Reading new stories all the time is nice, but sometimes you just need to revisit an old favourite. Maybe you feel nostalgic, need the magic back, or even just need a palette cleanser. Regardless of the reason (all of which I have experienced at one point) and no matter how many new books there are out there, I there is just nothing like returning to an old favourite book.
Of course, the question becomes which ones are my favourites and why? I think when it comes down to it, deciding on favourites is actually not too difficult. For me, my favourites would be the ones that satisfy one or more of the following things:
- I want to reread them many times
- They hold some emotional significance
- They taught me something important
So, which ones do I think are on this list?
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Have you ever read these books? If you have, you likely understand why I have them featured here, even if they are not on your favourites list. The world building in these books (or “book” as Tolkien wanted it to only be one book, but for publishing reasons they split it into three volumes) is incredible. Tolkien created multiple languages, had a 12-volume series delving into the back story of Middle Earth…it is simply astonishing.
While I can escape through other books (Harry Potter included), I think the realm of Middle Earth might just do it the best. The world itself is quite different from my own, making it an attractive escape. However, the story is similar enough in terms of themes, personality traits of characters, et cetera, that makes it so easy to slip into Middle Earth.
I do not remember when I first read The Lord of the Rings, but I remember I was so proud of myself when I finished that I used a word-burning kit to burn the date I finished into a slab of wood along with a picture (attempt) of the One Ring. Incidentally, my love of The Lord of the Rings is so great I took an entire course on it in university and, as I write this, I am wearing an Evenstar necklace along with the One Ring. I know these are not requirements of loving something, but it is a fact for me right now regardless.
The Lord of the Rings, in addition to something I enjoy rereading, also teaches readers many different lessons. I think one of the ones that struck me the most is “even the smallest person can change the course of the world.” If you take that literally my height plays into it, but that is not what I am referring to here. I often feel as if my voice is a tiny drop in the grand scheme of things. But if you take this lesson, even my tiny voice can do something to make a difference. That, to me, is a nice thought.
Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
I think by now you probably know why Harry Potter is on this list. In the event you do not, I will share it again. When I was about four, my brother and I were down at the lake. The neighbour’s dog was there too, and he grabbed a stick from the bush. He swung it around and unfortunately it hit me in the mouth. Cue bleeding, a lost tooth, and a fat lip. My mom tucked me into bed after cleaning me up, and not too long after that my brother came in with the first Harry Potter book and read some to me. I could not read it on my own just then, but I remember working on things until I could do it one year later. The rest is history!
Arguably there are many books that, in terms of the quality of prose, are better than Harry Potter. However, I still have an emotional connection with these books having grown up with them (I do not really remember other books from when I was that young, though I know there were some as people have told me about ones I read). I also have learnt quite a few lessons from these books and I get something new out of them every time I reread the story.
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
This one may be a little controversial as a book, if only because it is J.K. Rowling’s commencement speech from Harvard in book form. Yes, I bought a physical copy even though I had heard her speech multiple times on YouTube.
I think this book is absolutely amazing. I want to talk more about J.K. Rowling in another post, but what I will say briefly here is that her books (including this one) all came at the perfect time for me. I mean, even though I had heard her speech before, the book version came out during my final semester of university. Perfect timing, right?
Even though I am technically a fully-fledged adult now (some days I would disagree with this), her words in this book still have a lot of impact. If you think about anything from this work, think about this piece: “And rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
There are quite a few other books I really enjoy—such as Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Emma by Jane Austen—but I do not think I can really put them up with the ones I have listed so far. They are good yes, and I like reading them (I actually read Me Before You again over the summer), but they are missing something that the others on this list have. I do not believe it would separate my favourites into tiers…but rather, I think I have overall or all-time favourites (like ones in this post) and then current favourites (books I really like that I have read recently).
Do you have all-time favourites and current favourites like I do? Or are things a little simpler? Either way, I would love to hear about it! Share some of your favourites below. I am always looking for good recommendations!