This is an easy one. By far and away my favourite books are The Belgariad by David Eddings. This probably isn't the first time I've mentioned them or told the story of how I read the series, but here we go again :).
I was a teenager when I read these and I have loved them ever since. I can take these down off the shelf and read them in a weekend when I am feeling nostalgic and they never fail to make be smile.
When I read these I actually started with Enchanter's End Game which is book #5. I bought it in a second hand shop and didn't realise it was book five in a series. That, however, did not stop me enjoying it immensely. Things made a lot more sense once I'd read the others, but it is so well constructed that I could still enjoy it a lot without having read each book in the series.
After that I read Pawn of Prophesy (#1), Magician's Gambit (#3), Castle of Wizardry (#4) and finally Queen of Sorcery (#2). There was no deep reason for skipping #2, it was just I couldn't find it for a long time and I really wanted to read the whole series.
The Belgrariad is a classic tale of peasant boy turns out to have a huge destiny and has to run off and have adventures. In this case our hero is Garion, or Belgarion as he becomes known once it is obvious he is not a normal young man. Along with his Aunt Pol and the old storyteller who sometimes comes to the farm where Garion lives, who turn out to be the great sorcerer Belgarath and his daughter, the sorceress Polgara, Garion has to fight sorcery, narcotics, kings, queen, emperors and even Princess Ce'Nedra who is supposed to be on the same side.
This is a series that is chock full of plot and world building, but also has the most wonderful characters. We journey with Garion from innocence to understanding of the complex universe in which he lives. As he loses his innocence so do we and it is the most magnificent journey. The books also have strong male and female characters with give them a great balance. Nobody in these books is perfect, even Aunt Pol, who seems all but unshakable most of the time, isn't without her weaknesses.
These books are why I love sword and sorcery so much and I will never, ever throw away my copies.
There is a sequel to the Belgariad called the Malloreon which I also enjoy, but it's not as good as the Belgariad.
What are your favourite books? This entry was originally posted at http://beren-writes.dreamwidth.org/275000.html.