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(From katje0711. I started writing this on December 1st, so let's pretend this isn't a late post.)

The worst question. The worst.

Choosing a favourite book is a question I've developed more and more complicated feelings about with age. I don't have the time or urge to read as much as I used to when I was young, and I think I'm not as easily entertained nowadays either. Having a book just reach out and grab you is sadly a rare thing for me nowadays-- I still like most of the books I read, but most don't absorb me completely or leave a deep impact either.

It's also hard for me to pick just one book/author. Especially since two of my favourite books/series are actually collaborations between two authors.

I'm gonna go with two answers though-- the first book being Good Omens, because it's been a fave since I was about 14-15 and it's probably the single most formative book I've ever read. The oldest friend I have that I still talk to regularly I met through the fandom (and in many ways I think the Good Omens fandom on LJ was a Golden Age of fandom to me), but it also re-kindled a lot of my older interests in religion, art, classical literature, etc. I'm not sure I would be where I am now if not for that. It was also the first proper book I read in English, and I kept going from there. Plus, I'm still a huge fan of the authors' other works.

Most importantly though... it's just such a darn good read, you know? It's laugh-out-loud funny but never at the expense of the characterisation; it's shock-full of memorable characters; it's ridiculous but also deeply touching. It's about what it means to be human. While I haven't read it in a while, I didn't hesitate to bring it with me when I moved to Uppsala. That book is a part of me by now. There's not really any competition.

For the sake of the question, the fact it's very relevant at the moment and because it's the latest book/s that really grabbed me I want to plug the Engelsfors trilogy by Sara Bergmark Elfgren and Mats Strandberg as well. It's a Swedish YA trilogy with a pretty standard plot- six very different girls discover that they are witches and the only ones who can stop the upcoming Apocalypse - but executed in a way that makes it a very compelling read (here is a more extensive list of Reasons Why These Books Are Good). While the books are bestsellers in Sweden and have done fairly well internationally, they don't seem to have made a big impact in the English-speaking world (probably due to the absolute insanity that is the YA lit market, especially in the US!).

The theatrical trailer for the filmatisation of the first book, Cirkeln (The Circle), was released today, so perhaps that'll change a bit depending on whether it gets an international release. Anyway, if you like YA, or urban fantasy, or great casts of female characters, I recommend it.

(Fun fact: an American company originally bought the movie rights to the entire trilogy, but they wanted to make so many changes that neither of the authors could support the project and it was put on ice. Benny Andersson - yes, ABBA!Benny Andersson - literally founded a movie company to buy the rights and have it made.)

(I also just noticed that both these books are about the end of the world, albeit in very different ways. Ahah.)

I still have lots of empty slots so feel free to ask more questions!

This entry was originally posted at http://regndoft.dreamwidth.org/217055.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2014 12:54 am (UTC)
I think I need to try reading Good Omens again. I tried a few years back and found it very confusing, and didn't get very far. But with the radio play coming out at Christmas, it might be time for another go.
Dec. 2nd, 2014 01:05 am (UTC)
I'm obviously biased since I've read it about a billion times and it's my favourite book ever, but yes. Do give it a second chance. :D I'm pretty curious about how the radio adaptation is going to hold up, since I think the narration is not just an important part of what makes the book amusing, but also explains a great deal of what's going on. I should attempt a re-read as well...
Dec. 2nd, 2014 03:44 am (UTC)
Good Omens is very high on my list, too. Which is interesting - because I hardly ever like books (or in general: any fiction) that people describe as funny. But I love how there are levels and levels to this book; it's slightly different on every re-read and there seem always to be something hidden there (and yes, this kind of narrative, one that resonates with allusions, is my favorite).
Dec. 2nd, 2014 11:56 pm (UTC)
I think the problem with most "funny" books is that they're books that are very aware that they're funny. They sacrifice believable or interesting characterisation and/or plot for the sake of focusing on the humour. Good Omens, while being laugh-out-loud hilarious at times, is fundamentally about people and other serious things.

Agreed about the layers; there's something new in it almost every time. I think for me, who first read it at a rather young age, that's particularly true.
Dec. 2nd, 2014 05:58 am (UTC)
Those YA books actually sound like something I might be interested in reading.

I'm not really sure I get what Good Omens is about, but I'll have to check that out, as well.

Edited at 2014-12-02 06:00 am (UTC)
Dec. 2nd, 2014 06:44 pm (UTC)
I like them a lot! And I don't usually like YA books-- either the authors tend to be rather bad at writing teenagers (or just characters overall) or I can't really become invested in the characters and/or conflict. I didn't have any such problems with the Engelsfors trilogy. :) Fair warning though that it touches on some heavy topics (including but not limited to: suicide and assault) and contains several instances of Major Character Death.

Simply put: the Apocalypse is coming. An angel, a demon and an assortment of humans are trying to find the Antichrist in order to stop the world from ending because they're really quite attached to it.
Dec. 2nd, 2014 09:01 am (UTC)
A question! Have you read GO before or after you knew and loved Pratchett's and Gaiman's solo books? I think the order actually matters a lot for how high Good Omens rank on the list of someone who loves both the book and everything else the authors have written.
Dec. 2nd, 2014 05:41 pm (UTC)
Before; it was the first book by either of them I read. I'm not sure I'd even heard of them before that. And yeah, I guess Good Omens resembles Pratchett's style in particular, so it might make less of an impact if you're already familiar with his work?
Dec. 2nd, 2014 12:39 pm (UTC)
Ooo, swedish YA about witches, thanks for the rec! I'll definitely be checking that out. And Good Omens won a very special place in my heart, although I haven't read a whole lot of either Gaiman or Pratchett individually, while I can reread GO pretty much whenever. I have now goven away two copies of it, too)
Dec. 2nd, 2014 06:22 pm (UTC)
The pleasure is all mine! I don't read that much YA lit (the entire idea of a YA genre is such a strange and nebulous concept tbh?? it literally just describes a demographic, of course I'm not going to be interested in some of it the same way I'm not interested in some genres in general) but I devoured these books. The last part of the trilogy clocks in at well over 700 pages and I finished it in just a couple of days.

Haha, by serendipity I ended up buying Good Omens in hardcover before I'd even read it-- I've lent it to almost every friend I know, I think. It's worn and torn and obviously well-loved by now!
Dec. 6th, 2014 09:35 pm (UTC)
I am often struggling with more realist genres (dramas or detective stories) when I try to read in Swedish, but the subject matter of this one should make for an ideal opportunity to combine learning with pleasure! And, btw, I followed you on tumblr since you linked to it, I'm peoplearelikesuns.

I definitely should invest in a hardcover GO next, though I haven't seen one imported to our foreign language bookstores yet.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )