, and power and duty and honor.
I loved his books, and I loved his characters. All of them, even the irritating ones like Rincewind.
Terry Pratchett passed away in 2015, and the world has been a poorer place for not having him in it. But at least we still have his books.
You can pick up any one of his books, written at any point in his career, and get started. You don’t have to read them in order, really, and you don’t have to read them all. Here’s a few of my favorites.