General Question

Carla's avatar

What is your favorite book of all time?

Asked by Carla (533points) August 10th, 2008
62 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

Did it make you laugh out loud, cry, or get so angry you threw it across the room?

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flyawayxxballoon's avatar

My favorite book of all time? So hard to choose! But I’d have to say that it was The Tale Of Desperaux. The writing is fantastic and insightful, and rather realistic, but told as a fairytale. It’s basically the fairytale version of real life, however it’s not the same as Cinderella or Snow White. Realistic bad things happen to the characters. It’s so hard to explain without reading you the entire book! Anyway, the story is absolutely adorable, and I just love that book.

cak's avatar

I really loved To Kill A Mockingbird. I remember reading it (long time ago, now!) and just getting sucked into the story.

More modern books, I loved The Red Tent, it is just this beatifully written story. I couldn’t put it down!

cak (15863points)“Great Answer” (3points)
McBean's avatar

Hmmm…favorite book of all time? Well, it used to be The Once and Future King. Then, I fell in love with Like Water for Chocolate. Then I went a little nuts for Angela’s Ashes. Now, I’m not sure. When I think “favorite book”, so many come to mind. It’s like asking “What is your favorite food of all time?” Too hard for me to answer definitively. :-)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I love to read and there’s absolutely no way I can pick a single, favorite book. I have many! :) Some, but not all, include:

“Orlando” and “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf because she’s my favorite author of all time. The way she writes is kind of stream of consciousness – and that’s how I think sometimes, so I’m very drawn to her writing.

“I, Lucifer” by Glen Duncan is also one of my favorite books. The author chooses to take a look at Christianity from a sarcastic, serious and questionable perspective. I absolutely love the story and the author’s take on the entire subject, though. Not only that, but he puts into perspective – and very well – how much people take everything for granted.

My favorite fantasy books, by far, are “A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen” series by Steven Erikson. The imagery and attention-to-detail are absolutely phenomenal! The books take place over thousands and thousands of years and he focuses, personally, on every single character that he brings into the books. Extremely detailed and very hard for some people to follow, but SO worth it!

Practically all books by Neil Gaiman are way up there on my list, too.

“Wicked”, “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” and “Mirror, Mirror” by Gregory Maguire are also way up there on my list. They’re twists on fairy tales and highly amusing and interesting.

… I could go on and on forever, so I’ll just stop now. Heh. :)

Carla's avatar

My favorite is ‘84 Charring Cross Road’ Helene Hanff. A mere 97 pages that tells a tale though letters written between 1949 – 1969. It’s a wonderful book about books.

scars2b's avatar

I can’t choose just one, but my Top 3 Favorites
1. The Alchemist.
2. Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
3. The Autobiography of Malcolm X

fieldhockey10's avatar

wow!! hard question but I would have to say “the book thief”

Carla's avatar

scars2b I’m just starting The Alchemist.

McBean's avatar

The Alchemist is on my list, too.

wilhel1812's avatar

Harry Potter

AstroChuck's avatar

My Pet Goat. I couldn’t put it down.

Carla's avatar

McBean I just read Like Water For Chocolate about a week ago. Great book.

Kar's avatar

It’s too hard for me to pick just one, but if I have to It would be The Kite Runner. I also loved A Thousand Splendid Suns. Both tell stories of life in Afghanistan during the taliban take over, and they are wonderful stories of friendship, betrayal and redemption. I learned a lot about what life must have been like for the people during that time.

I also loved The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls. It was about an extremely disfunctional family, that survived on practically nothing. It seems like it would be depressing but it was a wonderful true story about how the 4 children managed to make it through unbelievable odds, with parents who never wanted to work and an alcoholic father. It was actually quite uplifting, and shows how resilient children can be.

boffin's avatar

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

Carla's avatar

Fieldhokey who is The Book Thief by?

Kar, two great choices. I did enjoy A Thousand Slendid Suns more probably because of the female aspect.

McBean's avatar

Kar, I forgot about The Glass Castle! I loved that book! I thought about it for a long time afterwards. See? That’s the thing. I have a mental block that keeps me from remembering all the great books I’ve read. Ask me what kinds of junk I’ve been reading lately and I’ll give you a list a mile long!

Randy's avatar

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. It’s amazement around every minute.

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

stargirl by jerry spinelli.

redsgirl4eva's avatar

I love to read myself so it is hard but my favorite 2 are
1 Harry Potter
2. Little House

gailcalled's avatar

Carla; if you are not on an iPhone, look to right of screen for sibling questions.
MacBean mentions two. Here are two more; (36 replies) (26 replies)

If you asked me what my 100 favorite books were, I could answer this question.

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

siddhartha is good too! ahh!

nina's avatar

when I still had a favorite book of all times – it used to be ‘The Forsyte Saga’

cak's avatar

I forgot to add one!

