I’m back from the USA — and apparently people want me to list books or else I’ll face the wrath of some sort of a bucket of ice or books or whatever. (I feel so out of touch with the internet.)
In no particular order:
- 1984: I read this on a long train ride and was so immersed I cried out when the conductor suddenly asked for my ticket.
- The Stand (Stephen King): Read this sitting under a tree in Bourgogne, France, instead of getting drunk on awesome wine. While the ending is kind of meh, the first 700 pages are the best set-up to an apocalypse I’ve ever read.
- Watchmen (Moore & Gibbons): The first time I connected fascism and superheroes. My world has never been the same since.
- 20th Century Boys (Naoki Urasawa): My great obsession during university. Funnily enough, I cannot for the life of me remember who the enigmatic “Friend” turned out to be in the end, but the constant tension in this manga was awesome enough to make it on a list comprised of books.
- Vallen (Anne Provoost): I read this for Dutch class when I was 14 and I still consider it one of the best Dutch books I’ve ever read. Oddly enough, when I read it nowadays it’s a completely different novel – I must’ve ignored the political side of the story back then.
- Momo (Michael Ende): First book I read in German. It’s awesome (and so much better than the never-ending story – sorry!)
- The Golden Compass (Philipp Pullman): While I think The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass veer too much into philosophical discussions, the Golden Compass is to me the perfect mix between religious critique and pulpy fantasy.
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Michael Chabon): I think this is the best book I’ve ever read. Also it makes me feel smart because it won a Pulitzer.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling): What can I say? I love pulp! The moment Cedric Diggory dies was one of the greatest in the series – in two sentences, child literature grew up, with no forewarning. All the impactful plot twists of the later books never achieved the pure shock this moment caused.
- Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom): Of all the books listed here, this one connects most to me personally. There’s something about the intimacy of Morrie’s slow descent that gets to me everytime. Together with Kavalier and Clay, this is the only book ever to cease to be fiction and to just turn real.
So there you have it. You can put your buckets away.