Feature

Fredrik Backman's 6 favorite books

The international best-selling author recommends books by Douglas Adams, Charles Dickens, and more

The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren (Oxford, $12.50).

My mother read this to me when my grandfather died, when I was 6, to find a way to talk to me about death. It was during that reading that I discovered I could actually read for myself. So Lindgren taught me how to read and how not to be afraid of dying, all at the same time. I still read The Brothers Lionheart at least once a year, and it's still my all-time favorite novel.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Del Rey, $8).

This was one of the first books that made me understand it was okay for literature to be silly and funny and stupid and hilarious. I assume that this life-altering experience at age 10 or 11 still shows in my writing today.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (Mariner, $20).

Over a summer when I was about 9, Tolkien consumed me. The adventure, the storytelling, the magical lands and terrifying creatures inhabiting them were all I thought about. When I was done, I started all over again. This was my first experience of absolute binge reading, and maybe my first love.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Bantam, $4).

I don't remember the first time I heard it read, but I do remember that the first time I read it for myself I was blown away by how clever the language was, and how playful. I still write with the hope that I will always love words as much as I do every time I read Dickens.

Harry Potter: The Complete Series by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, $87).

I've never really longed to relive my childhood. Except for this: I wish I could be 7 years old again, just to be able to read Harry Potter for the very first time. There are certain things in a story like that one that an adult can never fully understand. We get old; we forget how to be that smart.

Shogun by James Clavell (Dell, $10).

It's not life-changing; it's not the greatest piece of literature ever written; it's definitely not flawless. But it's good. Fun. Entertaining. An adventure. Sometimes that's quite enough.

— Swedish novelist Fredrik Backman is the author of A Man Called Ove, the international best-seller that inspired an Oscar-nominated film. In his new novel, Beartown, a fading rural community pins its hopes on a youth hockey team's run at a title.

Recommended

Hollywood's gun problem — and ours
A gun.
Picture of Joel MathisJoel Mathis

Hollywood's gun problem — and ours

Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing 'cold' revolver when he shot cinematographer
Prop gun
Rust Shooting

Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing 'cold' revolver when he shot cinematographer

Michael Koryta recommends 6 books for spooky season
Michael Koryta.
Feature

Michael Koryta recommends 6 books for spooky season

The world's tallest single-track roller coaster is coming to Southern California
A mockup of the new Wonder Woman Flight of Courage roller coaster.
hold on to your hats

The world's tallest single-track roller coaster is coming to Southern California

Most Popular

The 'Trump app' will be the insurrection on steroids
Donald Trump.
Picture of Damon LinkerDamon Linker

The 'Trump app' will be the insurrection on steroids

The American 'Great Resignation' by the numbers
Help wanted sign
Help Wanted

The American 'Great Resignation' by the numbers

Liz Cheney, Marjorie Taylor Greene take turns calling each other 'a joke'
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).
war of words

Liz Cheney, Marjorie Taylor Greene take turns calling each other 'a joke'