Whether an avid reader or not, everyone will most likely have a favourite book, a book that you will happily read again and again over the years, or even if you don't read it again, you will be able to reminisce about. A book that you will tell others about, encourage them to read it too. But just what is it about a book that makes it become a favourite? Does it have to be a bestseller? Award winning? Well written? Educational? I don't believe it has to be any of those things.
See, this is what I love about favourite books over and above good books, its an entirely personal decision to you, and most probably not a conscious decision. I doubt you pick up a book to read and think to yourself 'I'm going to make this my favourite book', but we will subconsciously make that decision about one book we read.
So, what is my favourite book, and why do I consider it to be my favourite? The answer may come as a surprise to you (well maybe not those that know me), and I suppose it is a bit of a cheat as it's actually a series rather than one individual book. I could say my favourite book is 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat', as I do truly love that book, it takes me back to my days as a neuroscience student, unleashes the scientist in me, really captures my interest. Equally I could say it is 'A brief history of time', I tried to read it more than once, I'm sure it would sound impressive in job interviews, or look good on a bookshelf, but it just wasn't for me (I've never been one for physics!)
For me, Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree series are by far my favourite. I've put a lot of thought into why these are my favourite, and in reality the answer was very simple. I haven't read these books for most likely well over 20 years, but if I sit here now, I can remember vividly the characters, the adventures that were had, the stories. I can see the characters, I can see the Enchanted forest, the house where the children lived, the lane it sat on, the gate at the bottom of the garden leading to the forest. I can feel the magic still, and how I felt as a child immersing myself in the words and letting my imagination run wild with the adventures, even if I am more likely to relate to Dame Wash-a-lot now rather than the children! People may argue that the stories are dated, no longer politically correct or fit for purpose, but as a 7 year old first introduced to these books, what did that matter? I could disappear into the story and feel like I was in the adventures with the characters, and even now well over 20 years later, I can still imagine what a freshly backed pop biscuit would taste like, sitting with Silky the fairy and Moon-face awaiting the next adventure that the tree would bring along!
But do you know what I love most about having a favourite book? It is an entirely personal and unique decision. No one else will have identical reasons as yours even if you share love for the same book, and the best bit? Your imagination will never be the same as anyone else's, each book will elicit a completely different response to you and everybody else. This is usually the reason I'm apprehensive when a film comes out of a book I've read, nothing ever looks the way you imagined it!
I still have my original copy of that wonderful series, well loved, dog eared and torn, I think this adds to its appeal even more, showing just how many hours were lost in it's pages and how it has been enjoyed over the years.
It is sitting upstairs on my sons bookshelf waiting to take him on adventures when he is old enough to lose himself to the pages. I just hope he enjoys the adventures, even if just half as much as I did..….