Whenever I meet new people, the question of, “What do you like to do in your free time?” often comes up. And I obviously answer that with, reading. I like reading. What’s the automatic follow up question to this? “Oh, cool beans, so what’s your favorite book?”
Cue panic. My brain stops functioning. There’s a couldn’t complete connection sign at the forefront of my vision, a little Error 404 going on. My mind goes blank, and I cannot for the life of me remember any book that I have ever read. I probably read at least 2 books within the week, but I can’t remember the titles of those either. I can barely recall what language I speak. Do I enjoy religious lit, or poetry? What exactly is YA? Out loud however, I say, “Oh you know. It’s hard to choose.”
Internally whenever someone asks what my favorite book is
After this happened one too many times, I decided to sit back and reflect and actually get to the bottom of this. Why don’t I have a favorite book? Or if I do, why does it flee my mind every time I’m asked this fateful question?
My first theory is that I can’t choose a favorite book, because there are SO MANY BOOKS THAT I LOVE!! Like right now I can list at least 5, across a variety of genres and age ranges. But, unless otherwise prompted, my current favorites always seem to be among the most recent 15 books that I’ve read. This doesn’t mean that the book that I love that I read 10 years ago is any less my favorite. It just means that it’s not as fresh in my mind so I obviously forgot about it completely.
Me, @ every other book on my shelf
I’ve also noticed that depending on the person who I’m talking to, I might talk about a different favorite of mine. When asked I’ll probably mention a favorite of mine that I know that person would be able to relate to, or one that they might have heard of.
If I’m speaking to somebody I know reads YA, I’ll talk about a current YA favorite I have. If I’m talking to someone who I know reads mostly mysteries, I’ll probably talk about my favorite John Grisham book. I feel like when somebody asks you what your favorite book is, they’re trying to do two things. One, they’re trying to get to know you. And two, they’re trying to start a conversation.
If I know that the person I’m talking to hates thrillers and horrors, I’m not going to mention a book that I liked that was a thriller or horror. Because nothing is more awkward than hearing that someone thinks your favorite book sucks.
Another reason that I’m not able to pick a favorite is that I’m super indecisive, and I can’t force myself to choose just one. I loved how well written To Kill a Mockingbird was. I really enjoyed the twistyness of The Firm. I couldn’t get over how hilarious Red, White, & Royal Blue was. I was obsessed with how magical and epic The Wishsong of Shannara was. And I was in awe of the wittiness in The Lies of Locke Lamora. How can I choose a singular favorite when there are so many fantastic books out there??
The ones I listed above are just 5 of my favorites, but I’ve come to realize that I have hundreds! There are so many books out there, I don’t see why I have to limit myself to loving one book or genre. In the past, when people used to ask me about my favorite genre I always answered with fantasy. But I’ve learned that I also really like contemporary! And there are a lot of books that are Sci-Fi/Fantasy that I like more than Fantasy.
The fact of the matter is, there are so many amazing books out there, it doesn’t make any sense to limit ourselves to just one. Have ten, twenty, or two million favorites, and it’ll be okay. Maybe the next time somebody asks me what my favorite book is, I’ll just start listing all of them out. It’ll most definitely take a while, but I wouldn’t want to leave anything out.
Do you have any favorite books? Or are you like me and absolutely cannot pick a favorite?