Lola’s Ramblings: Why is it so difficult to pick your Favourite Book?

Posted May 7, 2015 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 32 Comments


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

    Doggy Bookrest

  • 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.

What is your favourite Book? And why do you think it’s so difficult to pick your favourite book?


32 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: Why is it so difficult to pick your Favourite Book?

  1. This is so true! I’ve never really thought about it before, but whenever someone asks me what my favourite book is, it’s really quite impossible to answer. There are just too many amazing ones out there! And like you said, it’s very hard to compare books. They all have different writing styles, characters, and storylines, and it’s quite hard to find a book that’s “the best” at everything. Great discussion. 🙂
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Kara’s Top Tips For Critiquing || In Which I Discuss How to Critique Someone’s WorkMy Profile

    • I just hate that question as I always draw a blank and nowadays I just refuse to answer it as I can’t. And indeed there are so many differences between the books and even if you could compare all the books you read on all those aspects I wonder if there even is a book that is the best at everything. I found it interesting to look deeper into why I never could answer this question and I feel better if I can think about topics and make a list about them.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: Why is it so difficult to pick your Favourite Book?My Profile

  2. Too many choices! And added to that, after a while everything tends to look the same. I’ve become rather insensitive to books. It’s been a very long time I truly fell in love with a book so much that I would call it a favourite
    Celine recently posted…The Fantasy Project – 2015 GoalsMy Profile

    • Ouch that almost sounds like a reading slump. For me it’s more that while there are few book I give five stars, there are still a lot of those if you count them all over the years I am reading now. I gave 3 different books a 5 star rating this year and I wouldn’t even be able to choose one of those as my fvaourite book read so far this year. Or maybe I am just really bad at making descisions or choosing.

  3. My favorite book is The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, and I can still say that after declaring it my favorite book about ten years ago. I’ve re-read it several times, and each time, I see or feel something I didn’t get on the previous reading. It holds a very dear place in my heart and now I read anything Murakami writes. Wind-up Bird was the first time I read a book that I felt was speaking RIGHT TO ME. No other book has done that for me ever.
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  4. I do have a few but the first one that came to mind was Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I think this one is my favorite because it was so emotional and long. It’s over 800 pages long and it was gut wrenching emotional. The things he endured are hard to imagine. I’ve loved the entire series and thought Acheron was the best book in the series until I read this one.
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    • Wow a 800 pages book, that’s long. I haven’t read anything by that author, although I’ve heard of her. I usually don’t like books that make me very emotional, but the books that tug at my emotions do hold a special place.

  5. Great topic! This is such a difficult question an you made some great points about what helps us decide what makes a book a favorite. For me, five start doesn’t automatically make a book a five star read, instead it means I’d be willing to reread it. Midnight’s Daughter is my favorite and will always be, lol. I dont even have to really think about it, I love that series by Karen Chance.
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    • I hardly ever re-read books, if I re-read a book it does say something about how much I enjoyed it. Hmm that would’ve been a good point to add. The only books I re-read are Karen marie Moning her Fever series, Kelley Armstrong her Darkness Rising series and the first 3 Harry Potter books. And they are all books I would love to re-read again. For me 5 stars books are books that I loved, it’s more of a feeling that I enjoyed those books so much they deserve that 5 star rating.

  6. I think you’re spot on with your reasons. I hate answering that question as well because I have so many. But, if I ever had to choose, then I always go with Harry Potter. I love the series as a whole, but my favorite book in the series in Deathly Hallows because it brings everything together. But, I always have to read all 7 of them together, so I look at them as a whole.
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    • Thanks :). I like to delve deeper into topics like this and try to figure out the why and reason behind it. I re-read the first 3 Harry Potter books a lot as I loved them and the rets of the book weren’t released yet, so those feel like my favourites of the series because of that. Sometimes it’s easier to see them as a whole series as it’s hard to seperate them. Hmm maybe I should do a top ten series posts once, that would be manageable.

    • I agree it’s easier to pick a favourite or favourites in a genre. I think it’s also because we value different aspects in those genres and it’s easier to compare within a genre. Although even within genres I find it hard to pick only one book, a top ten I can do, but only one?

  7. I do have favorites, but I have no one favorite. My favorites are determined by many factors and honestly I don’t recommend them that often b/c they are personal favorites for a reason.

    I agree with your reasoning. And I too tend to want to qualify my answer every time someone asks the question.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Deadly by Sylvia McDaniel #ReviewMy Profile

  8. My favourite book is Stephen King’s ‘IT’ and my favourite series is Harry Potter. I found it pretty easy to pick these to be honest. ‘IT’ is the book I have read most ever since my first read of it when I was 12. Harry Potter is my comfort read for when I’m in a reading slump or just feel a bit down. I’m always wanting to reread these books which is why I know they are my favourites!
    chucklesthescot recently posted…Book Review: Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth FremantleMy Profile

    • I think it’s fun to hear that there are also readers for whom this question is easy to answer. For me it’s never clear and I don’t re-read a lot of books. Harry Potter is one of my favourite series as well.

    • I haven’t read either of those books. Romances that stand out from the usual ones is something I like as well, so I’ll have to check out that one.
      I understand what you mean by loving books for different reasons, I am the same and it’s one of the reasons why I think choosing one is hard as there are different things I love in each book.

  9. I think I can answer this question actually! I mean, all your reasons make complete sense. And I am usually incredibly indecisive, so this is surprising, even to me. But my favorite series, as everyone on earth knows at this point, is The Hunger Games. Like, without question, for all of time. And my favorite of the 3 is Catching Fire. So… there you go. I COULD, if I had to, answer this question. But if you asked me after The Hunger Games? I would be filled with exactly all the same problems you’ve listed! Because after THG, my next favorites would easily turn into 20 books! Great topic!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…This Week At Midnight (60)My Profile

    • I find it interesting that some people can actually answer this question and the Hunger Games is a great series. I am also an incredibly indecisive person so that might have something to do with it, sometimes I rather make no descision at all as I can’t decide. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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