Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.
One of the most dreaded questions you can ask a book lover is: What is your favourite book? I think if there is one question book blovers everywhere hate it is that one. A while ago Michelle from Because Reading is Better than Real Life tagged me to do the 20 things you didn’t know about me tag, which contained a question about what my favourite book is. Which reminded me of my hatred for that question and I steadfastly refuse to answer it. But I did got me thinking and wondering about why that question is so difficult to answer. I am always interested in the why behind something, so naturally that line of thinking sparked a whole blog post about the subject. So I came up with a few reasons that I think are the reason this question is so difficult to answer, let me know what your favourite book is or your opinion about this question in the comments!
Why picking your Favourite Book is so difficult
- You can’t compare books. In general I think it’s just difficult to compare books, there isn’t one way to measure how good a book is. Or a standard on how to compare books. And even how good a book is, is such a vague concept. I can rate a lot of books 4 stars, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed all of them in the same way or as much as the other books with the same rating. Rating Books is a difficult process and the 5 star rating system isn’t very precise when it comes to deciding which book is your favourie. I mean it makes sense your favourite book would be a 5 star, but everyone still has tens if not hundreds of 5 star books, so how do you choose? How do you compare those books? In my case I review books based on story, characters and world building, I guess I could add numbers to all of those and rate books on that and then count them, but if you take a moment to think about that you are comparing apples with pears. One book might have a fantastic story and the other fantastic characters, can you compare those? Is better world building worth more than characters or not? Then there’s the issue that most books are so different then it’s just not reasonable to compare them, how do you compare a non-fiction book about roleplaying with a sci-fi romance book set in a japanese society?
- Subjective question. What I think it comes down to is that there isn’t an objective way to compare your books, it’s a subjective question that doens’t really have a right or wrong answer. And the answer can change from time to time. I think the fact that it is such a subjective question makes it so difficult to answer as there is no objective answer or even an objective way to decide what your favourite book is.
- Mood influences. Another thing that complicates deciding on which is your favourite book is that it depends on your mood. When I am in a sci-fi mood, I might feel that those sci-fi books which got a 5 star rating are much better then all the other books I gave a 5 star rating. Or when I am happy I might rate all those happy books better. Or when I am still on a high from the last 5 star book I read that one might feel like the best. Our mood can colour our judgement.
- Memory. I also think memory plays a role, in general I think books we read recently will be counted differently then books I read long ago. You can stil feel the emotions from reading it, but books you read a year or longer ago feel more vague, you still remember if you enjoyed them but less details and less emotions. How can you compare a book you loved and just finished with those books you read a long time ago that aren’t as clearly in your mind as the most recent ones?
- Different genres. Also most people read lots of different genres and that makes it more difficult to choose and makes them more difficult to compare. I think choosing a favourite book is easier when limited to one genre. I can choose my favourite sci-fi book or my favourite contemporary romance. Okay even then choosing is difficult, but I still rather do a top ten of favourite books in a specific genre than a top ten favourite books of all time. So narrowing down the genre already makes it easier, mainly because the books are easier to compare then. Ofcourse genres still are very broad and not every sci-fi book deal with the same issues or themes.
- Too many choices. I remember an interesting research paper I read during my study psychology and basically it said that choice doesn’t make you happy, when people can choose from 30 chocolates they are less happy with their choice and enjoy that chocolate less then when they only have 5 to choose from (numbers are made up as I don’t remember the exact amount of chocolates used in the two conditions). Now you are wondering what this has to do with choosing your favourite book, my point is that having lots of options makes it difficult to decide. And most of us have read a lot of books from which to choose. When choosing your favourite book you have so many to chooice form and that makes it difficult and even if you manage to choose one you probably aren’t happy with hat descision as you keep thinking maybe that other book was better.
What’s my favourite book?
I think the question what my favourite book is will always stay unanswerable for me. I just can’t choose, I find choosing difficult in general and in this case with lots of great books to choose from, I just can’t pick one and ignore the others. I always draw a blank when I get asked this question, top tens in a certain genre that I can do, but don’t ask me to pick one book. So you won’t get an answer from me, but do let me know if you know what your favourite book is and how you decided on that book.