Author Appreciation Week: Terry Pratchett

If you go to the bookstore and ask for directions to the Terry Pratchett books, you’re likely to be sent to at least two, of not more, sections. Some will be in the science-fiction/fantasy world, some will be on the new-book shelves, and some will definitely be in the YA section. Which means that, when you’re shopping for the two or three of his books that your fourteen-year-old son hasn’t read yet, you know to hunt through the whole store.

And that’s why I appreciate Terry Pratchett. Because while I would guess he doesn’t think too much about who he’s writing for, I know that he’s writing for my son.

Okay, and for me. And my husband. All three of us laugh out loud—really loud—at the same passages. And, yes, we all try and do the thick brogue when we imitate Rob Anybody or another of the wee free men. Obviously, I love Pratchett’s comedy and would read his books time and time again if only for the brilliance of his humor.

What I love most about his books, though, is the characters. You could probably, if you tried, describe or summarize any one of them in a few sentences, and you’d hit them on target. What that summary wouldn’t convey, though (and what I’m not sure I’ll be able to), is the subtleties Pratchett weaves into each. Maybe it’s because he’s written so many books, maybe it’s because his characters remain so absolutely true to themselves in all those books. I’m not sure. All I know is that, time and time again, he’ll write a scene, a description, a piece of dialog that just makes me say, “That is so her.” Or him.

My favorite Pratchett books are the ones with the witches. My son likes those, too, but I think his first choices would be the ones with the Watch—Commander Vimes, Sergeant Colon, & Nobby. My all-time favorite character is Granny Weatherwax. I’m not sure why, but it has something to do with the fact that nobody—no matter how magical, or powerful, or strong—can beat her. Why? Simply because she knows they can’t. Granny is funny in her crankiness, in her determination to do & see things one way (her way), in her rivalries with the other witches. At her core, though, is a seriousness, a recognition that the world is hard, that people can and will do others and themselves harm without even trying, and that if nobody else is going to do battle, well, she will. And even if she loses, as long as she tries…she doesn’t lose.

And the amazing thing about Pratchett is that he gets that across at the same exact time as he is writing some of the best sheer entertainment of this and the last century, without missing a beat. Honestly, it’s not that often that I’m laughing till tears come and simultaneously sitting in awe of the sheet beauty of an author’s prose.

Pratchett makes me do that.

And I appreciate it.

A few more posts from other bloggers for you to check out:

And thank you, again, Sara, from Novel Novice for the Author Appreciation avatar!


  1. Jeanie W says:

    Have you tried listening to any of Pratchett’s audio books? I’m listening to Hat Full of Sky at the moment. Stephen Briggs is the narrator, and he’s brilliant! He nails the accents, the tone, and the comedic timing. I loved his read of Wee Free Men.

    My all-time favorite Pratchett book is Nation. I read the hardback, then listened to the CD a month later. Rarely do I enjoy a book so much that I want to consume it two times in such rapid succession.


    • beckylevine says:

      I haven’t yet, because I don’t do audio books well, but that might be wonderful for a long car trip–some of which I’ll be taking this year! My so would probably love them!

      We loved Nation, thought it was brilliant, but don’t seem to head back to it for rereads as often as we do the Discworld books.


  2. Kelly Fineman says:

    I agreed that the audio of Wee Free Men was brilliant. The books are genius, though. One of the things I adore about Pratchett – in addition to the points you already mentioned – is that he values the importance of story. Some of my favorite quotes are about that.

    “Somewhere all stories are real and all dreams come true”. (Wee Free Men)

    And his stories convey that essential truth, which is how I found myself in tears (as in dripping off my chin) sometimes during those books (e.g., Tiffany and her grandmother’s dogs in book 1) as well as laughter.


  3. Kelly Fineman says:

    Ooh – back to say that I Shall Wear Midnight, the next of the Tiffany Aching books, is due out in September!!


  4. I just bought my first Terry Pratchett at the used book store. It’s in the TBR pile 🙂


    • beckylevine says:

      Oh, which one? And if your son hasn’t read the Tiffany Aching series, you HAVE to intro him to them. He will LOVE the wee free men. But those, you need to read in order.


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