So Many Books, So Little Time is hosting the 30 Day Book Challenge. Each day for 30 days I'll be answering one question about books.
Day One: Your favorite book of all time
I always feel like trying to pick a favorite book is like trying to pick a favorite child. So, I'm going to pick three.
-The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Okay, yes, this is actually five books, but it's in one big giant book so I'm counting it as one. Douglas Adams is one of my favorite writers of all time. He's a brilliant satirist and an all-around amazing author. These books have spawned radio shows and movies and have created a loyal fan base who always know where their towels are. Sometimes when I'm in a really bad mood I pick this book up and I turn to a random page and just start reading--instant mood booster. I do, however, have one complaint: Zaphod Beeblebrox is my favorite character in the series and you never find out what happens to him because he sort of disappears after the third or fourth book. (It's been a while since I've read them all the way through.)
If you need another reason to love these books, listen to this song (The Eagles "Journey of the Sorcerer") while you read them:
It was used as the theme song for the television series and a shorter, adapted version was used for the 2005 film (which had some good points and some bad points).
-A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Anything that I say about this book will not do it justice. And I don't want to say too much about it because this is my Reread of the Month for May so I'll be reviewing it in a few weeks anyway. I will say, however, that this is, in my mind, one of the best novels written in the 20th century. Anthony Burgess tells a compelling story of violence, brainwashing, and human nature in general. He uses nadsat, a language he created using Russian words, English schoolboy slang, and made-up phrases, with such skill and it was amazing to me how quickly I caught on to what was being said. This is a dystopian novel that will always be as relevant as it is terrifying. Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation was actually not that bad but I suggest reading the book before watching the film. It gives you a better understanding of the sparse bits of nadsat that Kubrick throws in and goes much deeper into Alex's character than the film ever could.
-Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
This is one book where I broke my rule: I watched the movie first. I'm a big fan of Robert Carlyle and so I watched the film because of him, not realizing that it was based on a novel. When I finished the movie (and loved it) I immediately went out and grabbed a copy of the book. It is an incredible novel--just as filthy, disturbing, and darkly hilarious as the film. Although the book is not linear by any means, the main story follows a group of friends from Leith in Scotland who are heavily involved in heroin use. It is a harrowing portrait of drug addiction and, contrary to what some people would like to believe, does NOT in any way glorify heroin. It shows the depravity that heroin causes and the depths that users will go to get their next fix. The characters that Welsh has created are at times funny, tragic, and scary. They are not heroic in any sense and some aren't even sympathetic. I think one of the most difficult things about this book is that it is written in a Scottish dialect and I found that it was easiest to read it out loud to understand exactly what was being said. The downside to this is that I couldn't really read it in public; the upside is that I can now do a pretty convincing Scottish accent.
Now that I look at it, I seem to really like books that get made into films.