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!
5 thoughts on “Three Books My Girlfriend Says You Should Read”
You’re in for a treat. Let me know how you like the Stand.
The fact notwithstanding that you do indeed, L., have a very niche taste in literature, it’s a niche within a huge HUGE genre. This is great because of the immense body of work to be explored and shared. What an opportunity. Here are three I really like:
Glory Road, Robert A. Heinlein: Robert Heinlein was primarily what I used to refer to as a “Hard” sci-fi writer, in the vein of Isaac Asimov. This one has a bit of a knight in shining armor sensibility. It’s short, you could read it in two sittings easily, one if you are determined.
Inferno, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle: I read this book on a longish bus trip across miles of boring brown countryside. It was perfect. Yes, it’s just what you think it is. But it’s not some hamfisted tracing of Dante. Our hero is a modern man with modern views and perceptions, but this does nothing to alter the narrative. Hell is, after all, eternal so six hundred fifty years is the blink of an eye.
The Stand, Stephen King: This is a pretty long book about a pretty big subject. I’m sure you know it’s about the end of the world, it’s a well known book by a famous author, why not?
But we’re not jumping straight to the mark of the Beast here. The books you mentioned show that you really like a lot of detailed character development and the Stand has that in spades. Some of the characters are big and some are small, but they all contribute to the larger story as it moves to the center. This is one of the best books I have ever read in my life and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Katy, I want to thank you for posting this one up. I always enjoy reading about peoples’ tastes, really in just about anything. I’m interested in reading whatever you post next, or I will be, I’m trying to live in the present.
I passed on your message! I just bought The Stand so we may have to read it together (I’m a Constant Reader). Thanks for your reccs and your kind words.