Comics Creators

Your favourite novel, and why


If you could pick a single novel and sing its praises, what would it be?

Is there a book that has had a profound impact on your life? Or maybe one that you’ve read over and over and continue to enjoy every time? Or maybe just a book that you think everyone should read at least once?

It’s always great to hear people talking about what they love, and at a time when I’m trying to get back into reading longer-form books, it would be great to get some recommendations.


I’m generally rubbish at picking favourites but this always sits very near the top of any list of mine like this. It’s not perfect, but it resonates with me on several levels, and is I think one of Banks’ most successful novels.


It’s a coming-of-age story, a mystery, it has a cracking opening line (and image), a cast of memorable characters, and it’s set between urban Glasgow and the rural Highlands, both places that have meant a lot to me. Its language crackles, and it has some scenes and conversations that still bounce around in my head.

I’ve used the image from the cover as an avatar in many places (including my current one here) for a long time, and its use of the double meaning of “The Crow Road” is one of the influences on why I use ‘thefourthcraw’ as my main online identity.


Like with so many things, mine is one from that impressionable time in your teens when you’re really identifying the things you like as a growing individual.


The book made me a life long Pratchett fan, and as my first Pratchett book it’s my personal favorite and also the one I think that’s his best (that’s maybe my bias showing but I’ve seen a few lists that rank it on top). Beyond blowing the doors of fantasy tropes, beyond the great characters, beyond the fantastic idea and setting which I’d never really seen before, the book resonated as the story of a young man finding his way in the world. The fear of having to leave home to look for a job, the palpable sense of rejection when it looks like no-one has any use for him, the growing up he does along the way, finding love and learning what that means. The conflict towards the end if incredibly exciting, the twist resolution is something that always sticks with you as clever Terry at his finest. The book is one of the most positive young memories I have, and every time I see the cover of skim through the book it makes me happy.


First read this in middle school just because I thought it would be sci-fi and it hit me hard and continues to do so.

The Invention of Morel

It’s a powerful novel about obsession, determination, and loneliness and is able to do so without having fat it it. It’s a lean, thoroughly razor edged, novel that is an intricate study of a shipwrecked character’s lovelorn fascination with a woman he doesn’t even know. There’s more to the novel, especially in regards to the title, but that would spoil how immaculately constructed the beats to the story are when they play out. Casares just taps skillfully into the frighteningly engrossing sensation that is fascination/infatuation to such a degree, that it is almost a psychological horror story without delving into anything crude or idiotic. The emotional heft of the novel also isn’t undermined by this dissection of lasciviousness either. It can as sweet as it is cynical without missing a beat, and in the short amount of pages the novel has - is able to tell this incredible inner saga that we can all (in various ways) be familiar with.


Not just your bias Jim. I read all Pratchett’s early books and Mort was the one where I think he really fully nailed what he was doing. His previous ones all had issues you could pick at but that one was genuinely great.



Stoner, by John Williams, is just a sublimely haunting novel that, without any flourishes or emotional tenor, presents the life of the title character William Stoner from his boyhood to old age, along the way providing insights into love and jealousy, passion and passivity, genius and madness. I bought a copy of this for my adult daughter’s last birthday, and she loved it as much as I do.


Absolutely agree - Mort is where the Discworld fully matured into its own thing, and not the bitty parody it started as. Equal Rites is almost there … but Mort springs out of that full of, well, Life :wink:

I can remember exactly where I was when I read it.


Stoner is an excellent choice. One of the best books I’ve ever read.


I really can’t choose but seems Pratchett has been mentioned I’ll weigh in.

My first Pratchett book was Feet of Clay and this shaped my reading of Pratchett’s work. I worked through all the Guards stories before then progressing to the wider discworld.
What I love about this story is that it takes a group of characters that we are now incredibly familiar with and it puts them into a whole new situation.
It is no longer simply a crime novel set in a world filled with Magic and strangeness but it also is at the same time.
A real joy of this book is seeing Pratchett expand some of the mythology of his own universe, creating alternative societies which worked and made sense while at the same time expanding his characters backgrounds in a meaningful and impactful way.
There is also the wonderful description of what happens when a siege weapon is fired in an enclosed space.
And a talking dog.
And an unfortunately named wolf.
And the soliloquy at the end about action hero catch-phrases.


MIddlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

I struggle to read novels since I have had kids. I mostly read non-fiction now but when I used to have a bus commute I read and loved this book. It was not only eye opening by way of subject matter but the prose is so good it’s almost poetry.

I don’t know if it hits any of the targets here, it’s not fantasy or sci-fi but about the life and struggles of an hermaphrodite but I loved it.

I don’t know if it is my favourite book. I find these kind of things very difficult and my mind changes daily with films and TV shows and all that but it’s bloody great. I may think of some more later.


Middlesex is a fine choice, it’s an excellent novel!

