do Discworld books have to be read in order?

sopranosfan

Journeyed there and back again
#1
I bought 11 of the Discworld books that were on sale for $0.99 but they were just random ones throughout the series and some of the other ones are quite expensive and with me still needing to get 28 the total could get a bit large. So do I have to read them in order or can I read them as stand alones? They are kind of lower on my list so I have time to hopefully get a few more before beginning.
 

thero159

Philosophizes with Kellhus
#2
No, you can read them in any order as they do act as stand alones; although you will probably see a difference in the writing when comparing the earlier books to the later ones.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
#3
For the first 13 books - no. It helps reading them in some sort of order, but it's not compulsory. After that, although each book is a sort of a standalone, each is relying on the past events of the characters in that particular books.

Suggested orders:
1. Order of publication

2. According to themes:
a. Rincewind books:
1. The Color of Magic
2. The Light Fantastic
5. Sourcery
9. Eric

b. Witches books:
3. Equal Rites
6. Wyrd Sisters
12. Witches Abroad

c. Death books:
4. Mort
11. Reaper Man

d. Standalones:
7. Pyramids
8. Guards! Guards! (which starts the Watch books, which you should read in order)
10. Moving Pictures
13. Small Gods

From the 14th book, I would recommend reading in order of publication. You'll get more of the books this way.
Out of the current 40 Discworld books (another one will be published later this year) 33 are "straight" Discworld books, 1 is a graphic novel, and 6 ate sort of YA Discworld books - The Tiffany Aching books.
 

YordanZh

A Poet of the Khaiem
#4
There you go, mate. It doesn't include the newest books but you don't want to start with them anyway. As people said before me - yeah, you can start in the middle if you want - each book has its own story, they are not a "series" in the normal sense. But it will be much more rewarding to start with the first books of the respective "lines" because the characters are the same.
I've personally read most of them in no particular order and have planned to one day clear half an year off my reading schedule, buy all of them (the ones I've read belong to a friend, who's collecting them) and read them in order of publication. So - I envy you very much right now! :p
 
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YordanZh

A Poet of the Khaiem
#6
So the answer seems to be you don't have to but you probably should.
The shortest answer is: "depends". As ofer said for example, you should definitely read the books after "Guards! Guards!" in order - not only do they use the same characters but there's also a character growth between the books. You can still read them in no particular order - the stories are still independent - but it won't be nearly as fun. While with other books it's even less needed to read them in order - for example I read "The wee free man" and "A hat full of sky" without having read the books before them and they were still an incredible fun and two of my favorites.
But all in all, if you want the full "Pratchett experience" (which is what we pay for when we buy books) - yeah, read them in order.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#7
Get the rest from the library @sopranosfan ? That way you save yourself some moonies and you can choose whether you want to read by publishing order (which is almost always a better choice) or by themes as @ofer said (which is a great choice as well).
 

Bethan

Listens to The Unbeliever whine about life
#8
@sopranosfan there isn't an over-reaching storyline that spans all forty books, but there are reoccurring characters whose stories continue, but not concurrent.
For example the first three disc world books - The colour of magic and the light fantastic both feature rice wind, but the third book equal rites feat urea Granny weather wax.
I would recommend deciding upon a character and following their series if you would avoid confusion, and maybe rice wind would be a good start as he's in the first book.
or, then again, depends what books you bought!
 

sopranosfan

Journeyed there and back again
#9
Get the rest from the library @sopranosfan ? That way you save yourself some moonies and you can choose whether you want to read by publishing order (which is almost always a better choice) or by themes as @ofer said (which is a great choice as well).
I'm not even sure where my local library is, and I might be surprised, but I would bet I have more fantasy books than my local library. The good thing about the way I buy them is I don't remember the last time I spent over $6 for any book unless if was a present. I might actually spend more money on gas to go to the library than I do to buy my average money spent on my books.
@sopranosfan there isn't an over-reaching storyline that spans all forty books, but there are reoccurring characters whose stories continue, but not concurrent.
For example the first three disc world books - The colour of magic and the light fantastic both feature rice wind, but the third book equal rites feat urea Granny weather wax.
I would recommend deciding upon a character and following their series if you would avoid confusion, and maybe rice wind would be a good start as he's in the first book.
or, then again, depends what books you bought!
I will probably try to piece them together before I start. The good thing about having a TBR pile of over a 100 books is I can afford to be patient.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#10
The good thing about having a TBR pile of over a 100 books is I can afford to be patient.
Argh, the TBR pile is something I love and hate at the same time. Somehow it never diminishes. Stephen King always talks about a monkey on his back (a reference to an addiction? He used to be an alcoholic). I feel like I have my very own monkey on my back. It's name is TBR and it won't be ignored.
 

Axcellence

A farm boy with a sword
#11
I'm not even sure where my local library is, and I might be surprised, but I would bet I have more fantasy books than my local library. The good thing about the way I buy them is I don't remember the last time I spent over $6 for any book unless if was a present. I might actually spend more money on gas to go to the library than I do to buy my average money spent on my books.

I will probably try to piece them together before I start. The good thing about having a TBR pile of over a 100 books is I can afford to be patient.
Just have a look for the library. I know you have a lot of books, but you will be surprised.

Also, library these days offer apps to borrow & read ebooks and audio books - so after registering you can go rarely, if ever.
 

Sir Arthur

Journeyed there and back again
#12
I'm not even sure where my local library is, and I might be surprised, but I would bet I have more fantasy books than my local library.
I bet you would be surprised. Most of the book I read, I get from my local library. A lot of titles they have in ebook format. I can also request titles they don't have, and they'll either buy them or borrow them from another library. Right now I'm reading Tschai by Jack Vance. I requested it, and they got it for me from the university of California library. Inter library loan they call it.

I just did a quick search, and my local library system has the entire Diskworld series. Some of them are available as an audio book.
 
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