So yesterday's post inspired me to see if there are other authors who have published lists of their favourite books. What I did find is a page that had 40 famous people name their favourite books.
Of course the question of what is your favourite book is really difficult, at least for people who don't like lying. Because as we all know, the real question is, "what book do you like that will win you respect for liking?" It's a safe bet that someone will be tempted to answer Ulysses, by James Joyce and that same person will be lying.
Confession time. Writing my list yesterday made me think of a book that challenged what I thought about nuclear weapons. That book did not make the list because it's The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy. Not much respect earned for reading that book. Or John Grisham's The Chamber which challenged what I think about capital punishment. I'd like to include the caveat that I read both these books when I was considerably younger, but that's disingenuous because I still like books that are almost certainly merely escape fiction.
So I've thought of a more objective criterion for measuring my favourite books. It has its own flaws, but adds a different perspective. I should mention that my list yesterday was specifically not a list of my favourite books, but ones that have influenced me the most. This blog is more a list of books that I've enjoyed the most, sort of.
Here's a list of books that I've read multiple times.
I would guess I've read each of these at least four times:
Flint, Louis L'amour
Blue Like Jazz, Don Miller
Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton
Reaching for the Invisible God, Philip Yancey
Yeager: an autobiography, Chuck Yeager
Treasure Island, R.L. Stevenson
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
In a Sunburnt Country, Bill Bryson
The Lost World, Michael Crichton
The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, Farley Mowatt
The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, Adrian Plass
and perhaps some of the Harry Potter novels.
If I include at least three times read there's a bunch more Bryson, Mowatt, Yancey, Crichton and some Clive Cussler I believe. I've probably read a couple of Terry Pratchett novels three times, certainly twice. The Godfather would be on the list and probably some Lee Strobel books. If I were to guess, there are at least a dozen Louis L'amour novels that I've read at least three times. Also the Hobbit.
A list of books that I've read at least twice would include a few dozen Louis L'amour, most Crichton books, several Grisham books, several Clive Cussler and a fewTom Clancy. It would have some Sherlock Holmes stories, several James Herriot stories, maybe some Ken Follet. It would include both Brave New World and 1984, all the Harry Potter books except the last one, some Leon Uris and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
So what are my favourite books? Tough question. I can tell you that I'd happy to read many of the books I've listed above again; I don't know if that's true of The Brothers Karamazov! When asked my favourite book though, many of those listed above would not be mentioned, they're just too shameful!