Currently Reading: Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff and Mary Jane magazine
Good morning, fellow bookworms! It is a rainy Monday- the perfect time to curl up under a blanket with a good book. As you can see, I am still working on Cleopatra, although I am almost finished. Because October is coming up quickly (hence, I will read my "Halloween-themed" books... I promise to give you my best Halloween book list on October 1st), I don't want to start on anything too long. Methinks a People of the Book reread might be in order.
Unfortunately, this post will have to be in two parts today. I must start getting ready for work in a bit, so tonight I will give you my list and descriptions of my top ten favorite books... although whittling my books down to only ten might be a little too difficult. We'll see how that goes. For now, I want to muse on what exactly makes a book a "favorite book." When asked why a particular book (usually Jane Eyre) is my favorite, I tend to launch into a rambling discussion of the main heroine and the amazingly complex plot and the growth in the characters that makes me love them all the more. Yet I never feel as if my words accurately portray what exactly makes me collect copies obsessively and read segments of it as I get my hair done for my wedding. (And yes, this is all true...how obvious is it at this point that Jane Eyre is my favorite?) When we try defining why a book is our "favorite", launching into character descriptions and book summaries does not really do it justice. I believe it's difficult to describe how a book affects us, precisely because there are no words that suffice. How can I adequately describe (without sounding insane) the multiplicity of good feelings I get when I hold the book in my hand? How to relate the anticipation I get when cracking it open for its millionth read? How do I convey the satisfaction and release I get as I sink into its familiar pages? How can I make someone understand that no matter how many times I read it, there is always something new to discover? Perhaps there is no reason to define it. It is simply enough to say, "It is my favorite" and trust that the person to whom we are talking will understand the complexity and passion behind that statement.
I love to hear about others' favorite books. It makes me happy- in an "I love opportunities" kind of way- that so many amazing books exist in this world for us as readers to love, to hate, to be indifferent to. I love that although we are bound together by a love of books and reading, we are also very different in our tastes, evident as I gaze around a library or bookstore, witnessing how unique we are all created to be. No one's "top ten" is ever exactly the same. Nobody's bookshelf holds exactly the same volumes. Our book collections are like our fingerprints- unique to us alone, making us stand apart from the crowd. And I LOVE that.