Guess how much I love you. It’s been part of my life for 10 years now, it remains on the bookshelf, at home. I bought it for my daughter, 10 years ago and pulled it again, when my son was born. Now, he’s learning to read and it’s the first one he picked to learn. :)

cak (15863points)“Great Answer” (1points)
Supergirl's avatar

The Giver

susanc's avatar

Again: Birds Without Wings, Louis de Bernieres. This is a gorgeous, brilliant, sad,
tragic, human, and sometimes very funny book about how the Powers That Be can
ruin the lives of ordinary people, though not all of them. It takes place in western Turkey in
the early years of the 20th century. Intrigued? Try it anyway. It’ll teach you more than
you imagined you didn’t know, and make you cry too.

MindErrantry's avatar

I am in love with Hugo’s “Notre-Dame de Paris” (translated, unfortunately, into English as “the Hunchback of Notre-Dame”, but that’s really not what it’s about at all). Many people, I know, find this a relatively boring book to read, but I just love the prose (in both English and French). I’ve never found another author who so clearly loves what he’s writing about; if you manage to follow what he’s doing (easier on the second time around), you’ll get a really wonderful image, and having just gotten back from the actual cathedral (I’m on vacation here), he does a pretty accurate job. Furthermore, his story (despite critics’ opinions to the contrary) is complex, and every character, even if seemingly insignificant, matters. It’s amazing.
and it makes a great source for history papers; suddenly they become more fun!

scars2b's avatar

Carla, you’re in for a treat.

shrubbery's avatar

I’ve said it before probably on a couple of those questions but I’ll elaborate here. If I was forced at gun point to choose one single favourite… I would get shot :P Nah well I’d choose a trilogy if that still counts, His Dark Materials. These books are amazing. They combine science, religion, fantasy, romance, ethics, adventure, action, philosophy and pretty much anything else you want into a tremendous and impossible to put down story. It deals with big issues and small issues and children and adults and animals and humans and all the things I mentioned above. These books moved me. To tears, to laughter, to horror, to admiration, to hope, to anger… etc etc. Books for all ages- I highly recommend to everyone.

Also, to be honest, the Harry Potters have a very special place in my heart too. I was able to start them before they became a worldwide phenomenon and I was so proud of myself for being able to read them at a younger age than the Smarties recommendation sticker suggested on the front cover. So I have grown up with Harry Potter from an early age, and it has played a significant role in my life. The stories have filled my imagination, fueling lunchtime games in primary school and hopes that I may get a letter and attend Hogwarts. A birthday party where attendees had to be sorted before they could be sat at the table and a game of Quidditch (adjusted to suit the unfortunate truth that our broomsticks couldn’t fly) after lunch. Keeping my mind and fingers active with the amazing lego sets that have also come out. No matter how much people slam the last books I still admire J.K Rowling for sticking to her guns and writing it how SHE wanted, how she always planned from the beginning. In my mind, at least, there will never be anything quite like these books again.

wilhel1812's avatar

@shrubbery, you talk from my heart!

Cardinal's avatar

The Bible.

BarbieM's avatar

I know it’s such an English teacher response, but I would have to say Pride and Prejudice. I re-read it every summer and have taught it. I also love The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

For more modern books, I loved The Kite Runner, The Time Traveller’s Wife and The Devil in the White City.

Carla's avatar

BarbieM, You know I love The Time Traveler’s Wife. It’s second on my list.

BarbieM's avatar

My book club was evenly divided on it. Half of us loved it, and half of us hated it.

Carla's avatar

That seems to be the way most people feel about it. My reading friend could not get past page 50, even though she tried about 4 times because I raved about it so much. I was sobbing so hard at the end of the book I had to put it down until I could get control of myself. I’m looking forward to reading it again.

tedibear's avatar

I can only answer this in terms of my favorite book as a child. “The Velvet Room” by Zilpha Keatly Snyder. A wonderful piece of history & mystery.

I can’t answer this for my adult reading because, well, I’m not done reading yet! And since my “time” isn’t up yet (as far as I know) I can’t pick a favorite book of all time.

wilhel1812's avatar

can’t you pick from the ones you have read untill now?

tedibear's avatar

@wilhel1812 – I can work on it, but not sure how short I can keep it!

Larssenabdo's avatar

I really can’t pick one. Among them would be

As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
Imajica and Galilee; both by Clive Barker
His Dark Materials trilogy, for all the reasons Shrubbery says.

wilhel1812's avatar

I love this! I really thought i was the only one in the world that likes His Dark Materials! Ahh… Fluther is great :)

dalepetrie's avatar

The Stand by Stephen King….a great book doesn’t have to be great literature if it makes you feel a certain way in my opinion, and this is the most visceral look at a post apocalyptic world I’ve ever seen.

gailcalled's avatar

If I had to take only one book to a desert isle where I would be stranded for a long time w/o Wilson, I’d choose Joyce’s ULYSSESS because of the complexity, richness and originality.

scamp's avatar

Mama Makes Up Her Mind by Bailey White. My daughter and I have read it to each other at least 15 times.

