Essays & Opinion

My life without Pratchett, or how I failed to stop worrying and love the books

A Terry Pratchett fan describes the difficulty in moving on to read new books after the death of their literary hero
Terry Pratchett – photo via Steve James on Flickr.

I just need to get something off my chest that has been brewing for a few years.

As a kid, I grew up with Terry Pratchett, some of the first books I read were the Carpet People, Truckers, Diggers and Wings. I then progressed to the Discworld series and I loved them. I loved books in general. I learned to read quite late in life and have Dyslexia, which made it worse, however as soon as I learned to read I was hooked. I would spend hours poring over books in the library and bookshops. I would pick up any fantasy or sci-fi book that grabbed my attention at car boot sales and charity shops. The world of literature had jumped out of Pandora’s box and I had no intention of closing it.

Then a few things happened. I got a job in a book shop, figuring that working with something I loved would be a great thing to do. My nan died, which in turn triggered depression which has lingered ever since. Both of these things had an effect on me that I didn’t expect. I stopped reading, almost entirely. I went from getting into books and using ever spare second I had reading them to just… Well, you see I don’t even know what I did with the time. I was being bullied at work and that only made things worse, eventually I quit and got out of that hellhole. I thought maybe, just maybe my love for books would return. At that point the only real joy I had in reading was the yearly release of a new Pratchett book, it gave me a chance to escape into the Discworld with characters I knew and loved.

Then Terry Pratchett died.

I had never really cried over the death of a famous person, I never let it affect me. When Pratchett passed away, though, when that happened I bawled like a little baby. The last book released is still on my bookshelf; unread. I can’t bring myself to read it, beause if I read it then it will be truly over. If I don’t read it there is still one Discworld book that I have yet to read and it will be something left unfinished, something to look forward to. But I had nothing to replace my yearly ritual of getting one of his books and reading it.

Since then my reading has been sporadic. The passion has, like so many things, died. I struggle to sit down and read now, whether it is sci-fi, fantasy, non-fiction, crime, general fiction, horror. I have tried many, many different books. I have tried picking up stuff that is out of my comfort zone and I have tried picking up things which sit right inside it; but nothing I have found can reignite the spark. That is something which really hurts.

I want to start reading like I used to. I want to get lost in stories that stir something inside of me. I want to laugh, I want to cry, I want to hate the antagonist, I want to feel something, anything.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I still love books. I still have something deep inside me which tells me I should read more, something that won’t let me give up. I guess one day I may find something that can fill the void. I’ll keep searching.

Thank you for reading. Reply with a comment if you want, anything really. Take care.

About the author of this post

Hailing from the UK, Dennis Humm has spent a lifetime loving books from
authors of all kinds. Over his life he has had a number of professions
from bookseller to security test engineer. As of late he has started to
make custom fountain pens with his own company, Den’s Pens, with the
support of his loving wife and two children. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

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