The other night I just posted a quick question on Twitter: “What’s your single favorite book of all time, based on any criteria you wish?” Here’s the list I got back:
- Blindness, by Jose Saramago
- World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks
- Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell
- Complexity, by M. Mitchell Waldrop
- The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
- A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle
- The Blue World, by Jack Vance
- Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
- Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
- What Is Called Thinking?, by Martin Heidegger
- Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Of those 11, I’ve only read 4, and there are 3 I hadn’t even heard of, which is amazing to me.
But right after I asked the question, Kathy pointed out that that the criteria that you pick can be just about as interesting as the actual book you pick. Meta!
But she suggested: best written? most influential? most inflential now? when you were in high school but might be embarrassing now?
My own choice, The Road, I picked for just overall awesomeness — incredibly written, high impact, memorable — it just sort of towers over everything I’ve read in the last 10 years or so. But I could have picked Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for its impact on me in high school (although I wonder how it holds up). Or The Black Swan for affecting how I frame world events. Or The Design of Everyday Things for lasting impact on what I do for a living. Or The Hobbit and the Narnia books for starting off my lifelong love of reading. Or, for that matter, the Harry Potter books for sustaining it and for my looking forward to reading them with SPL.
Anyway, I guess I’ve got some more reading to do. 🙂
What are your favorites? Why?