EDIT: As of 2020 and JK Rowling’s hugely transphobic comments, neither of us are fans of Harry Potter anymore, whether critically or not. Neither of us buy any Harry Potter merchandise anymore or give any money to JK Rowling.
As someone with a long history of talking about books online, I got the idea a while back that I would ask important people in my life which books they would recommend to everyone. My family and friends all have pretty varied interests in media, and they’re all awesome and creative people. I tell this to my girlfriend, who I refer to on social media as ‘L’.
“I don’t know if anyone should actually read the books I like,” says L, “because I have kind of a niche taste in literature.”
We’re maybe off to a less-than-gripping start, here, but as someone with kind of a niche taste in literature myself, this is part of why I asked her which books she thinks we should read. Niche books are cool. I tell her that.
“I’m not cool,” she says stubbornly.
I think she’s cool, but maybe that’s because of the la vie en rose that comes with loving someone. I know she’s a fan of suspenseful fantasy with a focus on character development. She also particularly enjoys media that was created in the ’80s. That’s cool, in my eyes. I guess you’ll have to judge for yourself.
Magician, by Raymond E. Feist
“Feasts? As in the book on Persian cooking?” I ask doubtfully.
“Oh, baby, no,” she says.
I find the author she’s actually talking about online and recognise the moody covers that fill our bookshelves.
“I like a lot of Feist’s work, so it’s difficult to pick a favourite,” she says. “I would start with Magician and then follow that with Silverthorn.”
The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend, by David Gemmell
This choice is less out-there than I was expecting; I know Gemmell as a classic fantasy author who writes about war and destiny. I also know he is L’s favourite author.
“I’d really recommend Druss the Legend. It’s one of Gemmell’s earliest books. It’s a good starting point into his work and it was one of the first books of his I read. I also like Waylander.”
Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings
I ask her for her last recommendation.
“I’m recommending the Belgariad series,” she says.
“That’s more than one book,” I point out.
“And then the series after that,” she says, pretending not to have heard me.
With gentle pressing, I bargain her down to the first book of The Belgariad, which is Pawn of Prophecy.
“It has a lot of character interaction and development about it. It’s beautifully written.”
Bonus: Harry Potter ‘and the Series of the Potters’, as L puts it, by J.K. Rowling
I’ve been reading L the Harry Potter books on nights when we can’t sleep, as a bonding thing. She always implies it’s more for my benefit than hers (which is probably confirmed by her being unable to remember what the books are called) but she mentioned them, so I’m sneaking them in as a bonus.
I asked her which one is her favourite so far: “I don’t know. All of them. Because…it’s Harry Potter. This line of questioning is stressful.”
Sorry, sweetpea. Let’s leave it there.
If you want to talk to me about three books you think everyone should read, drop me a line!