It has been pointed out to me that asking what your favorite book is without sharing my own isn’t quite fair. So, here goes:
I don’t have one.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll have noticed that in my last post I mentioned I have an entire bookcase filled with favorites. So how can I possibly pick just one? Ahh, you say, but that’s exactly what you asked us to do. Play along now.
Okay. I do have favorites, but they change according to season and whim. Every year — or at least every other year — I try to reread The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series. Nothing I’ve read has every come close to it, and I don’t think anything ever will.
Now that I have a daughter who loves to read, I’m revisiting CS Lewis, too. Then there’s Amy Bloom, particularly A Blind Man Could See How Much I Love You. Perfect word placement in every single sentence, and characters to die for. Practical Magic, Turtle Moon, Second Nature, and Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman. Fairy tales for grown ups. Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander series. The Time Traveler’s Wife. The first 10 books or so by Robert Parker. Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank. (Not exactly soothing in times of world crisis, but at least I’ll know how to cook an armadillo if necessary.)
I could go on and on, but let me add just one more. As a child, I collected fairy tales, and I still have a few around the house that I like to page through. I read everything I could get my hands on back then. As an adult, I still loved to read, but I didn’t get the thrill that comes with discovering a new world until one particular book: Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. I fell in love with it, and still go back to it regularly when I’m stuck on my own writing. It’s gorgeous and complicated and funny and sad, all at once. And it made me realize that magical worlds don’t have to be just for kids, that adults can have — and sometimes need — an escape like that too. Perhaps we need it even more, because we are the grown ups.