The Color of Magic, by Terry Pratchett (1983)
Book 1 of Discworld
I've got a bit of a geeky side. It doesn't come out as often as I used to imagine. I used to think I could be "as one" with the cosplayers of the world, those who memorized episodes of TV shows and character names and plot points. While I haven't analyzed this (and I may not even be qualified to do so), I suspect I'm too mystically and philosophically inclined to get caught up in that ephemera, that culture. Don't misunderstand: I get very excited at the arrival of a new Star Trek film, and I went on opening weekend to see the second X-Files movie (which I thought was so terrible that I didn't allow myself to get excited about the recent season 10 reboot, and lucky me, because midway through the third episode I couldn't take any more). I've tempered my reaction though. Adulthood? Existential crisis fallout? Enlightenment?
Who knows? But hey, I still have enough geek in me to want to pick up The Color of Magic and re-read it after the first time I did so, back in 2000 when I was thirty years old. I picked it up because all I could remember was a giant turtle, a bar-fight, and a great tumble down a waterfall. Oh, and magic luggage. And there was also the little matter that I wanted to kickstart a new entry in my bucket list: to read the whole damn Discworld series.
In case you don't know, that series is 41 books long, plus some shorter interlude works and short stories, plus appendix-type books of things like maps and scientific treatises (or something; I haven't looked at those yet).
There's the geeky part kicking in.
By the way, you can see the entire glorious list right here.
(As an aside, that same geeky impulse drove me to look into the possibility of reading every Star Trek book, in order. There's a Wikipedia page with THAT list, right here, and if you look you might understand why, at age 45, I decided I had more stuff I'd rather do with the last third, or second half, whatever, of my life.)
The Color of Magic is full of the British wit we all love, thanks also to folks like Douglas Adams and the Monty Python people, with screaming wizards and sighing frogs, and impossible metaphors that really get me giggling. And you know, thanks for that, Mr. Pratchett.
Turns out, the guy also had an amazing imagination, which is a great thing considering how many volumes (and pages) fill out this series. I noticed that the paragraphs didn't get shorter as this first book neared its end. Pratchett wasn't rushing to the ending. My point: he didn't skimp; the story was brimming from beginning to end with irresistible adventure, color, and humor. I'll be back for more.