Jo Talks Books: Why I Hate Choosing Favourites When It Comes To Books

Hi everyone! Uni is back in full swing now and it’s been going okay, although I’m learning Shorthand in my Journalism module this semester and hating every second of it! Anyway, I’m back with another Jo Talks post for you this week and I’m going to be talking about my most dreaded question as a bookworm, the one that sends shudders into my poor little bookworm heart. That question is, “What is your favourite book?”. It’s a question that all bookworms get asked as soon as you say that you like reading and personally, it’s my least favourite question ever.

For one thing, how do you even start to narrow down? I’ve read hundreds of books in my lifetime, that’s a lot of books to choose between, I don’t even know how I’d pick a top ten let alone just one singular book above all others. Plus, I read new books every year, so my list of favourites keeps changing, books that were my favourites when I was a kid may not be my favourites now, my taste in books are ever changing (my love of fantasy may be permanent but my favourite books are not) and so it’s very hard to answer what is my favourite book because I’ve had different favourite books at different stages of my life, so how on earth can I choose my favourite book ever? Sure I could narrow it down it categories of my favourite book from each stage of my life, but that would still be quite difficult and would be a little unfair to the books I read when I was I little because there are some that I genuinely don’t remember!

I could narrow it down by genre, but then fantasy would have an unfair advantage over every other genre since that’s what I’ve read the most of. Besides even within the fantasy genre, it’s hard to pick a favourite book ever from that genre because I’ve read so many brilliant ones and it’s possible that my favourite fantasy book could change, since after all, as much fantasy as I’ve read, there’s still a lot more out there and I’m only one person, much as I’d like to read every fantasy book ever written, it’s just not possible. The same goes for any other genre, even if I’ve only read a small amount of it, I will probably read more in my lifetime, so how can I decisively pick a favourite when I haven’t read all that I can possibly read from that genre in my life? It’s just not possible.

I often liken choosing a favourite book to choosing a favourite child (not that I have children, but I think it’s a fairly good comparison since people say it’s impossible to pick a favourite child and I feel the same way about books), you love them all so much that it doesn’t feel possible or fair to pick a favourite. If I ever definitively said, “yes, this book is my favourite book” I would feel bad for all the other books that I didn’t pick, so I wouldn’t want to pick a definitive favourite because it’s not really a fair comparison, since each book will have given something different to me and have shaped me as a reader in a different way.

I also feel like there are different things that make a book my favourite. Sure there are certain things I like to see in books and books that have those things are more likely to be considered “favourites” for me, but generally I like different books for different reasons, so it’s really hard to compare them. Even if I give two books five stars, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the same level of favourites and I’ll probably like them for different reasons, so how on earth can I compare? It’s just not possible to quantify a feeling such as how much you like a book and to what degree you like it as compared to another one, even with my star rating system, it’s very arbitrary! Plus all the books I read, even if they’re within the same genre are so different in style, writing, characters, world, everything, so it just doesn’t seem fair to compare since there’s no objective way to do so, it’s all so subjective.

I read something on Pinterest once that said the reason why bookworms find it so hard to pick their favourite books is because “we find little pieces of ourselves scattered throughout so many of the stories we read. Combine the stories and you figure out the person. One person isn’t just one story, it’s all of them”. This is probably from a tumblr post and you usually have to take those with a pinch of salt, but I really relate to this one. It’s so true, I can find little pieces of myself in each book I read and if you put all the books I’d ever read over my lifetime together, you would get a pretty good idea of my personality. Each book I’ve ever read has given me something different, has shaped a part of my personality. Books aren’t just things I read and enjoy, the ones I really love are stories that have shaped who I am as a person and that have stayed with me long after I read. How can I choose a favourite book when every story I’ve read, even the ones I haven’t liked, have in some way shaped me as a person? I can’t.

So overall, books are just too important to me to be able to pick a favourite. They have given so much to me that it would be unfair to pick an absolute favourite, plus I’ve read so many and when you factor in my ever-changing tastes and the subjectivity of reading, a seemingly simple question like what is your favourite book, suddenly becomes impossible to answer.

Over to you? Do you have a favourite book? Or like me do you find it impossible to pick favourites, even within different genres? Why is this? Let me know in the comments!

I should have my first discussion post of October up next week (can you believe it’s nearly October already, because I can’t!). In the meantime though, my newest Top Ten Tuesday will be up later today, so stay tuned for that!



5 thoughts on “Jo Talks Books: Why I Hate Choosing Favourites When It Comes To Books

  1. M @ A Blog Of One's Own September 27, 2016 / 1:03 am

    Completely agree with all of your points. Favorites are dynamic and ever-changing and also always piling up 😀 And yet, all of them are special in their own right, in their own way.

  2. Amy @ Pages of Starlight September 30, 2016 / 7:06 pm

    Usually, when someone asks me what my favorite book is, I come back with a list of about twenty – and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some! LOL I don’t think that’s quite what they expected. For me, I don’t actually have too much trouble choosing favorite books, but it’s always with the quantifier that this is my favorite ‘right now’. And prior to rereading it, as that has been known to change my opinion on books. My taste can change too, without ever rereading the book and maybe one week I’ll say my favorite is something lighter than it was the week before. So, definitely take my ‘this is my favorite book’ proclamation with a grain of salt. But I do like thinking about favorite books and reminding myself why I liked them so much to start with.

    • iloveheartlandx October 1, 2016 / 12:41 pm

      Yeah same here! That’s a good way of quanitifying it, I tend to do the same. That’s why I like rereading so much, to remind myself of why I loved my favourite books.

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