I think that most of us have read so much that it’d be rare to have something that’s definitely a favorite, and I’m gonna cheat by choosing a series and another series that fits between one set of covers.

Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Saga really blew my mind in high school, and I’ve re-read it once every few years and it’s still held up so far. I haven’t done this with any other books in my adult life, though I imagine I’ll be reading the Game of Thrones series if future installments are ever actually released. The breadth of Dan Simmons’ imagination and incorporation of sci fi ideas and sci fi opera with history and art is singular, and it seems like he struck gold with this series only. His other works prior and since are generally enjoyable, but nowhere near the same level.

James Blish’s Cities in Flight was probably the first hard sci-fi I ever read, and still the best I’ve read of the type. His prose and stories, for me, are unquestionably superior to his contemporaries (I’m looking at you Aasimov), and he’s tragically underappreciated. That said, other than Cities in Flight, the other things I read by Blish were utter trash, so… not sure what the hell happened there.


I really liked Eugenides’ Virgin Suicides.


My favourite novel is also the Crow Road

I think it’s the only book that I have read 3 times as an adult and it won’t be the last time I read it either.

It’s probably also my most loaned out book and I’ve lost all 3 copies from fuckers not giving it back (although I’m pretty sure i saw it on my father in laws shelf from when I gave it to him about 10 years ago so I might just re-acquire it).

Banks was probably my favourite author for quite a long period and I fell in love with the characters and the romantic mystery of that book and obviously the writing style Banks employs.

I’m a bit bias because Banks went to my old school, in my aunts year, a few years below my mum and I’m sure I have a subconscious emotional attachment to him as a writer because of that. I did shed a tear when he died despite not knowing the guy in the slightest I just had a really good mental image of him a person and he came across great in interviews.

I also loved the ‘Scottishness’ of it and the mini series that they adapted.


Did you ever hear the great anecdote Eugenides has regarding the real-life inspiration for the Obscure Object? Years later he encountered her again on the very day he completed the manuscript.


No, please regale me with the story.


So my favorite novel is The Hobbit. I’m sure that’s hardly a unique pick but I just love the adventure, story and how it all wraps up in one neat tale.

To add something new to the pile that some might not have read, here are some of my other favorites.

Blankets by Craig Thompson - This semi-autobiographical story closely mirrors a lot of my own experiences growing up in a fairly religious home. Thompson so deftly captures the similar feeling I often shared to being an awkward kid in this environment.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - Even though it’s told from the point of view of the dog, there have been few times I’ve read a more human story that deals with love and death in such a touching manner. It has the benefit of also being incredibly versed and accurate in its description of automobiles and racing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - Another incredibly heartbreaking and human story with just a twist of science fiction. This book has all the feels and is another one of my favorites.


The Karamazov Brothers, no doubt about it. Written in the 19th century it prefigures all the important philosophies of the 20th century as a murder mystery, contrasting the 3 Karamazov brothers, the romantic Dmitri, the naive, Christian Alyosha and the atheist rationalist Ivan.


He was at university with Rick Moody. They both liked the same girl. They’d regale each other with tales of her. Something along the lines of, “I saw the Obscure Object today.”
"Well, I saw the Obscure Object today AND I think she actually looked at me, so there!"
And so on and so forth.
I don’t know if either of them ever spoke to her.
Anyway, years later he was in Berlin, saw a woman who looked somewhat familiar, and realised it was his Obscure Object he’d kinda, sorta just completed writing about.

Sweet serendipity.

He told the tale better: hence the fact he has a Pulitzer and I don’t…yet… :slight_smile:


My favorite novel would have to be Lord of the Rings. With the Foundation series a close second.
Lord of the Rings was the grand daddy of all fantasy series. And my current book #Adventurefinders is my homage to it and so many others that I have read and enjoyed.

Foundation because I love the concept of being able to mathematically map out events occurring in history to predict the rise and fall of empires.


I’ve been avoiding this thread, or avoiding posting in it, because… I honestly wouldn’t know where to start. I can’t really do this without giving at least ten answers; there is no way I could mention just one or two favourite novels. I honestly don’t have just one book that is so much more important to me than the others. But you have to start somewhere, right?

Before I do, though: some brilliant choices here already. I read The Crow Road after Mike talked about it, and it definitely ranks amongst my favourite novels now. And Tolkien has certainly had a big influence on my life, as has Pratchett (where Pratchett is concerned: “Small Gods” for me, or maybe “Men at Arms”. He was at his peak back then).

So, this is one novel that completely threw me, that took me and turned me inside out and didn’t let go again. “L’Étranger” by Albert Camus uses the point of view of a detached outsider to examine morality and meaning, and it always struck a note with me. A lot of 20th Century literature deals with life’s lack of meaning, but Camus’ voice has always been special to me in the way this novel rails against false morality and hypocrisy just as much as the absence of God, and of meaning in life.


“MOTHER died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.”