Friday, April 12, 2013

Favorite Books: the Explanation

(Sorry for the long delay between posts. I have no excuse! I will hope to do better in the future.)

I've been meaning to write a "top three favorite books" post for a while, but for one reason or another I never got around to it. Then recently, a friend of mine asked me what my top 10 favorite books were. A friend of hers had given her a list of his favorite books and it made her curious what mine would be. 

Her friend had rather eclectic taste, but he created a list that included plays, classic novels, and Harry Potter (the entire series). She picked two books from his list to read, and I suppose asked me to do the same so she might look into reading two of my favorite books. 

Unlike her friend, I realized pretty quickly that my list would be mostly genre books (aka not classics), but that there were classic books I loved too. But I didn't want to make her an off the cuff list, so I took the day to think about it. I sat on the floor in the center of my library (yes, I have a library) and contemplated my shelves of books.

It was easy for me to pick a top three, but beyond that? What sort of metric should I use to determine which books were my "favorite"?

Though there is a tendency, I think, for people to fill their favorite books list with "classics", I decided that wouldn't be fair. I needed a metric that was as objective as possible. And there really seemed to be only one fair rubric: How often had I re-read the book?

This metric quickly knocked most classics out of my top ten, which seemed a little unfair. There are classics that I absolutely love, but they're harder to digest then say, The Prisoner of Azkaban (tPoA). tPoA is a book I re-read when I'm sick and brain dead. How can Wuthering Heights, which is a much harder to digest book compare to that?

It also seemed unfair to the series I had read. I've only read the entire Wheel of Time twice, but I've invested years of my life into this series. I've only read most Star Wars Expanded Universe books once, but I dedicated two years of my life to the EU, reading books from the EU exclusively. That needed to be captured somewhere in this.

So I decided to create three lists: my top five favorite "genre" books, my top five favorite "classic" books, and my top five favorite series. Genre books and classic books would be listed in order of how many times I've read them. Series would be listed in order of how much time I've invested in them over all. 

I don't want to leave you in too much anticipation, but I think I need to discuss why each book is where it is on the list, and which books came up as a surprise for me. So next week I'm going to post them. The schedule is:

Monday: Top Five "Genre" Novels
Wednesday: Top Five "Classic" Novels
Friday: Top Five Series

So please come back next week for the discussion and the reveal! And if you want to think about what your favorite books are. 

Also for the sake of these lists, especially in the "classics" list, plays count. So a Shakespeare play can definitely be your favorite classic "book".   

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