Can you make a list of your favourite books?
Making lists is an amusing parlour game. When it comes to books, it’s probably trickier than, say, making a list of the best opening batsmen ever or the best guitarists of all time.
So much of our response to what we read depends on when we read it, and how. In my early teens, I used to be besotted with Richard Bach. By my late teens, I had begun to think of his stuff as sophomoric pseudo-philosophy-lite.
Many modern classics, like, for example, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, don’t seem to age well. Or at least they don’t with me, I don’t know about you. A lot of stuff (I can right away think of – and, again, I speak merely for myself – Thomas Mann, late James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Saul Bellow) I have appreciated better as I have grown older.
Then, when we say ‘favourite’ books, do we attach greater value to the ones we’d want to go back to over and over again? I would. And you? I thoroughly enjoy reading Richard Harris and Dennis Lehane and Carl Hiaasen, but I’m not sure I’d be too keen on going back to any of theirs.
He has also made a list of his top 40 books. (‘Top’ 40? Would ‘top’ be the same as ‘favourite’? Why 40? Well, why not?)
I am rather too circumspect of doing mine. What about you? Do you have a list of your favourite books? Let’s hear. Me? Well, perhaps later…