This week I read two amazing books: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Greene, and Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. Both were books that I'd come across recommendations for several times, but had just now read. Actually, it was someone here on the Prosers that convinced me to give The Fault in Our Stars a try. I tried to look up who it was, but the search feature wasn't helpful. :(
Anyway, recommendations are a tricky thing. So much depends on individual taste. For example, some people might say of me, "Well, she likes Star Trek and Downton Abbey and Harry Potter, but she also thinks that Black Sheep is one of the finest examples of film making in the last decade.”
I’m actually not entirely kidding about Black Sheep. It’s the best B-movie I’ve ever seen. They went for purposely funny instead of accidentally, and it actually works. But you see what I mean. There are a large number of people who are troubled by that amount of gore, and others who might rightly have zero interest in a horror movie about ravenous sheep. Farmers, for instance.
So it seems to me that the perfect recommendation should be not just your favorite, but also something so unbelievably awesome that no one could really deny it. I mean, the perfect recommendation should be something where you might sortof secretly believe someone would have to be somehow deficient not to like (not that you’d say it). (Note, I don't actually think there's something wrong* with you if you don't like these. I'm just trying to make a point).
And thus, here is my awesome list, things where I think you absolutely can't go wrong. Some are funny, some are sad, some are a bit of a pain to get through. This list was going to be longer, but then I would envision someone telling me they didn’t like Monty Python, or Fullmetal Alchemist, and I could sort of understand that reaction.
But there's the other side too - this kind of list shouldn't just be awesome things,but also awesome things you love. For example, I think anyone who doesn’t like Indiana Jones (at least the first one) is kind of silly, but I don’t love it with every piece of my heart. Lots of pieces, but not all of them. And along the same lines, the two books I mentioned above came very close to making it, but not quite. Honestly, I think I'm still processing them, and will need to read again. But not too soon, because I already cried too much over them in the past week.
So these are things made of pure, unfettered awesome, in their own ways. If you haven't encountered them yet, go forth in great haste to your library or bookstore!
(Not the easiest book to read, and not the quickest read. But once you get it, it’s genius beyond imagining)
Diana Wynne Jones
I already blogged about her here.
(I’ve been meaning to do a post on him for ages)
Previously blogged here.
I mean, I loved it so much, I named my cat Kaylee. Note close resemblance:
The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay
(The book, NOT THE MOVIE)
To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee
The Last Unicorn, Peter Beagle
Wow, that’s really a lot shorter than I thought it would be. Honorary mention, perhaps, to A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, because it’s awesome and lovely and heartwarming, but a bit uneven in pacing.
What makes up your awesome list? Please share!
(*Unless we're talking about the Princess Bride, because really, there's no excuse not to love that movie).