Larssenabdo's avatar

wilhel1812, I actually read it first and turned my teenager onto it. I think it benefits from rereading, too, because it works on so many levels.

mee_ouch's avatar

Everything is Illuminated. Stunning present-day classic.
The Grapes of Wrath
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein…superb
Tropic of Cancer….yummy, irreverant Henry Miller. A man ahead of his day..fearless
....and for the chick in me…the no fear Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying…unapologetic chick-lit

hkate's avatar

Amazing collection of books I must read! So hard to pick favorites, but I have read these books several times because I’ve loved them, Siddhartha, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, My Brilliant Career and Owls Do Cry…can’t vouch that those would be on a critic’s best of the best list, but they are on mine…

mee_ouch's avatar

I love Herman Hesse….
I remember reading Siddhartha in high school and it resonated withing me for years to come. I majored in English lit in university…with a psych. minor…I’m a chef now Huh?

There are so many wonderful reads out there. The classics are and always will be a mainstay in my life.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenace is next up on my list of “to read”. Anymore favs hkate?

bridold's avatar

How to Kill a Rockstar and God Shaped Hole both by Tiffanie DeBartolo

Also, I loved Invisible Monsters by Chuck P

gailcalled's avatar

Maybe I should give Hesse another try? I always got bogged down. Am I not young enough? Should I learn German. (Nein, danke is the punchline of the joke: “Herr Beethoven, How many symphonies did you write?”)

mee_ouch's avatar

Hesse is one for the ages GC….just don’t try it in German unless you’re fluent…or sadistic!

gailcalled's avatar

@mee- next winter when I am watching the sixth foot of snow fall and the plow not show up. Neither fluent nor sadistic. I am too busy relearning Spanish from a fellow flutherite.

tedibear's avatar

Okay, I’m finally going to give this a whirl. My two favorite authors are Maeve Binchy and Joyce Carol Oates. From there, I would say that my favorite books by these women are:

Maeve Binchy: Light a Penny Candle and The Glass Lake .
Joyce Carol Oates: We Were The Mulvaneys

Not from these authors I would add The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Huckleberry Finn. And all of the Harry Potters have a special place in my library. For those that like Harry Potter, try the “Septimus Heap” books by Angie Sage. Definitely for a younger crowd than Harry, but very good.

After reading all of these “classics” as answers from others, I feel like a reading lightweight! I don’t read only “chick lit” but I haven’t picked up a “classic” in a long time. Maybe with these ideas I can have some better choices…

Bri_L's avatar

I have been thinking on this for a long time.

I have decided I am not well read enough to answer the question.

Then I decided to answer on what I have read.
It’s a tie:
The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (in 1985). (way before the movie came out) Introduced me to a whole new style of humor.
The lion the witch and the wardrobe (in 1983). It became my ultimate fantasy as a kid, swords and such.

mee_ouch's avatar

GC….good for you! Spanish is one language I’d love to learn….
I know a bit. But it seems like an easier language than German…by far!

gailcalled's avatar

It is easy to learn if you already know one of the other romance languages When I speak, native speakers understand me, but their answers; hablan demasiado rĂ¥pido so that I can’t make out a single word.

wilhel1812's avatar

I’m norwegian, and german is a lot easier for me to understand than spanish.

gailcalled's avatar

@Wil: we wander, I know; can you understand Danish, Swedish, Icelandic or Faroese?

wilhel1812's avatar

I understand Danish and Swedish, but Icelandic and Faroese is really hard to understand. i might understand some of it if i read it, but i have no chance oral. Icelandic is more related to the old nordic language from the viking ages.

tabbycat's avatar

There are so many, but here are two strong candidates: ‘A Passage to India’ by E.M. Forster and ‘Anna Karenina’ by Tolstoy.

The best book I’ve read this year is ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns.’

steelmarket's avatar

I guess I’d have to say that these are my favorites. If I can unashamedly recommend them to any person, if I have been compelled to read them more than once, discovering wonderful insights, images and subplots in each reading, they get my Favorite stamp.
Fiction: Killer Angels (Shaara), Dune (Herbert), The Three Musketeers (Dumas)
Non-Fiction: Civilization (Clarke), The Right Stuff (Wolfe), Bible (NT), The Age of Spiritual Machines (Kurzweil)
Reference/Web: Gizmodo, xkcd

Brahmaviharas's avatar

Personally, I think that choosing as your favorite book of all time some novel or other work of fiction is strange. I mean, I’ve liked a lot of novels, but none so much that I’d reread it over and over again and continually enjoy it. For me, a book like that—a book for all times, one that would last over years and years of perusing—would have to be rich, varied, and have something for every possible mood. So I’d vote for the Oxford Book of English Verse. The poems in there fit the description above; some are so deep that you’ll get something new out of them at different periods of life. And condensed within them you’ll find all the religion and philosophy of Western culture.

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