I don’t know why I asked it. Maybe it was the shock of hearing someone say that they hated “The Time Travellers’ Wife”. Maybe it was a 2:45 pm blood sugar low. All I know is, I didn’t mean to say it, but I opened my mouth and there it was: “Well, what IS your favorite book, then?”
And there it was. One of my most hated things to be asked, and I had just asked it of another person. She looked (understandably) taken aback. I felt (suitably) ashamed of my behavior. Because, as any bookworm knows, the worst book-related question to be asked, and todays “Plight of a Bookworm” is:
“What’s your favorite book?”
If it is well-known that you like to read, then this is a question you will encounter often. It’s a favorite of various icebreakers and of first dates and online profiles of any sort. But here’s the thing, I don’t have a favorite book. At all. For me, this is up there with “Who’s your favorite child? Come on, there has to be one that stands out.”
Lots of books stand out.
The first book I read so much that the cover fell completely off (Billie Letts-Where the Heart Is).
My favorite book for when I want to read about great parties and terrible people (F. Scott Fitzgerald-The Great Gastby)
My favorite expose of the inner workings of Mormon polygamous cults (John Krakauer-Under the Banner of Heaven).
My favorite book for subverting the patriarchy (Jessica Valenti- Full Frontal Feminism)
My favorite autobiography of a person famous for nothing but her autobiographies (Jennifer Lancaster-Bitter is the New Black )
My favorite childrens’ book (Classic: Dr. Seuss-One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, New: Drew Daywalt-The day the Crayons Quit)
Favorite guilty pleasure books (Sophie Kinsella- Confessions of a Shopaholic Series)
Plus there are so many more books that I couldn’t live without that don’t fit into any categories. Favorite books are like songs or body parts or friends, you can’t have just have one. Someone could really like “Party Rock Anthem” but they maybe wouldn’t always want to hear it, like at a funeral (actually, that would be pretty awesome…). I like some books and dislike others, but there isn’t any one book that I am always in the mood for. While being asked “Whats your favorite book?” may not stress normal people out the way it does a bookworm, I think a lot of people would have difficulty answering it.
So, if you ever want to strike up a conversation about books, do NOT ask “Whats your favorite book?”. Be better than that, show a little respect, be a more creative conversationalist. Ask “Whats your favorite book that was set in the future upon writing, but is now in the past?
And, obviously (George Orwell-1984).