Personal Essays

How Do You Pick a Favorite

It’s weird, I’m preparing to apply for this online writing job, and you have to submit a couple of writing samples from specific prompts. One was what are your 5 favorite books and why. As an avid reader,  I thought this would be cake. Later that same evening, I sat down with my journal on my lap and a pen in my hand.

And there I sat.

I’d get an idea, put the tip to the paper, and then stop again. And again.

See, I read a lot. I’ve had a book within reach since I’ve learned to read. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many books, pages, words I’ve read.

I’ve read 100s of books that I couldn’t even tell you about now. Couldn’t even guess the title. But then I have books that I’ve read again and again. Those ones, they never get old, and when I reread them, I do so with gusto, eager to get to certain spots and then I creep along, not wanting to reach the end.

But to pick 5, only 5, it’s a task I’m finding unfathomable.

It seems that there are too many and yet not enough.

There are those that I love, that are great works of literature. Books like The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, 1984 by George Orwell, The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Then there are those that I loved as a child: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. While, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Jacob Have I Loved and The Bridge to Terabithia both by Katherine Paterson.

And don’t forget those that are parts of a series, The Dark Tower by Stephen King, The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning, The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, The Vampire Chronicles, The Beauty Series and The Mayfair Witches all by Anne Rice.

There are those that are not necessarily great works of literature, but significantly impacted me at the time I read them. These include Summer Sisters by Judy Blume, A Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy, The Isle of Woman by Piers Anthony and She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.

And then still are the books that have made me laugh. Hitchhiker’s Guide o the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, anything David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, and the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich.

And don’t get me started on non-fiction. Anything Bill Bryson, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris.

Christ, there are so many good books out there, how am I ever to decide. And I know as soon as I pick, I’m going to think of another one that I love even more, that touched me even deeper.

Shit. It seems the task is harder than I ever realized.

 

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