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Bellatrix's avatar

What is your all time favourite book (or books) and why?

Asked by Bellatrix (21244points) January 18th, 2011

For no other reason than I am nosey and also love books, what books do you find yourself returning to again and again? Since I find it impossible to choose (bit like naming your favourite child) if there is more than one book that you adore, that’s fine. Why is or are they your favourite books though? What is it about the story or the characters that touches you or horrifies you? I was going to list some of my favourites, but I would really rather hear about yours and why we should read them and love them too.

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40 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

I dont read often. Recently I got into reading star wars novels cause im a nerd like that. I got to say, the Darth Bane trilogy is by far one of the greatest fictions ive read. Its just such a complete and utter bad ass series. Got to love when by the end of a book your rooting for the bad guy.

Rarebear's avatar

Lord of the Rings
Watership Down
A Wrinkle in Time

WestRiverrat's avatar

I read too much to have one favorite. My favorite genres are Sci-Fi, and Westerns. But I mostly read biographies and history books.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I know I’m going to get crap for this, but…

Harry Potter.

For years, I didn’t read any fiction (and now I only read a couple fiction a year). Except for Harry. No matter how many times I read them, I still love them. And reading them helps calm me down from a panic attack (sans the last one, of course!). It’s like what toddlers have with Goodnight, Moon or seven year olds with Winnie the Pooh.

Carly's avatar

I’ve been getting more and more into Non-Fiction lately. Last Summer I read the book “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink. It was so interesting I read it in 8 hours straight.

nebule's avatar

Great Expectations I haven’t read it in some time now but I frequently read the first paragraph to remind me of humility

@Carly I’ve just read that too… great book!

everephebe's avatar

Anything by Saint Exupery, he transmutes prose into the purest poetry ever. Words that sing- with the very voice of the wind, sand and stars- unto my very soul. Wistful as hell, melancholy of the finest sort, sweeter than the wine off Keat’s lips, and still lacking the overbearing bitterness you would expect from sorrows and losses he speaks of.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have long said that Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon is my all time favorite book. It careens through the end of WW2 and the weeks immediately after. It’s a juggernaut.

However, I have another favorite author, Anne Carson, and my favorite book by her is Eros, the Bittersweet. To me, it is a philosophical love song to the art of writing. Ms. Carson released a memoir last year to her dead brother. It is called Nox. The manuscript is in the form of a long single sheet of paper that one pulls from the box holding it. It’s a treasure to hold and read. Word by painstaking word she translates a poem by Catullus. One written to his dead brother.

For the sake of its beauty and the merit of its historical place, I love The Iliad by Homer. It’s the only book I know of that can be defined by its opening word, “Rage.”

There, I’ve listed four books instead of just one. I was hard pressed to narrow it down to just those. There are so many more authors I adore like Wm. Faulkner, Shakespeare, Christopher Moore, Jincy Willet, Sophocles, Edna St. Vincent-Millay, and so many more.

Oh, and welcome to Fluther.

absalom's avatar

Gravity’s Rainbow (Thomas Pynchon) – This novel changed the way I approach fiction, whether when reading it or writing it, and is the only book to have elicited from me a physiological emotional response (i.e., tears).

Siddhartha (Herman Hesse) – Like a lot of people, I read this in high school. This was the first book to ‘change my life’ significantly. Before reading it I’d loosely used the label ‘Christian’ to define my religious leanings; after reading it I became an (agnostic) atheist. The book deals with Hinduism and Buddhism, so I’m not sure why things turned out like that, but they did.

As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner) – Not sure why I waited so long to read this (finally did about two years ago). Addie’s chapter was the consummation of some of my ideas about language (none of which was original; they’d all been gradually culled from prior readings, et cetera). The ending still bugs me. It seems obvious, if inevitable, but the rest of the book is just perfect.

Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace) – This was the first book that seemed to ‘speak to me’ in a really weirdly personal way. I am ambivalent about it, but it’s one of the few books that makes me feel less lonely while at the same time alienating me. Probably no one else can do that as well as Wallace.

‘Honorable mentions’ include One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Hamlet or The Tempest or Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare and anything and everything by Franz Kafka.

faye's avatar

I read too much to have a favourite but I have authors I love, Maeve Binchy, Diana Gabaldon, Teri Gerritsen, George R R Martin, Anne McCaffery, Robin Hobb, and so many others!

Bellatrix's avatar

Thank you so much everyone for your answers. So many different books and authors and interesting and inspiring reasons why they are favourites. I am going to add quite a few of these to my “must read” list.

augustlan's avatar

I read a lot, but my all time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. I absolutely adore the writing, and Atticus Finch taught me what it really means to be a good person. I re-read it at least once a year. Other books I love include Me Talk Pretty Someday by David Sedaris, and most of the short story/novelette collections by Stephen King.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

Forever – Judy Blume

The HP series.

