Discussion: Your All-Time Favourite Book

For people who read a lot of books it’s almost impossible to pick just one favourite.  Anyone who asks me what my favourite book is will usually get a blank stare followed by an explanation of how much I actually read in a year.  It’s nearly impossible to pick a favourite book, especially if you’re put on the spot.

All-time favourite books are slightly different from just ‘favourite books’ for me.  An all-time favourite is one that had the largest effect on me at the time, the one that I read over and over again, etc.  All-time favourite books have staying power, whereas favourite books can change in a couple of months if you read a lot.

I can pretty much guarantee that I’ve read more than 1,000 books at this point in my life.  Out of all of these books I’d have to say that my absolute favourite is Inkspell by Cornelia Funke.  I read it as a pre-teen and it taught me a lot about love, life, self-esteem and the beauty of losing yourself in a magical world.  Harry Potter is definitely my all-time favourite series, but on an individual basis Inkspell (the second book in the Inkworld trilogy) will always hold a special place in my heart.

I still have my old beat up copy of Inkspell and even though the binding has almost totally fallen apart and the pages are yellowed from being out in the sun so much, I refuse to throw it out and get a new version.  Memories live on in the pages of books and there are so many good memories for me in Inkspell.

What I want to know is this: If you had to pick an all-time favourite book, what book would it be?  Why?


  1. Phillip McCollum

    Yeah, such a tough question. I think my all-time favorite would have to be “Shogun” by James Clavell. It was the first historical fiction novel that really gripped me and pulled me into another time and place.

  2. patricksponaugle

    I think my favorite book, of all time, would be Nine Princes in Amber, by Roger Zelazny. I’ve read it (and the following four books in the First Amber Chronicles a bunch of times.)

    I have a backup favorite book, the Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe. I’ve not read it as many times as the Amber books, but it (and it’s following through books in the Book of the New Sun series) is a much more challenging read.

    The reason I bring up two favorite books (and I know I should just pick one) is because reading them are two different experiences. Zelazny’s book is extremely enjoyable and accessible, and re-reading it (and the other books in the series) is like hanging out with an old and dear friends. re-reading them is re-enjoying them.

    Wolfe’s books are really dense and magical, but the details seem to fade away after I’ve read them. I can’t really explain it. I can explain the plot easily enough, but when re-reading them, there will be things that I’ve forgotten that jump out, and it’s like I’m re-discovering the story for the first time.

    • Carrie Slager

      I very rarely re-read books because I have to constantly read new ones for my blog, but there are definitely some like the ones you mention I make a point of re-reading. They’re like old friends, as you said. It’s hard to explain that feeling to someone who isn’t a big reader (the sort of people that only have one favourite book).

  3. literaryvittles

    I can’t pick just one, either… growing up, my favorite book was “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech. I also love “Black Swan Green” by David Mitchell, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, “Delicate Edible Birds” by Lauren Groff, and “The Transplant Men” by Jane Taylor. Oh and the writing in “The Street of Crocodiles” and “Lolita” are my favorites. “Pyongyang” is my favorite graphic novel.

  4. Kayla Sanchez

    Mine would probably have to be the entire Harry Potter series – though if I had to pick one I’d go with The Deathly Hallows. It really was a huge part of my childhood, and even though I just got the new boxed set, I’ll always love my old beaten up mismatched set.

    • Carrie Slager

      Yeah, my set’s pretty beat up as well. I made a conscious effort to match the first six books but when The Deathly Hallows came out I plunged in feet first and bought the hardcover. There was no way I’d wait for the trade paperback! 🙂

  5. Carla J. Hanna

    A Wrinkle in Time. I just read it with my daughter (9) over the holiday break. She loved it as much as I did when I was her age. It was written in 1963. I can’t wait for her to break into Harry Potter’s world and was so disappointed that she thought it was boring. I won’t give up! Inkspell is an amazing book she’ll read this summer! I can’t wait to read it again – a wonderful book!

    • Carrie Slager

      I vaguely recall reading A Wrinkle in Time quite a few years ago and I can’t honestly remember if I liked it or not. I’ll have to re-read it. When I was nine I got into Harry Potter and the Inkworld trilogy so your daughter’s at that perfect age! 🙂

  6. Jack Flacco

    Romeo and Juliet. It’s a universal story spanning centuries, giving life to many of the modern films we have today and across multiple genres. I enjoy the flow, the pacing, the betrayal, the–love. Oh, how Shakespeare touched on love. And the fact that the couple couldn’t be together kills me every time. Just a tragic love story filled with redemption. Man, I love this book!

    • Carrie Slager

      Romeo and Juliet was a good one but I’d have to say that of the few Shakespearean plays I’ve read Macbeth is my favourite. There’s something about the dark lesson of ambition running wild that appeals to me. It’s also the first play by Shakespeare I actually read so it holds a special place in my heart. Sort of like the tragic love of Aida and Radames in Verdi’s opera Aida. (It’s like a more intense version of Romeo and Juliet with a similar ending if you want to look it up. I think you’d like it.)

  7. Ashutosh

    It is such a difficult question to answer.. and after spending a day thinking over it,.. I think these two books would be the most satisfying ones I had read – Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie and Lord of the Rings by Tolkien.

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  9. Jimmy

    Maybe TLOTR. But probably Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, or the Iliad, or the Odyssey. Homer is not a great poet – he is far more than that. It’s either him, or Dante, at the top. There are scenes in Homer that are not only deeply moving, but so clearly described that one can see them, and never forget them. It as though one were there. And this is someone whose poems were written over 27 centuries ago. By any standard, that is impressive. Tolkien had the same gift of making what he describes so vividly & colourfully real, that it as though one were there. Homer can’t be described – the only way to appreciate him, is to read him. Even in English, a lot of him comes through. To read him is an education in itself. As for Dante, his poem was a revelation.

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