“What is your favorite book?”
That’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is! Okay, maybe not quite like that, but you get the picture.
The answer is: I don’t have a single favorite book. I have some favorite series of books, and a few singles, but there’s no way I could do the “If you were on a desert island and you could take only one book, which would it be?” (Okay, wait – I just thought of the answer to that for me: a complete guide to survival and rescue on a desert island, complete with accessory bag. Hey – it would do me a much better turn than having Pride and Prejudice under a palm tree!)
For an easy put-it-down and pick-it-up-later read, there is the cute series of The Cat Who… books, by Lilian Jackson Braun. In the past few years I’ve read all of the mysteries, from the first book on in order (and that’s how I suggest you read them, since stories build a little bit on each other), and was sorry to find I’d come to the last book. They are easy to read, the pace is steady, and it was fun for me to watch the author go from her first book, published in 1966, through to the last book, published in 2007, and see all the changes the world went through reflected in the stories. The stories themselves cover about eight or ten years in the lives of Jim Qwilleran and his cats, and along the way you get to know a host of other characters. As a review in the Los Angeles Times said, “The ideal bedtime stories for grown ups”.
I don’t remember how I wound up reading these books, but there are two series by David Eddings that are just magnificent: The Belgariad and The Mallorean. As you might be able to tell from the names, they are fantasy novels, but if you aren’t into fantasy you might want to check them out anyway because they are simply really good adventure stories with a wonderful undercurrent of comedy and family/friendship. The two series tell the story of the orphan boy, Garion, who (quoting the B&N website) “gradually recognizes his own magic abilities as extraordinary events begin to overtake the ordinary occurrences of his world. By accepting his own powers, Garion is able to enlist the aid of warriors and sorcerers to combat the followers of the evil god Torak.” The Belgariad begins with the book Pawn of Prophecy and continues with five books in this series and five in The Mallorean. Eddings has a way of bringing you into his world, and convincing you the characters and events are real. I love that.
Another author who is great about drawing you in and giving you a believable world is Melanie Rawn. Her book Dragon Prince was the first one of hers I read, years ago. This is another author I have no idea how I wound up reading her books, but I am so glad I did. From the trio that was begun in Dragon Prince to the second trio of that series, to all the other books of hers, I love being immersed in the worlds she creates and I love believing in the characters she brings to life. If you’d like to try her out, but don’t want to begin a series, there’s a great novel called The Golden Key, and its prequel The Diviner.
I guess this became more of a “favorite authors” post, huh? The great thing about books these days is that you can order previews of nearly any of them on your Nook or Kindle and give them a try before you spend money on them. I also see people at my local Barnes and Noble taking books into the cafe with them and reading for an hour or so before deciding whether they would like to buy them or not.
I’d love to learn about favorite books or authors you all have!