Anyone who grew up in the 80's surely saw at least one of the films from the series "The Neverending Story", but it was only last year that I discovered it was originally a novel by German author Michael Ende. I just finished reading it, and it blew me away.
This "children's" book is an amazing work of imagination and adventure with a beautiful, profound theme. Ende was clearly a very smart guy, and he draws on Anthroposophical concepts to create an escapist tale that simultaneously offers the reader a mirror to their own life. As Bastian, the protagonist, changes, the reader changes.
(Anthroposophy is a philosophy that hypothesizes that an intellectually comprehensible world exists inside us, and that this is world can be experienced objectively if a person develops themselves internally).
The films pale significantly in comparison. Ende hated the 1984 Hollywood production of his work, which covers only the first half of the novel. Ende requested they halt production or change the movie's name; when they did neither, he sued them and subsequently lost the case. After this came "The NeverEnding Story II" (1990), "The NeverEnding Story III" (1994). Ende died in 1995, of stomach cancer. I wonder if the 1995 animated series, the 2000 live-action series, or the 2001 video game would have appealed to him any more?
Perhaps the prominence of the films accounts for why the book doesn't have more of a cult following in the English-speaking world. Rectify this wrong and read this amazing book!!