Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Way Harder Than Sophie's Choice

What is your all-time favorite book? Also, how do you feel about that question? For me, there's no way to answer it with one title. No way. I'd have to break it down into categories, and even then I'd feel like I was hurting the feelings of other incredible books. When pressed, I always say Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, because that's an example of a perfectly written book. It's a children's lit classic, and it's easily accessible to children, but it's so magical because White doesn't write down to kids in any way. He's clear, but presents so many sophisticated ideas, and taps into emotions without laying on the treacle. In other words, he respects his audience. I've read it countless times as a child and an adult. We read it to HR when he was in the womb and I look forward to sharing it with him again when he's a little older. It makes me cry every damn time, but more importantly it makes me marvel over its artfulness and its truth. So yeah, it's an all-time fave of mine. But I have so many!

The entire Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block, for starters. There was nothing like this before, nor has there been since. The Secret History by Donna Tartt which I would rather re-read than do most anything. Judy Blume is my hero, and even though it's not her best book by far, re-reading Summer Sisters is an annual ritual so that goes on the list. Oh man, The Handmaid's Tale - don't you wish you could live inside Margaret Atwood's brain? Maybe not, it's a scary place, but scary smart. Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are - there to me is an example of a perfect picture book, it's brilliantly executed, and timeless. The Stand, come ON! I unabashedly love Stephen King and this is his masterpiece. Oh, and Lolita knocked me over - if you think you know what this is about, you haven't read it. Most recently I really dug Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall On Your Knees, I'm not sure how new it is, but it was new to me. Hmm, I could do this forever. So I had better stop. But if you want to share, please do, I love to hear what people love.

OK, now watch this:

Like books, I could never pick a fave Gene Kelly number because they're all so spectacular.
Me + Gene Kelly 4-EVA.


  1. The Stand...hands down. Fond of Tolkein back in the day, Lord of the Flies flipped my way of thinking as a kid and of course Oh Say Can You Say for purely sentimental reasons.

  2. Harrison just pulled Oh Say Can You Say out of his bookcase, but he lost interest quickly... which is lucky because I have a lot of practicing to do before he's ready for it!

  3. Charlotte's Web. For all of the reasons you described. And it was probably the best, and most memorable, of all of the birthday presents I received from friends as a child. My best friend in 1st grade brought the hard-back version of it to my 7th birthday party. I have it to this day.

  4. I thought I was the only one who appreciated Weezie Bat! I've always loved To Kill A Mockingbird and Malcolm X really changed me when I read it in high school. You probably know that already! ;)

  5. I treasure reading my old copy of Charlotte's Web to Bella on a weekly basis:)

  6. My answer is generally The Diviners by Margaret Laurence. I don't know why I've picked that one to be my top favourite, but I do whole-heartedly adore it. It sits really nicely in my heart, reassuring and complex.
    Also, yes, Fall On Your Knees is ridiculously good.