Joshuajohn's avatar

Bible is one of the greatest book for me because i found all solution for life here.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Tuesdays with Morrie.
I love it because it is a true story, and a touching story, at that. It also hits a very personal note for me, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I read the book for the first time with a dear friend that had ALS. It was also his first time hearing the story. We both cried, it was a very special experience for both of us, I think. Fond memory.

flutherother's avatar

My favourite book is The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I even prefer this to The Lord of the Rings
I also love the short fantasy stories of Lord Dunsany.

I have known these books for many years but can always go back to them. They take me into different worlds.

mrentropy's avatar

Not awake enough to explain the why’s, but:

- Book of the Dun Cow – Walter Wangerin, Jr. (despite being a religious metaphor)
– The Last Coin – James P. Blaylock
– Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin
– Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett

Rhodentette's avatar

I like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because it’s sci-fi, funny and observant.
Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch is dark for a Discworld novel, so I keep re-reading that.
Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith is just a fantastic, rollicking story.
Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress is a novella, but it’s one I love and return to often.

I like a lot of the older classics too, like Oliver Twist, Pride and Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Lord Jim, A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and many others. These were all books I read as a child and which kick-started my love affair with literature, so I keep going back to them to see how my perception of them has changed since I was little.

omph's avatar

Pretty much anything by Hesse, Kafka, and Dostoevsky. Oh, and Kurt Vonnegut.

partyparty's avatar

I love any, and all the Beatrix Potter books
I am still a child at heart

JilltheTooth's avatar

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. She writes beautifully, and the story is gentle and powerful, and a glimpse into a life touched by tragedy and grace.

GracieT's avatar

Thanks, everyone! I’ve read, and love many of these, but now I have more to look for in my many hours in the library!

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

The Outsiders
A Series of Unfortunate Events
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Weep No More My Lady
anything by James Patterson I love
The Westing Game

OpryLeigh's avatar

The Hunchback of Notre Dame – By Victor Hugo

Seelix's avatar

I love that there are some other Pratchett fans here! @mrentropy – Reaper Man is one of my favourites too.

I read a ton, and I could probably go on for days listing my favourite books and authors. But my absolute favourite book of all time is Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The bestest, from two of the UK’s bestest products.

mrentropy's avatar

@Seelix The problem with Pratchett is that it’s hard for me to come up with a favorite book of his. All of them are favorites, but for different reasons. Reaper Man because if I had to die I would want Pratchett’s Death to come and get me. And Good Omens totally rocks.

everephebe's avatar

Agreed, Good omens is pretty fab.

Vunessuh's avatar

The Painted Bird.

TexasDude's avatar

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

The thoughts, emotions, and experiences of the protagonist, Charlie, almost perfectly match many of my own during my early high school years. I’m still a lot like him in many ways. I even cried a little when a girl I know (who also loves the book) said “you are our Charlie!” to me at a party. She’s not the first to say that.

gailcalled's avatar

If I were doomed to spend my remaining years with only one book, I’d choose Ulysses, by James Joyce.

it would be nice to have Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, German and classical Greek dictionaries allowed as excess baggage.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I totally forgot about including Terry Pratchett in my list. That’s an enormous omission. I love him.

tigerlilly2's avatar

The Catcher in the Rye, House of Leaves (a very haunting book that you will not be able to put down until you have finished and it is also very graphic as an fyi) and of course, my childhood favorite Harry Potter!

augustlan's avatar

East of Eden by Steinbeck is another favorite of mine. I loved the friendships portrayed in this one.

TexasDude's avatar

@tigerlilly2, House of Leaves is awesome.

Bellatrix's avatar

That is one of my all time favourites too Augustian. I love Steinbeck generally though. Other authors I like to read are (and this list is not all inclusive) Cormac McCarthy, Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck and Tim Winton. I am sure to remember others as soon as I hit Answer and this list doesn’t include those authors who have written one book that I have enjoyed immensely. For instance, Henri Charriere’s Papillon or Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird or Thomas Harris So, so many books and so little time. I like books that make me think.

tigerlilly2's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Indeed! I’m so glad that I am not the only one to read it and think so! :)

nebule's avatar

@augustlan that’s on my shelf to read…and has been for some years! I shall dig it out now you’ve recommended it. I will read it before the end of the year! x

Asker's avatar

Nothing without classics! Dostoyevsky, Tolstoj, T. Mann,H. James… + A. Christie, C.Doyle and a bunch of Hungarian writers !

flutherother's avatar

H G Wells is still very good.

laurenkem's avatar

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith (?) has been an all time favorite of mine since I was a child. Interestingly enough, it’s also the all time favorite book of two of my siblings.

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