Friday, August 23, 2013

Favorite Book Superlatives

Half-blood Prince
My favorite in the series :)

A word of advice: never, and I mean never, ask an English major what his or her favorite book is. Doing so will unleash a lengthy diatribe of uncertainty, questioning their life philosophy, and tears. It's not a pretty sight, trust me.

Disclaimer aside, I am an English major who frequently gets asked what my favorite book is, many times with an innocent intention. Since I myself am prone to bouts of turmoil about this deeply complex and layered question, I figured it was time I sit down and figure out an answer, if only to appease the inquirer and not tie them up for an hour and twenty minutes while I have a heart-to-heart with myself while rationalizing my "favorite" book and just what exactly "favorite" constitutes.

Part of my trouble is defining what exactly is meant by "favorite"? "Favorite" can mean a lot of things; is the most well-written book? The most imaginative story? The novel that is the most thought-provoking? Or simply the good story that gives you warm fuzzies? My favorite story is far different than my favorite literary work, just as my favorite movie may not be the most profound or a cinematic masterpiece (The Mummy - yes?).

And so it seems to make the most sense to break down my favorite books in to categories, much like high school's senior superlatives. I doubt I'll ever be able to fully sift through all the categories that I could come up with, and truly make an exhaustive list, but I think this is a good start...


Comfort Book (For when you're in a bad mood, good mood, or somewhere in between. Pair this book with your favorite feel good meal, get comfy, and read): Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Favorite classic: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Favorite series: The Harry Potter series (because who can pick just one) by J.K. Rowling
Most beautifully and hauntingly written: Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh


Favorite story: American Gods by Neil Gaiman (challenge: read any of his books aloud)
Favorite book that's kind of depressing, yet beautiful, and frankly, I still don't really know what to do with it: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Most nostalgic: The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien (also wins the special mention for being the book I checked out of the library the most during middle school)
The perfect book (Captivating story, subtle yet powerful message, beautiful prose, characters you both love and love to hate, not too lengthy, timeless...): F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

Do you have a favorite book? Or do you also fret over the eternal struggle of picking a "favorite"? I tag you to fill in your book superlatives!

1 comment:

  1. Oh this is so tough but such a good idea!!! The books I have not read on here are going on my list right now!

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