From Pratchett (Dodger’s Guide to London, 2014, etc.) and collaborator Briggs: the fourth incarnation of the Discworld Companion, which is essentially an encyclopedia of a fictional world—perhaps the most popular and deservedly acclaimed fantasy creation of them all.
This edition references all the Discworld’s 40 books and includes interviews with Pratchett, an essay on how he deals with readers and fan mail, a section on the often mind-boggling difficulties of translating Discworld books (with their ferocious tangle of puns, jokes, culture-specific references and social commentary) into other languages, and a set of instructions for playing the card game "Cripple Mr Onion," which various unsavory characters are very keen on. But the main event is, of course, the A-Z of places, people and things large and small that have at one time or another graced the pages of a Discworld yarn. Did you know, for instance, that Discworld operas include The Barber of Pseudopolis, Die Flabberast, La Triviata and The Ring of the Nibelungingung? What of Dark Clerks (“little men in black suits and bowler hats”) or Brother Jape (“a soul like cold boiled string”)? One thing leads to another, and the shorter entries lead naturally to extended meditations on such important characters as Lord Vetinari, the Machiavellian ruler of Ankh-Morpork, Commander Sam Vimes of the City Watch, the meddlesome witches Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, skeletal Death, and, yes, the Death of Rats (he also does gerbils, mice and hamsters).
Won’t do you much good if you haven’t read any of the Discworld books. But then, if you haven’t—why haven’t you?