If you asked me what my favorite book is, I’d tell you To Kill a Mockingbird, hands down. Then I’d start praying that you didn’t ask me any questions about the finer points of the plot because I haven’t read it since high school.
On the other hand, I’ve read Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty at least a half dozen times. I could go on at length about Jessica Darling’s diary entries and the good folk of Pineville, NJ. Do I love that book? Of course. Would I call it my favorite? Well…
I have this theory. There are two types of favorite books:
1. There are the books you re-read over and over because they’re light and enjoyable. You remember them, and you fall in love with the characters, but it’s a skin-deep kind of love. (This should sound familiar to anyone who’s read Fifty Shades of Grey.)
2. Then there are the books that you love, but rarely re-read, if ever. They require deep, emotional commitment. You’re in. You’re so absorbed in the characters and their lives that your life, your worldview, change. It’s a soulmate kind of love.
For example, I tore through To Kill a Mockingbird in less than two days, and I felt absolutely gutted and raw for weeks afterward. Atticus and Scout and Boo hit me on a level that Jessica Darling and Pineville, New Jersey couldn’t quite reach. But I never picked up the book again and would need to consult Cliffs Notes to have a real conversation about it.
But I need both kinds of books. One is like candy, the other is like a good home-cooked meal. Equally important but for very different reasons.
So tell us in the comments below – which books have left a permanent mark on your hearts after one read, and which books find themselves on your beach towel every summer?
Allison once thought she’d be an astronaut, until she realized she’d rather make up stories than solve physics problems. She’s on a mission to prove that margaritas are healthy. You can follow her in twitter at @itsallisonk!