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If we had discussed this topic without my subconcious getting involved, I probably would've mentioned lots of books which I admire greatly. There would've been the well-deserved classics (A Tale of Two Cities, Emma, 1984, The Grapes of Wrath), the modern sensations (We Need to Talk About Kevin, Room, One Day, Gone Girl) and the books that have caught my imagination at various ages (The Secret Garden, The Stand, The Eyre Affair). I might even mention books by authors like Agatha Christie, who is most emphatically NOT the best author I've ever read, but who I adore anyway. None of them, however, would be THE best book I've ever read. I'm not even sure what that means. What do you think?
Do you have one book you consider the best book you've ever read? What would make you give a book that accolade? Here are some suggestions of criteria, please add your own!
- a book that changed your outlook on life
- a book that made you actively do something
- a book that made you cry
- a book you remember vividly years after reading it
- a book you re-read time and again
- a book that you share with all your friends
The Remains of the Day doesn't fit any of these criteria for me - except perhaps remembering it well, although it's only a couple of years since I read it. I was just blown away by the simplicity, the tragic beauty of the story. Have you read it?
This whole train of thought reminded me of a series I did on the blog once, where guest authors wrote about a book that meant something special to them. Among the authors mentioned were Enid Blyton, CS Lewis and Geore RR Martin. I'd love to do some more blog posts in this series, so please let me know if you'd be willing to contribute. The title would be 'The Book...' and you can finish it any way you like ('... I couldn't put down' / '... I'll pass on to my children' / '... that got me through tough times' etc.) You can check out this one by Roanna Price as an example.
In the meantime, I'd love to know what you think the best book you've ever read is!