Picking favorites is something I hate doing. Whether it’s books or movies or colors or foods, I’ve never been good at it. Maybe I’m putting too much thought into this, but why do I have to choose? You would never ask a parent which child is their favorite. In fact you would assume that they had the capacity to love each of their children equally and would not have a favorite. But somehow with books, and movies and other inanimate objects we are supposed to select just one and put it on a pedestal above all others. And by sharing our favorites we’re somehow allowing people to learn about us. (Or at least that’s the theory).
Part of the problem with picking a favorite book is that they keep producing new ones. So if you pick a favorite at a set point in time – you are missing out on having any of future books in your top spot.
You would think colors would be straight forward since they don’t keep inventing new ones. But no. Age and application factor in for sure. When I was little I loved pink. Then I graduated into a teen/tween love for purple (this was in the pre-Barney days mind you) and then forever after I came to realize I liked different colors for different things. Black is slimming (and yes, I know it’s not a color), bright yellow is my current pick for home accessories, and my toenails are currently a snazzy bright pink. So… um… no one favorite.
Movies can be troublesome too. There used to be some Mel Gibson movies that I liked – not so much anymore. Same for Charlie Sheen. Just sayin’.
But back to books. Age and mood are definitely a factor here too. When I was little I loved THE SECRET GARDEN. But on a different day, I might have told you A LITTLE PRINCESS was my favorite – because I loved that one too. In my teens I remember being into Richard Adams and liking MAIA and WATERSHIP DOWN. But I also went on a sci-fi kick and was super into the FOUNDATION trilogy by Asimov. In the last couple of years I really loved WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (but who didn’t), HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, and CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY. But I also really liked Brad Meltzer’s latest political thriller THE INNER CIRCLE and I’m currently reading and really liking TANGLED WEBS by James B. Stewart. But that one is non-fiction so maybe it would be weird to call it a favorite? What do you think?
The bottom line? I can’t pick just one. Kind of like not being able to eat one potato chip. There are too many good ones out there and I want to reserve the right to love something that comes out next year or the year after. And besides, what does knowing my favorite color or book or movie really tell you about me? That I’m not color blind, I like to read and I like popcorn. (Well, the popcorn thing would be a guess – but it happens to be true). If you want to know more about me you’ll have to ask a more specific question!
Like this… “How do you feel about favorites? Can you pick just one book and give it that title?” You know my answer. What’s yours?
— Dana Barrett, Managing Editor