Yesterday was World Book Day and the Daily Telegraph ( U.K) posed this question to it’s readers ” What is your favorite book ?”
What a question ! Almost impossible to answer for any serious reader. Most of us read books in several different genres and we would be hard put to even select one book in each genre that we read. And how do we then compare a favorite mystery to, let us say, a favorite travel book or a favorite biography. The answer is that we don’t. We can’t.
If you are like me, you are constantly looking ahead to the next great read , not back to the books that you’ve already read.
Some of the Telegraph’s readers remarked upon the difficulty of selecting a favorite author, let alone a favorite book. Still over a hundred of them did send in their choices, though they didn’t always restrict themselves to one book. Some of the favorite authors mentioned were Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, E.M. Forster, F.Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck , J.R.R. Tolkien , Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth.
The individual favorites were all over the lot but some of the titles mentioned by more than one respondent were ; The Holy Bible ( of course), 1984 and Animal Farm ( George Orwell), To Kill a Mockingbird ( Harper Lee), The Great Gatsby ( F.Scott Fitzgerald),The Last of the Mohicans ( J. Fenimore Cooper), The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy ( Tolkien), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn ( Mark Twain).
In a word… eclectic. These responses were from British readers and I’m not surprised to see that their choices favored Dickens and Austen and Forster; I am surprised to Fenimore Cooper up there since he’s an American author that I do not think is much read even here in the U.S. It would have been interesting to see a similar poll for American readers and to see how our choices might have differed from those of our British cousins.