Monday, January 07, 2008

Concerning Books

The other day in the middle of an extremely pleasant conversation, someone asked me what my favorite books are. That question (and others similar to it) always stumps me. I find myself mentally scrolling through the list of books I've read and enjoyed and getting overwhelmed at the prospect of picking just a few or, even worse, just one.

The problem is that I love many different books for many different reasons. Also, if I settle on one that will work well as an answer to the query, it immediately reminds me of another book that I loved equally as well. Don't get me started on books, it will only lead to me rambling though my entire library telling you what I liked and why.

The book I'm most fascinated with at the moment is Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. It's a very strange piece of fiction. The story is, perhaps, sometimes hard to follow and it makes very little sense most of the time. But it's beautifully written and has been imprinted on my mind. It's one of those books that I find myself considering whenever I have a quiet moment to consider. I very much want to read it again. It's not a book I would recommend to many people though. I would say it is for serious readers who are up for a head trip.

For non-serious reading, I would recommend Blessed are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch. It's a very funny, very absurd novel that has a similar feel to Chocolat (the movie. It is a book too, but I haven't read it yet. Still, I bet more of you have seen the movie (Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche) than have read the book). If you're not up for a silly cheese book, I would recommend anything by Christopher Moore, especially A Dirty Job or Bloodsucking Fiends, a Love Story.

Along the lines of A Dirty Job, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is incredibly brilliant. And each of those authors individually is worth reading too. Pratchett's Disc-World series is mostly very good, thought I hear his latest is not quite up to par. The most obvious Gaiman to read would be Stardust, which is not quite like the movie, but very good none the less. It puts one in mind of The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Read the book, really, you'll be glad you did. The movie is actually very true to the source material, making this one of the rare cases where the film is on par with the book.

I'm going to stop myself there. I could easily go on for pages more. And for every book I've mentioned, there are four or five others that I thought of at the same time. You see how this is a problem when someone asks about my favorite book? I've barely scratched the surface here. I haven't even mentioned The Book Thief, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Clockwork Orange, Douglas Adams, the Thursday Next series, Michael Malone (Foolscap is my favorite by him), any of the plays that I love, or classic literature (which I devour just as hungrily as anything else). It's exhausting discussing my favorite books, but I half feel like I should continue because the smattering above doesn't even begin to cover what I love to read.

*sigh* I guess that's what librarything is for. But, to be fair, my catalog there seems terribly disorganised. I should probably take the time to review/rate more of my books. I'd much rather spend that time reading.

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